Rough Road Ahead. I saw this sign on my way into town today and thought...well, isn't that the truth!
Seriously, this was just like the path many of us travel. There was no warning, the sign just appeared. No detour marked. No map to show the driver another option. I was not prepared. And I've got to tell you, it was REALLY ROUGH!
Just like I learned when trying to parent my adopted children, I quickly realized I was going to have to do this differently than I normally would...I had to be very intentional about my choices.
I mean I could just drive the speed I usually did and stay right in the center of my lane like I have been taught to, but that would have meant hitting every pothole, feeling every bump, jostling my body, tearing up the bottom of my car and making me just plain grumpy. Nope, not what I wanted.
So, I tweaked my expectations and intentionally chose to do it differently.
First, I reminded myself that it was okay to get there when I could get there. I slowed down...my expectations needed to change and be based out of the reality of the situation. Just like when we look at parenting our children - we've got to meet them right where THEY are at, not where we (or society) thinks they should be.
Secondly, I had to get really intentional and not be afraid to do it differently. I had to look at the road as if I'd never driven it before to avoid the holes. There were times I had to slow almost to a stop or swerve here and there, times I had to drive in the other lane (luckily it was a back country road), and at times I even had to use the shoulder a bit. NONE of this was in my plan when I left my house to run a few errands.
I can honestly say that today's outing reminds me of our journey and those of the thousands of Moms' and Dads' stories I have heard over the last 16 years. SO many parents share that they were not anywhere near as prepared to adopt or foster their children as they thought they were.
They just thought (as we did) that they'd do it the way they had before, the way their friends and family did it, the way they were raised,, but all of a sudden they saw the SIGN - Rough Road Ahead. That's when things got difficult. Hard Behaviors. Disconnect. Mistrust. Sadness. And so much more. They felt stuck!
Here's the thing...A rough road doesn't mean you have to stop. It doesn't mean you can't make it through. It doesn't mean that you can't get to where you want to go. It means you have to do it differently to be successful. It takes a shift in your thinking and intentional choices to get to the other side
This goes for parenting our kiddos as well. Yes, it can be rough. Yes, it takes a while. Yes, it is possible to make it through if we intentionally choose to meet them right where they are at. And commit to no matter what and for as long as it takes.
So, have you hit the Rough Road Ahead sign?
You don't have to do it alone. I really want you to know that I have navigated through the rough stuff and I am dedicated to helping you make it too!
The map is in place. And the most effective path is laid out. I want to personally invite you to join me in my Intentional Parent Coaching Group. This is where I will show you exactly how to deal with YOUR rough road. What to say, what tools to use, how to help others support you. And SO much more!
I'd be honored to lead you to the other side! It's Time! JOIN US!
The other day I decided it was time to tackle my freezer. I could no longer find what I was looking for. It was packed! Clearly, I had put this task off far too long.
So…we pulled everything out. Sorted it, checked for freshness, and reorganized. Hate to admit, but we had to throw some things out. They had been in there too long and were freezer burnt.
I’ve made this mistake in the past. Then, spent time kicking myself. Time feeling bad. This time I did what I teach my children. What I teach parents in my coaching group. I gave myself GRACE.
It’s okay, I told myself. We are starting FRESH. So I took the garbage out, admired my newly organized freezer, and took a deep sigh of relief. Starting FRESH feels a whole lot better than regret.
Regret can stop you in your tracks. Weigh you down. Get you STUCK.
Grace and starting fresh can free you. Refuel you. Keeping you moving forward. Propel you.
So, I encourage you to give yourself grace when you make mistakes. Give yourself permission to start fresh. And just as importantly…teach your kiddos to do the same.
My dad is a “make it happen” kind of guy. Willing to take risks. Speak his mind. Goes for it. Fortunately, he has passed those onto me as well. Boy, has that served me well.
But…sometimes when you speak out, when you do things differently, you stand out. And let’s be honest, that doesn’t always feel comfortable.
When my oldest son was nearing preschool age, all the Moms in the neighborhood were talking about what the best preschools were. Who the best teachers were. It was a given…preschool was what you did.
