The Drleck

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Note to Parents: Many kids who have gone through the foster care
system or who were adopted have had to give up some of their childhoodto survive. Thus, precious time to pretend and enjoy the magic of
make-believe were lost. Transfiguring Adoption's Magical Creature
series is designed for you to read with your child(ren) and help
them regain some of those moments. Read more in our Forward and 
Introduction.

Parent’s Quick Look

  • Creature has an activity to help kids learn to calm themselves
  • Creature has an activity to help kids get used to the texture of water
    (useful for children that haven’t been bathed a lot in the past)
  • Creature helps with a fear of water

The Drleck is the human name given to these fantastic creatures that are completely made up of animated water. The actual name of the creatures is too hard to say in their own language. Thus, we use this name that was first given to them by a small 3 year old boy in foster care named Jeremy Watts.

The Drleck are creatures that love peace and quiet. They are also very sensitive to the emotions and feelings of the people and beasts that are close by them. When someone is nervous, scared, or angry, a Drleck will become very worried and nervous. The poor things eventually get so worked up that they go from being worried to very scared someone is going to hurt them.

Little Jeremy Watt found out about this when he took his first bath. At 3 years old Jeremy had never had a bath at his birth family’s home. His new foster parents wanted him to be clean and healthy so they drew a bath full of warm water. Since Jeremy had never had water on his skin, it felt very weird and scary to him. Jeremy was scared of having the water all around him. Jeremy touched the water with one finger and exclaimed, “Drleck!”

Jeremy’s foster father carried him to the bathtub and began to lower him into the water. Jeremy quickly jumped free from his foster father’s arms and accidentally fell into the tub. Jeremy kicked and screamed. He was so scared and kicked so hard that two surprised Drleck materialized and were thrown from the tub.

What do the Drleck look like?

  1.  Drleck are only three inches in height.
  2. Most of the time Drleck look like water.
  3. When Drleck come into their animated or human-like form, they look kind of like a person made out of bubbles.
  4. Drleck are neither boys or girls.

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Magical Properties

  • Drleck are easily scared and upset by those around them. They always are trying to make things peaceful and calm because that’s when they are the happiest. When a child or animal gets upset, the Drleck will sometimes give off a pretty smell to try and calm everyone around them. Many times they will give off a lavendar scent. However, they have been known to given off the scent of cotton candy or birthday cake for young children.
  • Drleck are made of water. They are able to blend in with the water around them without form or they can make themselves look like a human type creature.

What Else Do You Need To Know?

  • Could you drink a Drleck? Could one accidentally be put in a cooking pot?
    Thank goodness, no. Drleck are very quick. In fact have you ever seen someone drinking and some water dribbles out of the glass and down their chin or cheek? This is a Drleck escaping.
  • Can a Drleck be hurt?
    Drlecks can’t be hurt physically. However, their feelings can get hurt very easily. A Drleck is made of water. If it falls to the ground from up high, it will become a puddle with many droplets just like water. This is actually fun for a Drleck. It might lay scattered on the ground for a long time before coming back together again. In a human home Drlecks really like spinning around in a washing machine and sliding down water drains.
  • How do you know a Drleck is there?
    It’s so hard to see a Drleck because they are either in their water form or hiding. They are just so timid and nervous that they don’t want people or animals to know they are around them. When you are in the bathtub or swimming, listen to the noises around you underwater. If you hear a small humming or singing noise, it could be some Drleck talking with each other.

[Go to the List of Creatures]


For Parents Eyes Only:

A Drleck Calming Bathtime Game

  • Warm Bath
  •  Lavender Scented Oil

Objective: Teaching your child how to calm themselves. You will intentionally be getting your child hyper and then expecting and helping them to be calm for a period of time. As they get better with this game, see if you can increase the time they stay calm.

