Program Seeks to “Transfigure” the Lives of Foster and Adoptive Families

In foster and adoptive families, communication can be difficult for both the parents and the children. One way to break that barrier, as the non-profit program Transfiguring Adoption has learned, is through the use of the Harry Potter series as a discussion tool.

Based in Knoxville, Tennessee, Transfiguring Adoption creates media and other resources to aid families in working through their current life situations, including discussion guides related to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. We at MuggleNet interviewed Transfiguring Adoption co-founder Darren Fink to find out more about the program.

Transfiguring Adoption, Fink explains, got its start when he and his family were rereading the first Harry Potter book. By the end of the first chapter, he says, his adopted 12-year-old son was bawling and explained that he could relate to what Harry was going through. The discussion that followed sparked a blog as a side project for the Fink family, who have four children adopted from foster care.

From there, Fink’s children created a discussion guide for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, which would help them and other foster and adopted children (as well as their parents) facilitate conversation. Now, though, Fink adds,

The website has grown so much that the discussion guide is a small part of what we do.

Beyond the discussion guides, Transfiguring Adoption offers resources for parents and educators and is currently in the process of assembling 200 First Foster Placement Survival Kits for newly certified foster parents in the Knoxville area. Many foster parents, explains Fink, are not prepared to deal with the behavioral issues foster children face, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), an issue that the kits help to address.

Fink says that one of the common misconceptions about adoption is that adoptive parents are saviors:

We’re not ‘saving’ these kids. They’re going through a rough road [and] have a lot of challenges ahead of them. We’re just trying to help them as much as we can.

Referencing Prisoner of Azkaban, Fink addresses how Aunt Marge feels that Harry should be more grateful to be living with the Dursleys. He comments,

I’d like to think that most foster parents and adoptive parents would definitely treat their kids better than the Dursleys, […] but the ideal situation for [the kids] would’ve been to stay with their parents in the first place. That’s what they want.

In Harry’s case, Fink feels that the situation is similar and encourages Harry Potter fans to reread the series “in that lens”:

If Harry had to do it all over again, I think he would want to be with his mom and dad and not Sirius or the Dursleys.

Wondering how you can help? If you’re not in a position to foster or adopt, don’t worry:

One way is just to [go] on our website, and we have a link to download our mobile app. And that gives you access to all of our resources. It gives you access to our online store, and when you do that, share it with a friend. We’re just trying to get the word out about what we’re doing, and probably the most practical way that you can help us is just by sharing us on social media.

Looking forward, Transfiguring Adoption hopes to expand beyond the Knoxville area. You can find out more about Transfiguring Adoption on their website.

Are you part of a foster or adoptive family? Have you used any of the resources provided by Transfiguring Adoption? Do you plan to check them out? Tell us in the comments below!