We toured the schools. I asked questions. Lots of questions. But, my gut told me it was not the best option for my son. SO…I listened to my gut. We kept him home. And let me tell you, it was against the grain in my neighborhood. I’m sure the rest of those Mommas thought I was making a mistake. That I was nuts. Sure, I second guessed myself at the beginning, but it didn’t take long to be confident that I absolutely made the best decision for my son.
That standing out and doing things differently was just a drop in the bucket compared to how I had to do it with my girls. When my girls joined our family almost 17 years ago, we started off parenting them just like we had been parenting our biological boys. Let me tell you...that did not work.
What I discovered was that I needed to meet each of my children where they were at. And…that did not look the same for everyone. It certainly didn’t look like how my neighbors were parenting. How people at church thought I should parent. Nor how my extended family were doing it.
The fact is, my girls came to me with a lot of loss. With pain. With wounds. With the impacts of trauma. And what they needed from me, and what they deserved from me, was to meet them right where they were at.
So…I parented differently. Wow, what a difference it made!
Reality is, it wasn’t always easy to do it that way. Lots of times it would have been easier to do it like everyone else. It was hard to be questioned by others. To get judged. To get that look. That look as if to say, “You are such a controlling mom.” To feel like everyone else thought I was nuts.
My children are my top priority. So I had to choose what was best for THEM. Not what was easiest or most comfortable for me. Let me tell you…it paid off! For my girls. For my boys. For my entire family.
Even to this day, 17 years later, I still parent this way. Even when it is hard. Even when others think I am nuts. It is what my children need and deserve.
With love and dedication to you and your family,
P.S. be sure to join our community of over 25,000 Adoptive, Foster, Kinship and Guardian Parents on Facebook...a safe place, a supportive place and a place that will equip you and empower you to meet YOUR kids right where they are at! Join us.
I know you are being pulled in a million different directions. School, social workers, doctors, therapists, family members, friends, random strangers...all want to tell you how to help your child heal.
Where do you turn? Who knows best? How can you find something that works? It's exhausting and lots of times it gets tempting to just quit!
I've been right where you are - it feels like you're on a merry go round that just won't stop. I fought hard to get it to stop and what I learned was that what we need is FOCUS!
To get your family to where you want it to be it's important to stop comparing, stop looking back, stop using tools that don't work, stop fretting, and stop questioning yourself. All that stuff trips you up.
The faster you get to FOCUS, the faster you get to ACTION.
And the faster you get to ACTION, the faster you get the OUTCOME you are looking for.
My OUTCOME? I wanted a shift. I wanted the hard behavior to stop. I wanted my child to be happy. I wanted her to feel connected to me. I wanted her to feel safe. I wanted to feel like a good Mom again. I wanted to laugh. I wanted peace and calm.
My FOCUS became...parenting a new way. The way that was best for each of my children. Even if it was different then everyone else -and it was!
My ACTION was (and still is) to meet my children right where they were at. Using tools and strategies to Intentionally parent my whole child. Deficits, trauma, grief and loss, history, gifts, and challenges - eyes wide open - meeting them for as long as it takes and no matter what!
The Final OUTCOME...I got what I was looking for! My children are each thriving as individuals. We are very connected. No more ugly behaviors or words. When feeling safe kicked in, they began to find their passions and are blossoming. We began to make new happy memories. Our family is peaceful and calm. Wow, what a difference!
How about YOU? Is your family where you want it to be?
Are YOU Focused?
Do you have an ACTION PLAN?
Are YOU ready to create change?
I have got REALLY GOOD NEWS for you...I have brought together everything you need to jump in and make it happen. No more wondering. This is it! My Intentional Parent Coaching Group - Find your FOCUS. Take ACTION that works. Create the OUTCOME you want!
As a member you will have all of this at your finger tips plus more:
Let's do this TODAY- JOIN US!
We are in the middle of winter, but have had an unseasonably warm past several weeks. Even managed to hit 60 degrees in February, which is unheard of in Minnesota.
The birds must have gotten the memo that we are warmer way earlier so they have begun heading back home after their southern winter escape. My living room overlooks a pond. Today, I’ve been hearing and seeing many, many birds. My granddaughter and I just watched a flock of geese fly by. She was SO excited!
As I watched them fly, it made me think of the power of flying in a flock. The V formation. One bird leading the way. The other birds flying right along. But…as they got tired, they could coast a little bit, drafting on the tails of the one in front of them.
