Monday, December 26, 2011

All Oppression Shall Cease

In this holiday season, that song is stuck in my head. There is mild bullying in our home. It is nothing outrageous, but it is something I keep an eye on. I talked briefly in this post about oppression.

Bullying and manipulation of people smaller or weaker than you is oppression. I think it is best to always identify the biblical terms for the wrong doing. Certain wrong choices aren't just unkindness. They are oppression. They are red flags for me. Because the form they take coming from a little girl turn into pretty yucky and destructive actions in teenage/adult form. Mean people don't have friends. Controlling or oppressive people cause much larger collaterall damage.
For instance, when a little toddler is smacking Mommy or other kids, we are swift to come in and talk about gentle touches and how hitting is wrong. Why? because soon they will be stronger and that hit will hurt a lot more.

That's how I see oppression.

What does that look like, you ask?

RADish, out of my sight/hearing, makes a younger person do something she is capable of doing.

"you get out of your bed and get my socks that fell on the floor."

"take off your scarf and give it to me"

doing anything (taking a toy from or blaming something on, e.g.) a toddler that cannot defend or protect themselves

You get the idea. Here is why it is dangerous.

1) it gives the child control over something they do not have the authority over

2) it gives them a sense of power and temptation to try larger areas

3) it takes away power from the other child who probably does not know how to defend themselves

4) it takes advantage of the kindness of another child

It is super yucky. And not emotionally safe for anyone involved. Get to the bottom of that quickly, teach them God's perspective through Scripture, discipline/disciple always.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Getting to the Root with Smaller Kids

I love love love Dawn's post from last week. I think it is super helpful to have real life examples. The healing it shows in her daughter is awesome. She has come so far and is doing so well at ID her triggers and sin! It is a testimony to Dawn's consistency. Thought I would share a moment from this last week. My daughter is much younger and isn't processing as clearly as her girlie is. It is similar defenses but my girlie doesn't know herself or her Mommy as well as Dawn's does.


Hubby and I are watching a show and wrapping presents. Not far from the kids room, but all seems quiet. Two hours past RADish's bedtime, she comes out, clearly having not slept yet and addresses Daddy (of course).

"Daddy, I am soooooooo itchy. I am itchy all over."

being a great dad, he hops up and looks at her skin. No rash. No fever. Hmmm, probably faking.

"I don't see anything here, honey, I think you are okay. If you need us, you can come back to us. Try and get some sleep."

She heads back to bed. We exchange the "we know that she is just trying to see all the presents and is a faker" look.

The next morning, I know we need to get to the bottom of the lie the night before.

What was up with you being itchy last night? Where were you itchy?

(changes story 2x in 5 min)

Oh, thank you for letting me know you are lying. Were you really itchy?

I was. I mean maybe. Ok no.

What was the real reason you came out of your room last night?

Well, I knew you and Daddy were doing stuff and eating a snack and watching a show. I wanted to know what movie you were watching.

Huh, you've never been curious about our shows before. What was the real reason you came out of your room last night?

Um, well, Daddy said I can have my snowglobe on. So I was going to ask him to turn it on.

Yeah, but you didn't ask. So that doesn't make sense. What was the real reason you came out of your room last night?

(this goes on and on and on and on and on and on. Depending on the level of commitment she has to her lie, I may give her a variety of disciplines or consequences because lying is never tolerated).

FINALLY, she says:

I knew we were wrapping presents and I wanted to see if any would be for me. Since I have made lots of wrong choices, I thought they were all for (her siblings).

She is then disciplined for lying about itching and we talk through why that is an inappropriate choice. (ie it is totally appropriate for kids to be excited and curious about Christmas gifts. It is however, inappropriate to lie to and manipulate your parents). It is not over until she can not only say what was sin but also repent from it (which could add hours to this). Lots of hugs, affirmation of using words and doing the hard work to move closer to us and the Lord.

There has never been one single time that I walked away thinking, "what a waste of time." It has always been worth it. The times are getting shorter and over and over she sees the fruit of making right choices and choosing to submit to the authority the Lord has placed over her.


So, I guess the take away is at a younger age is that I usually do not acknowledge any nonsense answer or I will tell her I know why it is a lie. Then I just ask the same question over and over. I want to be careful not to give her any answers. I don't want her to say something just because she thinks it is what I want her to say and will get her out of going deeper. I want to keep her attention on dealing with the core issue and help her to identify it herself.

I don't know how much is really getting to her heart. She still seems pretty robotic in her repentance. I can't tenderize her heart. I can only pile the kindling around it and pray the Lord ignites that fire.

Never settle for the walls they put up around their hearts. It might be peace-ful but will not help them heal.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Oh, Just like Mine

It really isn't until you are living it and seeing it that you know that a child with RAD is nothing like any other kid's behavioral issues. It is not strong willed or undisciplined. It is its own beast. Case in point. I am pretty sure my girlfriends' kids do not do this to their sweaters when they spill hot chocolate on themselves.

This moment was followed up the next day by my little girl's absolute astonishment that any adult ever talks to or asks help or advice from their parents. She sees me talking to my mother and in-laws, but I guess somewhere in her little head she thought she could be done with us in a few short years. Sigh.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Send Love

Sunday, December 18, 2011

what i mean by "digging deeper"

What I mean by digging deeper. It goes something like this....

Parent: Why are you spiraling?

Child: I'm not spiraling.

Parent: Yes you are.

Child: I don't want to talk right now.

Parent: Well, that's not an option. Why do you think you're spiraling?

Child: Because he/she/it did so and so.

Parent: But you were spiraling before that. Remember earlier when such and such happened?

Child: This sucks! Just let me do my chores/homework/(code for...anything in the world other than going deeper.)

