Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I really like the Connected Child by Purvis. I feel like it is one of the few books that gives handles on how to address behavior. I love that it leans towards the heart of a situation and not just the action. She walks you through re-do's and how important it is for the child to do over the situation just as it was, only with the right choice. Often we tell a child what was wrong and the consequence they have chosen. Sometimes we tell them what they could have done better. Rarely do we make the entire scene over again. But our kiddos need the chance to practice and to be affirmed in the right choice.

In our house it goes something like this:
Child walks into room first thing in the morning whining loudly and pulling at her clothes
Mom stops behavior.
"Oops. That was inappropriate. When daughters come into their mommies' rooms in the morning, they say,(in happy tone) 'Good Morning Mommy.' Okay, Mommy will pretend to sleep. You try again and with respect."

Child may repeat varying levels of interaction 1/2 dozen times before she gets it right. Sometimes a little jumping on the minitramp will help get the blood flowing and strengthen her body to be ready to talk to Mommy in an honoring way. If she has been especially regulated/strong, I may throw in a hug or kiss into the script. I will do everything I can to set the scene up exactly as it was before the wrong choice was made. (I know more than one stranger-kid has thought I was outside of my mind for doing this)

It is totally exhausting--especially when that is how you are starting your day. Every day. But eventually it does work because they don't want to repeat their actions.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

RADical Blessing

So here's a conclusion I've come to:

The Lord has most assuredly used/is using RAD to dig up and expose some yuckinesss in the hearts of hubby...Girlie...Girlie's members... and friends.

He is in the business of digging up things so that they may be dealt w/right? Exposing darkness so that it might not stay hidden, right? Darkness tries to hide, right?

Oh goes.....are we anywhere near ready to say "thank you" for RAD because it is one of the instruments the Lord has used/is using to get our attention and draw us closer to Himself?

Wait....does that make it a blessing? RAD...a blessing?

I suppose we would have to define blessing. Consider what it means to be blessed.

"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."
Romans 12:2

Love Is A Verb

The Lord loves us exactly how we are...but too much to let us stay this way.

Friday, June 26, 2009


What do you believe about the (click here)nature of man? About the nature of our kids? Of our kids struggling w/RAD?

Like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde...are we fallen beings...inherently sinful?


Like Frankenstein...are we inherently good & victims of our circumstances?

Not on your typical RAD reading list....but maybe it should be?

I've lived w/and spoken with those living with RAD challenges for 9 years now....and have searched high and low for non-humanistic approaches to aid in the Biblical addressing of and resolution to this very real problem which exists in our imperfect world.

I don't claim to have all the answers...but I am confident that I'm on to something...when I say our worldviews do matter when dealing with RAD.

And please do not e-mail me about the title of the book. Our kids are not "monsters" in that sense of the word. Monsters.... as in fallen stinkin' wretched sinners like you and me.


I think pre-adoption it was so easy to put things in cute little adoption boxes. Boxes that made sense in my mind. Some might have even had label-maker produced labels and little polka dots or bows. They were the boxes that helped tackle an insurmountable problem. There are orphans. Social or true. They would be hurting. They need homes. They need forever families. They need someone in their corner. The numbers seem overwhelming but with my boxes, things could be better, right?
advocate for ministering to orphans
decrease obstacles for Christians to adopt
biblical worldview on multiethnic adoption
be open to older child adoption
keep siblings together
learn all you can about attachment
know yourself to know when you need support and ask for it
and on and on

You get the idea. I was and continue to be hopeful. But I am finding that though the boxes are still helpful, they really come with termite holes and dust and dents. The one with an especially large number of holes these days is the 'keeping siblings together.' I think I would still fight for it, but I am seeing how social workers come to the conclusion to separate sometimes. In the long run, if there is healing, how precious is it that your children can share their history and their future? But in the middle of healing, it is so hard. I am bringing it up tonight for any newbies out there. I know in the attachment books they talk about siblings sabotaging each other when things start to go well. It is so much more challenging than an anecdote or short chapter can reveal. To be the interpreter of loss for 2 or more kids from the same background is insanely hard.
One wants to talk about it, one doesn't.
One has happier memories, one doesn't.
One will claim no memory of a place because such fear erupts from the other talking about it.
One wants to ask questions in the car, one wants to talk privately before bed.
One wants simple answers to many questions
One needs every detail to a few intense questions.

