Hope Lives in Us

My guest today is Life with Mamita

“You bit off a big chunk, didn’t you?”

“Wow.  You’ve made quite a commitment.”

“Oh…well… I don’t know how much I can help…”

“I can’t offer you much hope.”

These were words that professionals spoke to me as I looked for help in the months after Cupcake came home. She was 4½ years old and had lived through unspeakable pain.   In some adoption books, there is a checklist of childhood traumas that contribute to behavior and attachment problems.  Cupcake had nearly all of them.   In desperation, I sought help wherever I thought I might find it.  Each time, as I choked out detail after detail of evil and unfortunate events that had happened to her, I received lots of not-so-encouraging proclamations.

In defense of the professionals, I believe they were trying to gently tell me that there would be no magic pill.  There was no chance that they could “fix” her in five easy steps.  They could not solve my problems.

This was a long term commitment and it was not going to be easy.

We were in way over our heads.  It seemed that our world was swirling down the toilet.

How did we find ourselves in this despair?

We didn’t begin our adoption looking for a kid with big-time trauma, although we were looking for an older child.  As a matter of fact, when we committed to Cupcake, it seemed like everything was looking up for a smooth transition.  However, throughout our two year wait, we had many revelations of the traumas she had faced.  With each revelation, we would swallow hard and again look to the God who called us to this journey.  We trusted Him to bring us through the fire.  We thought we knew what we were in for when our miracle child finally came home.  We had visited her several times and had seen no sign of a shattered life.  She was very good at hiding her pain.  We had read all the books and disregarded many of the worst case scenarios.  They wouldn’t apply to us.  We simply had no idea of the depth of brokenness a child could really have.

When she came home, the brutal reality of that brokenness shattered our own lives.

For a while, we lost sight of hope.

But God never lost sight of us.

He gently spoke to us through His word.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11

Love… always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.  1 Corinthians 13:7-8

He comforted us with music.

Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord….  You’re the defender of the weak.  You comfort those in need.  You lift us up on wings like eagles.

(Everlasting God by Lincoln Brewster)

Oh no, You never let go, through the calm and through the storm….through every high and every low…Lord, you never let go of me.

(You Never Let Go by Matt Redman)

He encouraged us through friends.

“Can I take the big kids today?”

“We’re praying for you.”

“I brought you some chocolate.”

He even cheered us with professionals.

“This doesn’t have to define her.”

“Kids can work through this stuff and come out okay.”

“Don’t do this alone.”

He gave us hope through His Spirit.

“Remember, Steve and Julie, I chose Cupcake for your family.  You are the Dad and Mom she needs.  You are in over your head, because I want you to trust Me.  You can not heal her.  That is My job.  Your job is to do your best, pray like crazy, and watch Me work in her life.”

Since that time, I’ve done my best to be what my daughter needs.  I’ve read more books on trauma in children than I care to mention.  I’ve learned how to parent a whole new way.  I’ve sought help from a variety of resources.  I’ve prayed like crazy.  And I’ve watched God heal our little girl beyond our wildest imagination.   She is a completely different child than the “raised by wolves” child that entered our family 2 ½ years ago.  She has come so, so far.

We still have days where we lose sight of hope and we are overwhelmed by the difficulty.  But Hope lives in us and He never gives up.  He carries us through the storm and restores our hope.   He is our Hope.  I pray He is yours, too.

Blessings to you,


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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.


  1. coffeemom
    January 13, 2011

    Thanks for this post. Even without going into the details (am surfing links after I type this) it's great to have the reminder of hope. We've/I've heard some of those same less than encouraging comments too, when reaching out for help. And they are kind of a big smack down. It's why I am so grateful for all the moms who reach out and remind us, like you, that change can happen…even if it's slow, even it's a boatload of work. I shoot for being in that camp too, wanting to shout to others that this can be done, but it IS hard….but worth keeping on…..Hope is everything, with God, it's one of the greatest gifts. THanks!

    1. Mamitaj
      January 13, 2011

      Thank you for the kind words. It is so good to know that we are not alone in this. God is in the midst of it. It's a lot like climbing a mountain (not that I have any experience). It's work, work, work, step by step. Then every once in a while, when you stop to catch your breath, the view is breathtaking.


  2. Michele
    January 13, 2011

    We are getting ready to bring home four kids that have been though a lot. Can you tell me what books helped you the most. As I don't read well so need something that I can read in the next four months before they get home. We know that there are so many books we just want a good one or two. Thanks!

    1. Mamitaj
      January 13, 2011


      If I had to pick two books, I think I would pick "The Connected Child" by Karyn Purvis, and "Attaching in Adoption" by Deborah Gray. If reading is not your thing, you might also pick up the videos from Empowered to Connect (www.empoweredtoconnect.org). They have one on Playful Interaction and one on Sensory Integration. I don't have them yet, but have seen parts of both and they look pretty impressive. Dr. Purvis is magical in the way she interacts with kids from hard places. Just to watch her was so educational and inspiring to me. It was so good to see for myself how her manner made kids feel safe.

      I wish you the best as you prepare to welcome these children and I pray that God heals their hearts once they are home. May you have strength and encouragement for the journey.


  3. Kayla
    January 13, 2011

    I love the words about you being the family God has chosen for this child. I think every parent needs to believe that, regardless of if there are "major issue" to resolve.


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