Parent: No. Your chores and your homework will be there when we are done. They are not going anywhere and neither am I. What's bothering you?

Child: I don't know.

Parent: Yes you do.

....................loooooooooooog pause.................(like an hour maybe)

Child: Well....I'm sorta upset about A.

Parent: I can see how you might be...but I don't think that's your core issue.

Child: What's my core issue then?

Parent: That's what you're trying to figure out. And, I'm trying to help you.

Child: I don't want your help.

Parent: Too bad. You got it.

..........................long pause................................( could be an hour long or longer)

Child: Well, mayyyyyyybeeeeeeeeee................... it's B.

Parent: Try again...I don't think so. Cause you were the reason B happened in the first place. You were the cause of B. Remember? We've already worked thru B.

Child: Oh yeah.

Parent: Try hard. Calm down and think about what you are feeling.

Child: I don't know what I am feeling.

Parent: Well, let's stand here talking about it together until you do. I have nothing going on that's more important than helping you figure it out.

About this point in time ( especially after you've done something similar a few dozen times) your child realizes you are not going anywhere...not it for the long haul...not moving an inch.

Eventually your child gets to a point where they can say something like this (with eye contact & authenticity)...

Child: I'm pissed off/upset about/angry/hurt/scared of this or that.

Parent: Now we're talkin'. That's what I'm talkin' about.

Then you get to work thru the issue together.

Hugs afterwards and move on.

If you've spent lots of time away from your other kids/spouse/housework etc. during this might want to have your child think of a way to make things right.

Most definitely...they should come to a place of recognition. They have been the center of attention & monopolized the household.

Hopefully repentance & forgiveness follows.

And, then restoration.


There is not an easy fix.

I talked about this same thing a while back. You can see that post here.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Dig Deeper

HUGE growth over here. Praising the Lord for authentic and transparent communication.

Here is my not settle for the easy answer. The robotic answer. The one without eye contact.

Always go deeper.

Dig. Dig Dig.

Even if it exhausts you. And him/her.

Dig deeper.

For hours on end if necessary.

Day after day if necessary.

Search for and find the heart of the trouble.

Honor the red flags given to you by the Lord. They are His whispers.

If you do not feel as if the core issue has been probably hasn't been.

And then....not to be can it be rooted out...if it hasn't even been identified?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Social Workers.

Just out of curiosity, how many of you feel your social worker knows about RAD, understands RAD, equipped you for RAD, etc?

Reply anonymously if you'd like.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Choose Your Words Carefully

RADish's do not process language the same way typically developing healthy brains do. You actually have to think about the words you use and how they can be interpreted. Here are a couple of examples.

When a child has done something wrong, do not let any child or adult say "it's okay." This is true of all believers and conflict resolution but especially true of kids struggling with attachment. It is anything but okay. When they have damaged relationships and sinned against others, they need to be told "I forgive you" not "it's okay." As you help the child learn, accompany them on reconciliation moments. If the injured party says it's okay, gently correct them and say, "No, Bobby, it was not okay. Do you forgive her, though?" I have actually seen rages happen when verbiage is changed. They've lost control over the person.

Another that I am acutely aware of lately is saying "I'm sorry?" when I don't hear my daughter. She is quite purposeful in mumbling and whispering when she speaks to me. Saying "I'm sorry" may seem polite in other situations, but here, however, it is misleading. I am not sorry for her actions. I am not sorry that she is mumbling and trying to push me away with her words. I am not sorry that she is trying to control me by getting me to say, "What? What did you say?" I've started ignoring her. I told her calmly and kindly that she needs to speak to me in a clear, big girl voice. When I do slip and say something like "I'm sorry?" to her mumbling, I will stop and say, "Oops, I shouldn't have said that. I say I'm sorry when I have sinned. I have not sinned here. If you have something to tell mommy, I want to hear it!! :) But you must speak clearly and in a big girl voice!"

Little things that I would have never thought I would have to think through as a parent, but have been helpful in shepherding her heart.

Remember, every day is a day closer to healing. It does get better. Slowly. And yes, I am telling myself that tonight.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Stress in Every Corner

I am laying back in an awkward chair with goofy red tinted glasses on.

"I need you to sit up, look at me and listen carefully to my words."

Oh, great, I have cancer or something.

"There is too much stress in your life. It is too intense. I need you to take one minute out of your morning and one minute out of your evening to focus on yourself. Literally one minute. You can carve out one minute. Be gentle with yourself. Do not think about anything else. For one minute. Is there any way you can reduce the stress?"

hahahahhahahahaha. Nope. Sorry lady. Probably not going to happen.

"I'll do my best."

"Ok, because if this intensity and wear continue, I will have to send you to an oral surgeon."

This was the interaction I had yesterday with the dentist I had met for the very first time 7 minutes earlier. She can tell by the way I am brushing that I have worn off the enamel of one of my teeth. I can't believe it. This is not the first time I have had a doctor suggest I reduce the amount of stress in my life. Not easy when it's in your home. :( I had to chuckle to myself, though, because here I am worried about RAD ruining the CHRISTmas season. It was that gentle reminder that it really does seep into every inch of your life. It takes intentional, active decisions to prevent the constant struggles and behavioral issues to become idols, to break other relationships and to eat away at your health. It's not easy, but can be done. We've put some good safe guards in place. My teeth, however, were not on my radar. ;)


Home-education was the right choice for our family. Nothing like having the kids around all day long every reveal problem areas. In their hearts and ours.

Especially good for kids coming home thru least in our case it has been.

Oh the hours of togetherness we would have lost over the years. Bonding time.

