March 4, 2011

Offering Strength to Adoptive Parents

Union Leader Correspondent
DERRY -- For many adoptive parents, bringing home a new child can be the culmination of a lifelong dream.
But staff at the Center for Life Management in Derry say the transition is not without its struggles, especially for children who have trouble bonding with their new parents.
“There are certain behaviors that the child may display that can be quite problematic, and it’s very difficult to respond to those behaviors as adoptive parents,” said Monique Prince, a UNH master’s student and social work intern at CLM.
“The biggest thing is when the child is not wanting to be with the parents,” said Prince. “Parents are excited about their new child and then the child is sometimes not receptive to being with them.”
But Prince said she hopes her adoptive parents support group starting Saturday will help local parents navigate those sometimes troubled waters.

“Parents’ natural inclination is to get angry or irritated and feel some self-blame,” she said. “It’s easy to get derailed and have the relationship not work out. You see a lot of failed adoptions or foster placements that way, which I really feel could be prevented with more support for parents.” 
The group, which will meet for seven consecutive Saturdays through April, is offered at CLM for free for any local parents looking for some help. 
CLM Director of Children’s Programming Louise Morin-Davy said that adoptive parent support groups are rare in the region. 
“Members have been fairly isolated themselves, so when they meet other parents who have gone through similar experiences, I think that’s helpful for healing parents,” she said. “This is a way for them to recognize that they are doing the best they can. All they want is to have good healthy families.” 
Prince said the group will discuss a range of topics including general parenting skills, crisis intervention procedures and self-care. 
Each session will also give parents the chance to ask questions of each other and exchange stories and advice, she said. 
Parents are asked to register for the group by calling the CLM office at 434-1577. Prince said that walk-ins are also welcome. 
Saturday’s meeting begins at 10 a.m. at the Center for Life Management at 10 Tsienneto Road in Derry. 

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