Parents, we have almost made it through another year of school! Nightly fights over homework. Almost done. School projects completed, even if thrown together the night before. Or 3 days late. And by you only. Too many lunches packed to count. Admittedly, getting less nutritious as the days click away. We’re hitting the home stretch. But with this excitement of spring comes a small amount of stress, because spring season brings…IEP reviews!
I have 4 kids. 3 IEPs. This is no joke, folks. IEPs are no laughing matter. We were part of the fifth largest school district in the nation with very few resources. We almost went to due process in our last full year. You might say, I’m seasoned. Weathered. Or worn.
In the unfortunate situation that your child has to live away from your home in a residential treatment facility, there will likely be a time when he or she transitions back home. But how do you do this as smooth as possible? We’ve walked this road a few times. Here’s what we’ve learned.
It’s important to note, right here from the start, that we believe in the preservation of family. And we believe in permanency. Children need forever homes. If that’s not with biological families, then it’s with healthy foster or adoptive families. Children need permanency in order to form healthy attachments and bonds that will last a lifetime. With that said, we never advocate that a child go into residential treatment unless their behavior or choices have reached a point of being unsafe for them or unsafe for you and the rest of your family.
We are all on a journey to understanding. Rarely does a person step into this journey fully equipped with the knowledge they need to help their kiddos the most. That’s why we grow and learn. But there is one element of understanding that opens up a whole new world when you finally see the full picture.
I will never forget the moment my mind was fully opened to the reality of what our kiddos have gone through and why they do and say the things they do at times.
It was Christmastime, fours years ago. On a cold December night my oldest son, who is diagnosed with Alcohol-Related-Neuro-developmental-Disorder (commonly called ARND, a diagnosis of FASD), was triggered by something. We were popping popcorn, pulling out blankets, and settling down in our family room for a family movie night. For reasons that still remain a mystery, he wasn’t having it. Any of it!
Many of our children have come from significant trauma and that often prevents them from logical thinking. This can be frustrating, even maddening at times. Our temptation is to shame or lecture. But there’s a better way…
My kid had been caught red-handed. On camera, but also by the evidence spilling out of his bedroom. Literally…spilling out of his bedroom. If someone had rounded the corner and punched us square in the face, we would have been less shocked. And you better believe we saw red. Not only were we angry, but embarrassed, ashamed, and bewildered. This was not acceptable at all.
One of the biggest places we’ve felt the least amount of support and understanding is the church. But this needs to change. It begins by honestly communicating the reality of our “church” experience…
I hate going to church. I’m not one to beat around the bush. So yes, I hate it! It sounds shocking, I know. Especially since my husband’s a pastor. Not just the Sunday morning kind of church either. I hate all church functions. Bible studies. Small groups. That kind of church.
We receive hundreds of emails every month from parents who are struggling with children suffering from the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure. The daily challenge of living with children who rage, lack of impulse control, and seem to never learn can be beyond frustrating!
We are extremely blessed this week to have Dr. Ira Chasnoff join us to kick off our very first Honestly Adoption Podcast! Dr. Chasnoff wants us to know that there is hope for both parents and their children as we learn to approach our children by first looking at the major effect and changes alcohol has on the brain. Then, we look beyond and behind the behaviors, and finally, we find regulatory strategies to help our children thrive. Join Mike, Kristin, and Nicole as they chat with Dr. Chasnoff about all this and more!
Some see it as a taboo topic. Other’s share freely with detail. Still, there’s a debate over whether or not you should talk about your child’s traumatic past, or their current diagnosis, with them, or in front of them. Here’s where we land…
It was a normal summer night a few weeks ago when we sat down to dinner as a family. Actually, I should say, we FINALLY sat down to dinner as a family. Let’s just say, the summer was long, and we were running in at least 5 different directions every day since the end of the previous school year. As much as we filled our minds, and calendars, with lofty ideas of how the summer would play out, it all became delusions of grandeur.
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
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.
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.