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.
This post was written by our friend and special guest, Michelle, a lovely adoptive momma, who chooses to make the most of every moment.
We often enter into our children’s lives later in the game which makes bonding and attachment difficult. But we must realize that we are here in this moment, now, and we must make that count…
Children come to us through adoption at many ages and stages of life. Our older 2 came to us as infants. We got to bathe their slippery little bodies in that blue padded infant tub, with the just-right water temperature. We were awakened in the middle of the night with their hunger cries and fed them their bottle while being sleep deprived. We giggled as they were learning to sit and toppled over on the mattress because of their over-sized heads. We introduced them to baby cereal and watched as they made a horrible mess smacking their lips, but never really getting any in their mouth. We became frustrated once they graduated to the highchair, smearing finger foods in their hair, but also having figured out the fun game of repeatedly throwing things on the floor.
We’ve heard from hundreds of thousands of parents over the years who are completely exhausted because their child keeps them up all night long. We’ve been there. It IS exhausting. But there are some specific reasons this is happening, and some key ways to help your child.
“What’s wrong with this child?” I remember thinking this thought repeatedly in 2004 when we first began fostering. “Why won’t he sleep?” “Why does he need to be in our room, with us?” “Why does he keep coming in and waking us up?” “Why won’t a nightlight, or soft music playing, or a bunch of stuffed animals help him?” I had a lot to learn back in that day.
As we continue to produce new content for Honestly Adoption, we wanted to share another Encore Podcast episode from Season 2. In this episode we discuss practical insights to parenting children who constantly push you away.
That first real hug. Hearing “I love you mom,” and knowing she means it. Watching him participate peacefully with the rest of your family. Having her not melt down when dad puts a gentle hand on her shoulder to guide her on an afternoon walk through the neighborhood.
Listen to the podcast.
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.
It’s a still a question we receive from time to time, from non-adoptive and pre-adoptive parents alike. How can you love a child who’s not biologically yours? We understand where this comes from, but we’ve come to a straight up conclusion.
We just….do. Honestly, I’m sitting here typing, early in the morning, with the grandiose idea of busting out some clever rhetoric to reinforce the point of this post but I’m at a loss. I can’t explain it any other way than to say, we do. Blood, biology, DNA, and all the other fixins’ have nothing to do with it.
It’s often a dreaded adventure for foster and adoptive parents: summer travel. Or any travel, for that matter. Often, we wonder, is it worth it? Maybe we’re safer just staying home? We’re here to tell you, it is worth it. And here’s why…
Living far from family means we travel occasionally. Four kids requires extra care when traveling on an airplane. Four kids with trauma and sensory issues requires extra, extra care when traveling on an airplane. Four kids, with medical needs, and trauma and sensory issues requires extra, extra, extra care when traveling on an airplane.
This is a guest post from our good friend Ryan North. He is the Executive Director of Tapestry, the Adoption & Foster Care Ministry of Irving Bible Church in Dallas, Texas. As Executive Director of Tapestry, Ryan also leads Empowered to Connect. He frequently writes and speaks on connected parenting and ministry leadership. Read his blog here
and connect with him on Facebook here
Parenting is tricky in general. But parenting children from traumatic places is tricky on an entirely different level. It often leaves you exhausted and bewildered. How can you be successful when it takes so much out of you?
I was invited to speak at the Florida Foster/Adoptive Parent Association Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida last weekend. It is always a special privilege to share with families who are in the trenches. I love meeting them, hearing their stories, and being able to share information and experiences that can help them on their journey of hope and healing. I find it easy to be vulnerable with like minded people. I feel like I want to open up to them, honestly, it’s very therapeutic. Perhaps that is what I ultimately like about having the opportunity to speak at events like this one.