How To Prepare Your Adopted (Or Foster) Child For School Bullies.

This is a guest post by our good friend, Sherrie Eldridge. Her best-selling work, Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew, is considered required reading by many US adoption agencies. In 2010, she was named Indiana’s Congressional Angel of Adoption by the Honorable Dan Burton, Indiana Congressional Representative. Follow Sherrie’s blog here.

Out of everything we must prepare for on the foster and adoptive journey, one thing that catches us off guard, are the kids at school who are quick to pick on our kiddos, or ask inappropriate, hurtful questions. How can we adequately prepare our kids for some of these instances?

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I still remember the snotty-nosed eight year old kids that encircled me and taunted, “Sherrie’s adopted, Sherrie’s adopted.” It was in a corner of the school yard, out of the sight of teachers. To this day, I can recall the color of the bricks in the background.

Why I Stop Myself From Defending My Special-Needs Child.

This is a guest post by our good friend, Courtney Westlake. She is the author of A Different Beautiful. She lives in Illinois with her husband Evan and two children, Connor and Brenna. After Brenna was born with a severe skin disorder, Courtney began chronicling family life and experiences raising a child with physical differences and special needs on her blog. You can also follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

You really want to speak up, because, you’re a mama bear (or papa bear). It’s so hard to let them stand on their own when you’ve spent so much time advocating for them, defending them, and fighting for them. But there’s a time and place to stay quiet and let them stand.

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I wanted to insert myself into the conversation happening a few feet away from me, to explain and to defend, but I held back. I craned my neck a bit, waiting to hear what my children would say to the little girl who had just asked about my daughter’s red, peeling skin.

How My Son Is Changing Lives In His Residential Treatment Facility.

This is a guest post from Ginger Newingham. She is an blogger, adoptive, biological and special needs mother. You can read more of her work by visiting her blog, www.ourmomentsdefined.com

Placing your child in residential treatment is one of the hardest things foster and adoptive parents will ever have to do. Usually, there’s not much positivity. But every now and then, you hear something that encourages the deepest part of your heart. We love this post by Ginger because it proves how just the smallest ray of light can bring you hope for your child. We understand this because our son is in the same situation, and we’ve found hope. May you find it as well as you read her words…

White Sunlight Through Black Clouds

My special needs, broken, hurting son. A missionary.

It’s almost more than my heart can take.

I’ve never imagined my son as one who brings the light into the darkness. I’ve always seen our role in bringing him light, but I had not allowed myself to recognize the glory God could bring to Himself through him.

How Parenting Kids From Trauma Is A Lot Like Being A Pilot.

This is a guest post from our good friend Ryan North. He is the Executive Director of Tapestry, the Adoption & Foster Care Ministry of Irving Bible Church in Dallas, Texas. As Executive Director of Tapestry, Ryan also leads Empowered to Connect. He frequently writes and speaks on connected parenting and ministry leadership. Read his blog here and connect with him on Facebook here.

Parenting is tricky in general. But parenting children from traumatic places is tricky on an entirely different level. It often leaves you exhausted and bewildered. How can you be successful when it takes so much out of you?

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I was invited to speak at the Florida Foster/Adoptive Parent Association Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida last weekend. It is always a special privilege to share with families who are in the trenches. I love meeting them, hearing their stories, and being able to share information and experiences that can help them on their journey of hope and healing. I find it easy to be vulnerable with like minded people. I feel like I want to open up to them, honestly, it’s very therapeutic. Perhaps that is what I ultimately like about having the opportunity to speak at events like this one.

Is A Special Needs Adoptee Incapable Of Success?

This is a guest post by Angela Tucker. She is a nationally-recognized thought leader on transracial adoption and is an advocate for adoptee rights. She was recently named ‘Seattle’s Smartest Global Women.’ In 2013, at the age of 26, Angela’s own story of adoption and search for her birth parents was featured in the groundbreaking documentary, CLOSURE, which is available on Netflix, iTunes & Kweli TV. Read her blog here, and connect with her on Facebook here.

Do special needs adoptees have worth? You bet they do! While we understand the reasoning behind adoption questionnaires and preferences for an adopting couple, we also know they place unfair labels on precious children. Children who have very bright futures ahead of them.

Concept of a man follows the right way

Even though I’m hearing impaired, I am a healthy adult. Even though this wasn’t learned until my late childhood, I was a healthy child.

She didn’t always eat healthy while I grew in her belly. There were no prenatal visits or vitamins. Still I am fine and I’m healthy.

Why “I’d Get Too Attached To Be A Foster Parent” Just Doesn’t Cut It!

*Editor’s Note- This is a guest post from our good friend Rachel Lewis. She is a foster mom, biological mom and adoptive mom. She started her fostering journey before enduring recurrent loss and infertility, and shares transparently about her journey to creating a family on her blog The Lewis Note. Connect with Rachel on Facebook and Instagram.

There’s often an inclination, when a person enters the foster care journey, to not allow themselves to get attached to the children they’re caring for. They call it a safeguard for when they have to say goodbye. But, this defies the human wiring we have to love, and really doesn’t cut it. Here’s why…

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“I can never be a foster parent. I’d get too attached.”

If I had a dollar for every time I heard this. In fact, I hear it almost every single time me being a foster parent comes up. So, I want to clarify a few things…

You Know What Surprises Me Most As A Foster Parent?

*Editor’s Note- This is a guest post by our good friend Lisa Qualls. She is a writer, speaker, mom of 12, and the creator of One Thankful Mom, where she writes about motherhood, adoption, faith, and grief. Lisa is a mom by birth and adoption. Along with her husband Russ, their adoption journey has been marked by joy as well as challenges of trauma and attachment. You can visit her blog here, and connect with her on Facebook here.

Out of all the twists, turns, triumphs, and defeats that are often a part of the foster care journey, there are beautiful blessings in disguise when you least expect it.

Curvy autumn road

You know what surprises me most – what I would never have expected? The relationship we have with my Zoe’s* family.

Last week Zoe’s mom had one of her regular weekly visits with Zoe and her sisters, but this time it was at our house. When I arrived to pick her up, she had ingredients for a meal packed in grocery bags, ready to cook for her kids when she got here. The little girls were dropped off by their foster mom and quickly ran outside to play with my son while their mom cooked and chatted with Zoe at the kitchen island.

How To Better Communicate With Wounded Children.

*Editor’s note- This is a guest post from our good friend Jennie Owens. She and her husband Lynn, support foster and adoptive families through their nonprofit organization, www.foreverhomes.org. Jennie also speaks to parenting groups and leads retreats for foster and adoptive families. She provides training and one-on-one coaching services to parents through their clinic, Canyon Lakes Family Counseling, in Kennewick, WA. You can also visit her blog here.

When parenting children from hard places, or children who have been wounded emotionally, it’s often hard to communicate with them. This is frustrating for us as parents, but there is a solution.

hand hold loudspeaker to blue sky on mountain peak

“Will you play a game with me?” our son asked.

My blood began to boil. This was the tenth time in 30 minutes he had asked. I was getting tired of redirecting, and I knew from past experience it wouldn’t be the last time he’d ask. It felt like this young boy was trying to control our every moment. Not long afterward he asked again. “Will you play a game with me?”