I Could Almost Laugh (or Just Cry)

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We arrived home at midnight, and in our caffeine-fueled state, Russ and I stayed up until 1:00 am unloading the van. This morning came a little too early for me, but I was eager to sit down and write some deep reflections on the things I learned while we were away. Before I began, I did my Bible study and began wading through emails and messages.

Nothing prepared me for the seemingly routine voicemail from the school district announcing that the start of the school year is likely to be delayed one to two weeks due to unfinished construction projects at various schools.

They’ve got to be kidding. I honestly wondered if it was a well done prank until I found a news article confirming it.

Here’s the deal. We planned Dimples’ discharge from her program based on a school start of Aug. 26th. We knew she needed a few days to settle in, but not too many days remaining in the summer. Her biggest challenges come when days are unstructured; in the past, even an unplanned Saturday was enough to trigger a downward spiral.

I don’t know whether to laugh at the absurdity or just cry.

I’m repeating familiar scriptures and reminding myself that nothing is outside of God’s power or knowledge. When we carefully made our plans, He knew this was going to happen. I’m perplexed by this, but striving for peace. Maybe this will be a good thing? Right? Or maybe it will be a huge challenge – I have no idea.

What I do know is that my emotional state impacts my childrens’ emotional states, and in the case of a very sensitive child like Dimples, I have to be ultra careful to stay calm. Our kids from “hard places” regulate themselves to us, so if we panic, they’re likely to panic right along with us, and they often struggle to stop the train once it’s left the station.

Thanks for listening and letting me talk this through; perhaps public processing isn’t a good idea, but hey, you all know me pretty well by now, so there you go.

With everything in me, I’m going to try to laugh at this change of plans – I ‘ll let you know if I’m successful.

Anything interesting happening in your family as you approach the start of the school year?

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. Jennifer
    August 15, 2014

    Any chance you could change her "come home" date? Our only wrinkle has been that I paid for one week of full day camp for Z this summer – engineering camp at the Sciencenter. He got sick yesterday and has missed 2 of 5 days and went late one day. We spent a lot of money for 2-1/2 days of camp. 😉

    School starts here on Sept 4 – first time in public school!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      August 15, 2014

      The date was set quite awhile ago and there isn't any flexibility. I just have to laugh at all of my perfect planning.

      Reply
    2. Emily
      August 16, 2014

      Jennifer, what a bummer! is there any chance if you called the camp and explained what happened they could let him come to a different session… Or maybe apply partial credit to next year? A friend of mine did that when he son got sick for the week of camp he'd looked forward to all year, and they let him come later in the summer.

      Reply
      1. Lisa Qualls
        August 16, 2014

        Great suggestion, Emily. It would be nice if they could be that flexible.

        Reply
  2. Blessed
    August 15, 2014

    Oh, dear woman. You have so got this. You are absolutely right–God knew all along this was going to happen. That means he is grinning with you, and flexing His muscles. You've got this because you have learned you can't rely on your own strength, but His. In fact, his strength is made perfect in your weakness, which kinda means the less you can do it, the bigger He will be in response. Oh, how I pray now that you will be able to get into that zone–the you are unshakeable because you are so flexible zone.

    I am praying you will be like our little house here in CA–built before concrete foundations were the norm, so that people who are only used to one kind of foundation scoff at it, and think it is inadequate for whatever serious strength business it needs to be prepared for. But they don't know. The wooden posts that support this house might look inadequate, but they are designed for a purpose–and so when the big San Andreas earthquake came, and so many houses were damaged, their solid concrete foundations cracking and failing because they were so solid and held to the earth so tightly, this little house just rocked and swayed, moving with the earth and not fighting it. My little house danced. And while it was shaken to its very core, it came through fine. It was made to be shaken. The wise builders gave it the exact foundation it needed for where it was put on this earth, and so it does what it was made to do brilliantly.

