His Mercy

"His Mercies Are New Every Morning"

A Thought

In this life we can not always do great things. But we can do small things with great love.." :) Mother Teresa

Prayer Quote

“I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time- waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God- it changes me.”
― C. S. Lewis

Faith

I believe in the sun even when it's not shining. I believe in love even when I don't feel it. And I believe in God even when He is silent. (quote found on the wall of a concentration camp)

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Saturday, March 30, 2013

HE IS RISEN INDEED!

I wrote about my thoughts about what happened INBETWEEN Christ's death and resurrection here.
TODAY, I am THRILLED to write about the RESURRECTION!

I can't imagine how confused and hurt I would have been long ago, during that DARK time between the Death of Christ and His Resurrection.

But JOY DID COME in the morning.  Jesus Christ, AS HE SAID HE WOULD, was RISEN from the DEAD.... Not just his Spirit.... His ENTIRE PHYSICAL body! He AROSE!
God RAISED HIM.  He CONQUERED DEATH AND SIN.... and REDEEMED US.

The RESURRECTION, the BODILY resurrection is VERY IMPORTANT , NECESSARY to Christianity!
The FACT that Jesus was the Christ, the HOLY ONE, EQUAL to GOD..."I and my Father are ONE"....
That HE WAS SINLESS, and therefore the FINAL AND COMPLETE sacrifice for sin.... is the Gospel in a nutshell. 
We SINNED, GOD REDEEMED.  WE GET WHAT WE DO NOT DESERVE, because of CHRIST!

The Disciples.... What happened to them? They were scared and scattered.  Oh, they did come together again.  Jesus Christ appeared to them, ate with them and visited with them for a time.
He commissioned them.  And EACH ONE OF THEM... WENT TO THEIR DEATH PROCLAIMING JESUS CHRIST AS KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
IF IT WERE NOT TRUE, why would those scared men, not have just gone back to normal life? Why did they go from RUNNING, to willing to DIE for the CAUSE of CHRIST?

Jesus Christ can NOT be a "good teacher" or a "good prophet" if what he said was not true!
He was either GOD, the SAVIOR, or a LIAR....

You cannot say somebody who is not honest is a "good teacher". 

I believe He was the Savior, the Messiah, and I KNOW this to be true, because He has changed my life inside and out!
The disciples OBVIOUSLY knew it was true, as they went to their deaths declaring it so.
The Apostle Paul, who wrote a good amount of the New Testament KNEW it was true, when he was confronted by Christ. "Saul, why are you persecuting me?"
Saul was KILLING CHRISTIANS! After his encounter with Jesus Christ, He became a follower of Jesus and also became a Martyr, eventually.

Jesus IS REAL. He is RISEN.. AND He is coming again!

What About Them???

It has been 4 years since we last visited Ukraine.  I remember the little boy sitting with the lady in blue the most.
I remembered him when we went to get Erika 2 years before. He was so sweet.  When we came back, he remembered us, and He remembered Erika.
He sat next to me and carefully went through each page of the photo album we brought, carefully looking at Erika and smiling. 
And then, the tears began to flow.  His little tears captured my heart and will forever be there.
There was NOTHING I could do for this little one, other than to comfort him for the moment.
He was a "social orphan". He was not available for adoption, but he was STUCK, just like many of the children are.
I do not know what he was thinking. Was he thinking "I miss My Mama?"  Or was he crying tears of Joy for Erika.  I don't know. I just know they were sincere.

And then, there was little Igor.  He is the little boy in the Blue, who also captured my heart.  He has the same type of cerebral Palsy as our Timothy, (spastic diplegia) and he LOOKED SO MUCH LIKE OUR SON did at that age.
Of course this little boy was suffering being in the orphanage. He sounded so cute speaking with his little Russian voice.... But he was saying with a cute smile, "I want to grab your glasses and break them!"  He tried a few times to do just that.... But we smiled and redirected him. 
Poor Igor.  I FEAR for where he is today.  He is no longer a baby in the baby house. Is he one of the Lost Boys in Ukraine who is to rot forever in a mental institution for the crime of being born different?
I pray that somebody was able to bring Igor home. He desperately needed a family, as ALL these children did!
When I think about them, I pray for them.

