Seeking God…

As women, we are good at ‘doing’ and ‘fixing’ but can get overwhelmed trying to hold everything together.  We get discouraged and depressed.  But God is not far…

Read more here

 

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A great article on childhood anxiety…

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Anxiety is a huge issue among children who have had disruption and trauma in their lives.  It manifested itself in a variety of ways in our own children.  They struggled to sleep, battled chronic stomach aches and had irrational fears of things like bathrooms.

Here is a link to an article I recently came across that I thought you might find interesting…click here!

Powerful Posts on Adoption!!!

Holding Hands

I came across this today and just had to share…

Finding the Lovely, has been running a series of guest posts on adoption and they are simply POWERFUL!

                                                                     Check it out!

Why is my child so spacey?!

They are there...and yet not!

There is a plague that strikes during the teenage years.  Its symptoms include ignoring (“Not hearing you”), forgetfulness, and just being generally ‘checked out’.  But your child takes it to a whole new level…right?!

You tell your mom, your pediatrician, you complain to your best friend, but they all say the same thing…thats normal for a teenager.

But is it?

Well, yes and no.

There is a lot going on in the teenage brain that contributes to their spaciness.  Hormones, stress, fatigue, and addiction to technology (just to name a few) all wreak havoc on their ability to pay attention to…well, US!

But there is a ton of evidence that children from challenging backgrounds have an even harder time focusing.

A child that was born into a perfect world would have a birth mom who had good nutrition and proper medical care, living in a low stress environment.  She would give birth in a safe and secure setting, raise her child lovingly and with lots of attachment, provide good nutrition to the child, and that child would grow up and live happily ever after.  Right?

Well, in that scenario, the childs brain would grow and develop with normal wiring, delivering messages through efficient pathways, with normal hormone levels that provide just the right amount of juice at just the right moment for optimal thought processes and reactions.

But that isn’t what happens in kids from challenging backgrounds.  Birth-moms are in less-than-ideal situations, nutrition is often lacking, and the child suffers multiple, SIGNIFICANT disruptions in their world!  Even one disruption (ie-not being raised with their first mom) is enough to cause re-wiring of brain pathways.

So, the same information that goes into a teenage brain that hasn’t been re-wired from trauma, and gets slugged down with hormones, stress and lack of sleep…gets REALLY CLOGGED in a brain whose circuitry looks more like a bowl of spaghetti from all the confusing things that happened to them in their life.

ALSO…researchers have found that kids who have had trauma (scary,unpredictable, chaotic events) and/or disruptions, medical issues, learn to dissociate in order to cope.  The events were too much for their little brain to comprehend, so they ‘checked out’.  Being fully ‘there’ would have blown their minds and/or broken their little hearts, so they just kinda…left.

I had one mom recently tell me that she was driving home from a fun event and glanced back to find her 13 year old daughter mindlessly coloring all over her arm.  “She was all spaced out and when I yelled at her to stop, it was like I had awaken her out of some trance!”  A behavior that didn’t make sense for a 13 year old to be doing, is perfectly common for a 2 year old.  Her daughter had ‘slipped’ back into her 2 year old self and was either on a little mini-vacation from stress or re-hashing some event from that time.

So now, whenever things get confusing or stressful, they just…leave.

Because…

1.  Its easier to deal with.

2.  It takes longer for the information to work its way through the funky wiring in their brain.

Will it ever get better?  Yes.

Time, maturity and happy experiences help to straighten out the wiring and heal their brain.

Just like repetitive negative events messed up the wiring…repetitive, positive experiences help to fix the wiring! 😅

Check out Karyn Purvis work on this here.  Pretty interesting stuff!

Can someone help keep these kids together?

Urgent! One month to find family for sibling group
Share on all your social media sites…lets get these guys a home before its too late!

Click here to read original blog—   And see their ADORABLE pics (even through the blur!)