We are currently doing a Bible Study of Stepping Heavenward. Great for girls. It's taken forever to get past Chapter 2 though......because there's so much amazing info being revealed layer by layer.

We move on to Chapter 3 with this Biblical truth. If we are in Christ...then we are all adopted!!!!!!!!!!!!

Celebrate Adoption!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Peace in the Season

So, it's day six of advent. Anyone else screaming into pillows yet? Why does RAD ruin EVERYTHING? I have kept my cool---most of the time ;) but it is getting a little crazy around here. I hate that there is constant tension all day long, especially during this season where I want traditions and peace to abound. And nothing ever makes sense. Their little minds are all twisted and awkward. Last night, for instance, I was going to let the kids stay up late (I know, bad idea to push a RADish) to watch a movie and have hot cocoa. Totally fun, right? But the sabotage queen must come out. Fun, joy, peace, family time, snuggles. They are like hot buttons for a RADish to have a total meltdown. I keep thinking at some point she will let the good in and enjoy us on some level. Not yet, clearly.

I make everyone hot cocoa, put on the movie and then go to put the baby down for the night. While I am gone, of course, conflict arises. While one sibling was in the restroom RADish drinks said sibling's cocoa. Now, most people would think, "oh that's just a mean-typical-kid-thing." Here's why it's not typical. Once you dig deeper into the thought process behind the emotion behind the action, you find things aren't close to being typical. Their entire worldview and framework from which they operate under needs to be altered. It is deeply rooted in entitlement, self protection, and a desire to control others.

It is not okay. I hate bullying/unkindness of any kind. Oppression is always disciplined. A desire to be the idol of our home is always disciplined.

Here is what RADish said. "I saw that when you gave us our cups, she (sister) was disappointed because we had more in our cups than she did. She was already ungrateful and sad, so I drank hers to discipline her." WHAT?! So, you know you have more and that your sister is sad and that she didn't complain even though she was disappointed and you decide to be the boss of her and steal her blessing and have more of what you already had more of?!

(Insert me banging my head against a wall here)!! So, here's my question for you. We have a loooooong time til CHRISTmas. How are you maintaining peace and joy for your other children this season? Me, I took my other kids on a date the next night. Just us. Dinner, hot cocoa, book store browsing. It was AMAZING. Great conversation, lots of giggles, lots of fun. It reminded me how fun being a mom is and how much I truly enjoy my kids. It was just the break I needed. . . that I need more of. :) How are you intentional about the season with attachment issues in your home?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Brie Heart

Monday, November 28, 2011

Jolie Pitt

Pure speculation. Do you think they have a crazy attachment challenged household?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Giveaway WINNER!!!!

And the winner is.......Beckie Joie!!!!!!!!!!!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HURRAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Send your address to our e-mail and we'll mail your hand-made heart ornament right away.

Monday, November 21, 2011


At the Together for Adoption Conference, they showed several adoption story videos. They were all . . . . sweet. They were the calls on couples hearts, the first honeymoon days/months. It was all warm, fuzzy, rainbow kind of videos.

That is wonderful. It is real. It is true. I have a couple of them myself. First meeting the girls, our trips to Haiti, welcoming them home. Amazing.

As I watched each one that weekend, though, I thought, oh, boy, this is not the whole story. It's kind of like turning off Old Yeller before Travis kills the dog. (I am NOT comparing anyone to old yeller, but I do think the shock some parents feel when the reality of attachment issues comes is like this). Or if your mom said giving birth was all sweetness and fun and didn't hurt at all.

Not quite the whole story.

These kids, even the babies, are coming from rough starts. It is not always easy to parent them. They are brave, resilient, amazing fighters. But not always easy to parent. We need some large scale forum to talk about those realities and the hard work it takes to agape-love them. That the phileo love isn't always instant.

I was talking to another trauma-momma at the conference. She is in the thick of it. Hurting. Clinging to Jesus to be filled up, every hour, let alone every day. We started talking about the videos. We were crying with tears of laughter at what it should look like to really prepare communities and families. But how do you share the reality in a god-honoring, child-honoring way? I haven't figured that part out yet.

I think people need a video that shows a child foaming at the mouth because she has "forgotten" how to spell her name or a child raging because you asked her which shirt she wanted to wear today or had a mom saying "if you have an accident, mommy will help clean you up, but if you pee on purpose, you will clean it up." or "you are not the idol in our home and we worship the Lord and we ARE going to church. if you are not dressed, you will be in your pajamas. i suggest you stop screaming and get to it."

I want a video of a mom dealing with behaviors all day long and her face falling as she tries not to cry when the child bounds into Daddy's arms with a big smile and hug when he comes home. I want to see a mom glazed over from the day in and day out stress. The constant dripping of behaviors that no one could have prepared you for. The truth that more kids will struggle than not.

I want a video with all this and the couple saying AND yet, God does not leave me when I don't trust Him or obey Him. God is faithful and so we will be faithful. We believe God can heal her heart. That He can work a miracle where sin has left wounds. We believe He is a God of reconciliation and redemption. We believe our child is not beyond His reach. And so we press on, knowing He will give us the strength and grace and wisdom for tomorrows worries and that every day is a day closer to healing.

I don't WANT a video like this, but I do want a video like this. Ya know? If I could get kids to play my kids so as to protect my kids and their journeys, I would make this video.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Hold On

I know it is not always always always true that things will get better. We live in a harsh fallen world. But sometimes it is you MUST hold on to hope. In our case specifically....speaking as a mom....I'm realizing how hardened I have allowed myself to become. How jaded I have grown. How wounded I am. How awful I am.

It's not 1/2 as bad as I thought it might be. I'm a wretch.

I allowed our history to dictate our future which has not wound up to be our present.

