Lastega ja lastele

Auhinnaga „Lastega ja lastele“ täname ja tunnustame inimesi ja organisatsioone, kelle uued algatused või pikemaajaline tegevus on positiivselt mõjutanud laste ja perede käekäiku.
Tunnustusauhinna taotluste voor on avatud 15. aprillini.

Esita taotlus

Families tell

In 2013, the non-profit MTÜ Oma Pere had access to 30 562.91 euros in funds from the SEB Charity Fund

Throughout 2013, the system backed by the SEB Charity Fund provided support to families where children have been adopted, are in foster care, or are being looked after under an agreement. Mainly, the services are geared towards adoptive parents; however, some of them go to guardians and carers in families, since families’ needs are similar. Before adopting, some families sign an agreement under which a child will be cared for in the family or become her guardians. It is also becoming more common for experienced adoptive parents to take further children into their families and care for them. Services are provided in both Estonian and Russian.

Psychological group counselling

In 2013, there were 30 group counselling sessions, attended by 288 clients. Group counselling sessions were held on 16 different topics in Harju, Ida-Viru, Tartu and Pärnu counties. The purpose of a group counselling session is to help a family to identify – using group work – its resources for solving communications, parenting or school problems related to children and for improving self-esteem.

Katrin: “Before she reached us, the child had been separated from her biological parents, had lived at a children’s home and had then been adopted. After a while in that family, her new parents died – first one, then the other. The child was again placed in a children’s home, where there were not enough resources to raise her. There followed a substitute home again and then our family. As a parent, I could sense those numerous losses that every change entailed for her; however, I began to deal with them consciously only after attending a group counselling session. The child’s traumas and losses have been heavy; however, with the knowledge gained at group counselling sessions, I am able to support and help our child.

Individual psychological counselling

In 2013, there were 73 counselling sessions, totalling 170 hours and attended by 53 clients. Families were provided with both one-off and repeat counselling. The objective is to facilitate improvement in a family’s coping ability in order to prevent burn-out. The service includes counselling, identifying resources for families and, if needed, a consultation by a specialist or a suggestion of therapy.

Families needed support most when the child and the family first met and, subsequently, during various life stages as the child was growing up. The main reasons for seeking out a counselling session for grown-ups included the arrival of a child in their family, adapting to the new situation and coping as a parent; for children, they included difficulties in adapting, behavioural problems (at school or kindergarten) and attachment disorders.

Annika: “For over two years now, two wonderful children have been growing up in our family, their arrival resulting in much happiness and plenty of challenges. It is all a natural part of life and of finding one another. Eventually, we recognised that the children had rather heavy burdens to bear from their past, and we as parents reached a point where we realised that our intuition, natural responses, care and love were not enough. What to do with a child unable to trust you, since previously the grown-ups nearest to him had never given him a reason for that? How to help a child unable to stop twisting the truth or doing the exact opposite of what you request? Can the motivation to study be developed in a situation where it is very low at a given point in time? And, what is very important: how to understand what is going on, what we can and what we cannot do as parents? You need support and help from someone who is professionally prepared for this, experienced and competent. We are very grateful for the opportunity to work with therapists who help our family members with all their wisdom and might. It is something to lean on and provides real practical experience; yet even more importantly, it now seems that we are not alone with our tales. Nor will we be alone (knock on wood!) even if the sea of life gets rough for us.

Mentoring service

In 2013, 338 hours of mentoring services were provided, with a total of 188 clients participating. In addition, the list of mentors includes a total of 179 people who were consistently provided with information about changes in the set-up of services and adoption and about other relevant issues. The purpose of the mentoring service is to enable adoptive families to learn continuously in order to achieve wisdom and maturity, by providing them with guidance and support.

It is important to assist families in creating and using a network of relationships, and to increase parents’ self-confidence and parenting skills. Counselling centred around mentors provides families with experience-based and professional family assistance: the mentor provides knowledge and personal experience, suggests alternatives and, if needed, refers to other services. In 2013, the most frequent topic in a mentor-mentee relationship was adaptation by child and family.

Mari: “Seven years ago, we adopted a boy of 10 months old who had lived of his 10 months in a substitute home. The child developed and coped very well until his last year in kindergarten. The child was interested in music, art and chess. By nature, he is lively and energetic and a good communicator and has many friends. Before he started school, we decided to tell the child that he had been adopted. There followed self-destructive behaviour that ended under the supervision of psychiatrists. We learned that this kind of behaviour had been caused by finding out about his origins. All the people around our family are wonderful and supportive; however, it is good to share the story of our child and family with people who know more about these things and who themselves have the experience of raising an adopted child. We gained clarity in our thoughts and peace in our souls and the knowledge that there is always someone there for us if we need help. What is wonderful is that we were also offered to attend children’s communication training. Thanks to those training sessions, the child has become more self-confident and has experienced that being adopted is nothing unusual, since there are many like him.

Group supervision

In 2013, six group supervision sessions were attended by 58 clients. The purpose of the service is to help to replenish the adoptive family’s coping resources, develop the traits needed for the work of parenting and improve communications competence. The service includes group work, moderated by a supervisor, on specific incidents that have occurred in the family.

In 2013, the focus was on six topics: adaptation by child and family; child’s behaviour problems; various forms of foster care, their pros and cons; impact of trauma on a child’s development; and coping with two or more children. So far, the most important topics in experience-based group counselling have included talking to the child about having been adopted, losses and adapting to change.

In 2013, group counselling sessions were held for children of various ages for the first time: ages 7 to 11, 12 to 13 and 14 to 17. A total of 32 children attended. Group counselling for children is group work of a supportive and preventive nature for developing various skills and personality traits: understanding one’s own uniqueness, and creating, maintaining and ending relationships. It also helps to understand the child’s attitude towards himslef or herself and how he or she interacts with others. Boosting self-esteem and understanding one’s origins hold an important place.

Tuuli: “My child steals – he does not take something left unattended but consciously looks for opportunities to empty out others’ pockets. When caught, he denies having done so. It is very difficult to admit that we have a problem, and this needs to be dealt with. As a parent, I feel embarrassed and bad, since I feel at fault for not knowing how to raise my child well. To invoke the excuse that the child is from a children’s home seemed like an opportunity to abdicate responsibility. What to do in this kind of situation? Together with my spouse, we went for counselling, since it seemed we would go mad otherwise. During group counselling, we attained clarity and an insight: the mere admission that our entire family needed help to find a way out of the situation laid the groundwork for a solution. What we shared during the counselling session and the feedback from others provided good ideas. The plan we made with my spouse and the help we got have now ensured that theft is not a concern in our family. Simply, it is part of growth for our family and of making peace with the past.
 

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