I do not know ANYBODY who has gone overseas to adopt , who has not been affected deeply, by the  little ones left behind.
Their little eyes will always be with  you. They are in your dreams.  They are living human beings with no hope, no future....
BUT GOD.....

I pray that wherever they are.... they HEAR the Gospel.  I pray that those in their own country will reach out to them and bring them comfort and love.

And I pray for their future families, that they will LOVE THEM with an UNCONDITIONAL LOVE that they so deserve!

So What About The Disciples??

Jesus was arrested from the Garden of Gethsemane, where Judas betrayed him with a Kiss.  There were about 1,000 soldiers who came to arrest ONE UNARMED MAN!

THE DISCIPLES FLED!  Yes, even Peter, who said he would DIE for Christ; the same guy who cut off the soldiers ear and Christ had to put it back and heal it..... FLED....

He followed close by and people recognized him.  He denied he ever knew Christ in no uncertain terms, even CURSING at the ones to exposed him!

Then the cock crowed.... and he was reminded of what Christ had told him.  He wept bitterly.

The LORD, the MASTER lay COLD AND DEAD in a borrowed tomb, provided by Joseph of Aramathia.

There must have been so much confusion!  There were so many things that happened: The dead raised, the blind were given sight, the deaf had their hearing restored, the crippled walked, lives were changed, RADICALLY!  There was NOTHING quiet about Jesus.  He was  a RADICAL CHANGER OF LIFE and all who came in contact with him knew it!

He had the words of Eternal life, yet there He lay, in a tomb.  He was beaten beyond recognition, his beard ripped out, he was exposed as a common criminal, nailed to a wooden cross and left to suffocate in agony.
YET even in that state...... He forgave.  He forgave those who sneered and jeered at him and those who hated him, despised him; He loved.

The Physical PUNISHMENT was not even the worst part.  He who KNEW NO SIN, BECAME SIN FOR US.  He didn't just die for present day or past day sin. He died for the sin of ALL mankind, taking it ALL upon himself ALL AT ONE TIME, including MY sin, YOUR sin, and our future sin.
The burden is unfathomable to even try to grasp.  Every SIN on him was layed..... EVERY.
Every murder, rape, lie, theft, sexual sin, perversion, thought.... HE BORE.

The disciples were HIDING!  They were scared, terrified.... The shepherd had been struck, and the sheep had scattered....

I contemplate what I would have thought had I been there at that time.  Would I have fled?  Would I have been inconsolable? Confused?  Angry?  Frightened?

I am sure all of those things. 

They scattered and hid..... I wonder if they were making plans to head back to their homes and resume their previous lives? 

Today I ponder what it was like to be alive during that time; the time  when Christ was dead.



Friday, March 29, 2013

A Tender Teaching Moment With Alli

Today, Good Friday, we didn't have school, we didn't have soccer, and we tried our best to stay home and reflect on what today means.  We made Easter Eggs for Sunday, and listened to music reflecting on the death and Resurrection of our Lord. 
And inbetween those moments, was a tender teaching moment.

You see, even though it is a time to reflect, we still needed to get our chores done, and prepare for the Holiday.
Miss Alli, has been getting over poison ivy all week.  She is much better, but I went ahead and tried a different ointment to see if we could speed the process.  (BTW-SEA SALT works AMAZINGLY WELL on any plant dermatitis)
It was time for her to do the dishes, and she wasn't budging.  She told me she was "dizzy" from the smell of the ointment, which was quite mild.
She told me this as she stood in the kitchen balancing on one foot with her other leg bent under her like a stork....It is her favorite position to sort of "rest or stand" in . Oh how I wish I had a picture of her standing there on one foot claiming to be dizzy. :)  I actually find that position quite comfortable too. LOL
I do not like it when a child makes excuses.  I simply said, "I'm sorry, but it is time for dishes so we can get on with the day."
She stood there.  I could see she was digging in.  Oh how I didn't want this.

