Frequently Asked Questions
1. How does the registration process work?
In an attempt to be fair to all involved we have ADVANCE REGISTRATION ONLY starting on the registration date. Therefore, we will be unable to process any registration forms that are postmarked prior to June 24, 2013. So have your registration ready, mark your calendar and drop it in the mail on June 24. We will be processing on a strictly first come, first served basis, based on the postmark on your registration form. If the session you are registering for is full, you will be advised by email. We will work with you to suggest and alternative Playshop or AdoptShop or you can be placed on a wait list.
Confirmation of session will be made by email only so please make sure you have a working email address and that it is an email address that you will be able to access during the summer. We know some families go away during the summer; however, we need to be able to contact you to confirm the session or for clarification regarding your registration. We hope (but can’t promise) that we will be able to advise you of your tentative placement in early July. For further information please contact Marion Maye at email@example.com.
2. Doesn’t that favour families closer to the GTA?
No!! The way it works is that when you drop it in the mail on June 24 it will be postmark stamped at the Post Office. This will indicate the time and date it was received. It is these marks we use to determine order of registration. It actually has no bearing on when the the Registrar receives the mail – it could be within 1-2 days for someone close by or a week or more for someone farther away. It is the postmark date alone that matters.
Please note, however, that any registrations postmarked PRIOR to June 24 will be not be accepted and you will not be registered. This is to ensure that everyone gets a fair chance to register for the Playshops. If you are unsure of when your mail is picked up, confirm ahead of time or take it directly to your local post office.
3. What do the children do in AdoptShop?
The sessions that the teens and pre-teens attend is called AdoptShop. The name change helps the children recognize that they are growing up and are recognized as the “older kids”. The format of the AdoptShop is a bit different too. It’s a longer session because is starts off as a pizza party (so no need to eat before attending!). We supply the pizza but if we ask that everyone bring along a small snack or dessert to share. Jane has used this format in other cities and has found that the pizza is a great way for everyone to chat with one another in a more informal setting, to help everyone get comfortable with each other and to have some fun before they get to work with the session.
4. Do we need to bring anything to the Playshop?
Children will be asked to bring some "then and now" photos plus something that is special to the child and represents a symbol of who he or she is. These should be copies of the photos that can be used in an activity, not a precious original. We request only 1 of each photo so that each child will have time to share their picture. If there is any other preparation that is required for this year's Playshop activities, we will advise you by email after you have registered.
5. Can I request a specific Playshop?
The Playshops work best when the children are all close to the same age. We will make every effort to ensure that your child is slotted into the Playshop or AdoptShop closest to your child's age at the time of the Playshops. We realize that this might mean that some children may have their friends in different age groups, but Jane feels that the Playshop/AdoptShop are more focused by having the age groupings limited to a smaller ranges. This will improve the sessions, plus this is a great opportunity to make new friends!
6. If our plans change or something unexpected comes up, can I get a refund?
Please note that we are unable to give refunds if you withdraw from either a Playshop/AdoptShop or the Parent session after Monday, September 16, 2013 for any reason.
7. Can I stay with my child during the Playshop? Do I have to stay nearby/remain in the hotel during the Playshop?
Parents do not remain in the Playshops with the children. Please keep this in mind when deciding whether you think your child is ready to attend a Playshop. There is time at the beginning of each Playshop for children to transition from the parents into the Playshop but in order to be fair to all Playshop participants, parents cannot remain in the Playshop beyond this transition time. However, it is essential that ALL parents remain in the adjoining room set out for them during the time their child is in the Playshop. This is to ensure that should your child need you for any reason you are close at hand. The facilitators CANNOT and WILL NOT come looking for you.
8. My child is too young to attend the Playshops this year – will they continue to be offered in the future?
Yes, we hope to be able to continue to offer the Playshops for as long as there are families who want to attend. The continued operation of the Jane Brown Playshops is done on a purely non-profit, volunteer basis. There is a volunteer committee who organizes this event each year. Since we have no organization backing us up financially, we must therefore be self sufficient. We price the Playshops to break even financially. If we make any "profit", we retain it to offset Playshop expenses for the following year. We also have been successful at keeping our hotel and other fixed expenses as low as possible and we only increase our prices as needed, in order to offset any increase in our anticipated costs. The funds are monitored and managed by the FCC Toronto treasurer.
