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!
“One of the reasons Christmas is hard is because of our own personal grief and loss issues.”
Coupled with the losses and grief our children may be experiencing, foster and adoptive families can quickly find themselves wondering just how they will survive this season between Halloween and New Year’s Day!
Today we will be kicking off our new podcast series: Holiday Survival Tips and Tricks! We will spend the next four weeks interviewing amazing therapists about how we can navigate the big emotions and hard moments, with our kids, that tend to rise up during the holiday season. Mike and Kristin are excited to kick off this series with therapist and adoptive dad, Lynn Owens, as they discuss how we can help our children process disappointment and loss.
Loss. Pain. Sorrow. Grief. These are no strangers to those of us on this adoption and foster care journey. How do we deal with these losses and all of this pain? What do we do when our heartache is more than we can bear? Is it actually possible we could learn to see grief as a gift?
Join us on this episode of The Honestly Adoption Podcast, as Mike and Kristin interview our good friend, and fellow blogger, Natalie Brenner, and how she learned to see grief as a gift.
We are so blessed to have our friend, Lisa Qualls, from One Thankful Mom, here today to share with us some of the hardest parts of her story. Hear what she has learned about finding Hope within the grief of losing a child, both as a birth mom and later as an adoptive mom.
Lisa has a unique and varied perspective as both a birth mom, a mom of many, and adoptive and foster mom. She has suffered and learned through many years of parenting children from hard places, including having a child in residential care for a season and has also suffered the sudden loss of a child in a tragic accident. Listen in as Lisa shares with real, raw, honesty and offers empathetic understanding for anyone experiencing great suffering.
It’s a trial many parents find themselves in when their child ends up in residential treatment or juvenile detention. How do you continue to be a parent when your child lives somewhere other than home?
Twice a week, I visit my son. Twice a week, I sign myself out on a lined piece of paper. Twice a week, I retrieve my belongings from a locked box as a staff member walks me to the door. Twice a week, the door swings shut behind me and as I cross the parking lot. Twice a week, my eyes well up. Twice a week, I turn the key in the ignition and catch my breath as the tears are too much to hold back.
Hope. There’s barely another word in the english language that evokes as much emotion as this one. Either you have it, or you don’t. The question is, is there any way to find it when your life is falling apart?
I used to think that I would find hope AFTER I escaped the difficult life circumstances I found myself in. AFTER my child stopped flipping out. AFTER his disorder and behavior held everyone else prisoner. AFTER my daughter moved past her attachment issues and started bonding in a healthy way with our family. AFTER we moved past the season of making long drives down to a visitation center. I became so fixated on the “some day,” that I failed to see the possibility for hope in the here and now. But I’ve learned that you can find hope in the here and now. You can find it in the middle of the wreckage of life. That’s our topic on today’s episode…
In October 2011, Kristin and I found out we were pregnant. Since we were adoptive parents already, this came as a bit of a surprise to us. We had never been down this parenting road before. However, we lost the baby the very next month. It was painful and confusing. I wrote the following words in the days that loomed after our miscarriage.
I walk out of a crowded Apple store and unwrap the plastic from my new iPhone earbuds. I’ve been needing a new pair. The original had lost their kick. Between working out and the drives to and from my office, the time had come for new ones. It had been over a year. 15 months to be exact. That’s probably 50 years in Apple years.
It’s a question we’ve been asked quite often. We’ve even asked ourselves this question a time or two when we were still fostering. The answer is, yes! And here’s why…
“I gave up being a foster parent because I couldn’t stop getting attached to the children I cared for. Every time one of them left, it hurt. Figured it was best if I just stopped putting my heart out there like that. I always ended up sad and depressed.”
Her words echoed off the concrete pillars of the bus station we were sitting in. As passengers hustled past, her face fell solemn. I could tell she didn’t really mean the words she was saying to me. I could see the heartbreak in her eyes. But out of defense for her tender heart, she held her emotional wall in place. Her graying hairline, and wrinkles under her eyes, told a story void of words. Life had been hard on her. With every ounce of sadness she swallowed, with every emotion she forbid to show itself, regret silently burned a permanent spot on her face.