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.
When I first began the adoption journey, more than 15 years ago, I resisted. But it wasn’t because I was against adoption. There was something else at play in the background of my life.
It always catches people off guard when I tell them this truth about myself. For as big of an advocate as I am today, it’s hard to believe this little tidbit about me. But, it’s true. Thankfully, my heart changed not long after we began the process, and I never looked back. I couldn’t have dreamed up a more beautiful storyline for our family. I’ve discovered there are many men who go through what I went through. And much like me, it’s not that they’re against adoption. In a 2-part series on our podcast, that’s what my co-host Matt McCarrick and I are discussing.
Chances are, you already know this. So do we. But for some reason, we continue to resort to shaming, thinking we’ll see different results. We won’t. More importantly, we’re causing deeper damage when we do so.
I get it. I fully understand how we can promise not to anymore, only to slip back into it when our kiddo blows it, and doesn’t seem to care or show emotion. Can I just put your mind at ease with that? I personally struggle with this too. You’re not alone. If nothing else, let the “Me too” of what I just said wash over you like warm water. Considering the fact that you and I are often pushed to the absolute edge (or beyond) by our children’s disorders, attachment issues, severe trauma, or impulsive choices, it makes sense why we would resort to shaming.
It’s not always the case, but often, men can be the toughest nut to crack when it comes to the adoption journey. I know from personal experience. There are a few reasons why this happens, and some key steps you can take to change his mind.
Back in the day, before we got married, I said no to just about everything. In fact, if shaking my head was an Olympic sport, I would have taken the gold. I was such a difficult person to get along with in those days. One of the biggest topics Kristin and I disagreed over was parenting. Sitting in my metallic blue Pontiac Firebird one cold November night, in the fall of 1998, we had a
discussion fight over parenting. Kristin wanted to adopt. I did not. At all. Period. Case closed. End of discussion. Or, so I thought.
Children who come from trauma are often in a fight for survival, even if they’ve been in your loving care for some time. It’s exhausting and unending at times. How do you successfully parent children who are in a fight while keeping your sanity?
On a mild Monday evening, around 6 pm, I wait expectedly in our kitchen, repeating a series of words over and over to myself. Today is the first day I’ve allowed my son to ride his bike home from football practice. On the stove is a pan of spaghetti and meatballs. In the oven, Texas Toast (our favorite). Dinner is ready. When he gets home, we’ll all sit down and eat. But I know what’s coming. I can hear his words in my head before he even walks through the door… “What’s for dinner?”
When we first got married we swore up and down that our children would never sleep in our room, let alone enter unannounced. Then we adopted children from traumatic places and our iron-clad rule washed away like sidewalk chalk in a rainstorm.
I pull my tired body out of bed at 5:30 am, each morning, to get a jump on the day. Now that school’s back in session, there’s a routine to follow. Get up, make coffee, check email from teachers, wake up my teenagers, get them off to school, wake up my younger sons, and get them on the bus. Repeat, repeat, repeat. It’s the only way we’ll survive the morning. As I fumble my way through the dark of my room, my foot brushes past a small foot sticking out of some blankets below my dresser. It’s one of my sons. He’s fast asleep on a 2 inch yoga mat piled with 3 or 4 blankets.
*Editors Note- This is a guest post from our good friend Michelle McKinney. She is an adoptive mother and blogger. She describes herself as an imperfect wife and an even more imperfect mom who decided long ago, “Why bring more kids into the world when there are so many here already who need forever homes?” She believes ALL KIDS deserve a family. Every single one. You can read her work with HIV advocacy by visiting thoughtsfrommichelleskitchen.com
It’s a disease that comes with lots of stigmas and judgement: HIV. Even parents who’ve chosen to adopt children who are positive receive raised eyebrows. But the stigmas and judgement could not be further from the truth.
This month, my husband and I celebrate our 17th wedding anniversary. This month also marks the 35th anniversary of the first reported cases of AIDS in our country. I never in a million years thought I would care 17 years ago. But I do.
In the trenches of parenting, it’s often easy to see only your trials, or current difficult circumstances. You feel like giving up, throwing in the towel, and calling it quits quite often. But your story, and your child’s, isn’t over yet…
My family loves antique stores. I mean LOVES them! Our local antique store is a compilation of three large barns connected through walkways. We could spend all day wandering through the booths. To watch our family on a typical day you might mistake us for an ADHD medication advertisement. We are active, impulsive and a little unfocused. That’s just us parents!