What If I’ve Done it All Wrong?

I have a new article up on Empowered to Connect, What if I’ve Done it All Wrong? It is the result of some great discussions with friends following the Empowered to Connect Conference.

The more I learn about parenting children with tough histories, the more I realize that sometimes I make a mess of things.  I forget to focus on the insights I have or the new skills I’ve learned.  I have to stop myself and really think – not just run on my instincts or old habits.  It is hard work!

All you mommies out there who are living this life, let’s press on, keep learning, keep loving, and encourage one another.  If you have a moment to hop over to Empowered to Connect to read the article, I would love your feedback.

Please leave me a comment!

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Lisa

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.

34 Comments

  1. Coffeemom
    May 4, 2011

    Beautiful article. Spot on. It IS a mixed feeling sometimes isn't it? But of course the only way forward is forgiveness, always, and only thru Grace. Thank you once again.

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      May 4, 2011

      Lots and lots of grace. Thanks for taking the time to read it. I just may see you in Nashville!!

      Reply
  2. Mary Ann Day
    May 4, 2011

    wonderful article, can totally relate and am so thankful for the great resources from the wisdom of research and spirit inspired wisdom we now have available. Can totally relate to the need to watch the videos over and over to get it into my head also.

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      May 4, 2011

      Mary Ann, thank you for your comment. It is a steep learning curve for so many of us – and we are trying to take it all in when we are already in the midst of this incredible work. Thanks for learning along with me.

      Reply
  3. Melissa
    May 4, 2011

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I needed that reminder of forgiveness. I have read books, watched videos and been told over and over, but still in the heat of the moment lashed out at my daughter. It is good to know I am not alone. But I still need to try harder and depend more on the Holy Spirit.

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      May 4, 2011

      Melissa, you are definitely not alone – this is a marathon, not a sprint, and we're bound to make mistakes. Praise God that He forgives us many times over.

      Reply
      1. charity
        May 4, 2011

        there are some things it is so much easier to teach a child if we have lived them ourselves and know the path..forgiveness and asking for repentance are vital steps all of our children need to see modelled, need to watch us live. it doesn't always sit well with the part of us that likes to feel we know what we're doing and we are always right, eh?

        Reply
        1. One Thankful Mom
          May 4, 2011

          Charity, I had to ask one of my older sons to forgive me just this morning. I seem to get a lot of practice at this – but it's true, if we model repentance for our children, they will learn it more fully than if we just "teach" them.

          Reply
        2. Melissa
          May 4, 2011

          Since becoming a parent, I have had to ask for forgiveness more than ever. It is humbling, but I do pray that it will be a good model for them. I would just love to do things right the first time!

          Reply
          1. One Thankful Mom
            May 4, 2011

            Melissa – that would be nice! Fortunately if we keep practicing and praying, we can get better at being the kind of mothers we want to be.

    2. Cari
      May 4, 2011

      The article was perfect timing for me, Lisa. I echo what Melissa said in her comment. I read so much and have all this head knowledge, but in the heat of the moment I often fail to correct and move on…instead I take the behavior personally and allow her attitude to set the mood of my day. I too feel alone in my struggles as the families that have adopted older children from hard places are few and far between.

      Reply
      1. One Thankful Mom
        May 4, 2011

        Cari, it has helped me a lot to find a few other families who have adopted older children and understand the intensity of the transitions and adjustments. Some of them even understand the long term healing journey we're on, and those friends are invaluable to us. I know how hard it is not to take it personally — I struggle with this regularly! Thanks for the comment.

        Reply
  4. Vicky S
    May 4, 2011

    I loved your article. I'm an older single mom in the early stages of adoption. I am reading everything I can to help prepare myself. Thanks.

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      May 4, 2011

      Thank you, Vicki. You are so wise to read and prepare – your child will benefit!

      Reply
  5. Phyllis
    May 4, 2011

    That was such a timely article. I had a day all to myself a couple days ago as I drove for hours. Lots of worshipping and prayer time going on in the car. The next day started out so good, then boom! So utterly frustrated with myself. Very good to remember God's forgiveness towards me when I blow it so many times on this path He has our family on.

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      May 4, 2011

      Phyllis, I'm so glad to know it was helpful — we all need to be reminded of God's mercy. He knows our frame and our failures – and yet He loves us. Amazing.

      Reply
  6. Amy
    May 4, 2011

    I have messed up and messed up again and messed up again. I love that God gives us those motherly intuitions even for our adopted children. Because there have been times I have tried a technique at the suggestion of another momma, and it just didn't feel right, but I persisted anyway and it of course ended horribly. I need to tune into the Holy Spirit more, and trust those leadings.

    I am definitely guilty of reading and reading and reading, and having all this knowledge, and then reacting out of anger or frustration and doing the wrong thing.

    My hubby and I should probably go watch those videos together again!

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      May 4, 2011

      Amy, it has been great studying this material with Russ because we're going through it and processing it together. I am very thankful for this opportunity, even if it is tough fitting it all in. I want to add too, that sometimes advice we are given just doesn't fit for us. We have to be willing to try new things, but in the end, nobody lives with our children and knows our families as well as we do.

      Reply
  7. Stephanie
    May 5, 2011

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. I needed this today more than anything. We adopted an older child and a younger child – both from difficult pasts. We had started doing better and then life was turned upside down (In the two years they have been ours, we have moved three times from one coast to the other, lost employment, and generally have not had alot of stability that we thought we would have when they came into our family) and both boys make progress and slide back – and quite a distance – everytime.

