Should I Talk About My Child’s Traumatic Past With Them?

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…

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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.

5 Ways To Stop Taking Attachment Disorder Personally.

Attachment disorder is one of the hardest, loneliest, and defeating aspects of parenting children from traumatic pasts. If you’re anything like us, you struggle to not take the words and actions of your child personally. So, how do you find light at the end of a very dark and long tunnel?

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It IS personal. That’s the trouble with Attachment disorder. It is the opposite of the parental connectedness that we all desire with our children. Children attach through constantly having their needs met. When this attachment doesn’t happen during a child’s first few years, it can take a lifetime to recover the loss. As adoptive parents this is where we find ourselves with many of our children.

10 Powerful Truths About FASD That Will Change Your Perspective.

For the majority of the world, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is misunderstood and often judged. But, there are powerful truths that can change your life when you understand, and embrace them.

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Anger.

That’s the word that comes to mind when I think about FASD. Anger.

I’m angry at a broken world where addiction runs rampant, angry that we’ve been forced to accept a new normal, angry at the numerous therapists, doctors, and authorities who’ve downplayed or disagreed with my child’s diagnosis over the years, angry at a world that judges before seeking the truth, and angry when I think about the missing pieces of my child’s life.

5 Things Every Foster and Adoptive Parent Wants Teachers To Know About Trauma [Podcast]

Season 2, Episode 11- The Honestly Speaking Parenting Podcast

Back in November, we posted a video on YouTube that helped teachers understand the traumatic pasts our children have come from. The video was a hit and was shared with hundreds of schools and teachers around the country. Today, we’re including the audio version in the latest episode of Honestly Speaking…

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Between Nicole and her husband, and us, we’ve been in hundreds of IEP meetings with our children’s teachers and principals. We’ve had many that went extremely well, and some that…well…didn’t! What we’ve learned from our experience is that teachers really do want to understand where we’re coming from, and why our children need the special care that they do.

How To Balance Being Honest And Staying Private

The big battle every foster or adoptive parent faces.

The foster care and adoption journey brings many trials and tricky balancing acts. One of the biggest is the balance between sharing your child’s story and protecting their privacy.

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My husband and I struggle with balancing honesty and privacy. As adoptive parents we respect the privacy of each child’s personal story. It is their own to tell…or not. Our top priority is to protect. But, as writers our top priority is to share. We have found strength in building relationships with others who have similar families. That bond is priceless. It is our desire to share some of our struggles with others so that they may find that strength.

When Your Child Pushes You Away.

The Reality Of Reactive Attachment Disorder

Wife, mother, mom of 8 children all of whom have been adopted.

What do you do when the child you love, parent, and pour tons of time into, continues to push you away and look for approval from everyone else besides the mother who never leaves? It’s difficult and defeating, but there is hope!

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Today was one of those rare, peaceful days of TOGETHERNESS in parenting a teenage girl. I decided to spend the afternoon working from home. My daughter and I sat at the dining room table quietly working on our computers. We took a break and played in the backyard with our ducklings, fixed a snack and even agreed on what type of music to listen to. The day continued on with an unexpected joy as we made dinner together, then prepared to go dress shopping for my oldest daughter’s wedding. In the car, we sang along with the radio and laughed together. We hiked around the mall until our feet were aching. We finally selected the perfect dress. As we walked to the cash register side by side, my eyes welled up with tears as I marveled over the young lady my daughter has become. My heart inflated with the feeling of love and togetherness of this day.

Don’t Save My Child!

One of the most difficult aspects of being an adoptive or foster parent is that the vast majority of the population around you believes your child is damaged and it’s their responsibility to rescue them. Nothing could be further from the truth!

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Please, for the love of all that is good and Holy, DON’T Save MY Child!

