Editor's Note: Window on the Clearwater has joined the Wednesday's Child network to help spread the word about children that are waiting for families to give them the loving care that they need. Each Wednesday we will profile a different child. For more information about Wednesday's Child and how you can be involved check the web site at: http://www.idahowednesdayschild.org/.
Portrait provided by Oregon Heart Gallery. Profile provided by NWAE.
An engaging boy who loves to talk and has a good sense of humor, Russell is a very talented artist! Russell, who identifies himself as a Christian, likes going to church and would appreciate having a family whose spiritual beliefs are similar to his. Among his favorite pastimes are skateboarding, playing basketball, riding his bike, playing guitar and making up games that he can play with other kids. He's a big fan of action figures, too. Russell enjoys seeing other people happy.
Since coming into foster care for the second time in 2008, Russell's social skills have grown significantly. He is continuing to work on playing well with others and letting other kids take the lead. Russell continues to make important gains in his therapeutic foster family, where he is doing well. This particular placement was mindfully chosen for its stability and it has proved to be a good fit for Russell's needs.
In school, Russell is catching up academically from years of past educational neglect. He's especially benefitting from participating in a therapeutic day care program which has a classroom component. Russell enjoys math and is quite good in that subject. The areas where he has to really apply himself and have extra supports are in reading and writing. It will be important for his adoptive folks to have a strong educational ethic, provide encouragement and positive reinforcements on the home front, and coordinate behavioral and academic goals with his teachers.
Russell's needs are met best when placed separately from his six birth siblings. He does, though, have strong bonds and connections with some of his siblings and other members of his biological family, including his birth mother. Russell will be counting on his adoptive folks to help him maintain these significant relationships.Russell's adoptive folks will need to let him know that they choose to open their hearts and home to him as a "growing up" family, a family that will honor his birth family bonds, while providing him with a stable, consistent, nurturing home environment where he can feel safe and cared for. Because Russell still struggles with rules and limits, having adoptive parents willing to participate with him in counseling during his transition into his adoptive home would be a wonderful way for him and his new folks to talk about expectations and to agree to family rules, limits and consequences.
Russell has a support team behind him helping him to be successful at home, school and in the community. He has weekly therapy, and a mental health coordinator. He has a therapeutic foster family and attends therapeutic day treatment. He has a medication management appointment every month to make sure the medicine he is taking is appropriate to meet his behavioral and emotional needs, as well as the difficulties he has sleeping. He also has a CASA who visits him regularly, as well as various skills trainers who take him out of the home for afternoon activities. The focus of his treatment program is to help Russell talk about his feelings instead of acting them out, develop behavioral tools and strategies so that he can deal in positive ways with feelings of anger and stress, lessen his impulsiveness and tendency to get too physical and increase his capacity for cooperative interpersonal relationships. Russell will need to have such supports and med management for the foreseeable future and it will be imperative that his adoptive folks become an active partner in his treatment team.
Russell's case worker especially wants to hear from two parent families. Folks who have already parented and have children already grown or who have one or two socially and emotionally healthy teens still at home could be ideal. Other couples who have had meaningful experience with older children through teaching, counseling, day care, etc. could be good prospective family resources too. Having a good grasp of how early neglect and abuse can impact a child's sense of well being and development would help his adoptive parents understand Russell's issues. Strong advocacy skills will be an important parental trait, too, in helping to plan for his social, educational, and counseling needs over time. Because Russell is not yet legally free, prospective adoptive families need to be licensed for foster care and have an approved, current adoption homestudy completed.
Russell is available for adoption through the State of Oregon. To find out more about adoption or becoming a foster parent, email the Idaho CareLine or call 1-800-926-2588.
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