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In a recent comment, a reader asked if I’ve written much about siblings and I realized that, although I’ve spoken on the topic, I haven’t published much about the impact of adopting children from “hard places” on children already in the family. This article was originally published on another site, which explains the more formal tone, and it’s quite long, so I’m breaking it into two parts.

She was four years old.  Each night she woke with a tummy ache and most often went to her parents’ bed hoping for some relief.  Lying next to her mother gave her comfort, but the pain didn’t stop.  A doctor finally determined she had a stomach ulcer and treated her.  The pain went away, but her mother worried about the stress she was enduring at this young age.

K loves fall out

On Wednesdays I go to my vault of posts (there are 1700, friends!), and share a My Learning Curve post from the past. Today’s post is from June 2009, when we had just begun traveling to Seattle for therapy with Deborah Gray.

As the family cleared the table last night, Kalkidan began drawing a picture similar to one her therapist had drawn. She talked about the ways her heart was broken. Then she drew many small hearts spilling out of the broken heart. Her therapist had explained that when a child’s heart is broken, her mommy and daddy can try to fill it up with loves, but the loves keep falling out and the child never feels that she has enough. Once a child’s heart is healed, the loves can fill her whole heart.

IMG_2335This question was lost in the recesses of my inbox until today. It’s an important topic for many of us as we seek to parent our children well.

How do you maintain sibling contact with your child(ren) who have multiple siblings adopted to multiple families. My 4 adopted children have at least 12 siblings adopted into 3 different families; we would like to maintain some sort of face-to-face contact if possible – since we’re in the same state – so they’re not strangers as adults. It feels awkward and forced, and not all of the families are very willing.

windfall pass

Last week I wrote about my fear of driving past the site of the accident; thank you for extending grace to me as I process my grief.  I was carried by your prayers and the Lord met me in such a sweet and powerful way.

My plan was to go a new route in order to avoid the curve in the road that changed our lives forever. As Russ left for work, he pulled me close, wrapped me tightly in his arms and prayed over me. I was ready.

I headed north on Highway 95, thinking about the roads I always take and how well I know them. I wished I could go that way, but I needed to protect myself from seeing that fearful place.

Soon I was at the turn-off for the new route, and I surprised myself by going right by. I could have changed my course, but in those brief seconds, I didn’t. I’m not sure why. I drove on, my mind racing as details of the accident surfaced.

I prayed continually as the miles went by; I told the Lord that I was afraid. In a rare moment of clarity, he spoke deeply into my heart, “I was there.”

just because this picture makes me smile - and cry a little

this picture makes me smile – and cry a little

giving thanks #1671 – 1680

Isaiah arriving today for a ten day visit

a great first week of college for Annarose

date night with Russ for the first time in ages


I went to bed last night knowing that today would be the 27th, eight months since the accident. I know I’m not exactly attracting readers to my blog by writing more about grief; I told myself – once a week at the most – but I can’t do anything else today, I just can’t.

Thanks to my phone chiming at 4:30 with a text from a wrong number, I woke from a bad dream and crawled out of bed. Wrapping a sweater tightly around myself, I crept downstairs and hit the button on the coffee maker. Mercifully, I had set it up the night before. Now I’m sitting in my favorite spot, coffee next to me, a heavy weight on my chest.

Yesterday I was looking through pictures for a post as Eby peeked over my shoulder.


This post, from February 10, 2009, launched My Learning Curve, a series of posts with practical tips for parenting children from “hard places.” I’m reaching back deep into my archives to share some of the best posts with you (with updates) over the next weeks. I hope you find them helpful.

Kalkidan is a lean girl – thin, muscular, and very strong. We thought that once she was home she would begin to gain weight, but in 21 months she has only gained 3.5 kg while growing significantly taller. She has the beautiful Ethiopian look of a long distance runner, but she doesn’t have much in the way of fat reserves.

When it comes to food, I am easygoing with my children. Food just isn’t a battle I’ve chosen to fight. We don’t struggle over finishing everything on our plates, or save dinner for breakfast if it isn’t eaten. That isn’t to say that I let them eat dessert when they haven’t had dinner, but I try to be relaxed about food.


Look at us! Tuesday Topics two weeks in a row. Did you enjoy reading the responses to last week’s question as much as I did?

Today our question comes from Teresa, who asks,

We have adopted multiple children from a country where birth records are either absent or often inaccurate. Our children are still younger (currently in lower elementary school). In one situation, the birth date seems off by a year and in such a way that it may actually be helpful to repeat a birthday, or to assign a new birthday half-way into the new year.

image: public domain

public domain image

On Hannah’s last day at the beach, we took a long walk at low tide. Strolling along the tide flats, we searched for beach glass and admired the beautiful houses on the far end of the bay. As we walked, the wind picked up and the sky grew darker.

My sister, Laura, and her family were staying down the beach, so they walked out to join us. We talked, admired the kids’ shells, and enjoyed the morning. To our surprise, we heard thunder in the distance. No big deal, we figured, at least it’s not raining.

Then the sky grew darker still and lightening shot across the clouds. We decided to head back to the house, walking quickly. As we chatted, one of the girls said, “Mom, your hair is standing up. Does mine look funny too?” We looked at each other and laughed at the static electricity in our hair; Hannah and I took a picture.


Summer is nearly over and I have not yet finished this little series of updates! I’m going wrap up my big kids today.

Mimi had a summer full of travel. She has always wanted to see the world and have adventures. When she was in college she dreamed of being a travel writer. Life went a different direction, yet now, through her work in the gaming industry, she is traveling to conferences all over the world.