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3 Thoughts About Running Away – Chapter 11 – Kids’ Discussion

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“He [Harry Potter] could run, and no one would ever know he had been there. But he couldn’t just leave them lying here… He had to get help… Would anyone believe he hadn’t had anything to do with this?”
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

In this chapter of The Chamber of Secrets Harry Potter finds himself in a bad situation. It’s not something that he caused. However, if he’s caught in the situation, he knows he will be in serious trouble. The issue is overwhelming and scary with a choice. Does he run away or confront the problem?

Have you ever been in so much trouble you don’t know what to do? Has something ever happened to you that wasn’t your fault and it made you feel not just scared but overwhelmed?

One of my child came to me one day having had a rough day, the kind of day where you don’t feel like you can do anything right. My dear child had managed to be caught up in some big events that upset some friends close to our family and the rest of the day was normal small things like fighting with siblings. Unfortunately, my wife and I were quite busy with work that day and were getting frustrated by having to stop our work to break up arguments.

My child entered my office crying heavily and declared, “You have to stop me! I want to runaway so I don’t hurt anyone!”

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Why Would Anyone Run Away from a Loving Home?

  1. Feeling Unwanted
    People, adults and kids, don’t want to be in a place where they think others don’t like them or want them.
  2. Problems Too Big
    If it doesn’t seem like there is a way to make a problem better, you just want to get away from it.
  3. Stop the Hurting
    When someone feels that they’re on their own with problems, they just want to get away from hurting feelings.

I stopped typing at my computer and told my child, “I would be awfully sad if you ran away. We love you. What do you need right now?”

“I need to feel loved and know that I’m safe.”

“I don’t think running away is going to help you feel safe.”

“I won’t hurt anyone that I love anymore though. I’ll be away from everyone.”

“No one is designed to be alone…”

Through further conversation we discovered that running away wasn’t going to solve any of the issues that the child was worried about that day. I assured the child that our family was proud of them. I also assured the child that mom and dad were working out the relationship aspect of the problem. We hugged.

What’s Different…

  • My child FELT wanted and loved
  • My child FELT like other people were with the child
  • My child FELT like the issue could be handled
  • We DID NOT solve the problem right then

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What Should I Do When I Want to Run Away?

  1. Know You’re Normal
    Everyone feels like running away at some point because everyone has been in a situation where the problem seems overwhelming.
  2. What Do You Need?
    When people, kids and adults, feel overwhelmed by a problem, it triggers feelings. What do you need to handle these feelings? Do you need a hug? Do you need someone to tell you that you’re beautiful or smart? Do you need someone to say that you’re important? Do you just need someone to listen to you talk? Do you need to hear some advice?
  3. Involve Safe People
    Safe and loving people want to hear what you need. They want you to feel safe and loved. They want to see you get past your problem. Safe people want to help you.

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It’s Your Turn – What Would You Do?:

Sara is in foster care and just moved in with Mr. and Mrs. Johnson this week. This is her fourth foster home. Mr. and Mrs. Johnson seem like really nice people and they are glad to have Sara living with them in their home. Like with any home the Johnsons have some different rules than she is used to and things are rough with visits to her birth mom.

This morning Sara woke up late and is hurrying to get ready for school. She quickly pours cereal and milk into a bowl. Mrs. Johnson walks into the kitchen and scolds Sara for using her special dairy free milk. Sara apologizes and runs upstairs to get dressed. Mr. Johnson quickly tells Sara that there is No Running in their house. Sara apologizes. As she quickly walks to the front door to get the school bus. Mrs. Johnson comes to give her a hug. Mrs. Johnson notices that Sara didn’t brush her teeth and scolds Sara again.

The rest of the day isn’t much better. Sara failed a quiz in history and got into a fight when another girl called her stupid. The worst part of the day was that a woman from the school office delivered Sara a note during her final class that told Sara that her birth mother had canceled their visit for this afternoon so Sara should ride the bus back to the Johnson’s home.