They didn’t have to go it alone. They didn’t need to try to navigate the route by themselves. They didn’t have to solely rely on their stamina. They made the trek TOGETHER.
I know too many parents who have tried to make their trek alone. Not knowing where to turn to get the support and direction they need. Not having a way to coast. Only relying on their stamina (or lack of it). Only relying on their navigation even in territory they have never encountered.
After hearing time after time from those parents who felt alone, who felt unsure of how to help their children, I created something new – Intentional Parent Coaching Group. A way to give them tools, direction, and support.
Let’s get you and your family SOARING!
Pretty sure that most people could figure out what my passion is within 5 minutes of talking to me. Attachment. Helping adopted & foster kiddos. Helping adoptive and foster families. It’s something I talk about ALL THE TIME.
My biological boys are blessed to have found their passions. My eldest is passionate about working with youth at a mission on a Native American Reservation. I’ve seen him walk through those halls, confidently. Grinning from ear to ear. He has discovered where he belongs and what he wants to do with his life. What a gift to have at the age of 20.
My middle son eats and breathes anything related to film. Loves watching films – old and new. He sees things in the world from a cinematographer’s point of view. And he’s been known to stay up late (after I think he’s gone to bed) working on his latest screenplay. He is my creative genius.
My youngest is in the discovery stage. He has really fallen in love with acting. We were fortunate to have found a school this year that focuses on acting and theater, in addition to great academics. It has been a really good fit for him this year. It will be fun to see if he decides to pursue this in the future.
For my girls, it has been a longer, harder road to finding their passions. They are adopted and came to us with loss. Grief. The impacts of trauma. They came to us not knowing how to be part of our family. Not knowing who they were. They came to us just trying to survive.
Over time, walls came down. We began to be able to pour into them all the things we could seamlessly pour into our boys. Love. Worth. Confidence. Hope. It was a process. A long, long process.
My oldest daughter is not there yet. She has some incredible gifts. She is academically brilliant and has an amazing talent at art. But, she has not reached the stage of finding her passion. She came to our family at almost 6 years old. A lot of damage had been done. Loss. Trauma. Neglect. It shaped her. Impact the wiring of her brain. She has made a lot of progress, but has not gotten to the point of knowing who she is. What makes her tick. And, honestly, there are still times she is just getting by. But I am holding onto hope that she will reach that point someday.
My youngest is dipping her toes in when it comes to passion. This year she is taking an art class. She is so talented. Wow, you should see her drawings. She has always been talented, but now she is taking some steps. Putting herself out there. Sharing her artwork. Posting it on social media. Being open to hearing from others about it. That is some great growth happening!
A few years ago, my middle daughter had this amazing transformation. She finally believed she was worthy. Worthy of good things. And wow…did we see a change. She blossomed. And with that came confidence. Willingness to put herself out there. Take some risks. She has started her own business. Buying and refurbishing furniture. And she has great success. She loves what she is doing and is incredibly good at it. Yes, there are times I have needed to help her work through some things, cheer her on a little louder, but she is there. She is thriving in her passion.
Passion. It’s what gives us purpose. Meaning. The fuel to get going in the morning. And what a great gift we can give our kiddos, and ourselves too.
I am so excited...I am having a party and I hope you will join me.
I would love to have you join me to watch the Season Finale of a really great show - This Is Us.
I don't watch much t.v., but this is good stuff. Makes you laugh. Makes you cry. Just an overall feel good program.
So...here's the thing. If you are like me and you are behind by a couple episodes or if you've been meaning to catch this show, you are in luck. You have all weekend to get caught up so you can join us for the Finale Party!
Check out NBC.com and binge watch as much as you need. Then jump on Facebook with me at 7:45pm Central Time on Tuesday night, March 14th, as we do our pre-show preparation. Then, watch my Facebook Live again during each commercial break and afterwards for a check in on how everyone is doing.
Here's the link to page. Like it and set notifications for my videos and you'll be all set!
Proclaim an early bedtime. Treat yourself with a cup of cocoa. Grab a box of tissues, a blanket, and your fuzzy socks and join me!
Can't wait to chat with you about This Is Us! It's going to be great fun.
The other day I overheard a couple of parents talking about their teenagers. One responded with the phrase, “It is what it is.” I bit my lip because I wanted to chime in and say Seriously??
