Our society prides itself on titles, positions, rankings, and statistics. It’s how we identify pro-atheletes, leaders of major corporations, and our favorite sports teams. Often, it’s how we identify ourselves. But we have learned that, in our family, we are much more than a title.
Ok, Ok I understand our blog is called Confessions of an Adoptive Parent. It’s easy to think that we eat sleep and breathe adoption. Our title is a brand but it isn’t all that we are. Adoption, to us, is more like a surname. A last name is an identifier but it isn’t a person’s sole identity.
*Editor’s Note- This is a guest post from our good friend Rachel Lewis. She is a foster mom, biological mom and adoptive mom. She started her fostering journey before enduring recurrent loss and infertility, and shares transparently about her journey to creating a family on her blog The Lewis Note
. Connect with Rachel on Facebook
There’s often an inclination, when a person enters the foster care journey, to not allow themselves to get attached to the children they’re caring for. They call it a safeguard for when they have to say goodbye. But, this defies the human wiring we have to love, and really doesn’t cut it. Here’s why…
“I can never be a foster parent. I’d get too attached.”
If I had a dollar for every time I heard this. In fact, I hear it almost every single time me being a foster parent comes up. So, I want to clarify a few things…
Gossip hurts. Gossip is no fun and it tears someone down quicker than the blink of an eye. My family has been through the ringer with this one. That’s why I’m asking politely…please mind your own business!
I see my children tense before I even know why. We’ve been snuggled up on the couch for the last hour enjoying a family movie night. My youngest has built a nest of blankets so cozy and warm I feel like I could stay snuggled up there forever. Without warning, his body becomes ridged. I notice that my older son has his fists clenched firmly. My daughter has pulled her blanket tighter around her. My hearing seems to be fading in this fourth decade of my life so it takes me a moment to hear the approaching sirens, I too feel my heart skip a beat.
Yawning, yawning, and more yawning. If that describes you, we want you to know- You’re not alone! There’s a way to find rest and it’s not as difficult as you think it is.
The year was 2004 and we were the parents of a 2 year old. We had adopted her at birth, she was healthy and happy, and almost like clockwork, she began to sleep through the night at 3 months old. “This parenting gig is easy,” we thought. Boy were we in for a rude awakening (literally).
You’ve probably been down this road before: your child suffers from extreme depression, hurts others, or makes decisions that are against everything your family holds true. It causes unimaginable grief. How do you handle the extreme emotions you feel, while making sure your children are taken care of?
I stand in my kitchen, early on a Monday morning, coffee in hand, feeling sad. The sun has begun making its ascent over the tops of the trees, spreading tiny rays of light across our yard. The dew-soaked blades of grass shimmer in the fresh morning light. In the past, I’d step outside, breath in deep, and take in the new day. Now, I feel restriction when I so much as inhale normal.
*Editor’s Note- This is a guest post by our good friend Lisa Qualls. She is a writer, speaker, mom of 12, and the creator of Thankful Moms
, where she writes about motherhood, adoption, faith, and grief. Lisa is a mom by birth and adoption. Along with her husband Russ, their adoption journey has been marked by joy as well as challenges of trauma and attachment. You can visit her blog here
, and connect with her on Facebook here
Even through our own difficult life circumstances, we often have the ability to help others who are struggling on this journey. But where do you begin, and how do you know what to do for someone in great need?
Last week I heard from a woman whose friend adopted a child and the family is struggling. Her heartfelt note asked what she could do to help. She wrote, “The mom looks sad and frustrated all of the time.”
She closed her email with, “What can I do to help? What can our church family do to help?”Let me offer a few thoughts…
We know that children who have come from difficult places experience trauma, but what about you and I as parents? How do we handle the secondary trauma we experience as a result of the day in and day out battle of parenting them?
“Listen, you’re blood pressure is just too high. You need to lose some weight, eat healthier and get some exercise. Getting out for a workout will lower your stress level too. I know you can find just a few minutes in your day. On your way out, stop by the front desk and schedule an appointment for 6 weeks. I don’t want to scare you but we really need to keep an eye on this.” The doctor shut the door as my friend pulled her gown a little tighter around her hoping to hide how exposed she was feeling from the inside out. She quickly dressed and told the front desk she would have to check her schedule and call back about the appointment.
As parents, we want the best for our children. Our hearts break when their’s break, our joy soars when theirs soar. When things fall apart, we do our best to fix it. But maybe we’re not supposed to be in control of every emotion they experience.
“What your mom needs to remember is that she isn’t in control of your emotions.” The counselor was looking right at my daughter but I knew she was talking to me. We had just had a very emotional counseling session. My daughter was asked to list her stressors. I had known for a long time that I was the cause of some of her stress and truthfully I was relieved to see my name at the very bottom of a long and honest list. Watching my daughter make the list was a mixture of sadness, pride and sheer relief.