  1. Make a warm bath for your child and add enough of the lavender oil in the tub to faintly smell it. Children with sensory issues may be sensitive to scents – a little may go a long way.
  2. Ensure that your child knows about the Drleck. Explain to them that there are Drleck in the bath water – you know because the water smells like lavender.
  3. Next explain to your child that it’s important that they be calm for the creatures.
  4. Have them jump up and down 15 times outside of the bathtub to get some of the wiggles out – you’re purposefully trying to get your child hyper.
  5. Let your child know that you’re getting ready to enter the water with the Drleck. Have them take a deep breath a few times to help calm themselves.
  6. Once they are in the bathtub have them lay or sit still in the water for 20 seconds. If you know your child can’t do that make the time limit lower – 10 seconds, 5 seconds, etc.
  7. You and your child are going to take deep breaths during this time to smell the scent the Drleck have provided.
  8. Tell your child what a good job they did and how you noticed they were calm.
  9. Next sing a song together. Be loud and silly. Again getting your child hyper again.
  10. Once again let them know that they need to get calm for the Drleck. They should sit or lay still for 20 seconds.
  11. Repeat this process for five more cycles. Try to extend the time they are calm in the water each time.

We are assuming that as a caregiver you know the appropriate way in which your child should do this activity with you to ensure that they are properly safe and cared for – i.e. Is the child old enough that they need to wear a bathing suit with you present? Is it appropriate for the opposite sex parent to be present?

What Do Drlecks Feel Like Activity

  • Container of water that can be set on a table. Preferably one where your child can put their arm into up to their elbow.
  • Liquid bath soap

Objective: Some children that come into foster care have not been bathed in a frequent manner or have not had their skin exposed to watery textures often. This can make bathing uncomfortable and scary for them. The goal of this activity is not to necessarily get ready for a bath but to get them to be more comfortable around water.

What Do You Hear?

Objective: This activity is simply to help you playfully bond with your child and make memories.

  1. Using your proper adult judgement you will help your child lay down in a shallow tub of water – filled enough that water covers their ears. You may also do this at a pool if your child can hold their breath underwater on their own.
  2. While laying in the tub, ask your child to close their eyes and listen.
  3. Your child should describe to you what they hear under the water. This can be similar to pretending to see pictures in cloud formations only with sound.
  4. Remember if they hear singing or humming noises, it mean a Drleck is in the tub. Your child should practice staying calm as to not upset the creature(s).

What Are Your Suggestions?

Do you have a new game for our Drleck? What clever games have you created for your children?

[Go to the List of Creatures]

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Play Helped Me Through Foster Care

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Guest Blog By Elizabeth Sutherland

ONCE UPON A TIME…

…in a small town tucked away in the Great Smokies, lived a little orphan girl who didn’t seem to have a care in the world.  Her clothes were worn and tattered. Her hair was dangling in her face and as she was running, the wind would strategically place it behind her ears.   Every time you saw this little girl, she was always carrying an empty milk jug with the top randomly cut out and storming off into the woods.  One might ask.  Where was she going?  Who was she going to see?

As she was making way to her destination through the woods, she was picking up leaves, worms, sticks, insects, etc. to fill up her empty milk jug.  As she was collecting, picking and pulling, she would accumulate little scratches that embraced her skin from the briar patches that seemed to high-five her along the way.  She didn’t seem to have a care in the world.  She was on a mission.

So what was her mission?

She had her imaginary classroom that she had to attend to and the items she was collecting were her students.  She had made this little classroom of hers out of leaves and sticks.  She would hold sessions every day and at the same time.  This was something that was really important to this little girl.

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The Role Play has for the Life of a Foster Child

Being a foster child or an orphan, children need to find something that they can connect to, this little girl from the Great Smokies was actually NO ORDINARY LIZ.  As a child, growing up in the system and prior, due to the environment that I had no control over, I needed to find something to shield me from the cruel world that I was living in.  Running off into the “fantasy” world of playing school teacher for an hour a day helped me stay focus on who I was for a moment as well as having to think about what was going on around me.  I felt protected. I believe we shouldn’t discourage those who want to have an “imaginary” friend or play a certain role as this may be the best defense mechanism that these children in care have in moving past some of the most traumatic experiences in their sweet lives. I know for me, I stayed out of trouble and seemed to be more driven!  Let children be who they want to be!