I cheerfully said,"when  you are finished with the dishes, we are going to decorate eggs!"
She said, "I'm not really interested!"
Hmmm.  I found her VERY interested last year.

So I began the egg dye preparation.  And cheerfully, we put on music and some of the girls came in to start dying the eggs, without Miss Alli.
I told her cheerfully, "If you change your mind, and get the dishes done, you can join in!"
And I let it go.

I threw up some prayers for her and for me, because inside I really wanted to FORCE things.
Instead, I felt the Lord wanting me to wait.  "Wait, be patient!"

She turned around and began to do the dishes. She finished them and then came over and said, "Mama, I know I really don't deserve to do the Easter Eggs, but I would really like to!"
I gave her a hug and said, " We'll, let's get some eggs dyed!"  "Here is your design wax, and here are the colors."
She had little tears and she asked, "Mama, Why did I do that? Why Am I so STUBBORN!"
You see, Miss Alli doesn't like it when she disobeys. She really doesn't.  But sometimes, her old nature pops out; sometimes mine does too.
I was so encouraged to hear her ask such a contemplative, revealing, question about herself.

I said, "For the very reason we are Celebrating Good Friday, and Easter Sunday.  We are hopelessly lost in Sin. We rebel. We don't do what we know to be the right thing to do!  And even, when we are believer's we can fall back into sin.  We will not achieve perfection until we are in Heaven.  Until then, we are ALL flawed; me too. "

"God doesn't give us what we deserve. He gives us mercy and grace.  And just think..... Christ bore ALL of our sin on that cross so very long ago. He payed the price."

I think that was a very real lesson for our sweetie today.  I love it when the Gospel comes alive in those teaching moments.
She sincerely apologized, and the rest of our day has been one of celebration. She has had plenty of opportunity to obey things I have asked of her, and she has done it joyfully. :)
God is so patient with us.



She posed for a picture: )

Good Friday Thoughts


Good Friday is a very important day on the Christian's Calendar.  It is the day Christ, our Lord was crucified, SACRIFICED for our sin.
He was perfect. We are sinful.
He LOVED us, even when we hated Him.

Scripture says in Romans 8:15, For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”


It has never been more clear to me in my life, what this verse means, than it has  in the last nine years, since we have experienced Adoption first hand.  This verse has come to life.  "We are not slaves and we have no reason to fall back into fear.  We are SONS of the most high God.  And Son's call their father Daddy.  DADDY!


There was a HEAVY and HIGH price payed to ransom me from sin.  The death of a first born son. The death of the Creator-God who was WITH HIM from the very beginning.  He was eternally existent, yet came to DIE the death of a common criminal  to ransom mankind.

WOW...JUST WOW!


And because of His sacrifice, I am free. I am NOT a slave to sin. My girls are not SLAVES to SIN OR FEAR, but they can find HEALING at the cross of  Christ.

We have done nothing to deserve this.  It was offered freely.  Why?  Because God LOVED the World, and chose to show it in this way.  He proved His love for his own creation by redeeming us.

There is no reason for fear. With our girls, sometimes they forget !
Sometimes they step back into fear, forgetting they are part of family now.  We do the same in the family of God.  Sometimes we forget.
 

God is wonderful in reminding us through His word, through others and through the Spirit..... REMEMBER who you are! I have called you!
Yes, we have been called out of darkness into His marvelous light!

So while today is about His DEATH and SUFFERING..... and it must have been unimaginable for the Holy Lamb of God to BECOME SIN for us.  He who Knew NO SIN... became sin. :(

We already know the rest of the story.  Sunday is coming..... and the GRAVE COULD NOT HOLD HIM!  

