Adoption has been in the national spotlight following the tightening of eligibility criteria for adoptions in May.
Giving a child up for adoption or deciding to adopt a child are not easy life decisions for any parent to make. For an adopted child, it can also be a stressful and confusing journey, navigating emotions and finding their place in a new family and care environment.
To help, the Adoption Facilitation Service (AFS) team at Singapore Children’s Society partnered with TOUCH Community Services to conduct online workshops for adopted children aged 7 to 9 years old from September 2021.
The workshops equip participants with skills that allow them to identify their emotions when talking about their adoption story, and help them understand that they can choose who to share that story with, and when.
Telling your adoption story: Materials we shared to help adoptees own their stories
The AFS team created a storyboard with lovable characters to help the children on their journey. The little hero of the story is Bunny, who shares his big feelings with his mother, Mama Elly, an elephant. Bunny has a happy heart filled with love from his new family, but soon realises he does not look like his parents. A curious friend asks some questions, and it prompts a swirl of feelings. His story soon spreads in the jungle, and Bunny has to learn to cope with others sharing his story.
For children who have been adopted, the story strikes a chord, says Gracia Goh, Group Lead, Children in Care Group. “They understand how real and raw these feelings can be, especially when they are caught off-guard by unexpected questions or hurtful comments. It helps to have a caring adult to turn to, and who can help them make sense of the truth that they are loved, valued, worthy, safe, and secure.”
For parents, the story also helps prompt discussions with their children about important themes.
Meeting our little hero: Screenshot of our attendees at the virtual workshop with our facilitators
Madam Tan, who attended this workshop with her adopted daughter Linda*, found the session very helpful. “Linda liked the games and the stories of the bunny and the elephant… and got familiar with recognising her feelings and how to deal with them. She was also very comforted by making friends with others who shared similar journeys and stories, like Jane*, who was also born in Malaysia.” The team was deeply heartened by the mother’s encouragement, who looked forward to more of such support programmes, that deals with highly sensitive issues in such relatable and beautiful ways.
*Name has been changed to protect beneficiary’s identity
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