Hello to Honest Feelings, and Goodbye Locs

Russ and I got home from our visit with Dimples last night.  It’s a long drive, 750 miles round trip, so we had plenty of time to talk. The most notable observation is that Dimples is learning how to express herself and talk about her feelings in a way that we have never seen before.

 Her counselor and I were getting ready to tighten her locs, and she asked if she could have them taken out. We’ve had this discussion before, complete with arguing and accusations, but this was different. She didn’t place blame, she didn’t argue, she simply presented her case for why she was ready to have them out.

Two years ago I had her hair locked; there were so many battles with Dimples, that hair was one I wanted to eliminate.  Locs have been great – truly a gift. We went from hours of crying, screaming, and arguing every week, to virtually no time lost on hair.

Personally, I love her locs and think they are beautiful. While Dimples agrees that it’s been great not having to spend lots of time on her hair, she has not loved them.

Yesterday she calmly told us that she felt she was ready to take care of her hair, and then she added that when she looks at pictures of her curly hair, she feels that she looked prettier then.  Even more transparent, she said that when she sees pictures of Bee’s hair she feels envious. She held back tears as she calmly talked with us.

This is dramatically different from saying things like, “You only love Bee, that’s why you let her wear her hair the way she wants to.” Or, “You never trust me! I can take care of my hair, you just don’t believe me.”

Russ was very worried about adding hair battles back to our life, but I suggested that if we were ever going to take her locs out, now is the time. She has staff to help her learn how to manage her hair, and by the time she comes home, she will have gained the skills to cope with it. I may be wrong, but I’m willing to give it a shot.

Dimples’ counselor and I began the task of taking out her locs. In two hours,with both of us working, we removed a total of seven locs. It’s going to be a long process.

More than anything, I want Dimples to know that we heard her – she expressed herself in a mature and honest way, using new skills, and although we would have preferred to keep her locs in, we were able to say “yes” to her request.

That, my friends, is progress.

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.

27 Comments

  1. Angela Kienzle
    February 25, 2013

    Lisa, So excited to hear of this progress. Praying for you and the family.

    Reply
  2. Dawn Flatness Wright
    February 25, 2013

    HUGE!!!!!!!!! WAHOOO!!!!!!

    Reply
  3. Jamie Jones Duponte
    February 25, 2013

    that is awesome, for her, and for you to hear, and allow her to make a mature decision, despite misgivings!! Having taken locs out twice, on the same child:-/ I can tell it is hard, but doable. There are some products that really help, if you go prepared next time it will go faster.
    So happy to hear of progress, and praying that it continues, praying for you all!

    Reply
  4. Tara Bradford
    February 25, 2013

    Celebrating and cheering you on in the major step that you just experienced in your relationship! Way to go Dimples! I pray God's healing continues in your sweet, little soul! I pray that Russ and Lisa continue to have opportunities to say "yes" and see further progress in this healing journey.
    Hugs to you all!

    Reply
  5. Paula Miles Spears
    February 25, 2013

    All I can say is "wow". I'm so impressed by Dimples' progress, even if it may seem like a little thing. Wonderful for both of you.

    Reply
  6. jgumm
    February 25, 2013

    That's amazing progress!! I was always under the impression that the only way to be "done" with locs was to cut the hair off. I guess that's just the easy way out? I'm always trying to talk Beza into really thin locs but she won't go for it. We do enjoy doing yarn braids which can last 7-8 weeks. It takes about 8 hours to do them but I enjoy the long stretch without having to do hair!

    Reply
  7. Sharon
    February 25, 2013

    Wow. The transparency emerging… I love that you heard her and responded lovingly even when it wasn't what you would prefer. And, I can't imagine the process for taking out those locs!

    Reply
  8. Coffeemom
    February 25, 2013

    Brava dimples! Brava mama! That’s a huge step! The clear calm asking & the agreement based on her desire, well posed. Been there. Done that. When I took down Sarah’s locs it took me over 40 hours, some w help from two sisters. So, it’s a job but it can be done and saves years of growth. I made the same deal regarding care. My daughters is now all natural, an Afro. It’s my favorite style on her….the days she takes good care of it. But those days are happening w more frequency…..
    Hair is a process. Just like healing. And maturing. And trusting.
    You all are well on your way and on an encouraging path! You stay in my prayers. Good job mom!