So the next time you find yourself getting ready to throw out that empty milk jug, use your imagination and find your next inspiration!

As fate would have it, NO ORDINARY LIZ lived happily ever after…

Elizabeth-Sutherland-guest-blogger-transfiguring-adoptionAbout Elizabeth Sutherland:
Liz is a  National IFS Experienced Recruiting
Associate supporting the IFS functional groups
at PwC.  Liz is very passionate about the
well-being of children in general and is a
published author in the book, Growing Up In The
Care Of Strangers, as well as sharing her
thoughts and experiences in a new book, A Foster
Care Manifesto: Defining the Alumni Movement.  She has been featured
on Spirit 90.5 FM radio to share her life story as well as Fostering
Families Today magazine. In her free time, Liz enjoys volunteering
in her community, taking spontaneous road trips to new and
adventurous places, blogging, meeting new people, being out on the
water and simply enjoy what life has to offer. ​

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8 Great Things About Play by Addison Cooper

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Guest Blog By Addison Cooper
Founder of Adoption At The Movies

Transfiguring Adoption is focusing on the importance of play in the lives of foster and adoptive families. Being a guy that mostly writes about how families can find therapeutic value in watching movies together, that sounds great to me. Nothing says that valuable and therapeutic activities have to feel clinical. In fact, some of the best things we can do – or that we can let our kids do – aren’t clinical at all. In fact, the fact that play isn’t clinical, but that it’s just something that happens naturally, is one of the reasons why it’s so important. Kids can learn, heal, grow, process, and develop through play. When kids have been through traumatic events they might not find it as easy to play and so they might need some guided help to play well – but play itself is still important.

Here are eight great things about play – I’m sure you can come up with many, many more – and please leave the ones you do come up with in the comments below!


 

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8 Great Things About Play

  1. Play is natural
    If you can help your kids learn or re-learn how to play freely, you’re helping them regain a normal function of childhood!
  2. Play is processing
    With intentional adult guidance, kids can explore how they would react in different situations, and can even find ways to have “victories” in play in situations that didn’t go so well the first time around.
  3. Play is social
    Through play, kids are able to make and develop friendships; we learn how to interact with people and how to maintain relationships with our friends by playing together, enjoying each other’s company, and resolving disputes that come up. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs has esteem and self-esteem as high-level needs, and play can help kids achieve them!
  4. Play is imaginative
    By playing, kids can pretend themselves into all sorts of fanciful situations. Snoopy was Charlie Brown’s pet – but he’s also lived as a World War I Flying Ace, a hockey pro, and Joe Cool; play lets kids explore different identities.
  5. Play is exercise
    Do you find that you sleep better and feel better if you’ve exercised?
  6. Play is stress relief
    Sometimes you just need a break after a stressful day. Kids do, too, and play is a great way for that to happen!
  7. Play creates memories
    Some of the games you invent with and for your kids could be some of the happiest memories they hold onto into adulthood and replicate with their own kids!
  8. Play is fun
    We eat ice cream not because we need to, but because it makes us happy. Play is ice cream without the calories.
addison-cooper-headshot-picAbout Addison Cooper: Cooper, MSW, LCSW is a
Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Missouri and
California. Addison is a clinical supervisor in
the field of foster care and adoption. He has
published 20 articles and chapters in magazines
such as Adoptive Families, Foster Focus,
Adoption Today, and MORE. Addison is also the
founder and creator of Adoption At The Movies,
a website that reviews current movies in order to let foster and
adoptive families know the potential benefits/harms that a movie will
provide them. Cooper currently lives in Pasadena, CA with his wife.

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