Basic Elements of Good Communication:
- Listen with respect – Hear what is beyond the words • Position yourself at eye level and make eye contact
- Pay attention to body language
- Repeat actions and messages of empowerment
- Allow for disagreement without triggering oppositional behavior
- Find areas of agreement
- Don’t expect full buy-in
- Keep at it – talking about adoption is not a “one-shot” deal
Communicating with a Young Child About Adoption:
- Be comfortable yourself – the emotions will be more important than the words
- Use a lifebook
- Answer what is asked – don’t tell the whole story in one sitting!
Communicating with School Age Children about Adoption:
- Model a range of expressions for emotions
- Feeling SAD → makes me feel MAD → which leads to acting BAD
- Use stories, movies, puppet play to “practice” and observe lots of emotions
- Provide physical as well as verbal outlets for emotions
Communicating with Teens About Open Adoption
- Talk often about family connections.
- Present thoughts and ideas for them to consider in their media -i.e. music, movies.
- Partialize the process to the point of acceptance.
- Don’t back away from the hard questions – i.e. sex
- Expect relationships to change over time
Source: Coalition 2004 Conference Worhshop Presentation by Sue Badeau, firstname.lastname@example.org