I'm in shock and thankful during this season of Thanksgiving.

Thank YOU, Lord for growth.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thanksgiving Give Away

Adoption Related: What are you most thankful for?

Thanksgiving Giveaway. Leave your comments here by 12 PM EST Thursday the 24th of November 2011 and we will have a drawing to see who wins this handmade w/ love Attaching Hearts Heart.

Proverbs 3:5

Co-Sleep & Baby Wearing

Keep your little babies as close as possible. Train them to sleep in a wrap, sling or carrier on you. Some babies that struggle may resist this, but it is so good for them. Let them sleep on you, hear your heartbeat, feel your calm breathing, smell your skin.

And guess what? It is good for you!! It changes YOUR brain chemistry. It actually helps you bond with your baby and want to meet her needs.

Now, this next part is not for those of you that are super hippies like Dawn. But if you are more like me and don't walk around nekkie, listen up. At least once a day (besides co-bathing), where you take off your shirt. Put on your Moby, baby into just a diaper and in your wrap and rest. Read a good book or something quiet. Be calm. Skin to skin sleeping is even better!!

Then as your children, especially your girls, grow, point out all the mommas that are doing "attachment" activities with their newborns---breast feeding, co-sleeping, baby wearing, eye contact, cooing, etc. Talk about how WONDERFUL those things are and what good mommas they are. Because before you can blink, your RADish daughters will be adults. Adult female women in relationships and pregnant. A wounded child's heart that is not completely healed needs every strategy and all wisdom to know how to connect with their babies and be good, attentive mommas.

Wear those babies and sleep with them, too!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Co-Sleeping in the Family Bed

Dawn and I were both shocked and dismayed by this article. It is so ridiculous. Do accidents happen. Sure. All the time. But these ideas are very western and modern. Co-sleeping is a beautiful thing. I don't know if I have posted here about my love of co-sleeping, but it's worth repeating. Children with trauma backgrounds and/or struggling with attachment will have a very hard time with the normalcy of the parents bed. Unlike "typically" developing peers that run to it in the middle of the night or when sick for comfort, RADishes run from it. Or they are painfully---literally---awkward. (They alone are the ones that injure others in the bed).

They need this snuggle time, even if it's only once in awhile. I heard a lecture years ago (wish I could remember where to link to. Sorry!!) but it was the scientific research on the breathing and heart rate patterns of children and mothers while co-sleeping. While asleep (IE unconscious), a child's body learns to regulate and mimic their mother's sleeping body. They learn how to calm themselves while sleeping. The study said that the sleeping hours are the most unused time of connection and regulation for traumatized kids. With three children, it was hard to get in lots of "therapeutic" time with each of them. I rotated a child in my bed and two on my floor for the first 10 months that they were home. 10 months was my limit. I started to become a bit claustrophobic after that, and we began to transition them into their beds.

Now, for some, the awkwardness or even the fear from the child may make co-sleeping a nightmare. Try just snuggling or reading a book. Clothes, even shoes, on. Work up to longer periods. A rest time. Maybe even a nap. Make your bed a safe place. It is best for them and most certainly should never be compared to them sleeping with a hatchet!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Whoa! Co-Sleeping in the News

Co-Sleeping in the news.

For the record. . . .we are both co-sleepers and encourage parents to co-sleep for attachment. safe about it.

I Was Wrong

I thought that when my husband lost his job and we told her it was time to move...that I would be thrown into RAD HELL.

I was wrong.

I thought that when we moved out of state...away from family, friends, our backyard view, our Sunday School class, our home-educating co-op, our favorite librarian...most of what was safe and secure and familiar...then for sure I would be thrown into RAD HELL.

I was wrong.

I thought that arriving in a new place...with boxes to unpack, a lot of anxiety, & practically zero connections and no real plan to speak of....well then that there would be the very thing that would cause the straw to break on the camel's back and I would be thrown into RAD HELL.

I was wrong.

I thought that the stress of her leaving old friends and meeting new friends would most definitely spiral me into RAD HELL.

I was wrong.

I thought that leaving behind a beloved Math Tutor at the very moment Geometry was entering our lives...would be the death of me for SURE. A slow painful TORTURED DAILY in RAD HELL sort of death.

I was wrong.

Girlie has handled the turning upside down of the only world she has ever known since arriving in the states all those many years ago in a lovely manner.

She's got big feelings. As do we all. She's identifying her feelings and talking about her feelings.

She's brave.

I was so wrong. So wrong about her.

And another thing....did you notice how I thought I would be in RAD HELL? ME. Me. Me. And Dad. And the siblings. To be sure.

This stuff affects the entire family. Everyone struggles.

For a long time...that was why I was so angry.

At her.

But really, I was angry w/the Lord for allowing this difficulty. In her life. In our lives.

Gotta make peace with the Lord. He is a loving Father. He is sovereign. And he reigns.

Things haven't been super smooth...don't get me wrong. But it's no where as bad as my previous experiences told me it would be.

Lesson: Do not live in the past. Live life now and hope for a better tomorrow.


Hi again. I'm back to blogging about RAD related stuff.

Needed a break.

Which reminds me. Do yourselves a favor and take a vacation from RAD related issues every now and then. An intentional break.

Refuse to talk about it.

Don't read about it.

Don't visit RAD blogs.

Never you mind the research. It isn't going anywhere.

Don't panic.

Do not fear.

Focus on all things lovely.

Whether it be for an afternoon...a week-end...a week...or longer...choose to be silent re; all things RAD related.

Laugh with your spouse. Hold hands.

Be with your children...the ones who want to be with you.

Be there for the one/s who don't...but choose to dethrone them. In love.

