No, You Don’t Have To Live In Isolation Anymore!

I know what you want to do, and what feels natural, when all hell breaks loose with your child. But I’m here to tell you, you don’t have to do that anymore.

Early morning shower of light

You are not alone.

If I had a dollar for every time those words left my lips and crossed the space between me and the person I was standing in front of? Let’s just say…beach house in Malibu. Or better fitting…1000 acre farm at the foot of a ginormous mountain in rural Montana where my kids could run wild and free, and any outbursts, meltdowns, glass-breaking, dish-smashing tirade, brought on by trauma (or that simmer we always talk about), wouldn’t be heard by a living soul for miles. Foster and adoptive parent: you feeling me on this one? 

I know a few things about you, because they are true about me too. I know that within you, there’s an amazing, beautiful, passion-filled heart that beats deeply for vulnerable children. Your house is filled up and your bank account is empty because of that big heart. No way on earth will there be any children left without a forever home because of you. I know you long to dry every tear your children cry, and heal every wound they’ve sustained.

I also know how that you often feel it’s easier to hide behind a smile, instead of sharing your heartbreak. It’s much easier to make excuses to the neighbors, or your friends at church, about your child’s behavior, than tell the truth. They wouldn’t get it anyway if you explained the reality of your child’s situation. You know that. So, instead of stepping into the light, the shadows are more comfortable and less “on-display.” You’ve grown accustomed to licking your wounds (both emotional and physical) in silence, behind a veil, in the privacy of your own home. Long-sleeves even when it’s warm out are commonplace. Yeah, I get it.

In a world that vastly misunderstands our journey, this is all so much easier than vulnerability.

But it’s isolating. Let’s be real for a second. Standing in your front room watching the neighborhood kids frolic and play the eskimo way after a winter snow storm, while your child can’t be trusted outside of your house for a milli-second, is so dang isolating it’s hard to breathe. Yes you love your child, but you battle feelings of resentment and frustration. Maybe you know all about trauma and so his behavior makes sense. But it doesn’t change the life-tweaking you have to do on a daily basis, just to avoid questions or judgmental glances.

Isolating, isolating, isolating. It’s your prison cell. I know this because it was mine too at one point. Then I discovered 2 very important things…

  1. I don’t owe this world one ounce of an explanation.
  2. I don’t have to exist in this isolation any longer.

Here’s why….

This is my family, my life, and my choice. It’s my heart and calling that led me into this journey, and I love these precious children, trauma and all. I was called to do this and that’s nobody else’s business on the face of God’s green earth but mine. My child may react in certain ways, to certain things, at certain moments because of a place of fear living inside of him that he can’t even articulate. I don’t owe anyone an explanation because it’s not their child and it’s not their journey. That may sound harsh but I must say this, because often times we feel that we need to explain away our child’s behavior or M.O. We don’t.

I can now step into the light. I can allow the warmth of the sunlight to shine on my wounds. I don’t have to live in isolation anymore. Not because the world is suddenly an understanding place, or friends at church, or in the neighborhood, are suddenly less judgmental. They’re not. In fact, it’s the opposite. The older my children become, the more judgement seems to come my way. No, I can step into the light because I’ve discovered just how not alone I am on this journey. The foster and adoptive community is one of the fastest growing communities on earth. More than 100,000 of you show up here to our blog, and Facebook page, every month from 19 different countries around the globe. Over the past 2 months, we’ve spent time with 4000 of you across the U.S. at different events for foster and adoptive parents.

I was always terrible at math in school, growing up, but if it serves me correctly here, that’s what we would call a lot of people who are on the same journey as you and me. Same passion, same love, same fear, same wounds, same feelings of isolation. My friends, do you know what this means? We. Are. Not. Alone! The only isolation we live in, is the isolation we choose. We are now without excuse. I can’t claim isolation as my default anymore when the walls are crumbling, my child is out of control, and the fires of hell seem to be lapping at my feet.

You can’t either. Step into the light. As you do, you will begin to see others on the journey who are just like you. You will begin to hear voices sharing the same pain that you deal with. I don’t know about you, but this fills me with hope. It gives me the strength I need to step into another day. Not because my problems are suddenly gone, but because I don’t have to face them on my own. There’s something oddly healing about that.

My friends, we are passionate about this truth. We believe you are not alone, and there’s a way through your isolation, so much so, that we’re on the threshold of launching a brand new online community dedicated to helping you step into the light. It’s called Oasis Community. It exists for one reason: to bring support and replenishment to you on the journey through real-time support and on-going in-depth resources. And it’s completely online. So you really won’t have an excuse to stay in your isolation any longer. If you have an internet connection, you can find the support you need.

Yes, it’s time to step into the light. No, you don’t have to live in your isolation any longer. We are here for you, and you can bet, we are cheering for you. So, what’s stopping you?