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      May 5, 2011

      Stephanie, I appreciate your comments. These transitions are so hard on our kids who have already known so much instability in their lives. It is difficult to figure out how to provide that when we don't feel it ourselves. Being aware of it, like you are, is so important. You are doing a good job loving your kids — you're still working toward healing. Let go of the guilt and move forward in the knowledge that it is a new day – you can make a fresh start. Make sure you are taking good care of yourself so you have the strength to love your little ones with challenges.

      Reply
  8. Stephanie
    May 5, 2011

    …I have become frustrated and angry with them and I know that it has only increased all of our frustration. Though I recognize there are difficult moments and I try to correct my parenting – I have been feeling so incredibly guilty as of late. Especially with regards to our oldest boy who has endured much and is very aware. I already feel like we have had a late start in helping him find his feet and get mad at myself because I feel like I don't have enough time to give him all he should have before he is old enough to be out on his own. I don't want him to look back and see me as a part of his difficult past. But I fear he will. I am struggling to find our way through these struggles – none of which our friends and relatives have any clue to – but I feel it is not enough. I read I practice, and yet my weaker side shows up more than I want._Thank you so much for postong this – I think this may be the answer I have been praying to understand. The Lord does know I am weak and yet, He knows where our sons are coming from and where we as parents are coming from. Thank you for this inspired article. Thank you so much.

    Reply
  9. learningpatience
    May 5, 2011

    Fantastic article – thank you for taking the time to encourage us and for the reminder that Grace is for us too.

    Reply
  10. One Thankful Mom
    May 5, 2011

    Thank you so much; I appreciate you reading it.

    Reply
  11. Julie
    May 5, 2011

    Great article, Lisa. We came away encouraged about so much, and convicted about so much. But, kids are resilient and God is gracious. 🙂

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      May 5, 2011

      Julie, that has been our reaction too – we're strong in some areas, but we have lots of work to do. I'm so thankful for the resources and people who have helped us.

      Reply
  12. Paula
    May 6, 2011

    Lisa, I loved the article so much. I am in that place right now. We know so much more now, anticipating the arrival of our new son this summer, than we did in 2009 when we brought our twins home. I just shared a post recently with a photo of one of my daughters that makes me cry when I see it now. We tried but made many mistakes early on with the girls. We knew a lot, but not enough and therapy was a must. Sometimes frustration still takes over and anger boils out. I find myself asking God over and over again to forgive me for my mistakes… but always with a guilty heart that maybe I just don't deserve it. I for one need the reminder that God wants to forgive us and help us and that his grace is huge. I firmly believe He brought our family together, and of course He wants to help us heal our children.

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      May 6, 2011

      Paula, I am so encouraged that you feel ready to add another child to your family and that you are so well prepared now. Trust me, I still get frustrated too and sometimes I forget to even ask God for help. Have a wonderful Mother's Day, and remember how far you've come.

      Reply
  13. shannon2818
    May 6, 2011

    I wish I could be more patient and that I never resulted to yelling. It's good to know I'm not alone.

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      May 7, 2011

      Shannon, you are definitely not alone – it is tough to be patient when we are overwhelmed with challenges. Try to take a moment to breathe deeply before responding; sometimes I even have to walk away for a moment. Then of course, there are the times when I don't handle things well, like yesterday when Little Man cleaned the bathroom floor with an entire can of air freshener. It was not my shining moment. Fortunately, we moms get continual practice and opportunities to try being patient again! Blessings to you today.

      Reply
  14. ashleychristian
    May 6, 2011

    Lisa, thank you SO much for your vulnerability and humility in sharing this, it has really touched some deep parts in me! I also want to thank you for sharing the things that have helped you to refocus anew. I have The Connected Child but never seemed to be able to connect with some of the ideas in the book to the point of actually making them useful. Your comment about watching the ETC videos over and over again has helped me SO much! Watching the videos made it all click for me. My husband and I are foster parents, but our bio children also have lots of sensory, developmental, adhd, type issues and implementing some of the strategies I watched I read about, particularly the IDEAL response has brought SO much peace to my home in a few short days it's really incredible. I've read and tried so many parenting books and have never seen such a positive change so quickly before. I've had it so put in my head as Dr. Purvis says the church notion of "you do the crime, you pay the time" that it's hard to wrap my head around correcting children in such a different way, but it REALLY works.

    Any way thank you so much for sharing your wisdom and journey with the world in such a real way, it's made a big difference in my life as a parent. I hope you have a wonderful time at "Summer School" and God brings a tremendous flood of healing through it.

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      May 7, 2011

      I am so glad the videos are helping you – I have found them to be extremely helpful. We particularly like some of the older, full-length talks given by Dr. Purvis at a Tapestry conference. You can find those among the older videos on the Empowered to Connect website. Thank you for taking the time to comment.

      Reply
  15. Maribeth
    May 6, 2011

    In so many ways, this touches my heart. To know that I am not alone in my struggles and failures gives such a reassurance to my hurting soul. To be reminded that there is grace and healing even in our mistakes gives me hope for a future of healing for us all.

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      May 7, 2011

      Maribeth, I'm so glad it was helpful to you – I'm sorry that you are struggling and I am praying for you today. I just hopped over to your blog to see your beautiful family.

      Reply
  16. Jennifer P
    May 11, 2011

    It is hard to accept that grace and even harder to move on from the parenting failures. Thanks for the encouragement that we can learn to parent the hurt children so they can heal.

    Reply

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