The best way that you can ensure that these Playshops remain available for years to come is to support them by attending the Parent Session or by volunteering – either with the organizing committee or on the actual weekend – we are always in need of more volunteers. The Parent Session is a wonderful way to connect with the other parents (and parents-in-waiting) and the information Jane has to offer will be immensely valuable for years to come.
You can also help us increase attendance by forwarding the registration form to other families who might be interested in attending.
9. Will there be child care offered during the Saturday night Parent Session?
Yes, childcare is being offered for the Saturday night Parent Seminar. The children will be supervised in a room on the same floor as the Parent session. Childcare will cost approximately $10 per child for the evening, payable on that evening when you register your child. Marking "yes" on the registration form simply helps us to determine how many child care volunteers we are likely to need. You will be contacted by email about 2 weeks prior to the Playshops for confirmation. If you have any questions about the childcare, please contact Cindy Boates at firstname.lastname@example.org.
10. I have been to a previous Parent Session – is there any reason to go again?
Although the main thrust of Jane’s message is similar each year, we change the exact topics of discussion around from year to year so there will always be something new to learn. Plus, the question and answer session is always unpredictable and interesting.
As to the importance of the Parent Session in regards to the Playshop itself, here is what Jane has to say on that matter:
“We, as parents, tend to get less involved in school and other child-related organizations as our children get older. As they grow and mature, we tend to pull back from overseeing what they do. This partly explains why parents’ involvement in FCC and other adoption support organizations tends to taper off. As a result, parents receive less and less ongoing educational information through adoption workshops or other seminars. This is not a wise idea, however, as our children’s issues grow more, not less, complicated as they get older. Parents describe their children as “fine” through the mid-to-late elementary school years, and many continue to do so through the middle school years. For many, however, issues that have been suppressed under the surface during the elementary years tend to come to the surface – often, seemingly overnight – and the teen years can get very turbulent in lots of families. Parents who continue to attend adoption seminars and continue to listen to and talk with other families and adoption professionals continue to develop the specialized communication skills and other parenting skills that are specific to parenting adopted kids at various ages and stages of development. Parents who think everything is “fine” because their child looks to be happy, involved in lots of school-related and interest-related activities, and never brings up adoption or race won’t choose to attend adoption-related educational workshops. That is the best time, however, for parents to be preparing themselves for challenges that may still lie ahead – changes in the way their child relates to them or to friends or extended family or which might impact on your child’s life choices.”
11. How can I help out on the Playshop weekend?
We need volunteers to be at the registration tables for the Playshops as well as for the Parent Session. We also need volunteers to help organize and supervise the crafts for the children to keep them busy while the parents are with Jane for the parent debrief after the Playshops. If you think you would be able to help out, even for only an hour or two, or if you would like to help organize next year's Playshops, please contact Cindy Boates at email@example.com.
12. Can my child volunteer during the Playshops?
In each of the Playshops, we have adult adoptees (and sometimes a birth mother) assisting Jane. We also have young adoptees assisting Jane. So if your child is old enough to attend AdoptShop (ages 11 to 16), he or she may be able to volunteer as one of Jane's helpers in one of the Playshops A, B or C (but not in a Playshop that a sibling would be participating in). Also, Playshop C attendees could assist in Playshop A (as long as they don't have a sibling in Playshop A). For children who are high school age, we sign off for their needed volunteer hours. If you child would be intetsested in being a young adopteee helper in a Playshop, contact Cindy Boates at firstname.lastname@example.org
13. Why are there so many different Playshops this year?In prior years, we have had more than one session for some of the Playshops. We had concentrations of children at certain ages and we needed more than one session to accommodate the larger numbers of children. As our children are getting older, we now have a wider range of ages to accommodate. Plus, again this year we are splitting the AdoptShop into two age groupings to better address tween versus teen issues since the challenges of a 15 year old are very different than the challenges of an 11 year old!