It can be a challenge to understand what children with a trauma history need the most. Especially since trauma often leaves a child unable to express this in a healthy way. Out of this, there are some crucial needs that we as caregivers must be aware of.
“If you don’t stop holding that baby, she’s never going to learn to walk,” a nosey middle-aged man exclaimed in the church lobby for all to hear. My ten-month-old daughter, already an introvert by nature, was wrapped around my body like a koala. For her, the church lobby was a place to be endured. She hated the bustle, the noise, and the constant attention. As a pastor’s family and a transracial adoptive family, we were often the center of attention.
Perhaps this post is timely given the current, and rapid moving, changes our children are navigating through right now. The fact is, our children carry a lot of loss with them. How do we empower them to grieve this?
Our children often hesitate to show and share emotion because they have not had a safe place to do that in the past. They may keep hard parts of their story from us because they are afraid we will think less of them, that we will think less of their first family, or that we will not be able to handle the knowledge of the sad things.
Lying. It’s so frustrating to deal with as a parent. We want to engage, and battle until we can squeak the truth out of our children. But it’s often futile. How do we respond, and what can we do, when our children constantly lie?
“Did you take the cookie?” – Child shakes his head no, while holding the cookie.
“Did you text that boy from school, that dad and I asked you not to text?” – Teenager’s eyes go wide as she swears on her life she didn’t.
The foster and adoptive parenting journey may not be for everyone, and that’s okay. But everyone can do something. If you know someone who has asked this question, or you have wondered this, here are some ways you can help…
It’s true, not everyone is called to foster or adopt. When Mike and I first started fostering, I couldn’t see a reason that we would ever stop. Children are coming into care at an alarming rate and many are unable to return home. When we first became foster parents we knew that our primary goal was to reunify families and help children heal. However, children are often in foster care long term. Many are adopted by their foster families. Permanency is a good thing but it also means that foster homes are reaching capacity and having to close their doors. This is what happened in our family. The day after our 8th adoption, our home had reached capacity, we closed our license and stopped fostering.
The Christmas season is the season of giving. But what does that look like for families who are in crisis, or families who just need a helping hand? There’s a right way and a wrong way to help. Here is how you give well…
“If your brother becomes poor and cannot maintain himself, you shall support him as though he were a stranger and a sojourner, and he shall live with you. Take no interest from him or profit, but fear your God, that your brother may live beside you. You shall not lend him your money at interest, nor give him your food for profit. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt” ~ Leviticus 25:35-37
Bring on the Holidays! It’s opening week for Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms and we are your central hub for all things Nutcracker, including a short review of the film, and a family fun page with coloring pages, movie clips, and more!
Photograph courtesy of Disney Studios
If you follow us on social media you may know that we just recently recorded a mini documentary about how our family celebrates the holidays. The documentary was filmed in connection with a home goods store. (We can’t wait to share the finished product with our readers soon!!!) Consequently our house has been decorated for Christmas since mid October.
The answer is yes. Absolutely. You can. But it doesn’t happen in one day, overnight, or even in a year or two. We are wounded humans and we have the task of parenting children who have suffered deep wounds. It takes a lot of time. But healing is achievable. It happens step by step…
When I was a child, I planned to save the world. The whole entire world. In 4th grade, my teacher shared pictures of an ocean filled with plastic bottles and soda straws. I committed to recycle. When I was in 10th grade my ecology teacher warned us of the plight of the timber rattle snake. I promised to care for their habitat. When I was 12 my parents watched a documentary on the orphan crisis in impoverished countries. By the time I was 16, they adopted my youngest brother from Bulgaria. I would never again be unaware of the suffering in the world. I knew without a doubt that I would make a change.
How do we help our children regulate when they are melting down, out-of-sorts, or feeling anxious? It’s a question we receive often from readers. Here are some practical tips…
To “regulate” means “to keep under control.” To regulate our emotions means that we keep our emotions in control. Everyone experiences a dis-regulated state of emotions at one time or another. Being in a state of dis-regulation feels like a simmering pot that starts to boil over. We all have to learn how to re-regulate once our emotions are out of sorts. Most of us learn to do this naturally over time but some children may need extra help, especially children who have experienced trauma. After years of learning from therapists, fellow foster parents and teachers, we have compiled an extensive list of coping skills. Today we are sharing five of the ways we cope with dis-regulation at our home. We use these in the car, at school, while shopping and even at the dinner table.