Identity is a complex concept and the idea of “self” is crucial to healthy development. Having an understanding of your history and culture gives you a sense of where you belong in the world.
It is a sad truth that at the back of the minds of many looked after children is the thought that they are worthless and unlovable. Helping them to develop a positive sense of their identity will provide them with tools to manage their feelings.
Having dialogue with your child about the past, present and future can enable them to create clarity where there are fantasies, heal pain and show them that the blame does not lie with them.
Articles and Resources
A Sense of Self
Every child needs to know the story of their life, and to keep adding to it with the support of their permanent foster family - not only to make sense of themselves but also the world around them.
Resources - some of these are based around adoption
- My life and me
A workbook for young people to aid life story work.
- The Colours in me
Over one hundred contributors aged from 4 to 20 tell how it is to be adopted through poetry and prose, describing the huge changes that adoption brings and the impact of these on their identity, their relationships and understanding of the meaning of "family".
- The Mulberry Bird
A picture book exploring adoption issues from the enduring force of a birth parent's love to the importance of nurturing an adoptive child in its new environment.
- Nutmeg gets adopted
A book for young children to help understand some of the very painful memories that they will have of their early life and perhaps dispel the feelings of guilt and responsibility which they may carry.
- Who am I?
Many foster children will, at some point in their lives, ask questions about their identity, and wonder where they came from. This link takes you to accounts from older adopted young people and adults about how they feel about being adopted.
- People in Harmony
People in Harmony is a mixed race organisation which promotes the positive experience of interracial life in Britain today and challenges racism, prejudice and ignorance in society.