When it comes to our kiddos, we should never take the approach of It Is What It Is.
Yes, there are things that we absolutely cannot change.
We cannot change the fact that some of our kiddos were born to another mother. We cannot change the fact that had a deep loss when they lost their biological family. For some, they lived in orphanages. Some bounced from home to home and family to family in the foster care system. We cannot change their history, their story before they came to us.
BUT…that does not mean that it is what it is. When people take on that attitude, it gives themselves permission to be done trying. To be done finding ways to lessen the impacts that those experiences have had on their kiddos. They believe that they can’t make a difference. That nothing’s going to get better. They give up hope.
And guess what…their kiddos start believing that too.
So...I want to encourage you to avoid the pitfalls of that kind of thinking. It is time to think and speak a very different message. “Things can get better.” “I am going to keep doing whatever I can to help my child.” “I have HOPE.” “I refuse to give up.” “My child deserves me to keep keepin’ on.”
Ready to take that stance with me? Join me in my Intentional Parent Coaching Group where we are not throwing in the towel. Not accepting that things are "this is just the way it is."
We are heading to change. Heading to healing. Heading to a bright future. We are doing whatever we can to help our kiddos.
In my Intentional Parent Coaching Group, here's how we get there:
Your child, your family and you are worth it. Let’s get you the support and tools that are going to make a HUGE difference for your family!
Looking forward to having you JOIN US!
Just a quick note today from me to you...if you are feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and ready to "quit", I want you to know that things can be better.
I have SO been there. Sixteen years ago, no one talked about the challenges of adopting, fostering, or kinship care. The reality is no one really knew what to do. We were hanging on tight. Just surviving. There wasn't much happiness at all. And quite honestly, I found myself totally done!
I just couldn't take it anymore so I followed a hunch and that is when the shift happened. The difficult behaviors started to slow down. Connections began to strengthen. I felt like there was hope. The more INTENTIONAL I was and the more I parented my kiddos from right where they were at, the more SUCCESSFUL we all felt!
With success came Self-Confidence, Energy, Trust, Joy, Connection, and so much more...the shift was life-changing for our whole family!
I would be honored to share all that I now know with you. Your family can feel the shift too.
My friend, it is time to break away from the old and step into the new!
I have brought together everything you need to jump in and make it happen.
As a member you will have all of this at your finger tips plus more:
Immerse Yourself and Live the Change - Energy. Joy. Happiness. Hope
Looking forward to having you JOIN US!
The other day I was listening to a woman talk about the power of positive thinking. She had been diagnosed with cancer and person after person had come to her and said I don’t know how you stay so positive through all of this. She truly believes her POSITIVE THINKING changed her life.
That got me thinking to about being in the trenches. When faced with struggles and challenges, it can be hard to stay positive. Hard to stay hopeful. Add to that complete exhaustion, and it can feel nearly impossible.
I remember those days in the trenches as an adoptive parent. It was hard to stay positive.
I’ve always been a positive, hopeful person, but my girls came to me hurting. Grieving. Struggling. Hopeless. Feeling unworthy and unlovable. And that quickly turned into acting out. Tantrums. Meltdowns. Push back behaviors. And my hopefulness and positive attitude went out the window.
Here’s the problem…when I lost hope, my kiddos couldn’t have hope. In fact, even my husband couldn’t have hope. And my negative attitude did nothing to help the problem, it only made things worse. A whole lot worse.
So I needed to shift my attitude. Well, let me rephrase that. I chose to change my attitude. I chose to focus on positive thinking. I chose to hold onto hope.
Now, that doesn’t mean I look at things unrealistically. I don’t. In fact, I look at where my kiddos are very clearly, very realistically. I meet each one of them where they are at. But I look at that with a positive outlook. An attitude of I AM making difference. We ARE working on things. My child DOES have a bright future. And I WILL do whatever I can to help them reach that. It’s what they deserve. As an Intentional Parent, it’s my job!
There are times, my attitude gets a little shaky. My hope waivers. That’s when I remind myself of how far we’ve come and where we’re headed.
So…focus on the positive. Look at how far you’ve come. Even though you may feel like it at times, you’re not throwing in the towel. You are working hard at helping your child heal. REALLY hard. And focus on where you want to be headed!
The future is BRIGHT and you are going to make it happen!