What do you know now that you wish you would've known sooner?
We were chatting about this the other day on my Facebook page. So many great answers. I gave it a lot of thought and mine, without a shadow of a doubt, is...I wish I would've known more about the impacts of trauma before I adopted my girls.
Over the years, I've learned a ton about the impacts of trauma. I've researched and researched. In fact, I think knowing the impacts of trauma, how they look on your child, and what to do about them is probably the biggest game changer for adoptive, foster, and kinship parents!
All of our adopted and foster kiddos have experienced trauma. Some experienced real obvious trauma, such as physical neglect and/or abuse. Some experienced the loss of a family (or in some cases, families) at an age they were old enough to remember. And ALL experienced a not quite so obvious trauma...a break in their primary attachment, the one that began forming in utero.
Too often, those impacts can be misinterpreted. Are misunderstood. They look like behaviors. Defiance. Not caring. And lots of times...they are invisible. But they are there. They're impacting our kiddos.
We've been digging deep into the impacts of trauma in the Intentional Parent Coaching Group, what they look like on kiddos, and what to do about them. I have to say, it's a GAME CHANGER for parents. They're now parenting from a whole new perspective. They're armed with tools that are making a difference. They're on their way to HAPPY & HEALTHY! And guess what...so are their kiddos.
If you're parenting an adopted or foster kiddo, you really need to be armed with the information about the impacts of trauma. Knowing what they look like on your child. And...what to do about them.
If you're ready to empower yourself with the info that's going to have a BIG impact on your kiddo, and your entire family, join me in the Intentional Parent Coaching Group. I'd love to help you!
I can’t wait to see YOU in group!
Yesterday my husband and I celebrated our 23rd wedding anniversary. Twenty-three years – a pretty big accomplishment I think.
I’d always hoped that we would mark our 20th anniversary with a trip to Ireland and Scotland. Well…we reached that anniversary 3 years ago and didn’t make it there, yet! It’s still on my bucket list.
Life took different twists and turns. Our kiddos still needed us here. Yes, they were teenagers. Yes, they’ve come a long way. A really long way. But…it just wasn’t the right time for us to be across the globe for a couple of weeks. And guess what…that’s okay.
There will be a time that is right. A time that I can get on the plane and go on a trip of a lifetime. A time to see where my ancestors came from. Just not yet.
As Intentional Parents, we have to make choices. What we want to do isn’t always best for our kiddos. That doesn’t mean you need to set aside your dreams and goals. Sometimes it means putting them off a bit. Sometimes it means doing them differently. And sometimes the goals and dreams change, evolve.
So while we didn’t celebrate in the way I originally had hoped, we did celebrate the day. Dinner out. Remembering our wedding day. Giving ourselves a pat on the back for all we’ve done. And looking forward…with HOPE! And that’s success in my book.
Have hope friends. Look forward.
To the momma who’s struggling…I see you.
To the momma who’s doing whatever it takes…I see you.
To the momma who feels alone...I see you.
To the momma who feels like she’s messing up…I see you.
To the momma who knows she’s the right parent for the job, but knows her kiddo is struggling…I see you.
To the momma filled with doubt and worry…I see you.
To the momma who’s completely exhausted and worn out…I see you.
To the momma fighting with all she’s got to help her kiddo heal…I see you.
To the momma who wants her kiddo and her entire family to be happy & healthy…I see you.
I see you. I hear you. I understand you. And…you belong here. Surrounded by those who truly understand. Armed with a plan and tools that really work. Encouraged. Empowered. Filled with hope.
You belong in my Intentional Parent Coaching Group. You're not alone!
I can’t wait to see you in group!
With love & dedication to you and your family,
A little gem for Foster & Adoptive Parents...
Love You From Right Here: A Keepsake Book for Children in Foster Care is a wonderful little tool that will help fill in the holes so many children who walk through the Foster Care system end up with. What an easy way to truly gift each child their whole story.