You have quickly become friends with Sara during her short time at your school. She passes you a note in class saying, “Remember everything I told you about my day? Now my mom doesn’t even want to see me. This will be the last time you see me. After school, I’m running away.”

  • Why does Sara want to run away from the Johnsons?
  • What do you think Sara needs?
  • What can you say to Sara?
  • Who are safe adults Sara should talk to?

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Kids’ Discussions:

Ch. 01 | Ch. 02 | Ch. 03 | Ch. 04 | Ch. 05 | Ch. 06 | Ch. 07 | Ch. 08 | Ch. 09 | Ch. 10 | Ch. 11 | Ch. 12

Parent Discussions: 

Ch. 01 | Ch. 02 | Ch. 03 | Ch. 04

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3 Fun Activities to Discover More About Your Foster-Adoptive Family – Chapter 10 – Kids’ Discussion

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If you have been following the discussion on our blog, you know that Harry Potter has come to another quidditch match. This game is against Slytherin so Harry and everyone in his school especially wants to see the Slytherins lose the game. However, it is going to be difficult to win as someone has bewitched a bludger (a magical ball that flies on it’s own and try to knock players off their broomsticks) to attack Harry.

What would you do if a bludger was trying to kill you? Would you keep playing? Would you stop the game?

During a timeout Harry’s team talks about the problem with the bludger. They want Harry to stop the game or ask the referee to take a look at the bad ball. Harry’s whole team believes that the Slytherins put a spell on the ball and everyone wants to protect Harry.

Harry keeps playing. He knows that he’s a great quidditch player. He knows he is talented. He knows that he has what it takes to help his team win.

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When people tell you that you’re talented at something and you know that you’re talented a few things start to happen.

  1. You feel good about yourself.
  2. You know that you’re important.
  3. You’re braver and more courageous because you have confidence.

Hopefully, as you get to know your foster-adoptive family, your parents can tell you what you’re talented at and you can notice the talents of other people in the family.

What Is Your Family Good At?

People inside a family want to help each other succeed. They stick together. No matter if you’re in a foster family, adoptive family or birth family, everyone inside your family is going to be different and not everyone is going to be good at the same things. Let’s play some games and find out a little bit about your family.

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The M&M Activity

For this activity you’ll need a bag of M&M’s.

  • No one is allowed to eat the candy
  • Put a handful of candy in front of each person
  • No one is allowed to eat the candy 🙂
  • Set a timer for two minutes
  • During the two minutes no one can talk to each other BUT everyone can interact with the candy
  • No one is allowed to eat the candy 😀

What happened during the two minutes? Usually, two things happen.

  1. Some people will make pictures or designs or create stories with their M&Ms.
  2. Some people will put the candy in groupings by color or make other groups.

The first type of people in your family are the ones that like to be creative. They might be the ones that are good at art or writing stories. The second type of people are those that might be good at logic. These people in your family might be the people that will enjoy math, science and history.

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Tell Us About Yourself Activity

  • Have a volunteer leave the room or out of earshot for one minute
  • While the volunteer is gone, choose another volunteer
  • Give the 2nd volunteer one minute to stand in the middle of your family and talk about themselves
  • After the minute is up, the first volunteer comes back and talk about themselves for one minute

How did everyone do? If members of your family had trouble talking and filling up the minute, then you know those are the introverts in your family. In other words they are the people that are most energized by being alone or in small groups. These are the family members in OUR house that beg to go home and play the Wii instead of going to the zoo.

On the other hand family members that seemed to like being in front of everyone and talked over their minute are your extroverts. They are more energized when they are out in public or a lot of sensory input. In our house I, Darren, would rather read a book at a busy coffee shop while one of my kiddos would like to read a book in their bedroom.

