How Fusion Families Can Challenge Their Mindset About The Blended Family Life

I get so tired when I – once again – read that it is not possible to create a ‘real’ family out of a fusion family if that’s what you want. Many people claim that you should not aspire to do so, if you do not want yet another defeat.I could not disagree more and I’d like to challenge the definitions, concepts and emotions we use to describe our family life.The real emotions do not automatically exist in the ‘nuclear’ familyBeing part of the conventional ‘nuclear’ family with mom, dad and two biological children does not automatically include feelings like confidence, compassion, trust and cohesion. These feelings arise in the family through consistently loving, sincere and interested communication, upbringing, care and actions.I would even say that there are hundreds of thousands of lonely adults and children in ‘nuclear’ families who have a strong feeling that they may have end up in the wrong family. They feel strange and totally different from their family members. They do not feel they belong in the family.Why is it like that in families, where you are all related? Because the feeling of cohesion is not created from biological contexts, but instead through conscious and loving actions creating a sense of community and a common frame of reference and belonging Fusion Family or not, the need to have a relationship with those you live with applies in all types of families.One of the basic elements for this to be done is that you’re willing to take full responsibility, including that you sustained creating new traditions and experiences, which have the exact purpose of creating unity in your fusion family.What you bring to your family life is up to your creativity and your wallet.Prepare yourself and think positive about your blended lifeIn addition to working diligently to cultivate the sense of community in the family, there are other things that come into play. As a counterpart to the fusion family life, I will mention the families who choose to adopt.The adults in this type of family do end up loving their adoptive child as their own, despite the fact that the child often was been chosen for them by others.In this family, it is not the biological ties that bind them together. What is it then? My guess is that it’s about the adults’ mental preparation, their attitude and mindset about what is happening. They say “yes” to this child with both their heart and soul.Nor do I believe that parents in an adoptive family have ever thought that if things do not work out with their adopted child, they give up. I do not think that these thoughts are a part of their mindset.The fusion family’s mindset has to change”I give up, I do not like my partner’s children” is unfortunately often a part of the thoughts of the adults in the fusion family. I encourage the fusion families to be aware of their thoughts and mental preparation of the blended family life.Be conscious of how much you focus and spend your energy on things that do not work in your blended family. Maybe you repeat the same situation again and again. Maybe you can discuss what you cannot make sense of with others or meet with others with same problems, reflect on the saying: What you focus on, you get more of.What if it really is how things work? We have everything to gain by believing in it. It cannot hurt us as families. On the contrary, to become aware of your thoughts you can ask yourself the following questions:What do I honestly think about my blended family life?
Did I say “YES” with all my heart to my blended life?
What do I say out loud to others about my family?
What do I think about the children?
What do I think about my partner and his/her role?You can even add more questions, but now you’re might get what I mean. The answers to these questions will give you a good indication of where your focus is. I will now ask you to replace the negative and destructive thoughts, with new and supportive thoughts that can help you as fusion family working toward a common goal.Create a future you want to be part ofThink about what would happen if you instead deliberately choose to shift your focus to be about solutions, improvement suggestions, positive and supportive thoughts? If you decide to stop yourself every time you get caught in a negative thought loop about everything that is not working.How would your world look like if you spend your precious energy on finding new angles and approaches to a situation instead?Cultivate and nurture everything that already works well in your fusion family – is the fusion family coach’s encouragement. Work on it, talk about it, share your success with others and repeat it. Embrace what’s working and let go of what isn’t and there will be more positive and loving experiences in your family.Allow me to give fusion families a little supportive saying to keep in mind: If you love people, you’ll always have a big family.I would love to be part of such a family myself.

Family Finding in Mexico: A Challenge for State Agencies

The concept of family finding is pretty straight-forward. The Fostering Connections Act of 2008 requires the State to identify and notify parents, grandparents and other adult family members when a child is entering foster care. Some states have family finding specialists while others have Diligent Search Units that perform this due diligence to locate these family members. In many cases, relatives can be found in the U.S. using inexpensive services such as U.S. Search or other means. Access to information is abundant in the U.S. However, for Latino children entering foster care, this due diligence often hits an impassable barrier when their relatives live in Mexico.One of the biggest challenges for the State and non-profit organizations that are contracted to perform this mandated due diligence is that their staff may have little or no (family finding) experience in identifying and locating family members living in Mexico. Familiarity with Spanish is a key problem. Most U.S. agency case workers don’t speak or read Spanish. This ignorance of the language makes even the gathering and utilization of information challenging.One state agency requested help from a company specializing in family finding in Mexico. The case involved a foster child where all her family members lived in Mexico. The case worker listed two cities in a Mexican state where the biological mother could be living. The family finding specialist assigned to the case discovered that there was no second city. The second “city name” was in reality the name of the street where the mother lived. This misunderstanding occurred because the case worker who did the fact gathering interview did not understanding Spanish enough to know that they were being given a street address.Another challenge for these agencies and organizations is that staff often lacks knowledge about the structure of Spanish names. Mexico names are comprised of first name(s) and two last names. As a general rule, Mexicans do not have initials for a proper name. If someone’s name is Juan Carlos, then that is very likely their name. This person would not be called simply Juan or Carlos. As for the last names, the first one is the father’s last name followed by the mother’s last name.Unfortunately, many case workers are unfamiliar with the structure of Spanish names. This lack of knowledge can result in a significant amount of wasted time, energy and cost. There have been some situations where family finding efforts for a biological parent in Mexico led to no results. The family finding specialist went back to the client to review all the information including the parent’s last names. It was at this point that clients revealed that they had put the mother’s last name first, followed by the father’s last name.It’s unrealistic for the State and non-profit organizations to assume that their staff can perform competent family finding for biological family members in Mexico with no knowledge of the language or culture of Mexico. Kevin Campbell, fonder of the Center for Family Finding and Youth Connectedness, wrote, “Conducting a hopeful search for an individual in Mexico requires additional knowledge and information differing from the United States.” This lack of expertise is ultimately detrimental to the foster child. Concerted efforts to help Latino foster children can be deflected and, in some case, result in a child spending additional years in foster care with no contact or relations with their family. Every child welfare official I have spoken to is adamant on one point: children need to form bonds with their biological family even if the child is ultimately adopted by a foster family.The law is clear. The State and those agencies contracted by the State have a legal, if not moral, obligation to do their utmost to identify and notify a parent and other adult family members for every child entering foster care. These same organizations must provide their staff with the proper family finding training so more Latino foster children can know the joys of having contact with their parents and adult family members in Mexico. As one Child Welfare supervisor said, “If just one child can be united with their family, it’s a victory.”