But for today and tomorrow, we contemplate the gravity of our sin, and WHO died for us, and why.

The Power of the Cross...

The gospel is powerful. 

Oh, to see the dawn
Of the darkest day:
Christ on the road to Calvary.
Tried by sinful men,
Torn and beaten, then
Nailed to a cross of wood.

CHORUS:
This, the pow'r of the cross:
Christ became sin for us;
Took the blame, bore the wrath-
We stand forgiven at the cross.

Oh, to see the pain
Written on Your face,
Bearing the awesome weight of sin.
Ev'ry bitter thought,
Ev'ry evil deed
Crowning Your bloodstained brow.

Now the daylight flees;
Now the ground beneath
Quakes as its Maker bows His head.
Curtain torn in two,
Dead are raised to life;
"Finished!" the vict'ry cry.

Oh, to see my name
Written in the wounds,
For through Your suffering I am free.
Death is crushed to death;
Life is mine to live,
Won through Your selfless love.

FINAL CHORUS:
This, the pow'r of the cross:
Son of God-slain for us.
What a love! What a cost!
We stand forgiven at the cross. 
video

Getting ready for Easter.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Zoo Trip 2013

 Today was Will's 6th Birthday!
 You are never too old for the carousel!
 Charlie was just a bundle of excitement!
 Little Lady and her Papa. :)
 Oh the magic of seeing animals.

 This picture is one of my favorites.  He was driving for all he was worth! :)









 And Easter Egg Baby. :)


 Getting a closer view of the Mongoose.
 Marcus sat on this turtle when he was a little boy with his brothers. :)
 Camel Ride.
One last ride. :)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

SO HOW DO YOU KNOW????

How do you know you are a " BCLC FAMILY"???

You hear one daughter say to another...... "My Window of Tolerance is TOTALLY SHUT!"
LOL:)

HE IS FAITHFUL

Alli, "Mama, you are a good mama! I love you but I just don't have the words to tell you how I feel."
Mama- "that was pretty good Alli! ":)

Teaching Little Ones To WHISPER....

I wrote a post <---link: a couple of days ago about giving tools for behavior to our little ones.

Today, I wanted to write a post about teaching little ones to Whisper! 

Is it possible to teach little ones to whisper?  YES! IT IS! And it comes in VERY HANDY, especially when you have a "babbling baby" or toddler. It was a fun experience to see them catch on! :)

When babies are in the 7-10 month stage and beyond, they don't just make cooing noises, but start to really babble and practice sounds.  MAMAMAMAMAMA... DADADADADA, BABABABABA!
They can get loud and not know that they are being disruptive..... especially in a church situation.

If you enjoy keeping your little one in church with you, practice teaching your little one to happily babble in "whisper!"

When the boys were little, I used to sit them on my lap each day and when they would say, "Ma Ma Ma.."  I would repeat "ma, ma, ma" in a whisper voice.  They would repeat, I would repeat and then, magically, they would whisper.

We would practice it each day..... and guess what?  If we were in a situation where they needed to be quiet, I would whisper to them and they would whisper back!

We tried it in church and it worked! :)
It is really precious seeing them barely mouth the things they needed to say with a very quiet voice. :)

I loved that time with my boys. :)  Teaching them was a happy experience. :)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Memorizing!

I wrote this post<--- (link) about new books we were starting.
They have turned out to be really good books.


We still use our mom dad and me books regularly, but the smaller books are for encouraging verses.
Today, I was thirlled to see Miss Alli sitting and memorizing her verses that she has been given.

"I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength"
"Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path."
"Whatever good anyone does, he will receive back from the Lord."

and many more......

She is MEMORIZING! :)
And so are the other girls!

I am thrilled, beyond measure. :)

SPIDER MAN

Isn't he the cutest Spiderman EVER?? :)
This is our 3 year old grandson Charlie.  You can read about many of his adventures along with his brother Will and baby sister Olivia over on Ivy's blog.