Listen to the Lord's whispers during this intentional time of silence. Allow Him to refresh you.

Vacations don't last we all know.

We are in this for the long haul. Let's pace ourselves accordingly, Parents.

Vine Heart

Cheesey Heart

Monday, October 31, 2011

You are the One

This is hard. It feels impossible at times. But you are the one God chose to be his/her mommy. At every turn it can feel like she does better for every other person in your life but you. She does. An overly helpful, charming, dollbaby for others and hard, grumpy, dishonoring, disobedient and manipulative with you. Incident after incident of others perceiving her to be angelic and that nothing could possibly be wrong with her, leaves you broken. It is disheartening and the temptation creeps in. . .

maybe she would do better with someone else.

maybe it's me

maybe she just doesn't like me

maybe if XX was her mom, she would be happy

BUT those are lies. It is your love and intimacy that feel threatening to her. Your love literally overwhelms her. It is too close and you have seen all her tells. You can call her out on her stuff. It is scary and vulnerable for her.

If she went somewhere else, she would be okay for awhile. Then the honeymoon would be over and her behaviors would show. The next "mom" would feel helpless too.

It isn't you.

You did not make her a sinner.

You did not put these wounds on her heart.

BUT you were called. God decided that you would be the best mom to her. With all of your short comings and failures. He would use you to minister to this child. He would use you to show this child a glimpse of His love. He would use this child to grow and shape you into Jesus. He would use this child to draw you closer to His heart and help you attach to Him.

So put away those lies. You are in a covenant with her. It is forever. He will equip you for the task He's called you to. He loves you both more than you can imagine. He is in the business of restoration, reconciliation and healing. It does get better.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Together for Adoption

Were any of you lovies at the Together for Adoption conference this weekend? Any thoughts?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Meet the Robinsons

What was your take on this movie? I know there was great debate in the adoption world when this came out. I guess in the end, it comes down to what your child's history is and how you interpret that for them through a biblical worldview. We love this movie. It is a favorite choice from our DVD library.

My girlie came home as an preschooler. She was acutely aware of other children (usually babies) being adopted before her. She was the odd one out in the orphanage clicks. She felt awkward, unwanted and like a Mommy might never come for her. She totally relates to Lewis in this. We have had wonderful conversations all from this movie including:

having to wait on God (both Lewis and his parents),

feeling like valleys will never end,

feeling sad and not turning to God for comfort,

God having a plan for each child's future,

God creating families on purpose,

being uniquely gifted,





choosing to or not to meet his birthmother

waiting children.

Beautiful film. Love it.

And yes, I cry every single time the boys go home with their parents. Every time.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Lilo & Stitch

Another great conversation starter:

Why are the sisters yelling?

What are Lilo's big feelings?

What do you think she wants?

Do you think she wants her sister to be her authority? Who was she missing?

Lilo chose sin with her big feelings. That is not the right choice when we have big feelings. It is okay to be sad and miss people we love. It is never ok to choose sin. What could she have done instead?

Stitch also needed a family. How did Lilo help Stitch?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Bad Case of Stripes

A huge part of attachment disorder is not knowing their own hearts. I don't know about your kiddo, by mine will choose food she doesn't like, clothes she doesn't want to wear, activities she doesn't like, and on and on. What is that? Fear of being wrong and therefore rejected, control of parents' time/energy/focus, too busy focused on surviving to think about anything else. I don't know what the core is or if it changes for my RADish. But it is incessant. Questions like, what do you want? or did you like it? are often met with robotic answers or copying the child that answered near her.

This week, we got our children pets. Our threshold right now with a baby in the house, is limited to beta fish. We got home, got them in their containers and then needed to name them. It took girlie FOR. EVER. to choose because we made her choose hers first. No opportunity to copy. Taking waaayyyy too long, her siblings couldn't wait any longer and chose names. RADish chooses a name in the same manner. (e.g. one chooses a name from a movie, she chooses a name from a movie. one chooses a friend's name. she chooses a friend's name. etc) After much encouragement and not letting her copy them, she finally chose a name. We all agreed it was a great choice.

That night, I pulled out this book:

Love this. She totally got it. Without me saying anything, she said, I do that all the time. A great discussion starter!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Back to School

Here come the triggers of school. I thought things were going well. Then I remembered that summer is filled with many days of freedom. School brings back those long days chocked full of resisting the "you need to do this, please" with controlling behaviors.

After catching her making a the NASTIEST face ever at me, I started asking lots of questions trying to get to the bottom of things. Finally, she replied,
"Oh, sometimes, I just like to think about how disgusting you are, mom."

Oh crazies, welcome back. I'd love to say I've missed you, but the twitching keeps me from that.

It then took another hour to get to the bottom of sin and deal with it. But hey, at least it was an hour and not a week. Healing! :)

Happy back to school, folks. Just remember, you are not alone. We love you. Jesus loves you and He will equip you for this school year.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Church Bathroom Toilet Paper Heart

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Social Media

Great article.

Birth parents should not be contacting underage children.

I'm pretty sure that birth parent initiated social media contact is a poor choice all the way around matter the age.

Monday, June 27, 2011


WAR on RAD battle #3-safe guard your marriage. We've talked about this before, but I cannot stress it enough. There has to be something there when they move out. Carve out time to be alone together no matter what. And no movies. No screens. Be face to face. Spend 15 minutes decompressing about RAD and then no more. Talk about dreams and goals and sweet memories. Affirm to each other your fear of God. I am not kidding. Seriously say out loud that you love Jesus and no matter what happens you will always obey. . .hat you will choose to work it out and stay married. The verbalization is good for you and good for the heart of your spouse.

