What are They Learning from Us?

sunshine and mimi
Sunshine and Mimi

“Mom, do you need a squeeze-y hug?”

Sunshine held her arms out to me and looked into my eyes.

“Well, maybe I do,” I replied, “What makes you ask?”

“Well, your eyes are really wide open and you’re breathing kind of fast. I thought it might help.”

She wrapped her arms around me and I started to laugh. I rested my head on hers and told her that she is one smart kid to know when her mom needs a little help calming down.

It does my heart good to see Sunshine apply the tools she has seen us use. Our children are always watching and learning from us; hopefully we are teaching them what we want  them to learn. I hope they see me addressing a dysregulated child with compassion and connection.

Between her tight hug, sweet words, and the laughter we shared, I felt a whole lot better.

Our kids have been through many hard things, but they are gaining skills they will use for the rest of their lives. Not many 11 year-olds can detect when somebody is becoming dysregulated and help them calm  down.

I would never have chosen for them to live through so much trauma, but I see God using all things for their good.


How was your weekend?

Ours was packed with family. We had several significant conversations with our older kids on Saturday and Sunday that I’m still processing. Parenting pre-teens, teens, and young adults is a true adventure; they are becoming the most interesting and wonderful people.

I hope your week is off to a great start. Talk to you all soon.


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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. Emily
    November 3, 2014

    Tell Sunshine I want one of her hugs!!!!!!
    Love you!!!

  2. Luann Yarrow Doman
    November 3, 2014

    Love this blog. Sunshine sounds like someone who lives up to her nickname.

    1. Lisa Qualls
      November 4, 2014

      She really does 🙂

  3. Sharon
    November 4, 2014

    Thanks for that perspective, Lisa.


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