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Lost Children Book Series

Monday, January 2, 2012

Minnesota's Healing Spirits



MINNEAPOLIS - A unique program in south Minneapolis is finding success helping American Indian boys in long-term foster care. The director of the Healing Spirit program for boys, Kirk Crow Shoe, says the group home they operate takes in teens with a history of running away, skipping school and runs-ins with police. Many have been placed in multiple foster-care situations without success.

"They go into these homes and they're not making it. They're not connecting; they're not getting their needs met, so then they go back to the emergency shelter. They wait for yet another placement; they go to another placement, then they disrupt from that placement. Healing Spirit was developed as an answer to this particular problem."

At Healing Spirit, Crow Shoe explains, the focus is not just on school and living skills, but also on the sacred Native American culture, which he calls a significant part of helping the kids believe in themselves.

What makes Healing Spirit effective, Crow Shoe says, is that the teen boys are overseen by staff members who share the same Native American background.

"Many of them have been in long-term foster care themselves. They struggled greatly in their upbringings, and as adults they have the heart to give back to the community. The kids know that they've been in their shoes, as well, so there's an immediate sense of respect that's paid to one another in that relationship."

It is key for the troubled teens to connect with their culture and community and feel a sense of family - particularly in a system in which they've been shuffled from one place to another, Crow Shoe adds.

"These kids, after a period of time, they feel like they're throwaways and they're very broken kids. Because we understand that and because many of us have lived that life, they know that we are going to be more patient, more generous - and we're not going to give up on them quite so easily."

Since Healing Spirit was founded in 2003, the average length of stay has grown to around 2.5 years, and most boys now stay until they "age out." Crow Shoe says with that success, the program has generated interest from across the country.

"Because we have done as well as we have over the years, there are other communities that are interested in what we're doing; and as such, we then shared our model at the National Indian Child Welfare Act conferences."

A similar foster home for girls opens in south Minneapolis in January. American Indians make up just over one-percent of Minnesota's population, but account for 12 percent of the children in the state foster care system.

More information is available at http://diw.gmcc.org/programs.php.
Public News Service - MN » December , 2011

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adoptees take back adoption narrative and reject propaganda

To Veronica Brown

Veronica, we adult adoptees are thinking of you today and every day. We will be here when you need us. Your journey in the adopted life has begun, nothing can revoke that now, the damage cannot be undone. Be courageous, you have what no adoptee before you has had; a strong group of adult adoptees who know your story, who are behind you and will always be so.

Three Years already

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Customer Review

Thought-provoking and moving 11 October 2012
Two Worlds - Lost children of the Indian Adoption Projects

If you thought that ethnic cleansing was something for the history books, think again. This work tells the stories of Native American Indian adoptees "The Lost Birds" who continue to suffer the effects of successive US and Canadian government policies on adoption; policies that were in force as recently as the 1970's. Many of the contributors still bear the scars of their separation from their ancestral roots. What becomes apparent to the reader is the reality of a racial memory that lives in the DNA of adoptees and calls to them from the past.
The editors have let the contributors tell their own stories of their childhood and search for their blood relatives, allowing the reader to gain a true impression of their personalities. What becomes apparent is that nothing is straightforward; re-assimilation brings its own cultural and emotional problems. Not all of the stories are harrowing or sad; there are a number of heart-warming successes, and not all placements amongst white families had negative consequences. But with whom should the ultimate decision of adoption reside? Government authorities or the Indian people themselves? Read Two Worlds and decide for yourself.

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ADOPTION TRUTH

As the single largest unregulated industry in the United States, adoption is viewed as a benevolent action that results in the formation of “forever families.”
The truth is that it is a very lucrative business with a known sales pitch. With profits last estimated at over $1.44 billion dollars a year, mothers who consider adoption for their babies need to be very aware that all of this promotion clouds the facts and only though independent research can they get an accurate account of what life might be like for both them and their child after signing the adoption paperwork.

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