I am not suggesting apathy towards RAD. . . I'm suggesting a direct focus of importance. Nothing else can have your attention if the primary earthly relationship is not being nurtured. You need time to laugh and rest and say "this matters." I know it's hard. I know sitters are horrible. I know you will pay for it tomorrow. But something happens when you are connected and have laughed together. You are better equipped to handle the cuh-RAZ-eeeeee that is sure to come. That would come if you went out or didn't.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Family Meetings

We were in a bit of stand still. Something had been revealed about the RADish. We didn't want to tell her outright but I also didn't know when it happened. I quickly realized she had done a slew of things recently and she didn't know what I was talking about. So how do I root out the issue while protecting the child that revealed it? I was afraid coming out and saying so-in-so said xyz, RADish would then use that as reason for anger and manipulation of so-in-so.

Dawn, being the ever fabulous sounding board/sanity maintainer, shared something invaluable from her daughter's healing. Family meetings. Sort of like your typical family meetings but with a different intent.

Here the family is gathered together and told that family meetings are a safe place to share anything that has been weighing on your heart. So, in the latest battle in the War on RAD, we did just that. We began by acknowledging that things have been more than stressful in the house and that we see a lot of individual conversations happening but things aren't really resolving. So, Daddy and Mommy thought it was best for all of us to share together in a safe place. Then we can all know what is going on, hold each other accountable and help root out sin from our family. (this makes a lot of sense to them right now because we are reading Numbers, God's holiness and removing sin from the camps of Israel). This way we can all help each other's hearts get bigger, trust Mommy and Daddy and be safe.

We said is there anything anyone would like to share? Has anyone said anything or done anything that hurt you or upset you? Oh, the flood gates. :( from all of my kids. It didn't start with the offense that started this, but that did come out. They have been carrying so much in their little hearts as we just go about life. It allowed them to confront the one that hurt them. If they stated it to us, we had them restate it directly to the person. X, it really made me feel scared when you ABC. We did not request repentance, but rather said something like, "That is horrible." or "I am so sorry you were carrying that in your heart for so long." If they weren't sure how to articulate it directly, we helped them form their sentences. This was especially important for our peacemaker who just wants to act like the stress in her life is okay and it will all be okay.

It allowed the verbal ones a calm place to articulate hurt without sarcasm or unkind tones. It allowed the peacemaking, quieter ones a quiet place of safety to share things they have been hiding or placating.

It was interesting because instantly we could see where the relational ties were and where deep wounds were lying. When someone stated their pain to another and there was a connection, the latter immediately repented and sought to make it right. If there wasn't, the response was more like, "uh-huh, yeah, I did that." with a deadpan face.

Eventually there was repentance and reconciliation all around. New words and strategies for when these situations arise again. All of the children said it was a great idea and made everyone feel protected and loved.

Most importantly, everything was out in the open. RADish couldn't manipulate, twist or oppress anyone after being "caught."

Yep, Dawn's brilliant.

Friday, June 24, 2011


I haven't been sleeping lately. Our home is a mess of tension and stress. My PTSD girlie has been in a spiral and my RADish is in a full regression. Ok, not full, because God help us if we go back to the way things were when she first came home. But we are pretty close. I was laying in bed last night praying and I woke this morning with a new resolve. A quiet, firm whisper in my heart.

I am declaring WAR on RAD! Now, hear me. I am not declaring war on my child. But on RAD and what it is doing----what we've let it done--in our home and to our family. RAD is like a fortress around my daughter's heart. She loves her fortress and she will do anything, including sin against the people around her to not only stay in that fortress but to protect it. To protect the safety she thinks it is.

What her Daddy and I know, though, is that it is a prison. It is a cheap, less than second rate version of safety. It is isolating and troubling and full of horrible things. She won't be able to flourish until the fortress is destroyed.

With that visual, I instantly thought of things I need to do or change to get my game face on, so to speak.

Number one top priority: Get the whole family involved.

In our home, we haven't stressed the label of RAD. We talked about it once and for weeks she would play victim to her history and not take responsibility for her actions. So we talk about her actions and feelings and heart. It seems to work well.

We got the whole family on board in helping sister's heart grow. Sister's heart is very small right now (or balloon analogy or something) but we know that it can get big and strong. Sometimes she thinks that she needs to choose sin and try and be in control. The best way you can help her is to use your words to tell her how you feel and not hide any wrong choices from Mommy. We need to know what's going on to make sure everyone is safe and to help everyone get stronger and healthier.

We are acknowledging that there is tension verbally, having everyone combat the sin in our home and giving those that are weaker in the home a voice. We cannot survive our days with RAD and be alive at the end of it. We have to improve, get healthier and strive to be a unit no matter how hard RAD tries to divide us.

War on RAD--everyone knows their words and actions to deal with behaviors from RAD

RADtastic normal we never thought we'd live---tattling is not only okay, it is encouraged.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Why I Don't Like My Child

Interesting article / story.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Mint Chocolate Chip Drip on Marble Slab

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Breast Feeding

Here's a good article on breastfeeding.

The vast majority of Moms' w/daughters struggling w/RAD have not breastfed their girls. We should be encouraging our daughters to breastfeed their own children in the future though and supporting them when they do so. Anything to help them bond deeply w/their babies.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Hi friends!! Sorry we've been MIA lately. We are super busy with stuff in our individual families. We'll get back to the conversation we started in--YIKES!!-March but today, we wanted to let you know about a playdate TOMORROW. If you are in our area, please email us at attachinghearts at yahoo dot com for details.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Define Love-repost

I want to post about how I deal with some of the stuff that I talked about yesterday. But first, I thought it would be really great to repost a transparent and thought provoking post Dawn wrote in 2009. Go check it out.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Aw, Thanks.

