In social work, we call them Protective Factors. There are five of them.
They are the skills, strengths, character traits, supports, resources, tools, and coping strategies that benefit an individual, family, community, race, or group.
I was recently asked how I did it. How I do it. How did I get to where I am at as an adoptee with trauma.
And there is a huge element of not having a clue. I want to shrug it off and say something cliche like, “one step at a time” or “baby steps.”
But it’s not one cliche’ or one magical concept. It’s a gathering of protective factors. It’s a mix of nature versus nurture. It’s a few good choices among a field of mistakes and failures. I’ll spare you the gory details of my history and over the next few posts will be highlighting something that helped me directly relating to each of the five protective factor categories.
Adoptees… you may not have all of these. My list isn’t the end-all. I hope that you read these blogs and are able to identify your own list. Don’t focus on risk factors (what has harmed you or you don’t have). Focus on what you have. You have the recipe for your own success within yourself.
Adoptive and Foster parents, don’t think that magically using these suggestions will mean your child will be O.K., succeed, or work wonders. Each adoptee and their story is as unique as they are. Each story will have it’s own strengths and weaknesses. Pay attention. Your own children may be showing some of them off in sneaky ways.
My goal here is to help you all start thinking of your own protective factors. As an Adoptee and as an Adoptive or Foster parent… both for your children and yourself.
And if I have any Birth/First Parents out there… You have them too. Many things that I list that helped me get to where I am at today were genetically given to me. Many of these things you may have used or are using to deal with your grief. But I am not a birth parent. So, I can’t speak directly to your journeys.
Here we go. Buckle up. Grab a pen. Take notes. Start jotting down your own ideas.
I expect to see some Venn Diagrams here people!