This picture brought back a memory of our family when I was much younger.  Our oldest son was just 3, just like Charlie.  He too was fascinated with Spider Man, but he didn't have that fanstastic fancy shirt! LOL
He settled for capes with clothespins for Super Man, and Spidey just had to flow from his imagination.
One day, it was time for his nap.  He REALLY didn't want a nap; what three year old does!
I had put the baby down, and the other baby down and it was time for him. 
Sometimes I wish I had let him stay up just to spend extra time with him.... But he really DID need his naps.
I was walking over to scoop him up to put him to bed and he did that famous hand motion..... "HA! You're in a web!"
I could have done two things.  I could have seen his reluctance as disobedience, because he really was trying to get out of taking a nap.  Or I could buy into his playful moment, enter his world, and capture his heart.
I chose the latter. 
Pretending I was stuck in his web was actually quite fun.  He laughed with sheer glee at the sight of mommy on the floor, stuck under his powerful web. 
And after a few minutes, I broke free and he obediently went to his nap, very satisfied that he was a real Spider man for just a moment, and his web action had finally worked. :)

I'm very excited to be spending the day with the Adorables on Thursday! :)


Monday, March 25, 2013

THIS AND THAT

 I got a message asking if Miss Erika was ok after her fall at church yesterday!
I replied, "SHE FELL?"  Stinker doesn't like me to know so I won't worry.....
So this was her face when I asked about her fall.  "WHO TOLD YOU? JACK?" LOL
 Mr. Jack is so sweet.  She said he took good care of her. :)  And she was thankful. :)
This was our fruit haul from Sprouts!  :)

Giving Younger Children Tools for Behavior

I usually write about older children.  However, I spoke last night at a meeting with young parents who have both biological and adopted children, all quite young. It was just a delight to be with some awesome parents and their children!  Some of the parents in this group, I personally watched grow up from children to adults and now parents! :)

When talking for just one hour, it is impossible to share all you want to! There just isn't time to get past introducing concepts. 

So I wanted to share some detail in this post.

There were some wonderful questions.
Not spanking children does not mean not disciplining, just like spanking children does not necessarily mean they are being disciplined.
There are children who are regularly spanked who are also not disciplined.  (Of course, this was not true with the group I spoke with last night.)
Once again, I would like to repeat:  Discipline is not equal to punishment.
TRUE DISCIPLINE is going to be instructive. 

When dealing with young children, there is SO MUCH for them to learn about life. 
We can tell them what they have done wrong, and actually FORGET how to tell them what or HOW to do something right!

Instruction is so important at this age.  If we say John, "Don't hit your brother!"  But we forget to tell John what to do if his brother is really bothering him, we have only made him frustrated.
If we need to talk to John about hitting, we can then give him tools and ideas of what to do and equip him for the next time he is bothered by his brother.
This EMPOWERS him to be in control of himself and impulsivity  will be overtaken by thoughtful, planned behavior.

Let's go back to this scenario and consider a parent who uses spanking as a teaching tool.
John hit his brother.  He isn't supposed to. You have told him over and over not to.
So, John is in trouble.
You sit him down, tell him what he did wrong, and then spank him for the wrong.
He repents and is restored to relationship.

Let's try another way:
John hit his brother. You take him to the rocker, or sit him by you on the couch.  Give him a hug and tell him, "You must be very upset to have hit your brother!"  Let him tell you about it.  Listen carefully.  (even if you already know or saw what happened)

When he has calmed himself, you can talk about what happened according to John.  Then,
you can offer sympathy. I know that must have frustrated you when your brother broke your lego set apart. I know how long you worked on it.
He will feel your acceptance of his frustration. 
BUT THEN.... go a step further.
John, it isn't right to hit your brother. 
What do you think you could have done instead?
(He may not know!)  Accept that.
Offer some ideas.  Maybe you could come and get mom, and I can help?
OR  Maybe you can be sure to keep your lego creations away from your brother because he doesn't really know any better yet. He's only 3.
OR, next time brother gets into your legos, find a toy he likes and trade with him.
If you feel like you are going to hit your brother, put your hands in your pockets and come and see mama. I'll help you!
(Teaching the baby is another post) :)

