Family Friday Part 2

After recovering from my slightly humiliating melt-down in the parent group, the conversation moved on again, with parents sharing more of their lives and struggles. We talked about trauma and our children’s experiences that affect their attachment to us. We talked about empathy, and how important it is to remember the core of our children’s behavior, which so often is fear.

This is such an important key to parenting our traumatized kids. I know it is fear that drives so many of the chaotic behaviors we see; I can feel it in Dimples. When she was little and she raged I would hold her close and rock her; sometimes I would say comforting words. When words made her more upset, I prayed silently and tried to keep myself very calm and regulated. I did a lot of deep breathing in those days.

Empathy is essential to healing; we have to remember our children’s histories and know that sometimes they really are doing the best they can. They have suffered so many injustices and been harmed in so many ways.

So often Russ and I say that if there weren’t other children to protect, this would be a much different scenario. We can handle a lot of stress and struggle, but what causes us the most pain, is Dimples’ suffering combined with the suffering of our other children. It’s like a swirling cloud of pain moving through our home.

After the parent group, we joined our children for lunch. Dimples had already gotten her food, but she stood alongside us in line while we got ours and then we all sat together. This was an unexpected and sweet gesture and we were both touched by it. We made sure to tell her how kind it was that she waited to eat with us.

Following lunch we did a fascinating exercise with a group of other families. I’ll share about that tomorrow.

Thanks so much for reading.

Lisa

 

 

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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

0 Comments

  1. Kathleen Fallon Pasakarnis
    September 25, 2013

    Thank you Lisa! Your willingness to share is a source of support for those of us who also have children from hard places!

    Reply
  2. Mamita
    September 25, 2013

    “It’s like a swirling cloud of pain moving through our home.”
    YEP!  Sometimes the pain this has caused my other kids is the darkest part.  Sometimes, it’s grasping the pain she (Cupcake) has already endured.  Sometimes, it’s my own wicked heart.
    Empathy for everyone (including myself) is very healing.

    Reply
  3. Laine Hatch Thomas
    September 25, 2013

    Thank you for sharing. Your posts speak to my heart. We have that “swirling cloud of pain” moving through our home as well as we work through helping our children from hard places and try to keep ourselves afloat as well. Here are two links to songs that have been helping me feel comfort and peace during the last many months as one of our oldest children has made some life-shattering choices and we’ve been working through the heartbreak. I wanted to share them with you. They are so beautiful.
    Beautiful Heartbreak: http://youtu.be/xyX-I-um5Kk
    Just Let Me Cry: http://youtu.be/zt0BKDOe3x0

    Reply
  4. SandraZimmerman
    September 25, 2013

    I know all about the swirling cloud. My husband and I have said the very same thing: If it were only one troubled child it would be so different but when you add other children with struggles the pain is a constant ebb and flow. It gets to the place where you cannot relax when the tide is at out because you know it will return with a vengeance! God’s blessings as you care for your family.

    Reply
  5. txbradybunch
    September 25, 2013

    My life since adopting is summed up by the following:  if there weren’t other children to protect, this would be a much different scenario. We can handle a lot of stress and struggle, but what causes us the most pain, is Dimples’ (fill in adopted child’s name here) suffering combined with the suffering of our other children. It’s like a swirling cloud of pain moving through our home.
    If only I knew then what I know now – I never ever ever ever would have made the decision to do this to my bio kids.  I hate admitting it – saying here – I hate that I feel it…… but I do.  And I know I am SO NOT the only one!

    Reply
  6. inpursuitofatoolbox
    September 25, 2013

    Praying for you all.  The balance of all children’s needs is so very gut wrenching.

    Reply
  7. sunflowers374
    September 25, 2013

    I love that she waited for you in line- especially for Dimples with food, that is HUGE. Love you.
    Em

    Reply
  8. Cindy Thomas McMurry
    September 25, 2013

    Lisa, your words always touch me. I’m always encouraged by what you say. I think you are remarkable.

    Reply
  9. MamaD.
    September 25, 2013

    “if there weren’t other children to protect, this would be a much different scenario. We can handle a lot of stress and struggle, but what causes us the most pain, is Dimples’ suffering combined with the suffering of our other children. It’s like a swirling cloud of pain moving through our home.” 
    Right. There. With. You.
    Even with my bio. kids, we had to make decisions based on “everyone”, not just one child.  When our oldest was in 4th grade, while homeschooling all the rest of the kids, we made the decision to send him to school.  We often said, “If he was an only child _______”, but he’s not.  We had to take into consideration the needs of our other 6 children.
    Then . . . we brought 3 traumatized children into our family of 10 bio. kids.  We had no idea what this would mean to our family.  In our worst nightmare we could not have imagined the painful journey that lie ahead.  Again, “If he/she was an only child ___________” but they are not.  We must take into consideration the needs of all of our children.  We cannot jeapordize the physical and emotional health and safety of our other children (both bio. and adopted), for one child.
    In reality, though, even if either you or I “only” had our one daughter at home . . . couldn’t it still be possible that residential care might be best for them for a time???  It’s not “just” about the other children; it’s also about the hurting child.  I absolutely believe that my daughter is where she needs to be (not only as protection for the rest of us, but for her own good).  She needs help; and we are doing all that we can to get her the help that she needs.  For our Little Miss, a residential facility is the best place for her at this time . . . and that might just be the case for Dimples, as well.  Our daughters need to know that we are doing what is best for THEM, and not just what is best for the other children in our family.
    Hugs to you Sweet Friend, as we walk this most difficult journey together.

    Laurel  🙂

    Reply
  10. MamaD.
    September 25, 2013

    txbradybunch  Thank you for your gut wrenching honesty.  “If only I knew then what I know now ________”  You are not alone.  Many of us could not have imagined in our worst nightmares what our adoptive journeys would mean to our families.  Unimaginably hard.  Incomprehensibly painful.

    Reply
  11. LuannYarrowDoman
    September 25, 2013

    You are killing me with this continued story. I want to know the end! I want to read, “And they all lived happily ever after.” But I suspect it may be a while before you say those words…

    Reply
  12. Lisa Qualls
    September 25, 2013

    Beautiful music, Laine Hatch Thomas. Thank you so much for sharing these songs with me.

    Reply
  13. Jennifer Summers
    September 26, 2013

    Lisa, we are praying! Thanks for your honesty. Hoping to see you at Refresh! I think Jeff is coming with me, maybe we can meet up for dinner one night (or lunch or whatever) if you aren’t too busy!

    Reply
  14. Cara H
    September 26, 2013

    I have been reading your blog for a long time, but never commented. I just feel like I should tell you today that I see Jesus in you in every story you share. It is so clear to me that he is working in your life. I worship God more because of who he is in you.

    Reply
  15. Lisa Qualls
    September 26, 2013

    Jennifer Summers, I would love to see you and I am really hoping that Russ will join me this year.

    Reply
  16. cnacraw
    September 26, 2013

    I needed to hear those words of honesty that others have commented about as well!  “…a swirling cloud of pain moving through our home!”  This just was such a great post for me to read and I could relate SO VERY MUCH!  Thanks for sharing and realizing we are not alone!!

    Reply

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