The gift of less during the holidays is trending. Minimalism has garnered popularity, and shifted focus from possessions to experiences. And while it may, indeed, be less stuff – it is simply shifting the focus to more of something else.
For children who are in the foster care system, or who have been adopted (children from hard places), this concept of less being more is critical. The overwhelm of emotions that comes from the constant bombardment of holiday cheer can cause anything but joy.
During National Adoption Month, I wrote 13 guest posts regarding various adoption related topics. This is a round up of those posts - which I hope will bless and encourage you! There are posts for adoptive families, waiting families, prospective adoptive families, those who want to help orphans without adopting, and those who simply want to draw closer to Jesus!
Relationships between parents and teenage girls can be challenging. Even under the most ideal circumstances, hormones, peer influence, and growing up impact the way a teen relates to her parents. Girls naturally enter a season of questioning who they are, what they believe, why they believe it, and what they want in their life. Our society places great emphasis on choosing a future occupation while teens are still trying to survive algebra and prom date mishaps. When we factor in social media, perceived beauty concepts, and the fact that the portion of the brain responsible for logic is not fully developed until age 24, we can understand the effects of pressure on teens!
One of the most critical things to address, prior to adoption, is the prospective parents’ own healing. As parents, it is our privilege and responsibility to walk through healing with our children. To be able to do this effectively, we must first embrace God’s healing for our own hearts.
Children who come into a family through adoption have experienced great loss. Age is not an indicator, as even an infant has experienced the traumatic removal from their birth family. This loss is often coupled with trauma; whether due to abuse, neglect, or in utero exposure to substances or chronic stress. Every child who is adopted will have loss, and will need to grieve and heal.
Research indicates trauma not only effects a person’s memories and emotions, but can also alter the physical state of their brain. Every child that has been adopted has experienced trauma. Even infants, who leave the hospital in the arms of their adoptive parents, experience trauma through the loss of their biological family.
The forwarded email arrived at the beginning of December. I was a work at home, homeschooling momma juggling a ten-month-old, two preschoolers, and two school-aged children. Our lives were full, exciting, and maybe just a tad chaotic.
“In case you’re ready…” was the only line in the email. A good friend, who I met during our first adoption from foster care, had forwarded a flier for a little guy our state was recruiting a family for. I laughed hysterically, and immediately texted her.
Every adoption is born out of two things: trauma and loss. For an infant, who leaves the hospital in the arms of their loving parents – there is trauma and loss. For a toddler, who cannot verbalize their past and calls their new parents ‘Mommy’ and ‘Daddy’ right away – there is trauma and loss. For a school aged child who for the first time is living as a child instead of as a fill-in parent – there is trauma and loss. For a teen, who finally has someone to provide their needs – there is trauma and loss.
Often, adoption is either romanticized or criminalized. The truth is, it is both beautiful and hard. Adoption should be a story of trauma, loss, and grief that is met with love, compassion, and healing.
We began our adoption adventure when our kids were 3, 20 months, and 6 months. We had committed to opening our hearts and home to a child who needed a family, and after a lot of prayer, we knew the time had come. It was a very long 18 months before our son came home, but that period was the beginning of us learning how to help young children prepare for gaining a sibling through adoption.
When we adopted again, last year, we had five children, aged six and under. The dynamic shifted slightly, as we knew that seeing the adoption process could be challenging for our son. Our understanding of helping our children in this process grew.
In the adoption world, words like security, stability, and routine are used frequently. For families that experience frequent – and sometimes, unplanned – change, this can seem daunting. But the most critical components of these things are found in the relationship between children and their caregivers, not circumstances.
November is National Adoption Month. It's a time where, as a nation, we focus on the orphan crisis and the role each of us can play in caring for orphans. This month is especially dear to our family, as we celebrate our sons, and advocate for other children.
Here you will find the musings of a homeschooling, work from home, adoptive Momma of 6! Adventures in faith, family, adoption, and training up a tribe of little people to follow hard after Jesus are spilled into these posts --- most often written with a cup of coffee in hand. I hope you'll stick around a while and find something - more likely SOMEONE! - that brings you hope!
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