$10,000 child-specific grant available to the adoptive family of these brothers
A group of four handsome brothers urgently needs a permanent family as they are at risk of being separated! The brothers, ages 16, 12, 10 and 6, have various interests, but have one thing in common: a close, secure bond with one another. If we do not find a family for these boys within the next month, the eldest brother will be separated from his younger siblings.
The youngest brother “V,” born in 7/2008, is known as a good student, sensitive to other’s needs, and affectionate. He has a positive, cheerful attitude each and every day. He is enrolled in the second grade and is a good student. He has a competitive edge in swimming, football, and academics. He enjoys soccer, music, visiting parks and watching Spiderman shows.
Born in 12/2004, “J” is described as a friendly boy who easily adapts to new environments. He is a good student and has good relationships with peers. He has creative, artistic skills and enjoys drawing, painting and singing. His favorite activities include watching cartoons, football, cycling, going to the movies and eating ice cream.
“W” was born in 6/2003 and aspires to be a singer when he grows up. He is enrolled in school and likes art and Spanish. He is described as tender-hearted, expresses his feelings easily, and gives hugs and kisses to those he trusts. He likes to play soccer, hang out with friends, collect toy cars and play at the pool. He can show typical pre-teen behaviors, but overall is respectful.
The eldest brother, “C”, was born in 7/1998. He is driven by a desire to help people, and hopes to become a doctor someday. He is passionate about school and performing well in his classes, especially his favorite subjects: arts and ethics. He likes to listen to music, exercise, sing, watch movies and read books. “C” is sensitive to the needs of others around him; he frequently takes a positive leadership role in his group of friends, and a paternalistic or protective role with his brothers. He has a minor disease that is commonly caused by overuse of muscles as the body grows that causes him some pain, but it is expected to correct on its own and not cause ongoing concerns.
Other than “C’s” minor medical need, these children are considered healthy. Each of the boys has expressed a deep desire to be adopted into a family that will provide them the love and care they want and need. As “W” views it, adoption will provide “more opportunity to study and become professionals and [to] count on the love of a family throughout our whole life.” We sincerely hope you or someone you know would consider adopting these four brothers so they can remain together.

Learn More About V, J, W, and C
We cannot share clear photos of these boys online, but photos are available to those who inquire. If we receive more information about these children, we will update this blog page and our Facebook page. If you would like to know more about these children, please contact intchild@chsfs.org and reference 615-34.
Eligible famlies may qualify for a grant through LSS/CH and Brittany’s Hope Foundation in addition to the $10,000 child-specific grant that has been allocated to the boys (expires 10/31/2015).

Waiting Children
Along with reading blogs about the children who wait, you can view all waiting child profiles on our online listing.

Financing Adoption
There are a number of resources available to families who would like to adopt but are concerned about financing. If you would like to learn more, we welcome you to read about the Adoption Support Fund and view our infographic of fundraising ideas.

Where is the HELP?!

This is far too common…

Click here to read more…

For about 20% of adoptive families find themselves in REALLY difficult situations.  Although it makes sense why the kids are struggling, considering their background.  It still leaves the family scrambling to know how to cope.  We can ‘understand’, ’empathize’ and even fully grasp the ins and outs of trauma and attachment disorder, but understanding and empathizing doesn’t keep your other kids safe or you sane.  And when it comes right down to keeping your family safe, there is just no easy answer!

This is not what any parent envisions for the child that they love.  And until we walk in very similar shoes, its impossible to really know how it must feel to make these heart wrenching choices.

But what am I saying?…what choices?  The lack of choices, resources, HELP is so devastatingly scarce.  If there were good choices, she might not be in this situation at all.

Uh-oh, I did something good?? Re-wiring the heart of a hurt child

 

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Attaching to stable, loving parents is the most frightening thing for a hurt child to do.  When you think about it, why would they want to build a bond to the very thing that represents the reason they are hurt in the first place?  On an intellectual level, I get that.  But emotionally its a daily struggle to not take their distancing behaviors personally.  David and I have gotten pretty good at watching for signs that they are taking a risk and trying to bond.  Our natural response is to give praise and encouragement in response to their efforts.  Imagine our wonder when instead of inspiring more growth and effort, it was fodder for failure.

