This material is copyrighted. Except for your own private use, you may not copy or reproduce it in any way without express permission from Northwest Resource Associates.
Washington's Waiting Children
Lee’Aujanique, who is called Lee, is most responsive to adults who use praise and other positive reinforcements to engage her and to gain her trust and cooperation. Lee loves to play dress up, have her hair done and wear pretty, decorative barrettes, and pins in her hair.
While Lee has been wearing new glasses regularly to help correct a cross-eye condition, her eye specialist has determined that she will likely need surgery to fully correct her eye condition. Lee is also in need of braces, although she doesn't let that get in the way of giving big smiles to those around her. You should see how those smiles light up her eyes!
Legally free, Lee came into foster care initially in August 2007 with her younger brothers. Together the children are too much for many families to manage, and to better meet each child’s individual needs, they have been placed in separate foster homes. Once the children are in their permanent homes and have shown through their behavior that they can appropriately handle more contact with one another, their adoptive parents will likely want to set up new rules of engagement, so to speak.Currently, Lee is struggling with anxiety from past trauma and attachment issues, which are exacerbated by her high energy and attention difficulties and by the loss of contact with her siblings. Her current treatment program includes counseling and medication components to lessen her aggressive verbal responses when she’s feeling angry, frustrated, and stressed. Lee needs a high level of structure and one-on-one attention at home, school and in counseling. Although she is performing at grade level, Lee still requires additional supports in school to keep her on track and on task. Lee’s adoptive parent(s) will need to be able to help her continue building positive social and problem solving skills with peers. Part of her social skill building needs to include help in developing behavioral tools and strategies to manage her feelings in healthy ways. Lee may require a high level of support on the home front, in the classroom and in counseling to aid in the stabilization of her adoptive placement. Lee’s first response to feeling slighted or teased is aggression.
Lee is currently interacting with a “Practice Family” to familiarize her with healthy family life by visiting with the family and sometimes going to outside events and activities. The Practice Family is also assisting Lee in feeling less anxiety about adoption and to gain more focus on the advantages of having a family of her very own. At this point she is reporting that she really likes the practice family and wants to start going on outings; however with her history of attachment challenges the therapeutic practice family is moving slowly and taking their time to get to know her and she them. Lee has a habit of saying no to every suggestion on the first take but then often changes her mind quickly once she becomes more familiar with the idea and has a chance to think about it. Lee likes animals and is having a visit from a service dog twice a week. She is very curious about other people and how they live and about their life stories, especially if they are anything like hers. Lee tells me she wants to be a singer and dancer when she grows up and she loves to participate in talent shows with other kids her age.
Being willing to participate with Lee in counseling during her transition into her adoptive home will be a very important way for her adoptive folks to show their love and commitment. It would show, too, that they value using such resources to help family members deal with past hurts and move forward emotionally and behaviorally. Lee will need such supports for the foreseeable future.
Because her sibling connection is so vitally important to her, wants her adoptive family to be open to assisting her in reconnecting with her siblings. The adoptive parents able to empathize with her loss and help her regain her sibling connections will aid in the establishment of her trust and her connection to her adoptive family.
Lee's social worker wants to hear from prospective adoptive couples and single moms who have experience and skills with children who have behavioral challenges. Having a good grasp of how chronic early neglect amidst parental substance abuse can impact a child's sense of well being and her overall development will be important. Of course, Lee's adoptive parent(s) need to take pride in the heritage and help them to feel connected to their African American roots.
Portraits by Yuen Lui
These are "profiles" only and are not intended to provide the detailed information that a family worker and family require in order to make a placement decision.