Have you ever been in an relationship or seen a relationship in film that is unbalanced? Instantly I think of the episode of Friends where Monica encourages Ross to tell Emily that he loves her. He races to the airport, bears his heart and her response is "aw, thank you." There is something so sad when we see that. There is a lack of reciprocity. There might be many aspects to the relationship, different types of love, but there is something unbalanced in their affection. Lacking a phileo love. One enjoys the other and time with the other more than the other. One wants to go deeper and spend time together more than the other. That is my every day experience right now. It is filled with backwards or side hugs. I would say we are averaging about 4x a day where I say, "I love you, honey."

"Yeah, I know."
"Every day you say that."

That awkward pause and dejected face screenwriters write into scripts for these moments, I feel. I think, "Uhhhhh, good night this is awkward. I wonder when or if this will ever change." I do have to say it is better than empty words. At least she's honest and not spewing hatred.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Hugs, Kisses and RAD!

I loved this post from Courtney. We must be a student of our kids and get to the heart of their motivations. Using the word Mommy or giving a hug or being polite does not mean they are healthy and attaching. Sometimes I think the fear of a label or dealing with the reality of loss in our kids' lives or how accepting the possibility/reality of the situation makes us stop short of analyzing our children and their behavior. I totally understand. But don't let fear control you. It will only lead to bigger issues. Courtney's post is concise, with hope and healthy boundaries. Go check it out.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


I came across this checklist and thought it was a good one.Link


Using, here is our winner!!!

Anonymous "K" please email me with your address at :)

Here are your random numbers:


Timestamp: 2011-02-10 23:24:50 UTC

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Last Chance

Enter today for our drawing. I'll pick the winner tomorrow a.m.! Click on this post to enter. :)

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Don't forget to enter to win our Valentine's Day love! To enter, comment on the original post: here

Sunday, January 30, 2011

and more triggers....

Well, just after I got off the computer with you...I was handed a note by Girlie. She said she was sorry, kissed me, hugged me tight, and went to bed.

I was tired ...but truthfully, not too tired to read it right then and there. I did not read it.

Part of me was in self protection mode, I think. I do that sometimes. Delaying the revelation of what could turn out to be baloney until I am ready for another round.

I awoke this morning to my husband asking, "Did you read the note?"

There was no way I could put it off any longer.

I was right re: my educated trigger guesses. Both triggers were articulated. Clearly, transparently and with emotion.

There was another trigger though that I hadn't picked up on. Smack in the middle of all the frightening things we went through over here recently...Girlie had a check-up at the dentist. Our usual dentist knows her history well but wasn't there that day. Instead, we got a sweet, personable, funny older guy.

Dental road maps are very telling to those who know how to read them. He was obviously alerted...and perplexed to find evidences of...(insert confused look on dear doctor's face while he tries to put the puzzle pieces together)...

I jumped n and saved him.

"Girlie has a history of malnutrition."

The light bulb clicked on. His face registered understanding as he continued with the delicate conversation...fumbling here and there...but doing a great job overall.

Girlie did great too. She explained a bit about her history and some of her dental related insecurities.

I told her I was proud of her. She smiled and we left with no cavities!

Well, 10 days or so later...she lets me know in the note that she is bothered by her malnutrition, embarrassed about it's lasting effects and upset with the whole crappy circumstance in general.

Always...but especially when the spirals come...dig deep. Get them to articulate what's going on. If you cannot get then to say it out loud...give them opportunities to write or draw what is going on in their hearts and minds. And, be patient. It may take a while.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


We've had a bit of a setback over here. Girlie has been in a prettymuchalldayeverydaydownwardspiralwithoutmuchofabreak for approx two weeks now. I know what the triggerS were. That's at least helpful.

Trigger #1 Baby sister had 2 out of the clear blue sky, very frightening seizure like episodes er visit...and another hospital visit to see a neurologist.

Girlie did her best to put on a brave face...but just before entering the hospital room to see her sister...her voice cracked and she trembled, "Mom, I'm afraid...I want her to be okay." There wasn't time for a cuddle. I smiled and told her to be brave. She was as she entered the room and gave a kiss trying not to stare obviously at the IV which I know FREAKED her out.

Trigger #2 choked to death on a piece of roasted cauliflower. Girlie called 911 while Dad did the Heimlich.

After I was breathing again...we had a bit of a private cry together. She cried and cried and cried..."Mom, what would I ever do without you?"

She hasn't mentioned either incident since...but her behaviors are screaming, "I'm AFRAID!"

Over the years, I've seen time and time again that the spirals don't end until there is a verbalization on her part of the triggers.

She verbalized in the moments...which is huge and fabulous and great for her. There was a time when she would've lost eye contact & laughed out loud or tried very hard whilst failing to hide smiles/smirks during way inappropriate moments.

btw those smiles/smirks are so hurtful and drove me up the wall.

Identifying core issues is something Girlie has gotten very good at. We've practiced getting to the root of things and verbalizing what's discovered below the surface of circumstances for years now ....and she can usually put her finger on what's troubling her rather quickly. Lots of intervention from the Lord. Lots of intentional parenting. Lots of hard work on her part. Lots of growth.

She's totally twisted herself into a knot right now though...and can't seem to find her way out of the mess.

I try to keep my cool and offer hints like..."Gee...what do you thing your core issue is because obviously there is one?" ... or.... "Boy oh boy, it seems like you are having a difficult time. What do you think that might be all about?"...or.... "Wowsie, those seem like some pretty big feelings. What are they?"

She's working on it. It's not easy for some to realize that they love others. They might be able to say it...but to actually feel it...well, that's just frightening.