    Reply
  9. nancy
    February 25, 2013

    {exhale}
    Good and WONDERFUL stuff, Lisa. Thank you for sharing this journey! It means the world.
    nancy

    Reply
  10. Mindy/Grateful Grace
    February 25, 2013

    Just found you blog via a friend. Will be catching up with stories over time, but for now I just want to praise God for this victory and growth. yea!

    Reply
  11. Katie Patel
    February 25, 2013

    Awesome!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  12. Chantelle
    February 25, 2013

    Progress! Progress! 🙂 🙂

    Reply
  13. Elizabeth
    February 25, 2013

    That is wonderful Lisa! I can just "see" that conversation taking place. What a big step for all of you! Love you!!

    Reply
  14. Janell
    February 25, 2013

    This is progress. Being honest makes her vulnerable and owning her feelings instead of deflecting them onto others is huge. I'm so glad you heard her. You won't be able to always say yes but this was a wonderful step for her.

    Reply
  15. Sadee
    February 25, 2013

    Oooo my heart is so hopeful for you guys….so grateful God gave her the courage to communicate in a new way and so grateful God gave you the courage to say "yes." Wow!!
    God is making you "beautiful people" according to the quote you shared with us last week. Thank you for letting us be on the journey with you.

    Reply
  16. linedancergal
    February 25, 2013

    Well I guess it's not the best thing in the world that the hair battles may be back, but it's awesome and fantastic that Dimples can tell you what she wants! On top of all that she is learning at the moment, she is also older than last time. I think I was about 11 before I learned to manage my long hair on my own and I KNOW Mum received many complaints about how much she pulled my hair when she was putting it up.

    Reply
  17. Tobi
    February 25, 2013

    Lisa, That is good news. Dimples is maturing and you and Russ being encouraged – what a blessing!

    Reply
  18. Shonni
    February 25, 2013

    Amen!

    Reply
  19. Barbara
    February 25, 2013

    That's beautiful! Helen (14) decided she wanted to stop having her hair braided, so we made it clear what was expected as far as caring for her hair. It was difficult, and she tried to get away with not doing it, and I just stated the expectations and said the consequence for not doing so would be a haircut. She has fiercely protected her long hair, even though she almost always wears it up in a bun. Go figure. Still, it is a symbol of power to her, and I wanted to reward her maturity with more power for her, less in my hands. It's been a great lesson for both of us. Great work… keep believing.

    Reply
  20. carly
    February 25, 2013

    Words are powerful when spoken with respect… Love you, dearly!

    Reply
  21. lisa h
    February 25, 2013

    so happy for all of you! 🙂

    Reply
  22. Ellen
    February 25, 2013

    so encouraging. i needed to read some encouragement today; thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  23. Laila
    February 25, 2013

    I am sooo very happy for you and Dimples!!! That progress is huge, I can see why you had to fight back a tear when she was asking in such a HEALTHY way!! From one RAD mom to the other, it is so helpful that you are sharing this journey. It helps others in so many ways!!!Thank you! You are an amazing Mom!!

    Reply
  24. SleepyKnitter
    February 25, 2013

    Beautiful and amazing! Continuing in prayer for all of you!

    Reply
  25. Sarah La Due Chaney
    February 26, 2013

    i too, at 31, still have times when i respond like a dieing kitten out in the rain. you offer me food, i manage to take off 3 fingers in response. because i hate that, i am so grateful for myself that it is much, much less often as i grow in grace and learn and am forgiven. i am so grateful that she is getting tools. and i'm so grateful that God has given you enough grace to keep risking for her.

    Reply
  26. KarenP
    February 25, 2013

    Yay for all of you!

    Reply
  27. Jennifer P
    February 28, 2013

    Way to meet in the middle. Thank you for sharing the beauty of progress.

    Reply

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