However, in addition to children in Foster Care, I think the story itself is wonderful for ANY CHILD trying to navigate the emotional hurdles of joining a new family. It shows the not so pretty side of things as well as eventual comfort and happiness.
I just wanted to be sure you knew this tool was available for you. The little effort it would take to use it to it's full potential would make such a powerful impact on a child's life - useful tool!
Here's a link to save you some time - check it out and share this Love You From Right Here with other families too. Just click here to go directly to the book http://amzn.to/2qKA29i
Mom...oh, that word/name encompasses so much! It's just 3 letters, but the power it holds to heal, to guide, to teach, to shape self-esteem, to fill with joy, to assure, to love, and so much more - is just awesome.
YOU are awesome!
My hope for you this Mother's Day is simply that you KNOW that you are ENOUGH. That your child's struggles on this special day, or any other for that matter, is not a reflection of whether you are a good Mom or not. YOU are a good Mom.
My advice for you is to go forward into Mother's Day the same as any other...fighting for your family, eyes wide open about how bittersweet this day is for your child, and armed with an Intentional Plan that takes into account your whole child.
So many of our children are caught between their desire to celebrate and the hurdles of their own wounds of loss, loyalty struggles and self-worth questions. It doesn't always come out looking pretty or sounding sweet.
Actually, many times the bitter of the bittersweet is aimed right at us, the Mom, and is much louder and uglier than the sweet. But does that mean you don't matter? Does it mean they don't care about you? Should you let it ruin your day?
No, it's NOT about ruining your day. The ugly and loud is not really about you at all - it's deep grief, pain, fear, longing, and confusion. What it IS about is needing YOU to be the best Mom you can be especially on Mother's Day. It's about needing you to use your MOM POWERS to get all of you through.
YOU can do this. YOU. Are. The. MOM! You are Enough.
This Mother's Day...use your Mom Powers to take in the sweet because you deserve it and help your child get through the bitter, reminding yourself it's not about you.
Happy Mother's Day,
10 Things Happy Adoptive & Foster Parents Do
Two of my kiddos will be graduating from high school this spring. Along with the feelings of excitement, anxiety is creeping in. Stress about completing a senior project. Anxiety about the future. Should I go to college and where? What next? For my son, he was getting more anxious and feeling stuck. He needed a plan.
So…as an Intentional Parent, I helped him come up with a plan. An action plan. Guess what? His anxiety is down. He has a plan. He is now excited. And hopeful.
As parents, we can feel that same way. Stuck. Anxious about the future. Not sure what to do. When it comes to parenting adopted and foster kiddos, it can be challenging – and exhausting. Often, parents are just hanging on. Reacting.
I know what that feels like. When I began this journey almost 17 years ago, I spent a lot of time just getting by. There was very little research about parenting adopted and foster children, and even less support. It became a survival game. Hanging on til bedtime. Going to bed exhausted and starting all over again the next day.
But…that kind of functioning was not getting us to where I wanted my kiddos and our family to be. We were not getting to HAPPY & HEALTHY. I needed a plan. An action plan.
Every week in my Intentional Parent Coaching Group, that is exactly what I am helping give parents. An action plan. A plan based on THEIR kiddo’s needs. THEIR family’s needs. A plan tweaked just for them.
With an action plan, they are no longer just hanging on. They are PROACTIVE rather than reactive. They are feeling empowered. Relieved. Hopeful. They are seeing success. Progress. Healing.
If you’re just hanging on or if your plan isn’t working, let’s get you an action plan to get your child & your family to HAPPY & HEALTHY.
YOU belong here...This is where it happens!
Join me in the Intentional Parent Coaching Group - JOIN US TODAY!
I heard it again this weekend...the dreaded, Oh that is just typical ________________behavior, mine did that too comment. (fill in the blank with a variety of descriptions like 3 year old, boy, teenage, girl, etc...)