Big triggers for a healing heart.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Love from Us

As Valentine's Day approaches, my heart is saddened by the lack of natural affection between my daughter and me. I LONG for that connection and for her trust. But sometimes, I have to be content with that "normalcy" coming from my hubby, other kiddos and girlfriends. I want to add to that affection for you this month. How about some Valentine's Day love for you???? A little hug from us. :) I hope this is something that will bless your heart AND give you a little something to enjoy with your RADaling! If your RADish is past this age emotionally, then you'll have a little something to re-gift. :)

The gift is JJ Heller's New Album, When I'm with You.

It is delightful! And her heart is even sweeter. I love when supporting artists also can bless others. The title song has been a sweet prayer for me to God lately. A phileo love prayer for one day with my RADish.

I also love the 5th song. It is JJ's song to her daughter based on the Runaway Bunny. So with your CD, you'll get a copy of the Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown. A sweet reminder that you will pursue your sugarlump no matter how far they try and roam--physically or mentally.

SOOOO, to enter, just leave a comment on this post. We know full well that many of you share anonymously here. That is okay. You don't need to put your real name here. Just know that you will have to give me (via email) a real address or PO to receive your gift. :)

Drawing will be Thursday, February 10th at 9a.m. PST

Monday, January 24, 2011

Nap 'Em

How old is your child? Remember, you need to ID all four ages: chronological age, physical age (gross and fine motor), cognitive age (where they are academically) and emotional age.

The last is the one that I've been thinking about all day. It impacts our attachment healing more than anything else. We take them back through stages they've missed, we give them extra room to process and we let them play with toys that are immature for them.

But what about when it comes to schedules? If your 7 or 9 or 11 year old is only 3 emotionally, what can they handle? What is their "limit?" I think often we want them to push them to be doing things their peers are doing (e.g. youth group, team sports, etc.) However, for most of us, if we had a little three year old in our care, we wouldn't be scrambling around trying to get them into school or into soccer or piano lessons. I know for me I would say those things will come. We have plenty of time for those things. AND those things aren't necessary. We don't need to be doing XX just because the Jones' are. We need to do what is best for our family and what God is calling us to.

We also needed to look at the rest of our RADish's schedule beyond extracurricular activities. Healing is super hard work. It is EXHAUSTING. It is completely draining. By 2:00, my little RADish is done. She needs to be away from everyone. She needs rest. She needs to be in a quiet, darkened room and rest. Some days she doesn't, but almost everyday she falls asleep. Just like a preschooler. On the days that she doesn't get that break, she is a mess and she doesn't sleep as well at night. I know there are some that say you need to limit a rest time or not give it at all because being alone is not good for them. I can totally see that for a kid that is away from you at school, you need to use the few waking hours you have together.

For our little one, I couldn't succumb to what other people thought of a child "her age" taking a nap. I know it is what her little heart needs to recharge. She gets a break from the hard work of healing and usually is more regulated for the rest of the afternoon and evening.

Each kid is different, but if you have one like mine, she may need you to slow things waaaay down. How much she can take--especially during a spiral---may be completely dictated by her emotional age. Remember, this is the most out of the box thinking and parenting you will ever experience. If it seems weird or awkward or backwards, it's probably dead on. :P

Hang in their friends!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Not Alone

I don't know about you, but having a child with a disability that manifests itself in a textbook fashion is comforting to me. It does make me feel less crazy when I hear from Dawn that she is walking through almost the exact same thing at the same time. (Both our girls on the same day "forgot" how to do aspects of their lessons that they have mastered long ago). I can hang up the phone, take a deep breath and know that it's not my parenting. THIS is what a child with a broken spirit looks like. Sooo, I thought, if you don't have a Dawn ;) then maybe hearing a bit of ONE of my days would help you feel less crazy:

When she didn't get to skip a part in a lesson she didn't want to do, she went ahead 10 pages without doing the parts she didn't want to do. When told she would then erase the pages she didn't do in an honoring way, she literally took 1.5 hours to erase the pages.

she has impeccable hand writing. all day she wrote all of her capitol letters backwards

she forgot how to read and spent 20 minutes painfully trying to sound out the impossible word "turtle"

She put all of the laundry away in the wrong drawers

She wore winter boots with a sundress

When asked why she came out of her room in the morning, made eye contact with me and turned around and went back to her bed, she very seriously said, "I just don't want to be with you. I heard someone and thought it was Daddy. When I saw it was YOU, I went back to bed."
(mmmmm, that one is super. it feels all warm and fuzzy)

A scary thing happened to a friend last weekend. Not immediately, but hours after hearing about it, she smacked her sister in the face with a toy. Mind you she is not a toddler.

When she does eat, she drops food on the table or lets it fall out of her mouth. Because, don't you know it is super hard to keep food in your mouth while you're chewing.

and on and on and on

As we say on the sidebar, you probably aren't crazy. This child is wounded and petrified. God has placed the child in your family on purpose and for a purpose. YOU are the Mom God wants for this baby.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


My RADish is early elementary age and we've just started talking to her this week about attachment disorder. I think it came mostly from her leading. She kept saying "I don't know why I'm choosing this sin/behavior/to push you away!!" I don't like labels but I also don't want to shy away from giving hard things names either.

Have you told your kids about their attachment disorder and/or the other "labels" they are struggling with? If not, was there a particular reason why? If so, did having this information help in the healing process? How old was your child when you told them? I'd love to hear about other moms' experiences and the words they used to communicate value, preciousness to their child as well as honor to early experiences/people that you don't intimately know.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


How are your coming out of Christmas spirals coming? Last year it was about mid February. It seems to be much sooner this year with less intense behaviors. Just thinking about you guys this morning and wanting you to know you aren't alone.