We’re proud of our big family. We’re equally as proud of our big 12-passenger van. It’s helped us cart our beautiful family all over the U.S. But recently, something interesting happened…
This is NOT our van. This is what our van SHOULD look like.
A few weeks ago I went into a local coffee shop, grabbed a cup of Jo and returned to my van. I unlocked the door and climbed into the driver’s seat. I wrinkled my nose at the smell of stale smoke. It was not the smell of a fresh cigarette; it was the leftover lingering stench of a chain smoker’s clothes. A chill ran through me and I placed my bag on the floor and my coffee in the cup holder. I climbed across all the rows of seats to the very back to make sure there wasn’t a person connected to that odor. No one was there. I climbed back to the front and looked all around the parking lot.
You know how this goes… Kids head off to school, house is finally quiet, it’s time to get to work, you go about your day. Not too long after your phone rings. It’s the school again!
Every parent knows that when the school calls it’s no laughing matter. As parents of a large family, we field our fair share of school phone calls. As parents of children with special needs, we’ve come to dread seeing the number appear on the caller ID. We worry that our child may need an adjustment to her IEP. We fear the nurse has had to use our son’s Epi-Pen. We shutter to think the counselor may be calling to discuss our child’s latest standardized test scores or failing grades. Here are 10 times we weren’t prepared for what the school was about to say.
The adoption journey, for us, has been filled with many unique and exciting moments. A few of those moments happened several years ago when we adopted our two oldest daughters. We couldn’t imagine a more beautiful storyline to add to our family.
I was 8 years old when my first daughter Rachel was born. Scandalous? Not really. I wasn’t even aware of her arrival on this earth. Nothing changed for me. She took her first breath on March 21, 1986 and I played pretend with my friend Nora at recess. I completed 2nd grade without a single thought of becoming a mother. Her mother and father delighted in her, they watched her take her first steps as I navigated the 3rd grade. They heard her first words but her voice wouldn’t fall upon my ears for another 15 years.
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder brings about a myriad of struggles for those who suffer from it, and heartache for parents raising children with it. But one competition is changing the face of FASD…
I am the mother of 5 children who were exposed to alcohol before birth. My children run the full spectrum of affectedness. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is a lifelong condition. Throughout their entire lives they will struggle with a range of difficulties…
We’re a multi-racial family of 10. The events of these past few weeks have shaken us to the core. They’ve prompted fear in our children and left us broken and on edge as their parents. This is what #BlackLivesMatter means to me…
I want to go back.
This picture was taken on a trip to Disney World in 2005. Our daughter was just about to turn 3. The only thing she loved more than Cinderella’s castle was her daddy. He had just raced through the streets of the theme park toward the castle with his little girls clasped in each arm. “The princesses are arriving!” He shouted. They giggled with glee and I trailed behind with our son in the stroller. I rolled my eyes at the absurdity of it but I couldn’t stop laughing. His happiness was in his daughters’ delight. He would bring them the world to make them smile. His joy poured from him and reflected in their faces.
In the trenches of parenting, it’s often easy to see only your trials, or current difficult circumstances. You feel like giving up, throwing in the towel, and calling it quits quite often. But your story, and your child’s, isn’t over yet…
My family loves antique stores. I mean LOVES them! Our local antique store is a compilation of three large barns connected through walkways. We could spend all day wandering through the booths. To watch our family on a typical day you might mistake us for an ADHD medication advertisement. We are active, impulsive and a little unfocused. That’s just us parents!
We know that children who have come from difficult places experience trauma, but what about you and I as parents? How do we handle the secondary trauma we experience as a result of the day in and day out battle of parenting them?
“Listen, you’re blood pressure is just too high. You need to lose some weight, eat healthier and get some exercise. Getting out for a workout will lower your stress level too. I know you can find just a few minutes in your day. On your way out, stop by the front desk and schedule an appointment for 6 weeks. I don’t want to scare you but we really need to keep an eye on this.” The doctor shut the door as my friend pulled her gown a little tighter around her hoping to hide how exposed she was feeling from the inside out. She quickly dressed and told the front desk she would have to check her schedule and call back about the appointment.
On the road of foster care and adoption, you and I will encounter many well-meaning people who may not be so well-meaning. How do you respond to people whose words or actions are highly offensive to you?
For years I have allowed others a free pass when they have overstepped into our adoptive and foster family. I’ve given grace and gritted my teeth while people say passive aggressive things. I have dismissed inappropriate comments as ignorant. I’ve even herded my children away and given them extra hugs, kisses and explanations for another’s rude behavior. In an effort not to embarrass the offender, I have allowed my children to feel shame and uncertainty about who they are and who we are as a family.