Thursday, April 30, 2009

WHAT??????? I CAN"T HEAR YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Do you have a loud child? A child who's voice carries above all others? Always. Without fail.

Be louder. Shout in Target. Stop walking...stand still and shout, "WHAT???????!!!!!!! I'M SORRY.......HONEY, BUT YOU WERE SPEAKING SO LOUDLY I COULDN'T HEAR YOU!!!!!!! WOULD YOU KINDLY REPEAT THAT????!?!?!?!?!!!"

Eventually, your child will get the point and his/her voice will lower....falling into what's considered a socially appropriate range.

Of do this you must not be concerned about silly things like embarrassment or sticking out like a sore thumb.

Some Construction Site Love

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Long Haul

One of the things that STINKS about living w/RAD is that oftentimes....our kids might be doing something that all the other kids in the house are able to do w/freedom...but because it's that child doing it ("normal behaviors")'s a problem and it triggers something in us.

Is it the way they are doing it? Just a little bit more excited than the others? Just a little bit louder? Are we embarrassed? Are we afraid? Are we annoyed?

Is it the timing of when they are doing it? Holding court? Being the center of attention? Are we embarrassed? Are we afraid? Are we annoyed?

Is it that they are doing it after a wacko morning? Are we holding a grudge? Are we anticipating a wacko afternoon? Fearful?

Is it that we are afraid that they won't stop doing it after everyone else has? Experience tells us that most of the time they won't. Are we afraid? Hedging our bets?

After all these years...I'd like to say that there are most definitely things that other kids are able to do that kids struggling to attach are not able to do or should not be able to do. In my opinion, parents need to be highly intentional and hands on...especially when dealing w/RAD. Not all kids should be telling jokes to or doing ballet twirls for visiting extended family....(especially if they are refusing to make eye contact with you or resisting your authority in any way.) Not all kids should have pets (especially if there's weirdness w/animals.) Not all kids should hug well meaning adults they encounter (especially if they prefer every adult they encounter over you.) Not all kids should be left w/babysitters. Not all kids should have sleep-overs. Not all kids can be dropped off at the movies at a certain age. Not all kids can do church camps. The list goes on and on.

This can be hard for parents. When we are faced with a paradigm shift...

* the way we've parented before
* the way we are parenting the others
* the way we planned to parent

....all of our ideas/plans need to shift. This realization can bring fear and resentment into our lives.

In the very same breath, I'd like to caution parents as well. Sometimes...what appears to be RAD behavior or what we consider RAD behavior...... isn't . Sometimes, that child is just being perfectly "normal" and doing what all the other kids are doing. As parents dealing w/stuff, gunk, and baloney all day long every day in and every day out.....we tend to read into everything.

Also, kids struggling to attach.... grow and learn like the rest of us. Oftentimes they get to a place where they are able to do what everyone else is doing when everyone else is doing it. We did not allow Girlie to have sleep-overs as early as everyone else was doing it.....but she's had a BLAST w/friends when it was appropriate for her (select friends/families we know well and trust.) Girlie is able to be dropped off and picked up at lessons problem. She has a healthy fear of strangers and will no longer be tempted to run off with them without ever looking back....therefore....she is able to explore the park w/in eyesight.

The bottom line...

Relax a little............ while staying on high alert :)

We are in this for the long haul.

We must pace ourselves.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Change of Seasons

The weather has changed here. Drastically and dramatically...also quite suddenly. Four days ago we needed sweatshirts. Today, we are fast approaching triple digits and things will stay that way for a while. This change entered our lives after recent episodes of wind gusts and chilliness. It will be followed by monsoons...more wind and rain...torrents of it...w/ lightening, thunder, and hail.

The rumor is that we don't have seasons here in this part of the country. But we do.