Question: Have you felt isolated on this journey? Share your story with us in the comment section below. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

 

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  • Molly

    Thank you for this! It is very isolating and lonely and it feels good to know there are others who share similar experiences. I know one person that I am physically close enough to that have adopted children from difficult backgrounds to run into every now and again, but everyone else is online. As much freedom as there is to openly talk through these difficult situations in an understanding community, it’s not quite the same as having coffee with someone or getting a hug from someone who really cares. That is what is so isolating for us- lack of personal human contact that is not a therapist or medical doctor. Lack of friends for the kids because we can’t socialize like other families. Lack of family support due to living long distances away.

    I love this blog and this community, it helps so much because this journey is hard and lonely. There are more and more foster and adoptive families now and that helps as well. Mostly, we are thankful for our Lord who called us into the wild unknown, but who also sustains us in the midst of the chaos.

    • Molly, we totally understand where you are coming from. You’re right, online is not the same as face-to-face. We’re trying to bridge this a little by having our Oasis Care Team available for video calls so there’s a bit of face to face. But, I’m with you. Wish you guys lived nearby. Hang in there. We’re cheering for you!

  • Jennifer Brown

    Thank you for this wonderful article. We too feel very isolated. We finally connected with another family, but only by phone. We have never met in person. We always feel we need to explain that our children are adopted, and why they act like they do. After reading this, we DON’T owe anyone an explanation. I can’t wait for the Oasis Community. We really need more support from people who get us, and don’t judge us. Thanks.

    • Hey Jennifer, I am so glad you liked the post. We get you because are you. No need to explain anything with us. And you won’t have to explain in Oasis either! 😉

  • Stormywen

    Isolating indeed! There are situations that we need to be able to talk to friends and family about….. But then you realize that they are not a safe support system. One of our teens violated his parole and is gone in “time out” for 30 days. We are the parents of a child who keeps breaking the law and others just wonder what we have done wrong. (And sometimes we do too)

    • Right there with you. Hang in there. Not alone on this journey.

  • Amy

    Just an idea for some face-to-face connection, but would you be able to possibly link or connect families with similar situations in the same areas?? Maybe a form that could be filled out? For example: older international sibling group adopted, living in a certain state or region?? We know we are not the only ones struggling with these issues, but to find parents who can relate to our situation would be such a blessing!

    • Hey Amy, have you heard about our new support community that is coming on April 10th. There is a forum in there where you can connect to other parents just like you. Plus, there are resources every single month, and a team of people there to help you when you need it. Check out http://www.oasiscommunity.me.

  • MamaBear

    This describes all of the feelings we were recently discussing with our caseworker. The feeling that others just don’t understand our kiddos. Community events and even family parties are difficult. Even another caseworker at the agency commented “what is wrong with them?”

    • Oh goodness. When Case Managers say those things, you know it’s extreme. 🙂

  • Kelly Johnsen-Jorgensen

    I wasn’t called to this life. I admire those that are. You make it seem easier some how. We chose to adopt after infertility. We chose newborn domestic private adoption naively thinking we were going to avoid the things we didn’t feel equipped to handle; drug alcohol effects and mental illness. We were chosen by birthparents, took home a gorgeous healthy baby boy. Overwhelmed with such a precious gift. Had a glorious 1st year. Then things began to slowly show up. With detective like work came to know that birth parents failed to mention birth mom’s drug addiction at the time of adoption. Our son is 13years old now, FASD/mental health issues/unlikely to be able to live independently just cannot process information in a logical way. Grief and accepting what is vs. what was expected has been extremely challenging to put it nicely. He is my son and I love him AND there’s also dread, as he is very difficult and can be violent. The judgment from family, friends and school staff has slated me. I’ve become very protective of my heart and his. Looking forward to reading Kristin’s book. Thank you Berry’s for doing what you do for the rest of us out here.

    Kelly
    Colorado Springs, CO

    • Kelly, I am so sorry you have gone through all of this. We know how difficult it is to be parenting a child like your son, as our son is very similar. And we know the judgement all to well. So sorry. Know that we are walking this road with you.

      • Kelly Johnsen-Jorgensen

        Thank you Mike~

  • Kaci Jackson May

    I’m so alone because I choose to share our journey, and I have the audacity to ask for resources. I have the audacity to expect my children be provided with Free Appropriate Public Education in South Carolina. One of my adopted children is sexually reactive, another has RAD, another is simply not mentally well -yet. I expect the school to protect my children from themselves, and protect other children from my children. That’s audacity -apparently!
    I’m shamed AND blamed! I adopted them and I love them. Thank you for sharing your stories, I feel so alone. I can’t even find therapist to treat RAD in South Carolina. Forget asking school to practice trauma-informed care. I’m shamed AND blamed -me.