The Thing About Hope

Monday I wrote the post, My Learning Curve: Infusing Hope in Children.  As I wrote it, there was something rattling around in the back of my head, but I didn’t have time to let the thought develop enough to express it. It’s been nagging at me all day, so here it is.

The hardest thing about infusing hope in our children is that sometimes we don’t feel very hopeful ourselves.  How do we give our children something we don’t have?

While Honeybee may struggle with a lack of hope for her future, I struggle with my own feelings of,  “Am I really strong enough to mother these children?” “Am I ever going to be the same?” “Am I doing a good enough job?”

When parents lose hope, children and teens respond with bitter anger.  After all, if your own parents have lost hope, then you are in a sorry state! (Deborah Gray, Nurturing Adoptions, p. 153)

How do we remain hopeful in order to give our children hope?  Dinner needs to be on the table in twenty minutes, so I am going to start a list here and ask you to add to it.

  • Get counseling for your child and yourself, especially if your child is from the “hard places” and you are having a tough time with attachment.  We would not be where we are today were it not for the help we receive from our therapist.
  • Find a few supportive friends and talk to them regularly.  Ask them to check in and see how you are doing if you feel yourself sinking too low.
  • Dive deep into your faith.  I have spent many a day and night praying the simplest of prayers, “Help me, Lord!” “Give me Your peace.” and when I am in serious need, I turn to this ancient prayer, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
  • Try to get some exercise.  Running, walking, and breathing deeply have been essential to my sanity.  If you can’t manage to exercise, at least get outside a little bit each day and breath some fresh air.
  • If you are married, run to your spouse’s arms.  You may feel that you are both on a sinking ship, but you are not sinking alone.  If you feel that your marriage is suffering from the stress, get help from your pastor, an older couple, or somebody else you can trust.
  • Try to maintain your sense of humor and make room for a little bit of fun in your life.  Russ and I have a date to watch LOST online every Wednesday night and we look forward to it all week.  I also have a few blogs I stop by that nearly always make me smile.
  • Talk to other adoptive parents and read blogs that encourage you…I hope mine will be on that list!

Question:  What helps you to maintain hope?

We are heading  to Seattle this afternoon for a whirlwind day of appointments on Thursday, so I may not be able to approve your comments until I am home Friday morning.  I look forward to reading your thoughts!

Let’s encourage one another.

~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. coffeemom
    April 14, 2010

    Great great list Lisa. All critical….and losing hope, despairing, is the hardest darkest of places. But, those things can all help so much. I also had some extra help, (you commented on my post, thank you) but it was extra-ordinary time and place. And now, beyond it. But also, great music, old favs, and lets face it: laughing w/ girlfriends and um, cake! Those all work for me!

    Reply
    1. OneThankfulmom
      April 14, 2010

      Music helps me too, laughing until I cry (and tears come easily these days), and chocolate…all very helpful.

      Reply
  2. Vicki
    April 14, 2010

    Thank you for this entry. I am single and a new mom. I am in the process of adopting a 6 year old from the foster care system. She has been home for 6 weeks. She has sensory needs, attachment struggles, and we are both finding our way through this new world we are in together. I regularly look to your blog for help, insight, encouragement. I know that others are going through what I am going through. I know the Lord has hand picked me for her and her for me. There are so many good days and so many challenging days. It is encouraging to hear how others get through the hard days. Thank you for regularly blogging… I thank God for you.

    Reply
    1. OneThankfulmom
      April 14, 2010

      Vicki, thank you for reading my blog and I'm so glad you find help here. Be sure to take care of yourself as you take care of your daughter. You will both be happier!

      Reply
  3. Donna
    April 14, 2010

    Great post!!

    I agree with all your suggestions!!

    I might add along with finding supportive friends, the avoidance of relationships which add a negative spin on issues. There are just some places and people which are not edifing to our challenges!

    And I also find recollection of where we have been, a very helpful tool. Those hard days it is good to remember the good ones and draw on the encouragement from those days!!

    Delighting in Him
    Donna

    Reply
    1. OneThankfulmom
      April 14, 2010

      Donna, you are so right. Sometimes I get bogged down and forget how far we have come! It is good to have people around who see that too and encourage me along the way. It also helps to have friends who see adoption as ministry and want to come alongside us.

      Reply
  4. Kirstine
    April 14, 2010

    Remembering how far we have already come. When I sink into feelings of "will this ever be any better?" I try to remember all the issues we have already solved – together, and with help from God, litterature, mentors, good friends…

    Looking at my bookshelf gives me a hint: "Oh yeah. I bought that one when I didn't know what to do about xxx. Now we're okay. Thanks God!"

    Reply
    1. OneThankfulmom
      April 14, 2010

      Great point Kirstine! I no longer have When Love is Not Enough on my desk (those were the scary days), now I have Nurturing Adoptions and Sensational Kids. We are in a far better place this April than we were last April. Thanks be to God.

      Reply
  5. Julie
    April 14, 2010

    For me, it always goes back to this: We know that we know that we know that God called us specifically to adopt Cupcake specifically. It is absolutely a miracle that she ever came home. Knowing that He has a plan for this is the one thing that keeps me hanging on and hoping. I know someday that we'll be on the other side and praising Him for what He has done.

    Reply
    1. OneThankfulmom
      April 14, 2010

      Such good words Julie! Thank you.

      Reply
  6. Cindy
    April 16, 2010

    I'm in the heat of it all right now so I really am not as up on it as you all. I really depend on my blog friends to help me out and they have given me loads of hope, after all if it wasn't for them I'm not sure we would have gotten this far. I find myself crying out to God through out my day. I pray right on the spot over their bad attitudes or behaviors and ask the Lord to heal their brokenness, and ask for His words that my prayers may be weapons against the schemes of the enemy. I degree the truths of God purposes in His word over them. I also ask Him to give me more love for them and you know what??? so far it's been happening and I am so amazed because it really is from my beloved Lord.

    Reply
  7. Sage
    April 16, 2010

    Your words warm and push me… as I write this our daughter is in the care of a wonderful woman for a time. I had reached the point of feeling lost and desperate. Knowing that even a mother like YOU feels at times " “Am I really strong enough to mother these children?” “Am I ever going to be the same?” “Am I doing a good enough job?" " YOU help me to maintain as well as the wonderful woman (who is caring for our daughter) she is able to give of herself to rescue me from those dark places. I have held tight to your posts…. through those dark days THANK YOU!

    Reply
  8. Debbie
    April 17, 2010

    God brought me through it once — He will bring me through it again. I love your suggestion of watching LOST every week. We have to remember to have fun sometimes — fun that is not revolving around adoption, attachment or anybody's issues. Just a good laugh can turn me around.

    Reply
  9. Michelle
    April 19, 2010

    Donna, you are so right. Sometimes I get bogged down and forget how far we have come! It is good to have people around who see that too and encourage me along the way. It also helps to have friends who see adoption as ministry and want to come alongside us.

    Reply

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