Today's heat and hot, hot desert sun got me to thinking about the seasons that come w/this RAD journey we travel. Good seasons....not so good seasons. Nightmare hellish seasons. Somewhat normal seasons. Rather strange seasons. Peaceful seasons and off the chart bizarre seasons. Close contact seasons and long distance seasons. Blaming seasons. Begging and pleading seasons. Cold shoulder seasons. Chip on our shoulder seasons. Forgiving seasons and unforgiving seasons. Panicked seasons. Remorseful seasons. Intimate seasons and get as far away from me as you can get seasons. Sad seasons. Mad seasons. Frustrated seasons. Teachable seasons. Stubborn dig our heels into the ground seasons. Regret filled seasons and humorous seasons. Thankful seasons. Fearful seasons. Lonely seasons. Apathetic seasons and full blown knock out drag down fighting to the death seasons. Submissive seasons. Healthy seasons. Loving seasons.
It seems we've experienced them one point or another during our travels. I must remember that Girlie has experienced them too...every single one of them.

For us...seasons pass. Some get re-visited...some not. It's not something that I am proud say that I do not always see clearly the lessons each season is bringing with it. But it is true. When we are in our seasons....whatever they might look like...we often cannot see the forest for the trees...never mind the wisdom and lessons we are supposed to be learning and passing on.

Hindsight is 20/20. Maybe it's time to look back and reflect on where you once were and where you are now? What has each season taught you? A journal is a fabulous idea. Moms, talking openly and transparently w/a trusted friend is another. She can remind you of growth you might be too distracted to notice or too weary to even get excited about (Obviously, this goes for Dads too.)

We are NOWHERE near where we once were. And during our current crazy seasons it helps me to realize that things change often around here and also...that we've come a long way, Baby.

I am re-starting Girlie on her journal tomorrow. I'm going to pick up mine as well.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Supplemental Nursers

So we talk a lot about attachment disorder.  The repercussions to a child having a trauma or break in the attachment cycle.  But I know some of you may be here and you are still on your journey to adopt.  Maybe you are wondering what you can do to "hit the ground running" with your new little one.  Today, I want to talk a bit about adoption breast feeding.  I am by no means an expert, but just want to throw it out there if it isn't something you have considered.  Breast feeding is God's design to help develop a baby both emotionally and physically. If your child comes home through adoption, you may choose breast feeding as a way to build attachment.  There are ways to induce lactation and consulting your local Le Leche League may be a great starting point.  Sometimes, however, this is not possible.  Either enough milk does not come in or at all.  Then a supplemental nurser may be helpful.  There are two main brands.  
I have heard that people seem to prefer the Lactaid, but I know people that have used both.  
Check out these websites:

Also, something to keep in mind is that here in America, mothers tend to stop breast feeding at 6-12 months.  For our kiddos, it is the emotional connection/foundation we are most concerned with.  12 months may be extremely premature in stopping breast feeding for your child.  In many countries around the world breastfeeding up to 7 years of age is common.  Don't let society/social norms dictate what is best for you.  Let the Holy Spirit guide you in knowing what is best for your child and family.  Even if breast feeding your adoptive child is not right for your family, use the aspects of it to help build attachment (sucking/chewing, eye contact, skin to skin, rocking, etc).   

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Refiner's Fire

Years ago at a couple's retreat, a wife shared that her husband brought out the worst in her.  Initially, my internal response was startled.  It seemed like a harsh thing to say even in a safe place.  But then this dear woman went on to tell of how God had used her most intimate human relationship to most frequently be the fire in her life.  That intense, consistent fire that allows the gunk to come to the top of the gold.  To be skimmed, removed, rooted out.  Her husband was a gentle, strong man and their marriage was God-honoring--after years of therapy and diligence.  He was her great blessing.  

Several times, today alone, I have thought this child brings out the worst in me!  In the moment, I certainly was in my flesh and not thinking of the Lord's refining fire.  I was thinking, "until this child, I was a patient person," "until now, I felt calm and easy going," "until this child, I was doing okay."  It was pure frustration.  

But now in the quiet of the day, after regulation, repentance, prayer, calm and a sleeping child, I see that she does in fact bring out the worst.  The absolute very worst in me.  They are the hidden, dark things that the Lord still sees.  The fleshy worst that I was identifying earlier was the same, but now with different purpose.  His purpose.  His desire for the shining, radiant gold.  Through this child.  Oh, Lord, helps us to keep Your perspective and see these horrible parenting moments as opportunities to reflect Your glory.