Chances are, you already know this. So do we. But for some reason, we continue to resort to shaming, thinking we’ll see different results. We won’t. More importantly, we’re causing deeper damage when we do so.
I get it. I fully understand how we can promise not to anymore, only to slip back into it when our kiddo blows it, and doesn’t seem to care or show emotion. Can I just put your mind at ease with that? I personally struggle with this too. You’re not alone. If nothing else, let the “Me too” of what I just said wash over you like warm water. Considering the fact that you and I are often pushed to the absolute edge (or beyond) by our children’s disorders, attachment issues, severe trauma, or impulsive choices, it makes sense why we would resort to shaming.
It’s a question we face every year between Thanksgiving and Christmas: How can we navigate the sensory overload of this season with our children? We’ve discovered a few keys…
The malls are decorated with garland, bows, and lighted wreaths suspended in mid-air between stores and shops. Display windows have followed suit with decorative frosting in the corners and mannequins dressed in cold-weather attire. Starbucks debuted their red holiday cups, and radio stations are beginning to play Christmas music on loop. There’s no doubt about it — the holidays are here.
The likelihood of parenting a child who suffers from attachment issues, in foster care and adoption, is high. What does this look like, and how do you build healthy attachment with your child?
It’s easy to take it personally. In fact, if you’re currently on this road with your child you know exactly what this looks like, and how it feels. You’ve probably had moments where you’ve felt like a complete failure as a parent. We know precisely how that feels. The truth is, however, you’re not a failure and this isn’t your fault. Your child suffers from trauma deeply imbedded within them long before you came into the picture.
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Yawning, yawning, and more yawning. If that describes you, we want you to know- You’re not alone! There’s a way to find rest and it’s not as difficult as you think it is.
The year was 2004 and we were the parents of a 2 year old. We had adopted her at birth, she was healthy and happy, and almost like clockwork, she began to sleep through the night at 3 months old. “This parenting gig is easy,” we thought. Boy were we in for a rude awakening (literally).
On the journey of adoption, foster care and special needs parenting, we’ve experienced numerous difficult and heartbreaking moments. The only way we we’ve made it through these trying times was through the support and love we received from our support community.
We walked in feeling alone and defeated. We walked out feeling empowered and supported. There was nothing magical about the meeting we were attending. It was simply 8 families, all going through what we were going through, all having adopted from the foster care system, sitting around a large conference room table, sharing their pain and agony with openness and honesty.
When we first started down the foster and adoptive road, we were energized and excited. But exhaustion quickly kicked in and left us defeated. We soon wondered: Will we ever find our way back to a place of rest?
I remember staring at our newborn daughter, who was screaming at the top of her lungs at 3am, and begging her to fall back asleep. Of course, being a newborn, she wasn’t listening to me. I yawned one of those out-of-control yawns. I hadn’t seen that hour of the night since college. I soon realized this was just the beginning.
As parents of children with special needs, particularly Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, we often receive the question, “How do you know if your child’s behavior is a choice, or if it’s their disorder?”
All I wanted to do was wrap my arms around this couple and hug them. We stood by the stage, just after I finished presenting to their foster parent group, and talked about the difficult child they were parenting. She was their first foster placement, and all signs pointed to adoption, until her bi-polar disorder forced a difficult decision. Now, she was no longer living in their home, and they were forced to visit her in a psychiatric unit. The outlook was bleak.
The glares, stares, and judgmental glances. We’ve seen it all in our 15 years on the adoptive and foster care journey. Particularly as we’ve worked hard to parent children with major special needs. While we owe no one an explanation, we have some solid reasons for parenting our children the way we do.
It’s a mild September afternoon in Central Indiana where we live. My family and I have spent the past hour watching my oldest son play football for his 7th grade team. Another game, another victory. This team is so good it’s scary. As the clock tics down to the final seconds, we make our way down to the sideline to say hello to our sweaty, dirty mess of a child. He loves the game. Especially the hard-hitting aspect of it. The sun has gone down and it’s nearing 8 PM. He sees us waiting by the track and excitedly jogs over to us.