EQUIP John with some ideas on how to handle his frustration.
When you see something coming up and you see John about to get frustrated again, you can simply say, "John, remember our talk!"   "Use your tools!" 
And then watch......
You will be surprised how much John REALLY learned.  It may take him some more practice, but he will be able to control himself because of his new found tools.  When he does well, give him a "HIGH FIVE"  or a "GREAT JOB JOHN!"

When John has been given the tools he needs to succeed, behaviors that you are trying to help him stop, will cease! And then new ones  will crop up. :) 
Thus is the life of a parent! :)

Another Scenario was about if it is EVER proper to swat a little one.
I would say no.  At the same time, I can understand how if a toddler were running towards the street, it might be a knee jerk reaction to rescue them and then a swat on the bottom.
HOWEVER,
Let's go back over this scenario.
If you are used to speaking in a louder volume to your toddler... "Suzy NO!"  "SUZY, I told you NO!"
Instead of using a gentle and quiet voice.... Suzy will learn to tune your voice out because that is how she is always spoken to, or spoken to often.
When she runs to the street and you say, "SUZY NO!"  She isn't going to understand the alarm in your voice, because she hears it regularly.
HOWEVER.... if you are in the HABIT of a tender, quiet voice, and she learns to trust and obey you through relationship;  when she then runs towards the street and you say "SUZY! NO!"
She'll be shocked and stop!
She will have heard the difference in your voice and it will get her attention!
It is then time for INSTRUCTION.... explaining to a toddler about the dangers of the street can be hard, but it can be done!  Explaining they could get VERY HURT... and you would be very sad, can be a good way to deter them.  But nothing deters them better than a close, watchful, eye and quick intervention,  because toddlers are just DANGEROUS little creatures! :)

*****It was mentioned that a foster family would yell and scream at kids and carry out long, enduring punishments because they couldn't "spank".****
I would like to cover this topic in my next post. :)
Stay tuned!




Sunday, March 24, 2013

Saturday, March 23, 2013

FIVE YEARS OLD??? SAYS WHO???


I remember when I was a young mother reading parenting books. One in particular stated that if a child isn't Disciplined and correction in place by the age of FIVE years old, it would be a huge problem.  They inferred "it is too late".
This person said the personality and character of a child are developed by FIVE!

I cannot tell you how WRONG THIS IS!

The personality a person has THEY ARE BORN WITH! 
The trauma they experience may certainly have a huge effect on them, but that is not because they are OVER or UNDER FIVE years of age and FIVE is NOT this magical age where somebody is able to change if they are under five, or not if they are over five.  This kind of GARBAGE information is damaging to Children, and ESPECIALLY damaging to waiting orphans whose future parents might decide against adopting somebody older.

Consider the scripture:SAUL became the Apostle PAUL in his adulthood and his life changed forever.
ALL of the disciples were over FIVE!
Doubting Thomas, doubted no more!
Mary Magdalene was changed inside and out!
The demoniac was delivered and changed!
Abram became Abraham!
There are TOO MANY life changes to mention!

So why would somebody say FIVE is the magic age?  I HONESTLY DO NOT KNOW!

Children are children and THINK like children.  They are NOT mini adults.
If they have been neglected and abused, those life experiences will certainly have an affect upon them whether they are 6 months or 6 years; but it is NOT OVER at FIVE!

Adopting older children has been one of the most rewarding things in our lives!  Watching our daughters go from NEGLECT/FEAR to NURTURE/LOVE...... Amazing!

We have had a wonderful day today just watching them blossom.  They played, created and just had such a great day.

I do not understand how ANYBODY could say that an older child cannot change.  

