At The End Of The Day, It’s All About Relationship.

This is a guest post by author and therapist Ron Nydam (PhD). Ron specializes in helping adoptive family’s develop and connect in a healthy, positive way. His latest book, Wise Adoptive Parenting, helps families better connect to their children, and adoptees feel heard and understood. You can pick up your very own copy by clicking here.

Through all of the trauma education, and attachment strategies we can learn (and certainly benefit from), our connection with our children still comes down to one factor: relationship!

Many parents who are new to the adoption journey wonder what it takes to make good things happen in the development of their children. They may wonder day after day how to find a way to be effective with their children who frustrate their first attempts at helping them manage his or her behavior. Parenting quickly becomes a guessing game as to what might work and might not work when a child’s behavior is out of control, or over the rails in terms of everyday family life. 

What Do You Do When You Feel Like You Just Don’t Belong?

On Foster Care, Biracial Identity And More!

This is a guest post by our good friend, Natalie Brenner, who has also been a guest on our podcast, The Honestly Adoption Podcast. She is an adoptive and biological mother, as well as a blogger, and the author of the book This Undeserved Life. Make sure you check out her blog by clicking here.

We love stories that move our heart and challenge us to see the world around us in a brighter light. This story, originally appearing on Natalie’s blog, does both. May it move your heart as well…

You know. I often feel like I am the luckiest in the world, to have the friends that I do. When we moved to Portland, we had no idea the community that was in store for us. We had no idea the friends we would make, the relationships we would have for us and our kids.

I am humbled and blown away to be the one to share with you a sacred piece of my friend Christina’s story.

What Every Foster Parent Wants To Tell You (But Probably Never Will)

This is a guest post by our good friend, Rachel Lewis. She is a foster, adoptive and birth mom. After a 5-year battle with secondary infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss, she now has three children in her arms and a foster son in her heart. She is passionate about helping women feel heard and understood when building their family gets a little bit complicated. You can read her wonderful blog at The Lewis Note. She also offers a free resource, ‘Your BFF Guide to Miscarriage: 5 Ways to Comfort a Friend Through Pregnancy Loss’ here. Connect with Rachel on Facebook, or join her private Facebook group Brave Mamas — a support group for anyone who had to struggle to build their family. 

Ever find yourself banging your head against the wall as you try to gain understanding from outsiders? Ever wish someone could put into words everything you’re thinking as a foster parent? Thankfully, this post does just that.

For starters, we’re pretty tight-lipped. And not always by choice.

Foster parents have ALL the responsibility of being a “real” parent (hello 2 am feedings!) without any of the rights. And that includes the right to share our child’s story.

This particular limitation is to protect the privacy of our foster child. Which I absolutely understand. But it also means foster parents bear the brunt of our children’s stories, and have few people we can share them with. Are we freaked out about a visit because we *happen* to know that dad has a history of violent behavior? Probably. But all we can say is, “I’m nervous” and we can’t always share why. Are we dealing with the repercussions of a child who experienced starvation and neglect and are struggling to manage ALL the issues that come with food? Yep. And you might look at us and wonder why we are being so hypervigilant on the issue. Trust me, we wish we could tell you.

“Dear Child: I Knew I Loved You Before I Met You!”

This is a guest post by our good friend, Natalie Brenner, who has also been a guest on our podcast, The Honestly Adoption Podcast. She is an adoptive and biological mother, as well as a blogger, and the author of the book This Undeserved Life. Make sure you check out her blog by clicking here.

Many adoptive parents are also the parents of biological children. But there is no difference, or degree, in the love they have for all of their children, adopted or bio. Here’s why…

“I just have to ask… do you love Sage as much as you love Ira? I mean, I know you say that you do…but I’m just so curious if it’s true.”

We sat on my living room floor when she asked me this. With a world of confidence and pride in my chest I was able to nod, and beam, and let her know that I absolutely love Sage as much as I love Ira.

The Chores And Emotions Of The Final Day Of A Foster Placement.

This is a guest post by our good friend Jamie Finn. She is an author, blogger, public speaker and the creator of the blog Foster The Family. You can connect with her, and read more, by visiting her Facebook page.

The foster care journey is an emotional roller coaster. This is especially true when you have to say goodbye to a child in your care. It’s part of the process but it’s hard. You’re attached. You’re in love with this child. But now you must let go. How? Here are some thoughts…

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Three months ago baby girl joined our family. I “live posted” the first day to give a window into what the day of a new placement is like for a foster family. Today, our sweet little girl was reunited with her parents. Many of you shared how helpful it was to have a window into the first day of placement, so I decided to invite you along for the last day as well. Now for all of the projects and chores and emotions of the final day of a placement…

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.