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Listen to the Story Activity

  • Listen to this story
  • Everyone chooses one of the two options at the end

A humane shelter worker is giving your family a dog. Before they bring the dog to the house though, the worker wants you to know some things about the dog. The dog’s name is Buddy. Buddy is a beagle. He is a very playful puppy. Unfortunately his old owner didn’t like to play with Buddy. In fact the owner would yell at Buddy when he wanted to play until Buddy got so scared that he would accidentally pee on the carpet. The owner would then take all the dog’s food and water away for two whole days. This happened at least one time every week. The owner brought Buddy to the humane shelter because he was a bad dog. The humane shelter worker wants to be sure that your family would play with Buddy and give him plenty of food. Your family agrees to let Buddy come into your home. However, when one of the kids fills Buddy’s bowl with food, Buddy was afraid the child was taking the food away. Buddy got angry and bites the kid’s leg. Unfortunately, a vet and the humane shelter worker both agree that Buddy will always try to bite someone in this situation. The vet tells your family that their is no chance of changing Buddy’s behavior.

What should your family do? Keep Buddy or send him back to the shelter? Why?

People that chose to keep Buddy because of his past will be the members of your family that make decisions by listening to their feelings. These are the members in my family that have dessert without finishing my dinner when I had a hard day at work or school.

Members of your family that chose to get Buddy out of the house more than likely make decisions by looking at the facts. I like to play board games with these family members because they play by the rules. They also come up with a fair way to see who should go first in a game.

What did you find out about your family?

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*The staff of Transfiguring Adoption are not professional counselors. The activities used in this blogged are meant to be fun ways for families to start conversations and should in no way be used for professional therapy.*

Kids’ Discussions:

Ch. 01 | Ch. 02 | Ch. 03 | Ch. 04 | Ch. 05 | Ch. 06 | Ch. 07 | Ch. 08 | Ch. 09 | Ch. 10 | Ch. 11 | Ch. 12

Parent Discussions: 

Ch. 01 | Ch. 02 | Ch. 03 | Ch. 04

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3 Ways To Tell If You’re Fighting Or Standing Up For Yourself – Chapter 4 – Kids’ Discussion

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In this chapter we meet more of Draco Malfoy’s family; we meet his father. What did you think of Lucius Malfoy? Would you like to hang out with him for a day? How did you think he treated his son? Toward the end of the chapter Lucius and Mr. Weasley get into a fight.

WAIT A SECOND… isn’t fighting bad?! 

I, Darren, turned it over to my adopted kids to figure this situation out.

Was Mr. Weasley Fighting or Standing Up for Himself?

There’s probably a big difference between standing up for yourself and fighting. Right?! Well, whenever someone gets into a fight people think it’s bad. However, if someone stands up for himself/herself, they are seen as being brave. Those are two very opposite reactions.

“Mr. Weasley was standing up for his children but he was also fighting. Well, hm…,” was an out loud thought process I heard at the table as we spoke.

“Yeah, he was doing a little bit of both, ” reasoned another child as all four kids tried to figure out the situation.

“He was fighting because Mr. Malfoy’s eye was red and got hurt while they were fighting,” blurts out our youngest child.

“Mr. Weasley was standing up for himself, because Mr. Malfoy was saying bad things about him. Mr. Weasley lunged at Lucius because sometimes you just get so angry that you act out.”

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Standing Up for Yourself

All the kids were thinking hard but I could see that we weren’t getting anywhere to be able to tell if Mr. Weasley did the right thing or not. What does it mean when you say you’re standing up for yourself?

One child quickly said, “Standing up for yourself means you don’t get into a fight.”

However, another argued, “You can get into a fight. If a bully started picking on you, you might get into a fight. You’re defending yourself and you’re not trying to hurt them though. You’re also not starting the fight. When you’re in karate, you’re taught to block punches and kicks. ”

This sounded good but another child countered, “Mr. Weasley did the right thing by standing up for himself but he shouldn’t have gotten into a fight.”

“It might be okay to fight when you’re standing up for yourself but you have to live with the consequences,” stated another child.

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You’re talking to your friend in the hallway at school. As you both are talking together, she suddenly comments that you’re so stupid. In fact they can’t believe how much of an idiot you are. What do you do? How would you start a fight? How would you stand up for yourself?