One is raging because of the fear, one is afraid to talk if it looks like this

But because they are not on the same page--emotionally or physically, don't process the same ways, don't have exactly the same experiences, and are not processing things at the same time, I soon feel like I have multiple personalities! I want to comfort and cry with the one who is hurting. I want to talk openly and honestly with the one who is questioning, even if it's in the car with the other kids but I also want to be sensitive to the darting, shocked eyes of the other that clearly doesn't want to talk about this right now. I want to rejoice and affirm the memories and answer the happy questions of the one that isn't processing gunk at the moment. But I don't want to make the other feel like she can only talk about the happy parts of what they've been through.

In short, it is a mess. It fits better into a garbage bag flung over my shoulder than a cute Pottery Barn box! BUT, there is hope. Here are a few things we've been using to wade through our mess.

~we make statements during regulated times to prepare for the messy times like,
"You can always talk to mommy about your (birth country) or your (birth mother)."
"Sometimes your sister/brother will talk about (birth country). Because we are a family, you can say 'I don't want to talk about that right now.'"
"If you want to talk to Mommy about something scary, Mommy wants to talk privately about it so I can hear you carefully."
"I saw you were nervous when sister was talking about XX. Do you want to talk about any big feelings?"

We also discipline for telling your sibling "Don't tell Mommy." We also discipline now (instruction/redirection at the beginning) for asking a sibling to meet a need. (This includes hurting a sibling so they will cry and mommy will come instead of calling mom yourself).

It's not pretty. There is sabotage. There is manipulation. But there is also a connection that has spurred them on. I don't deny that. I am hopeful they will heal. It may just take longer than if they had come home as singles. If you are parenting siblings or multiple children from the same orphanage, you are chosen by God for a special task. Please let us know if you have any other tips to success, too!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

One Gospel

Stay the course....even when you feel like throwing in the not. Consistent...firm....loving relationships. Truth in love. Always (click here)Truth.

Breakthroughs are possible. Healing is possible.

There is one (click here)Gospel. Only one Gospel. For every adult. For every child. No matter our histories. No matter our back stories...circumstances or road of trials.

Fear is a spiritual problem. Yes, the roots dig way down deep. The soil in which they grow can bring tears to the eyes and heartache to the soul...but at the end of the in a constant state of fear (other than the fear of the Lord) is sin and must be rooted out. Self love is sin. Self hatred is sin. Manipulation is sin. Unrighteous anger is sin. Unforgivness is sin. The list goes on and on.

Now certainly our circumstances and upbringings differ. Some assist in healthy development and some do not. Alcoholic parents....hard road. Divorce....hard road. Poverty....hard road. Abandoned....hard road. Rejected....hard road. You get the point.

Even so...our roads do not take the Lord by surprise. He knits each of us together in our mother's wombs. He does it where and when He sees fit according to His purposes. The Bible tells us clearly that there is an enemy to our souls prowling around on a leash waiting to devour us and it also tells us that when we sin....we follow after the evil desires of our own hearts. The Lord has set the standard.

Medical ailments...emotional ailments...psychological ailments...behavioral ailments...societal ailments...physical ailments....addictions...compulsions....spiritual confusion.... Gospel.

We...who call ourselves Christ followers...are called to walk intimately with our Lord. Parents, we must walk with Him in a worthy manner....putting aside all hints of hypocrisy. We must offer our kids every opportunity possible to hear the Good News and understand clearly the dilemma unregenerated man finds himself in without it. Pray parents. Pray for the living Lord of the universe to interrupt lives.

There is a temptation for Christ following parents of kids struggling w/RAD...I think.... to somehow think that and mom...can somehow fill the empty spot. That our actions will make all the difference in their little worlds.

A difference...YES...absolutely.

All the difference...NO...not by a looooooooooooooooong shot!

Have we been trying to fill the hole only He can completely fill?

Have we been trying to make all the difference?

Have we become our own idols?

Have our kids become our idols?

Have we set ourselves up as idols in our kids eyes?

Maybe that's why we're exhausted/anxiety ridden/and depressed.

Maybe that's why our kids are exasperated.

And....dare I say...................afraid?

Keep up the hard work. Therapy...doctors...digging in deeper etc. You are doing a good job...but lest we forget...

