This week on Beauty Is Rising, Kelli speaks with Astrid Castro.
Astrid has a degree in sociology with an emphasis in adoption. For twenty plus years, she has traveled the country to lead youth groups, present workshops on transracial parenting, talking with children about adoption and various other workshops focusing on adoption. Prior to creating Adoption Mosaic, Astrid worked in both the private and public sectors of various adoption organizations such the Oregon Post Adoption Resource Center (ORPARC), Holt International, Rocky Mountain Adoption Exchange to name just a few.
Astrid co-authored Adoption in the Movies, which takes the reader on a guided tour of 27 movies and documentaries that are ‘dripping with adoption’ asking questions that encourage the viewer to engage in ongoing dialogue and discussion. She also developed an innovative, evidence-based, 27-minute training DVD titled, Adoptive Parent Training: Developing Communication Skills. The training demonstrates how adoptive parents can communicate openly and honestly with family, friends and especially children.
Astrid’s personal experiences as an adoptee, a woman of color, and growing up in a white family and community, fuel her professional path to helping others. Astrid is aware of the benefits of post-adoption services for individuals and their families and seeks to bring these services to the adoption community. Her life-long interest in adoption is rooted in her own adoption at the age of four from Colombia (along with her older sister). Astrid has been in reunion since December 2012 with her birth family in Colombia. Read the Oregonian article on Astrid!
When Astrid is not working she loves to spend time with family, friends and enjoying the adventures of life as the mama of an amazing teenage daughter.
“I wish they would ask, I will tell you that my hope is that parents will start navigating and asking the question about what kind of adoption is right for me and my community and do I have the tools and resources for what do I need to know before I bring a child into my home, what do I need to know about myself as an individual and how do I navigate it?” [Astrid 15:59]
Astrid on the questions she wish parents will ask prior to adopting
“Right now, the bigger picture is that the agency doesn’t have either the time or they’re just not focused on it or it’s not a priority for them to do a training. When I asked families, “raise your hand if you’ve had three or more hours in professional education around race and adoption”, very rarely unless it’s an agency that is focused on transracial adoption, and that’s their specialty. Very few agencies do more than even a half hour if they do anything.” [Astrid 22:32]
“I mentioned this racial isolation. I can say that your child shouldn’t experience racial isolation. I can also say I understand that for the majority of our families that I work with, that is the reality of their children’s experience… when we’re talking about having an individual grow up and seeing somebody in, who looks like them functioning in their life, that every day life is very different. We call a museum culture of going and having your child experience, being around people of color every once in a while.” [Astrid 30:03]
Astrid on what parents should be most aware, esp those that has adopted transracially
“Kids are listening. Even when you don’t think they are and whether they’re listening in another room or they’re listening because you come home from an event or an experience in your body language as you’re mad and you’re upset and you’re frustrated. They’re listening to how you have responded to these experiences. So if you can say to yourself, my goal or my challenge every single time is that, if my child was standing right next to me, I would be OK with how I responded.” [Astrid 45:19]
Astrid on lessons within itself to teach your children when acting as models for them.
“We talk about movies, we talk about family trees. We talk about how our trees are different than other people. Well, there’s a lot of other tools that we bring in to have the conversation and that parents owe it to their kids to not always make their kids the center of the conversation and they also owe it to their kids to not always have to be in the room when they’re talking about it.” [ Astrid 51:44 ]
Astrid on how she got kids to talk about adoption with her and pieces of advice for parents.