My adopted daughter spent the first ten years of her life in and out of CPS supervision. Much of her life was consumed by CPS visits, family reunification visits, foster family visits and counseling. During this period, art became an important outlet for her not only as an escape, but as a method to express herself.
After her adoption in 2019, we focused on how we might be able to use her story and experiences to help other kids. From that we created a book called DRAW YOUR HAPPY. It is a drawing book which tells a brief story from her childhood and highlights her drawings, then prompts the reader to draw something that resonates with them from a specific category, including some ideas and suggestions.
My daughter has some particularly strong feelings about counselling from her experiences in Child Protection. Knowing she liked to draw, they would ask her to draw her feelings, or they would ask her what color described her current emotion. These questions made no sense to her.
DRAW YOU HAPPY is specific. For example, you read a story of building blocks she received from her father and memories of building cities with them. Along with this story is a drawing of building blocks. On the next page, the reader is urged to think of their favorite toy with some suggestions provided. The goal is to 1) bring happy thoughts, 2) encourage creativity through drawing, and 3) inspire conversation brought about by the creations.
During parent reunification visits, the conversations are frequently focused on how the child is missed, or how a parent wants to make it all better, rather than focusing on reconnecting with their child on a deeper level. In the case of foster situations, kids can be closed off and find it difficult to open up to the new role models.
This book is a beautiful bridge to work on a project together and inspire conversation between parent and child. Whether parent reunification or building a bond with new foster parents, this book opens lines of communication in a fun creative way.
For more information on the book check out our website http://www.alyzse.com