Tuesday Topic: Caring for the Other Kids?

It’s been far too long since I’ve posted a Tuesday Topic.  This one found its way to my inbox a few days ago and reminded me how much we all enjoy hearing from one another. Jennifer asked:

How do we focus so much energy on parenting the kids we have from hard places while also parenting the 2-3 young biological kids we have?

I know this is a challenge for many of us, and you may already have an answer forming in your mind, so let’s hear it.  Don’t wait to write the perfect response, just share your thoughts.  If I waited for everything I posted to be perfect, this blog would not exist; we just need to serve one another.

If you have a question you would like presented as a Tuesday Topic, please email it to me at lisa@onethankfulmom.com with “Tuesday Topic” in the subject line.

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for the Trust-Based Parenting DVD from Karyn Purvis and Empowered to Connect. It ends Wednesday at midnight.

#71 – 80 giving thanks

girls prettily dressed for “picture day”

a husband with a sense of humor

the optimism of a new school year

safety of someone I love on the NJ coast

a friend listening to my worries

bright pink sunrise


unexpected invitations

conversations with nearly grown sons

a cool morning

Encourage one another,


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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. sleighs79
    August 30, 2011

    This has been a huge issue for us. We've had to really rely on others to help us, namely grandparents who are willing to take a couple kids to do something special with them once in awhile and teachers, who will keep an eye on our kids and let us know if they notice anything out of place. A few of the other things that have tremendously helped us: date nights with our other children, allowing them some special privileges after their typical bedtime just to get some time and care with them, and one of the major things for us has been school. It really helps our family function better when the older two are involved at school, excelling at school, and I can only have a couple at home to focus all of our therapeutic parenting efforts on. I find myself better able to handle the evenings with everyone together because I've already had the time to put the extra effort in each day with the 'less-than-easy' children.

    I'm really interested in hearing others' advice. This is one of our primary areas of struggle right now.

  2. laura
    August 30, 2011

    We don't have young bios, but teen bios and 3 young new ones. It was very difficult for the first 18 months. After that, we finally felt the freedom to have a babysitter or parents watch the littles while the bigs and us went on a big kid date: dinner out, putt-putt/go cart/golf range, and home to watch a movie. It was expensive. We've only done it twice. But I can tell you, our 15 and 13 yr old sons LOVED having us all to themselves. LOVED it. I think it made a huge difference in their attitudes/adjustment to having new younger brothers.

  3. Rachel
    August 30, 2011

    I think the dilemma of limited resources is why so many people tell us that adopting while you have young kids is a bad idea. Now, we are in the process of our first adoption and we have young biological children at home, so obviously I don't agree 100%.
    Some truth: Whenever a new child enters a family, everybody, including the children, have to make sacrifices.
    Some more truth: Children can also be a blessing to each other
    I don't know what the perfect balance is… but i do know, here as I am pondering the next few months when our son will arrive and I am reminding myself that my children at home are just as important as the new child. He will be needier, but I need to communicate with my girls how much I love them, how important they are, etc.

    Anyway, I'm not really answering the question, and that's probably because I"m not qualified… having only biological kids at home right now. But the game plan is to: Compromise the needs of the individual child with the needs of our family as a unit. If we are successful in communicating what we are doing to our kids and why… well, maybe it will be a life lesson. Hopefully a good one.

  4. Pam
    August 30, 2011

    This was part of the reason I decided to put my oldest in school. Our home life was so toxic, it isn't fair to my bio baby (our shock! from last year). I was so stressed that it was affected him, as well as all of us. I had to make a decision to try to save our family from imploding. Somehow balance HAS to be achieved or someone is going to be resentful. How does this happen? I currently have no idea…but I'm desperate to know how.

  5. bonnie
    August 31, 2011

    One thing that helped us in the beginning when our kids from hard places couldn't be left with a sitter was to put them to bed fairly early (in our case 7pm), which they really needed anyway, and allow the bio kids to stay up later for an hour of mom and dad time (or more depending on the age of the kids). Now that we are more settled each kiddo gets one on one time each week with one parent – either sat bfast or thurs night dessert. It is working pretty well.

    Something I would say about each kiddo having to compromise and nomatter how a child enters the family everyone needs to adapt…. really and truely it isn't the same when an older child with a trauma history comes home. Our bios did compromise and gave up almost all of thier mom and dad time for 18 months – bringing home our older traumatized kids has changed everything in our kids lives and while I trust that ultimately it will be a good thing – we are not really at that place yet.

  6. Becky
    August 31, 2011

    We had a period of time where we hit rock bottom around here, but it was a good eye opener for us. From that point on, we realized that our bio kids needed respite as much as we did because of the stress of living with a struggling sibling. Fortunately for us, we could separate the kids by gender meaning that we could take the boys to a ball game and leave our daughter happily at home with a babysitter that would paint her fingernails and watch a girlie movie with her. Win-win for everyone. We also eventually went a step further and pulled our bio boys out of school to be homeschooled. Truly it has been the best thing we've ever done for them!


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