On this week’s episode of The Honestly Adoption Podcast, we’re kicking off a brand new season entitled “I Have A Question.” We asked you to send us your biggest questions and we received a ton of great feedback. Today Mike and Kristin begin with “How Do I Help My Child Who Doesn’t Have Services?”
Communicate, communicate, communicate! That’s really what it comes down to when you’re talking about a child you’re caring for who doesn’t need, or have, special services like an IEP (Individualized Education Plan), therapy, special medical services, a behavior plan, or more.
Your job as a parent is to make sure your children receive the best possible services. Whether this is within your school system, your pediatricians office, or your family therapist’s office. You do this because you care. But what do you do when you feel like you can’t adequately communicate the needs of your child?
You’ve probably experienced something like this when speaking to a professional:
“It doesn’t look like there’s anything wrong with him?”
“I understand you believe she has a special need, but she is a great student, well-liked, and makes good grades. We are not sure she needs any services.”
It’s not always the case, but often, men can be the toughest nut to crack when it comes to the adoption journey. I know from personal experience. There are a few reasons why this happens, and some key steps you can take to eventually arrive at the same place with him on this journey.
Back in the day, before we got married, I said no to just about everything. In fact, if shaking my head was an Olympic sport, I would have taken the gold. I was such a difficult person to get along with in those days. One of the biggest topics Kristin and I disagreed over was parenting. Sitting in my metallic blue Pontiac Firebird one cold November night, in the fall of 1998, we had a
discussion fight over parenting. Kristin wanted to adopt. I did not. At all. Period. Case closed. End of discussion. Or, so I thought.
For years, foster care has been misunderstood, unfairly judged, criticized through local media and television shows, and the subject of harsh headlines. It’s time to set the record straight…
We spent 9 years in the foster care system, as a care-givers to more than 23 children. Six of those children never left our care and became a permanent part of our family from 2008 until 2012. Our years in the system were trying but also filled with lots of beautiful moments. Thankfully we made it a point to live with as much peace as possible. As a result, we still have relationships with many of the children we fostered, as well as their families.
I used to believe that my child was just being bad. I was convinced that he was a bad kid who just wanted to make our lives hell. But then I discovered some truth that totally transformed everything I thought, and most importantly, the way I reacted!
There are stories throughout history of people coming into the light of understanding. Call it transformation, if you will. These moments were life-altering for not only the person who experienced it, but those who were close to them as well. The Apostle Paul hated Christians and was actually responsible for killing many because he believed in an ideal, or a narrative playing out in his mind. And then he came face to face with the truth. He stepped into the light, and it transformed him.
Often times, when our children are acting out, misbehaving, or out of control, we can fall into the mode of thinking they are just being bad. But there’s way more happening with them than we often understand. How do you gain the right perspective in those heated moments?
I know how this goes for most of you. You’re parenting a child who routinely acts out and sometimes there’s no rhyme or reason (or so it seems). They act like they have no control of their little bodies in public places. They’re aggressive toward other siblings (and it’s usually when you’re driving 75 miles an hour down an expressway). They meltdown over, what seems to be, meaningless things. They pester others in your household until everyone is out of control and severely dis-regulated. You name it!
Our parenting instinct is to comfort, console, and care for our children when they are hurt, or feeling sad. But what do you do when your child pushes you away instead of letting you connect? It’s tricky, but here’s our advice…
I had just finished a stack of paperwork for my sons’ new school. Feeling relieved and a little bit cramped from signing my name a thousand times, I walked the envelopes to the end of our long driveway. (Yes, my kids’ school still uses paper and snail mail…rural living.) My son was pushing himself in the wagon toward the street. I turned just in time to see him veer toward the ledge separating the driveway from the grass. He swerved to the right, tipping himself out of the wagon and onto the hot asphalt. My instinct was to run to him. I spotted Mike at the back porch and could see him jump as fast as I did. We met our son just as he crawled out of the grass. Both of us walked toward him with arms outstretched. Mike said, “Oh no, let me see your arm.” I exclaimed, “You’re bleeding, is anything else hurt?” Our son turned away from us in anger, pushing us aside with his good arm and stomped toward the house. Still worried, we followed trying to offer the help of bandaids and ice packs. That’s when we realized, we were offering a consolation that he was not able to receive.
Kristin will be speaking at the Northeast Ohio Adoption Symposium on November 15-16, 2018 near Cleveland, Ohio.