There is ALWAYS more than what meets the eye!
Every day I help families look beyond the behavior that is in front of them to the real issue that needs to be dealt with. Such a key technique to use towards HEALING!
No matter how long you have been a family, no matter how old your child is, no matter what they have said or done, no matter how long it takes....NO MATTER WHAT!
Be intentional and look behind the behavior - you are your child's best chance at healing!
Slow and steady wins the race.
I have to tell you, I think this is a great mantra for parents in general... Adoptive, Foster, Guardian, Kinship, AND even Biological!
It speaks to the need to stay NEUTRAL, no matter the test.
It reminds me to be CONSISTENT always.
It allows me the mindset to MEET my child where she/he is at.
It helps me appreciate that PROGRESS is slow.
It gives me the secret to KEEP ON, KEEPIN' ON!
It highlights that this is an IMPORTANT journey, a race to be won, a heart to be healed!
Make this YOUR mantra. Paste it to your wall or your forehead, put it on your shirt, place an ad in the paper to help others know too - whatever it takes!
It helps. It works. It is healing for everyone!
Mother's Day has been a real high and a real low in my 19 years of being one. It is such an amazing experience...becoming a Mom. I was excited to become a mom to all of my children. But that was my excitement, my desire, my plan - not necessarily theirs!
Mother's Day is a bittersweet day. In my family, it is a reminder of love and devotion, but also loss and confusion.
There have been many Mother's Days that were awful, but they were only awful because I didn't get it! My perception of Mother's Day was one that included feeling like a GREAT Mom because everyone in my house said and showed that they thought that I was a GREAT Mom. Unfortunately, everyone in my house was not able to think of me at all. Their pain and confusion about their birth mom came into full view on that day; they could think of nothing else. That pain and confusion spread to all of us.
At some point, my heart finally understood. The hard behavior and ugly words may have been given to me, but they were not about me. In essence, my adopted children WERE treating me like their Mom. They were laying their deepest pain in front of me. They were asking for help. They were being vulnerable in hopes I could fix it. They were taking a risk with their deepest fears. They were giving me their heart!
I realized that Mother's Day doesn't (and shouldn't) mean you get a day off of being Mom. Mother's Day is often the day we, as adopted and foster moms, earn the title of Mother! We are still the teacher, the nurse, the cook, the holder of memories, the heart, the healer, the unconditional love, the soft place to land, the boundaries, the planner, the counselor, the reader of souls, the guide, the fixer, the problem-solver, the safety net!
So...as we approach Mother's Day here in the states, remember to meet your child where he/she is, ESPECIALLY on Mother's Day. This is where HEALING really happens!
Know that his behavior is sadness and confusion and that in most cases your child blames himself for his loss. Meet him there. How painful for this child. This day all about mothers is a trigger and he can't get away from his distress. Honor his grief. Honor his Mother. Remember that they are both real and part of the load your child carries.
We have to mother differently - we share the title. Whether we feel the woman we share it with deserves it or not, her child does not feel complete without her. It is a hole, an ache at his very core. When we became his Mom, we were charged with helping to heal that hole and it takes a long time! It takes doing it differently and adjusting our needs on Mother's Day.
Take pride and joy in knowing that you ARE a GREAT MOM, whether or not your child can get past his pain and suffering on this day. You are doing an AMAZING thing - healing a heart!
Happy Mother's Day!
When I was in Michigan last week speaking at an Adoption/Foster Care/Kinship conference, many people asked me how I made it work. Leaving my kids at home - that is. Well here's the thing...there is a lot at play that makes it work for me and my family.
First, it has been almost 14 years. Time helps! For years I chose not to leave at all. Then for the next years I left a bit, but kept it at a minimum. Now I can leave without a lot of fall out.
Second, I am very intentional about having everything in place before I leave. Food is made by me. Plans are all in order and posted. Kids all have something of mine. And so much more.
Last but definitely NOT least, I make sure that I Plug In as often as possible. Call or text while I am gone. (needed less and less these days), but most importantly...when I get home I work really hard to get plugged back in even though it is the last thing I want to do cause I am tired. This time I took my girls to eat and a movie. I literally arrived home, changed my clothes and turned around and drove 30 minutes to the theater. Not that I didn't want to see my girls, but the couch was REALLY calling me. They needed it though...they talked non-stop, running through every detail of every minute while I was gone. They needed my undivided attention for a bit. Then, we sat at the theater - one on either side of me. Then back in the car and more talking. A few days later now they have softened up and we are all plugged back in...emotionally Plugged IN!
If you have to leave either physically or are busy emotionally, causing you to get unplugged, make that intentional decision to plug back in - our kids need us and don't always know how to ask or even that that is what they need. But trust me, even if you don't feel up to it or it is the farthest thing from what you want to do....go for it; it really cuts down on fall out behavior!