For kids who are more comfortable with distance, those who feel the only way they will survive this life is to be the ones in control, the motivation behind most of their behavior is to keep you distant and out of control.  Its a very sad existence when you think about it.  The innate desire of any human is to be nurtured, cared for and in relationship with others.  We are born with the understanding that our parents are the ones responsible for providing that care and relationship until we are old enough to handle this complex world and when that bond is broken, for whatever reason, something deep inside is broken.  The whole system is rewired and now instead of resting in the arms of a secure parent, learning to love, grow and thrive while being protected and cared for, the child must thrash, fight and scrape for every shred of life in order to survive.  It becomes me against the world in an effort to keep from being swallowed up.  Its not about relationship anymore, its about staying alive.  Emotions take a back seat to needs, it all about ‘me’ and what I must have to make it.

Given this perspective we can begin to understand the motivation behind many of the behaviors that hurt children display.  Lying, cheating, stealing, defecating, sabotaging good times, etc. – all these make sense when you remember their purpose.  The child has to display these behaviors in order to do two things; maintain control by keeping you out of control and keep you at a safe distance.  Therefore, parenting a hurt child becomes more about training yourself to respond correctly than teaching the child to behave correctly.

So back to my original question…why is it that whenever we saw the child really making an effort to attach or submit to our rules, etc. and we offered praise and encouragement, they reverted instead of sought to do even better?  Simple.  When you think about how every moment of their existence an internal battle between their innate desire to be cared for, nurtured and in relationship and their overwhelming fear of parents, love and intimacy is raging within them.  It makes perfect sense.  Part of them wants desperately to give control of themselves over to us as their parents, that the natural way.  But the other, mixed up and hurt side, is battle to maintain control because thats safer.  They are trying to give their hearts over to us.  Making big and little strides toward relationship.  When we recognize those efforts and give praise it freaks them out.  They suddenly think that they have gone too far and retreat to their comfort zone of distancing behaviors.

So should we not encourage or recognize them for their efforts, even though we know the extreme risk they took to make those strides toward relationship and what it cost them?  I dont think thats the answer at all.  David and I have developed an attitude that has worked pretty well for us.  There are two ways that we have chosen to approach these situations.  First, we know that if we bring a child into our room ( the place where all serious conversations take place-lol) that we have established an environment where they have given over control just by entering our domain.  Its a very uncomfortable situation for them to be in right from the start.  If we then proceed to encourage them for the good they have done, we are silently saying, ” Submit to our control and come into our relationship space and let us hold out our hearts to you while we honor you, oh most unworthy one, for failing to protect yourself and maintain control of your world and keep yourself safe by not giving in to the rules that might end up hurting you…”  They hear those things when all we are trying to say is, “We see your efforts to grow and love-way to go!”  We want so desperately to encourage our children that its worth the risk to go through that whole scene anyway, in hopes that a bit of our loving message will make it home to their heart and spur them on to a happy life.  But we also know that it will likely mean a launch into bad behaviors for a while afterwards while they buck against the feelings it evoked.  Like I said, sometimes its worth it because we see they really had made progress and will return to a better place in the end.  We save those times for really significant things though and generally take a much less vulnerable method of praise, which I will explain.

Touch and eye contact are relationship builders, not generally popular with children who have been hurt.  All the more reason to look for ways that you, as the parent, can employ them-right?  So, when a child has done something that you recognize was a move toward giving up control or building relationship, its a perfect time to give a quick encouragement using tough and eye contact.  Sometimes I will just move toward them, touch them gently (which startles them because they dont like touch, and makes them look at you suddenly) and then follow with a short, quiet-“good job, that was nice” or whatever is appropriate.  Always careful to keep it short and then move away before they have time to squirm.  That way you took them off guard and moved on while you were still in control of the situation.  If they baulk and say crazy things as you move away, dont respond and give control back to them.  Another way is to make a shocking noise to catch their attention, then sing a quick jingle of praise, do a jig while praising them, or war whoop- something that takes them off guard.  You can slip your praise in before they know what hits them and then move out of the situation, bringing the control with you-hehe!

Its possible that they will still revert and give their unwitting brother or dog a quick pop in response to your praise, but believe me they heard it and it went to a deep place, stirring those God given desires for relationship and making them hunger for more.

Happy relationship building 🙂

 

Here are some books that I found to be helpful-

Building the Bonds of Attachment, by Daniel Hughs

and

Parenting the Hurt Child by Gregory Keck

Click on the title and it will bring you to Amazon 🙂