....He does the heart healing and renews minds.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Adult RAD

Taken from

* Avoidant
o Unreasonable or inappropriate anger
o Hostile
o Overcritical of others and self
o Intolerant of rules and authority
o Lack of empathy or remorse
o Views others as untrustworthy and unreliable
o Shallow/Vain
o Feelings of self-importance
o Feelings of entitlement or arrogance
o Self-reliance; prefers to work alone than with others
o Views relationships as threatening, or not worth the effort
o May be a workaholic, as a way of avoiding relationships
o Feelings of being unique
o Grandiose or unrealistic fantasies
* Anxious/Ambivalent
o Compulsive caregiving
o Feels underappreciated
o Many short-term relationships
o Idealizes others
o Possessive; makes unrealistic demands of partners in relationships
o Preoccupied with relationships, and easily makes declarations of affection
o Obtains feelings of security through relationships
o Sees relationships as imbalanced
o Oversensitive to rejection, easily gives in to jealousy
o Sees others as being difficult to understand
o Unable to understand the concept of altruism
Extreme emotions
* May Also Include

o Prone to depression
o Socially inappropriate behavior
o Impulsive
o Manipulative
o Risk-taking
o Self-mutilating behavior
o Often do not remember much of childhood experiences
o Darkness behind the eyes when angered
o At risk of abusing their own children
o Children with RAD may become adults diagnosed with sociopathic, narcissistic, antisocial, or borderline disorder

We cease to grow when we cease either to labor or to suffer for the Lord. ~Charles Spurgeon

This wounded, draining, challenging child was chosen before the beginning of time to be in your home, at this time, for His great purpose. Press In, Beloved.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


I'm thinking again about a very real reality which may be a fact in many of our lives.

I know some of us out there are tempted to think that our kids have been dreaming of us since ages past...that we (their knight in shining armor parents) are their dreams come true. They have been waiting for us to sweep into their less than ideal situations and swoop them up into our loving embraces. Haven't they?

Not necessarily so.

Many have been dreaming of others. Dreaming other dreams. Dreams which might not have included us. GASP!!!!!!!!!!

Put it this way....

Once upon a time, there was a Princess who had deep down memories of a long lost Prince whom she had met during her youth. She thinks of him fact, every minute of every day he enters some part of her existence consciously or unconsciously. He might be a blur...he might be crystal clear....but he is there....always there in her heart and in her dreams (good and bad.) One day...her Prince will come.

Out of the blue...another Prince extends his hand. He is kind, He is handsome. He means her well and has been waiting a long time to find his one and only true Princess.

The Princess is heartsick. Her dreams....suddenly they are confused. What is to become of her dreams? Do they simply disappear? Do they shift?

What a predicament the Princess finds herself in. A predicament thrust upon her. Not of her own choosing. If she showed no signs of trouble in releasing her previously held dreams...we...each one of us....would take a second glance and wonder at her peculiarity.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Eyes Wide Open or um, shut

We went into adoption with our eyes open. We knew all we could about attachment. We had walked with others through their attachment challenges. We read everything we could. We went to classes. We read online. We were ready. Or were we? I don't know if you can ever really be ready. I think part of that is the Lord only equips you for today. He is not going to give you the direction and grace for tomorrow. Today has its own challenges. In the middle of today's trial, He is there.
A lot of my sorrow during this attachment walk has been what I could never had planned for. I knew, even if my kids were babies--which they weren't--their little hearts would be hurting. They would probably have gone through more in their little lives than most of us could ever even imagine. I expected heavy feelings, uncomfortable conversations and crazy behaviors from big hurts.

What I wasn't ready for was the rejection. I know that sounds crazy, but it is true. I knew attachment/bonding could be uphill or slow or even awkward at first. But I wasn't ready for the pushing away. I knew they would be hurting, but I never could have imagined that my precious child would not allow me to be their interpreter of loss. It was something that really shocked me. Longing for a birthmother, or a birth place, or big tears over pain-yes. Not allowing me to wipe the tears and rub the backs-no.  It was subtle and flicked at what I guess I had hoped for.  I am secure in the Lord and wasn't looking for a child to meet my needs or desires as a mom.  It is this unarticulated desire to walk a deep valley while having some level of normalcy in our relationship.  It has yet to come.

It was a good realization, though. Because now I expect that there will be unexpected times that I wasn't ready for. I am choosing to allow Jesus to be my interpreter of loss. I am allowing Him to carry me through the unknowns. His grace will come for those moments when they arrive, and not a minute before.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Get them Rest

More than even the adults talked about here, our kiddos need a good night's sleep (need more than the adult 7 hours).  Although, obviously, the cave man stuff is ridiculous, I thought it was fascinating to see the correlation between sleep and the ability to process positive emotions. When you are standing with gentleness and a smile before your raging kid, could it be that they aren't even seeing it. It surely isn't that a good night's sleep will fix everything. But we want to make sure we are doing every thing we can to remove any physical challenges. Our kids must get the nutrition, supplements and sleep they need to set them up for the best situation possible. (watch the video, too. no texting/computers/tv for hours before bed).

Monday, June 15, 2009

More hope than ever before as our Girlie is saved this week. Oh, Lord....may true healing begin.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

He is the Vine

love love love love love love love love love love

love love love love love love love love love love