    OK, it's not a perfect metaphor. The river rock chimney (original to the house in 1928, and of course being well secured to the ground) fell down. : ( Then again, that allowed for a better fireplace flue to be installed, and now we have a wood-burning fireplace insert, by which we heat out entire home. Which means the house lost something, but perhaps what it gained is much more of a blessing to our whole family. Maybe it's not a bad metaphor after all. ; ) But I am seriously praying that you will be able to give yourself and this dire situation completely over to God, and have confidence in Him if not in yourself or your circumstances or your daughter's new growth. Much much love to you!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      August 15, 2014

      You are amazing – and that was so beautiful and encouraging. Thank you so very much.

      Reply
    2. DFNY
      August 15, 2014

      What a great metaphor indeed, Blessed. I like it. Lisa, you are stronger than you are giving yourself credit for, you will sway back and forth as necessary, and even if it turns out to be a big challenge, maybe you have more energy now, before school starts, to handle potential issues that you and Dimples may encounter. This energy and your faith will help both of you. You, Dimples and your family are in my prayers. Here's to a smooth transition for all.

      Damaris

      Reply
      1. Lisa Qualls
        August 15, 2014

        Thank you, Damaris, for encouraging me and for praying for us.

        Reply
  3. Guest
    August 15, 2014

    Strength and dignity are her clothing,
    and she laughs at the time to come.
    Prov 31:25

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      August 15, 2014

      Thank you, friend! That verse came to mind and I wanted to look it up, but hadn't done it yet. I love it.

      Reply
  4. As one who is intensely waiting for school to start, for the sake of a consistent routine!!!, I can imagine the emotional roller coaster this has caused! I'll be in prayer. Thank you for first sharing the turmoil you felt BEFORE sharing the verses and such that will lift you up. Thank you for always sharing ALL of the picture.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      August 15, 2014

      I still can't quite believe it, Jennifer. The final decision is going to be made next Monday; we'll see what happens. I imagine many families are struggling with how to cope with this change.

      Reply
  5. Mary Ostyn
    August 15, 2014

    Hang in there– I am praying this unexpected time will be just the blessing she needs to settle in and do well back at home.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      August 15, 2014

      Mary, thanks for being hopeful…I need that. We'll see what the Lord has in mind.

      Reply
  6. Sue B.
    August 15, 2014

    I'm reminded of something our friend, Michele told me about God's grace. He gives it to us at the time that we need it, so it is hard to imagine ahead of time. Bessie Wilson used to say that you can't solve tomorrow's problems with today's grace. God gives it perfectly just when we need it. I'm praying for you.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      August 15, 2014

      Thank you, Sue, those are good words for me today.

      Reply
  7. Luann Yarrow Doman
    August 15, 2014

    Maybe, just maybe God wants to do something bigger and better and more unbelievable than you could ask or imagine. Maybe He knew this was the only way He alone would get the glory?
    (Or maybe the school is just stupid for not planning well. Seriously. I've never heard of such a thing!)
    Praying it will be the former and not the latter. xo

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      August 15, 2014

      You make me laugh, Luann! I'm going to believe that God is going to be seriously glorified in this.

      Reply
  8. Luann Yarrow Doman
    August 15, 2014

    PS: Dimples is so beautiful. Love this pic.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      August 15, 2014

      Thank you, Luann; Annarose took it during Dimples' last visit.

      Reply
  9. Christine
    August 15, 2014

    Are there any camps/vacation daycares (through the district or otherwise) available? It seems families with two working parents will need last-minute coverage too, so maybe something will be organized to fill the gap? It would be a cost, but at least there would be coverage… Of course, maybe that sort of camp/daycare option only happens in bigger metropolitan areas like mine… Good luck, no matter what!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      August 15, 2014

      Our options are pretty limited here, but I've been wondering what all of the other families without a stay at home parent are going to do. Our pool closes, the summer programs end…it's going to be interesting. Thankfully, we have fun Labor Day weekend plans, so that will fill several days.

      Reply
      1. Gloria
        August 15, 2014

        There have been labour disruptions to schools here in BC, and you would be amazed by how quickly entrepreneurial folks jumped in with programs for kids… I would be surprised if the same doesn't happen there…

        Reply
        1. Lisa Qualls
          August 15, 2014

          That's a good thought, Gloria. People will likely rise to the occasion.