  • The Fight
    One child told our crew that it would be easy to start a fight by telling your friend, “No. You’re stupid too.” The child was honest that they have done this with friends and said it doesn’t end well.
  • Passive
    Another child told us that one option would be just to ignore your friend and walk away. However, all of the kids decided that it really didn’t confront your friend and they would probably do it again.
  • Stand Up For Yourself
    Another child gave us our answer for how to stand up for ourselves and told our crew that we simply need to look our friend nicely in the eye and declare, “No. I’m not stupid. I’m actually quite smart” and then suggested walking away after that statement, if it seemed like an argument might begin. The child also emphasized again that you’re simply defending yourself and NOT looking for a fight.

3 Ways To Tell If You’re Standing Up For Yourself

Before you read on, how do you know if you’re standing up for yourself or fighting?

  1. Good Reason
    Whenever someone stands up for themselves, they have a good reason. It’s not just because they are mad or angry. There is something wrong happening and that person wants the wrong to stop.
  2. Fighting Is A Last Resort
    When someone is standing up for themselves, they aren’t wanting to start a fight. In fact they don’t want any fighting to happen. However, they want the wrong to stop. When you watch a Spider-man movie, Spider-man usually says something to the villain before a fight starts.

    “I don’t want to fight you.”

    Spiderman tries to talk to the villain first. He tries to make him see that what they are doing is wrong. However, when the villain continues to hurt innocent people Spiderman doesn’t stand for it.
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    Disclaimer Time: Are we saying that you should fight people when they won’t listen to you? No Way. There are usually a lot of different options for people to work things out. If someone is doing something wrong, there are more ways than acting like a super hero to stop the wrong. Getting safe adults involved. Having friends help talk to a person.

  3. Live With The Consequences
    When someone stands up for themselves, they are able to live with the consequences. From the example above, if Jasmine told her friend she wasn’t stupid, her friend might start an argument with her. She can live with that because her friend also knows that Jasmine doesn’t want to be called ignorant. If Spiderman badly hurts the villain in his fight, he can live with the consequence of injuring another human being. Why?! He knows if he didn’t somehow stop the villain many many other people would be seriously hurt.

 What Would You Have Done?

Here’s something that happened to our family while at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.

All six of us were going to ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey in the Hogsmeade area of the park. We had waited in line for about 45 minutes and were finally able to board the ride cars. Four of us rode in one vehicle. My son, Matthew and I had to ride with two other teens in another car. After 45 minutes of waiting, we were stoked to be on the ride and really getting into it when…

Suddenly, the ride stopped. A very angry women exited the ride with her two other girl friends. All of them yelling at a female staff worker. It appears that the first rider was unable to get the safety harness around her midsection properly so the staff member stopped the ride and was asking her to get back to the front of the line to try again. Unable to hear the staff member over her own yelling the rider got angrier and started yelling things such as, “I’ve NEVER been treated like this on this ride. I want to see a manager. I’ll have YOUR job for this.”

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The two teens in our car were friends with the group and demanded to be let out of their seats. They joined the angry and red-faced girl riders as they all chanted that they wanted to see a manager. At this point everyone else on the ride is dead quiet. No one willing to do or say anything to this miniature mob that is very upset. I look over at the woman staff member who is trying as hard as she can to keep calm and fighting back tears. The whole time, however, the staff member didn’t confront the riders on their hurtful words. She remained professional and desperately tried to explain how she was keeping everyone safe.

I’m not going to tell you what I did because I want to know what you would do.

  1. Was there a wrong in this situation?
  2. How could the female staff member have turned this into a fight?
  3. Would you stand up for anyone? What would you do?
  4. Could you live with the consequences of your actions? Would you feel okay about not doing anything?

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We want to hear from your family

Did you agree with our family? Does your family have some different views? Please share your comments for discussion below.

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Kids’ Discussions:

Ch. 01 | Ch. 02 | Ch. 03 | Ch. 04 | Ch. 05 | Ch. 06 | Ch. 07 | Ch. 08 | Ch. 09 | Ch. 10 | Ch. 11 | Ch. 12

Parent Discussions: 

Ch. 01 | Ch. 02 | Ch. 03 | Ch. 04