I know, I know- his eyes melt your heart, his cheeks beg to be pinched, her smile is stunning, her story is terrifying. My kids come from difficult places. I know you think you know them. I know you want to save them. I’ve overheard you marvel that they were “unwanted.” I know you think you’re privy to their story because you heard a rumor in the neighborhood.

“This Is Not How I Envisioned It.”- A Mother’s Confession!

I love honesty. It’s one of the primary reasons I created this blog. I believe honesty brings healing. You can find healing through books, going to counseling, attending a workshop, or watching Dr. Phil (maybe). But, there’s something extremely healing in finding out that you’re not alone, that other people think about the same things you do, and struggle in the same ways you do.

The following post is from a friend of ours, Sherri Moore, who is an adoptive mother and foster care provider. She writes honestly about the expectations a person can have as they prepare for parenthood, and the disappointment that comes when things do not go as you envisioned them going. You can connect with her on Facebook by clicking here.

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Photo courtesy of istockphoto.com

Let’s take a trip back in time and remember that place, so long ago, before we were parents. It’s a hard place to remember because it was a lifetime ago (even if your child is 3 months old).
Do you remember thinking about your future child? Now, honestly, I think when most people imagine what their children will be like, they think in terms of babies. “Aww! They’re so cute. I love the way they snuggle against you. And that baby smell. It is so wonderful!” We think about playing dress up or throwing the football around. “I will teach them to ride a bike. It will be so much fun playing at the park. I’ll take them to work so they learn the lesson of hard work. I can’t wait to help them with their homework.” You imagine how you will burst with pride as they call out your child’s name on graduation day! Or sometimes we think about what they will be when they grow up- Pro Athelete, Musician, Doctor. The possibilities are endless. We have so many dreams for them!
Then something happens. That snuggly baby doesn’t like to snuggle. They’re a wiggler, an explorer. That little girl doesn’t like to wear dresses, and don’t think about doing her hair like that! He doesn’t want to play on a team this year, his friends think it’s silly. When you drop them off at a friends house, stop at the corner, they will walk the rest of the way. And as for going to work with you? Well, that’s kind of lame.
Wait a minute? What? This is not what I thought….I didn’t sign up for this. They are supposed to love me, do things with me, be like me. Doesn’t that mean they want to do the things I wanted them to do? This is not what I thought.. I mean I love them — I can’t imagine my life without them, and I wouldn’t want to try, but I really expected…
Or maybe he has anxiety when he rides the school bus in the morning. By the time he gets to school he is kind of overwhelmed, so the first kid who brushes past him sets off a cascade of emotions and he ends up screaming and swinging at anyone who comes near him. Or her many doctor’s appointments make it hard to join girl scouts because you can’t make it to many of the meetings. Sometimes a child who looks so perfectly normal on the outside has an avalanche of turmoil or imperfection in their own head. They can’t express their affection for you in loving and secure ways. And sometimes their bodies are not strong or they have flaws that leave them fragile and in a great need of care.
No matter how small or how big the difference, this is not the child I dreamed about. I love what I have, but it is still not what I dreamed about.
For that, I grieve.
I think all parents greive to some extent for the child they did not have — the child who doesn’t share their love of music, or sports, or reading. This may be a small greiving process that may not even be recognized. But sometimes the difference between the dream and the reality is significant, and I think that leads to a larger need to grieve.
We must allow ourselves the right to grieve without guilt. It does not mean we are not good parents and it does not mean we do not love the children we were given. But we must give ourselves permission to acknowledge that there is a loss that has occurred and we must recognize that we are still good Moms and Dads, even though things aren’t the way we planned them.
So take some time. Think about what you miss. Bring it to the forefront of your thoughts. Then make a conscious effort to lay that child to rest. If you realize you feel very strong about this loss, maybe even have a small ceremony. Give yourself permission to let go of what you are holding onto from that lost child. By letting go, it may free you up to more easily embrace the child you have.
Question: Have you ever found yourself looking at your children or your life and realizing it was not what you envisioned? What did you do about it?