          Reply
      2. Christine
        August 17, 2014

        That's lucky about Labor Day weekend. As others have said, I hope the rest of the extra time ends up being a blessing in disguise. Prayers for you all!

        Reply
  10. helenhsm
    August 15, 2014

    Sending up a prayer. God's got this. <3

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      August 15, 2014

      Thank you, Helen.

      Reply
  11. Teresa
    August 15, 2014

    I found you through Facebook a few months ago and you inspire me and bring me hope. My youngest is from China, 13 years old and currently in RTC. We've been planning for months to find the right school for her in Seattle and now we are moving to CA for my husband's work. She will most likely be transitioning home mid-year and all the schools are full and don't accept mid-year transfers. You are reminding me to breathe, trust and not panic! I've seen how panic plays out and it's not good. Praying for you and for me. Thank you for your openness.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      August 15, 2014

      So nice to hear from you, Teresa. I always say that the worst parenting I've ever done has been when I've parented out of fear. We know in our hearts that God will provide, but waiting for that provision is so hard. Blessings to you, new friend.

      Reply
  12. Maureen Reagan Shear
    August 15, 2014

    As I say, you make plans, then life happens.

    It is completely different, but similar. The year my child with high functioning autism started public school. Transitions are not great for him, and the anticipation of it was not going well. A new roof (that was supposed to be put on in June) was being put on the week before school started in August. And a storm hit one night. And the workers had not secured the tarps well enough that were acting as the roof. So it rained, a lot, in the school. School was postponed for a week. Ugh. Then I decided to make something of it. The kids and I made a list of their favorite parks. Then we choose the top 4, and the 5th day we had as the science center as a 'rain date'/celebration last day (wound up as a rain date). So each day we had 'plans' and something to do that kept him out of the house and distracted.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      August 15, 2014

      That's a great approach, Maureen. Thanks for the suggestion; I may need a plan like that.

      Reply
  13. C
    August 15, 2014

    Your predicament sounded familiar to me, Lisa. The first year we were able to put all of our 3 adopted kids into full time school a hurricane hit our area right during what would have been the first week of school. The start of school – which I had really, REALLY been looking forward to – was delayed. For the next 5 weeks, as there was cleanup and other hurricanes and tropical storms lined up, there was not one full week of school. Two days one week three days the next, etc. I could not believe it. But, I did manage. I don’t remember what we did on those off days though! That was a bunch of years ago and I still remember the upset of having the school year start out that way – for me! Hang in there, when it finally does start, it will be all the sweeter. Praying somehow that the construction won’t affect your particular school, and if it does that the Lord will inspire you with other opportunities for Dimples.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      August 16, 2014

      Thank you for sharing that story, C. I suppose there isn't much that can be done about hurricanes! I really appreciate your encouragement.

      Reply
      1. C
        August 18, 2014

        I just thought of some organizations that you probably already know of that might be good weekend options for Dimples (or your other kids too) – 4H, Girl Scouts, Pioneer Girls and the Civil Air Patrol. All of these are lots of fun, organized and teach many skills as well as leadership. Just a thought! 🙂 God bless

        Reply
  14. sciencedino
    August 16, 2014

    We plan, God laughs, I guess. Is there some other structured activity she could be involved in for those two weeks? Even a morning or day camp might help provide enough structure for her to do better at home. If no such camp is available, what about finding some volunteers and/or hiring a tutor/therapist/other helper to create a "camp" for her for a couple hours a day over those two weeks?

    Our foster son doesn't require crazy levels of structure, but planning out his daily activities each week, for the whole week, down to the hour, really keeps his anxiety at manageable levels (though it's quite a lot of work for us). I almost can't wait til school starts and it will be someone else's job to structure about half his waking hours M-F!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      August 16, 2014

      The structured planning can be fatiguing. Thankfully, we do have friends who are eager to see her and spend time with her. Maybe we need more time to settle in than I originally thought and the Lord is providing for that through this delay. We'll see!

      Reply

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