My Learning Curve: “Will There be Food There?”

Last Friday night was the University Christmas concert and Aunt Michele invited the girls to go.  In general, they are excited to go nearly anywhere and do just about anything, and they love Aunt Michele.  They also love to stay up past their bedtime, so  I thought they would be thrilled.

Kalkidan’s first response was, “Will there be food there?”

“No,” I told her,” It’s a concert where there will be lots of music, but they won’t serve food.”

“But I’ll be hungry.”

“We’re going to have a big dinner before you leave, so I don’t think you’ll be hungry.”

“Can I take a snack?”

Envisioning a granola bar tucked in her pocket, I said, “Sure, that’s a good plan.”

I continued cooking dinner as she went in the pantry to find a snack.  She emerged with a gallon ziploc bag containing three granola bars, a small bag of toffee peanuts left over from a road trip, and two Hershey bars, the remnants of summer s’mores, dug out from the back of the cupboard.  She explained that she was packing snacks for Claire, Beza, and their friend, too.

Resisting the urge to make her put half of it back, I laughed a little, and said it was fine.  I knew she wouldn’t eat much of it (and she didn’t), but I also understood that she felt safer taking her own supply of food.

The trauma of the extreme hunger Kalkidan experienced in her early life has made a deep imprint on her, and that saddens me. But I also feel very proud of Kalkidan. She knows her needs, she has “voice” (or the ability to express her need), and she made a plan for herself by packing her own food.  Not only that, she thought of her sisters and friend and packed food for them as well.

That is progress, my friends, true progress.

#521 – 530 giving thanks

walking in the cold with Russ Saturday night

Christmas lights on houses

holding hands

fellowship around the table at Signe’s house

singing O Come, O Come Emmanuel and God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen after dinner

time spent with Mimi yesterday

friends who ask for help and our joy in serving them

the third Sunday of Advent – one more candle lit on our table

waking early Sunday morning to put a roast in the oven

an early morning email from Sweet Pea

Books that help us understand our children from “hard places”:

[This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.]


This post may contain Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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. Kim
    December 12, 2011

    Way to be in tune with what the behavior is really telling you! If you weren't constantly thinking about the fact that your kids came from tough places, you might miss that this question of bringing snacks is more than just an annoying request. 🙂

  2. Marissa
    December 12, 2011

    Good for Dimples in making her needs known. You are right about that being a victory.

  3. shannon
    December 12, 2011

    This rocks my world. Really it does. I'm a single mom and although my son is only 4 and a half and home 2 years- being single, really puts the emphasis on learning tools to help him 'function' best. Then again- sometimes I wonder if I'm expecting too much too soon. Is it too hard for him? What do you think about the age appropriateness of these things? For example- his sippy cup(that is really a very hard sucking/calming mechanism) is COOONNNSTANTLy being left behind somewhere. And then as soon as he's left it he immediately asks for it. Is it to much to expect him to bring it with him? I've lately responded with the – "I guess you need to go get it." To which he's more enthusiastic than ever to have that sense of independence to leave the house and go to the car or next door to retrieve it. Proud and happy of his 'accomplishment'. But then also a reinforcer to 'forget' more things behind.

    Also- When I see him beginning to 'spiral', I've been calmly picking him up, removing him from the situation, and attempting to get him to eventually do long slow breaths. I do this realizing, that he may forever become overstimulated, fearful/anxious and need to remove himself from the situation and calm his body to feel safe. But lately it's spiraled even worse into rage fits. Any idea where I'm going wrong? Is this just too much to ask for an almost 5 year old?

  4. Mary
    December 12, 2011

    I loved your last thankful post and your book recommendations. Where would I be in my understanding without those books (or your blog)?! I'm thankful with you and for you. I magine there are days you wonder what happens to your words after you type them. They make their way into many homes and just think of where your words go in the next generation too? That is a happy thought!


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