Belinda Onyango (MSW '19)
Belinda is currently the Program Manager for adoptions at Buckner International. Prior to the GML program, she was the Social Worker for the children’s residential program in Nairobi for nearly 10 years.
Belinda is passionate about a “Prepare to Care” training curriculum to prepare families going through the adoption process. Her experience with families going through the preparation phase and then follow up home visits highlighted for her the necessity for families to understand the whole experience and potential challenges that will impact the child, the parents, and the household, including how trauma and grief affect child development and attachment, as well as a change in dynamics within the family structure. Walking alongside Kenyan families in both the preparation and home visit phases of adoption highlighted for Belinda the adoptive family’s need to understand the experience in its entirety, including potential challenges that will impact child, parents, and household. These challenges could be trauma and grief affecting child development and attachment, a change in dynamics within the family structure, or something completely unforeseen.
Belinda has used her skills developed in the field, as well as knowledge from course work and further research, to create program material that can better prepare well-meaning couples and families hoping to adopt, thus reducing the heartbreaking risk of failed adoptions or placements where the child and parents cannot succeed long-term. Her dedication to continued education within the adoption field has made her a champion of the children she serves.
Belinda is interested in exploring family connections, attachment, and the role fatherhood plays in household family dynamics and child development. She hopes to explore both applying Baylor Professor and GML Initiative Faculty Dr. Brianna Lemmons’ work with fathers and fatherhood to the African context, as well as how more Kenyan adoptive families can return to successful adoption and kinship program traditions while remaining open to the application of new approaches.