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Foster Fridays: Helping Your Child Cast Anchors into the Future

At our January support group meeting, we were trained by Susan Taylor in the work of Darla Henry, The 3-5-7 Model. The concept of this model is to help children establish themselves in permanency in a healthy manner.

Ms. Taylor emphasized to the group the importance of working through grief with kids. Grief often manifests itself in behaviors. There is always a loss that needs to be unpacked in adoption, no matter the age in which the child was separated from biological families.

Very often, a child may not have explicit memories of events that caused trauma. Ms. Taylor spoke of “peas under the mattress,” things that still bring a child pain that could use more processing. An ongoing conversation about feelings and loss helps support a healthy grieving process.

The 3-5-7 model assigns 3 tasks, then 5 conceptual questions, and 7 interpersonal skill elements to support the tasks.

We learned a lot by studying this model.

I was very intrigued by the 3 assignments, and here’s what stood out to me.

The 3 assignments are: Clarification (identifying life events and explores opportunities to reconcile losses) Integration (engaging in building and rebuilding relationships through the attachment process)

Actualization (assisting in visualizing future goals and in establishing permanent connections.)

Actualization stood out. Ms. Taylor talked about encouraging your child to set goals for the future. They already have strong anchors in the past, they should be encouraged to throw some into the future. Some of the 5 questions used to help form these goals are “Where am I going?” “How will I get there?”

Every child has goals, even if they don’t seem to care about school or a career. How do they picture themselves in 10 years? Are they happy? Why? Do they want a family? How would that family function relationally? What would they do on the holidays? I loved the idea of, not only helping your child picture the future, but fostering good conversation with this process.

The group gained a lot from this training, and we highly recommend looking into this resource!

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