It took all I could do to not get into this conversation. Actually, I didn't need to because Mom handled it quite well - pretty sure she had been there before. But had I opened my mouth, the earful would have included the following. Yes, the behaviors look like typical childhood behavior, but they are rooted in a very different place!
Here's the thing...children really only have a very limited number of behaviors they can really use to cope with hard emotions. They can't go jump in a car and drive fast and they can't go out and buy a pack of cigarettes. They can't pay someone to fix the situation and they can't decide to make life changes.
So yes, on the surface it looks the same. Tantrums, lying, stealing, bathrooming issues, sleeping struggles, and the like are behaviors used by all children when they can't express their emotions in a healthier manner.
The fact is, it stops being TYPICAL childhood behavior when we are clear about where those behaviors come from and our ability as parent to help our children feel safe.
Our children act out because they have a hair-trigger Limbic System. Much of the time we are trying to parent children who are in fight, flight, or freeze. They actually fear for their own safety and don't have the ability to use executive functioning.
Our children act out because they didn't have or lost the ONE relationship meant to teach them that they can regulate their emotions and how to do that.
Our children act out because they don't feel worthy of good things. They spend much of their emotional energy wondering when things are going to change again - when they will lose everything or have to start over.
Our children struggle because they never got a chance to move through all of the developmental stages because they lived in chaos and fear. They are emotionally younger than their biological counterparts.
Our children don't have friends because they miss social cues and nuances due to the impacts of the trauma they have survived.
Our children say and do things that are disrespectful because they haven't had an adult in their life that have taught them what that means - by being there for them no matter what.
Our children look angry and aggressive because a survivor can't be vulnerable...after all if they showed the deep sadness and loss that is behind that wall, they surely would be in danger of not surviving at all.
You see...this is why I kept my mouth shut because we would have been there all day. There's more, but I'll stop here except to say...
Our children's struggle is NOT like yours. It is NOT typical childhood behavior. Nor can how we parent them be typical. We need to do it differently, we need to meet them right where they are at - eyes wide open!
Those behaviors you call typical may look like your child's behaviors, but what your child knows to his core is that you will always be there for him, provide for him, and love him NO MATTER WHAT, which allows him to stand up, forgive himself, and start over...my child has none of that!
My child's struggle is that he is scared to death to trust an adult in that way again and risk that kind of pain and loss again. My child doesn't have that No Matter What assurance yet. There's no one to keep him safe, yet - but that's what I'm doing and why I'm doing it my way.
My child deserves the best.
End of conversation - whether you've said something like this out loud or to yourself, just remind yourself that people who are not walking this path can't really get it - so don't take it personally.
You are doing an incredible job. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise! Keep meeting your child right where HE/SHE is at...that is where healing happens!
When I set out to write the book Adoptive Parent Intentional Parent, I not only wanted adoptive, foster, and kinship parents to not feel alone, I wanted to give them tools that actually worked with their kiddos. I wanted to empower them, because the reality is they are their children’s best chance at healing. I think almost anyone on this journey would agree that lots of parenting strategies don’t really work with our kiddos. They have been impacted by loss and trauma, so we need to go about it a different way.
The other day, I came across the latest review.
“This book was a life saver. We found it at a really bad time, a time, when as an adoptive family we were falling apart. We had no help and had been abandoned by the very people who were supposed to be helping us. We were bless to find this book and then from there Stacy and her Facebook page, video blogs, global conference groups and tools needed to help heal our family and move forward being intentional and meeting our kids where they were at. Highly recommended for every family. Thank you Stacy because being alone is soul destroying and we now know it doesn't have to be like that <3”
I am so honored, so grateful. But…even more so, I am so happy that this family is no longer just surviving. It is why I set out to do what I do.
P.S. If you have read my book, you can help me help other families find tools and strategies that work by writing a quick review on Amazon. The more reviews written the easier it is to find in a search - we have to stick together!