NOT ONLY CAN THEY.... We have FOUR in THIS household from ALL DIFFERENT backgrounds, countries and traumas,  who are THRIVING!

It is NOT LUCK... IT IS NO ACCIDENT.

UNCONDITIONAL LOVE HEALS, UNCONDITIONALLY!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

To Encourage You

While our own past affects our future,  our children's past effects THEIR future.... but the GOOD NEWS is that the past does not DETERMINE what our future will be!  OUR FUTURE NO MATTER OUR PAST can be HAPPY, FULL, RICH IN LOVE and ABOUNDING IN GRACE and MERCY.  We CAN have close relationships, close friendships and STABILITY!

Karyn Purvis wrote, "We need to cling to the truth that NO LIFE is TOO BROKEN, NO PAST  TOO IMPERFECT, NO HEART TOO WOUNDED, for our loving God to redeem, and begin to heal.  Jesus extended the invitation, 'Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.'  Matthew 11:28 "

I say AMEN!


Support group tonight. :)  I hope everybody brings something to share!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

We're A Bit Nutty Around Here!

I roasted these babies today! :)  Oh the aroma smells SO GOOD!

I started roasting my own nuts because I could guarantee no gluten.  But NOW I roast them because they are SO MUCH TASTIER than store bought roasted nuts.

It is REALLY easy too!
Spread raw nuts on jelly roll pan
Drizzle with olive oil
Sprinkle with sea salt

Put in oven at 300ยบ  and stir every 5 minutes for 15-25 minutes depending upon how done you like your nuts.  I prefer the longer time because they just release such a nice aroma.

Ummm.  Somebody was feeling EXTRA NUTTY! LOL

Monday, March 18, 2013

AWESOMENESS!

Today was an AWESOME DAY! 
It seemed that from the time we got up.... ALL WAS WELL!  HORRAY!
Tomorrow we head back to Houston to get Alli's new Russian Birth Certificate with our name on it!
She is also going to get her passport updated.
BUT.... she has a cold sore on her lip.  She was really worried that somebody would think it wasn't a cold sore but that somebody had punched her.

I HATE it that our kids have to feel so worried.
I reassured her that nobody would think that.  We will get passport pictures taken in the a.m.
BUSY DAY AHEAD!
Three girls want to go.... one is going to relish her time with dad, and the QUIET. :)






The New Room Mates



ADOPTION or ATTACHMENT ( And the Mama Factor)

I wrote yesterday about our weekend.  I wanted to write in more detail today about how some of it could have been avoided, and also about why I am GLAD it wasn't. :)

We really worked through some underlying "stuff" and I really do want to share some insight I gained.

Attachment issues and Adoption issues are NOT the same!  They are NOT!  While some of the behaviors one sees popping out COULD be similar, HOW you handle them will determine your success or not.  They CANNOT be handled the same.
That would be like changing the radiator out when your real problem was the alternator.  Different!
They are both part of the engine. They both cause the vehicle to not work... but the solution is DIFFERENT.

For the child who has had a trauma background, like ours, change is hard.  They will interpret that change VERY differently according to their past experience AND according to HOW they understand the interpretation of that experience.
(meaning, little kids have things happen to them, and they don't know why, so they come up with something for it to make sense)

Our girlies are no longer little. They are all teenagers now. 
I have been prepared for a LONG TIME for the cycle, the processing of interpreting old experiences, to come up and visit again. THIS IS NORMAL!  We ALL begin to rethink and reinterpret our early childhoods at some point.
As we begin to develop our own ideas and thoughts, and contemplate more mature ideas about life, life issues COME UP! 
I LOVE THIS STAGE OF PARENTING..... It is like watching a butterfly freshly coming out of the cocoon and just beginning to spread it's wings. It hasn't taken off or flown yet, it isn't ready.  But it is getting ready! :)
It is when you can really TALK, and girls do love to talk. :)  You can sit on the bed and gather them all around, tell them stories of your own childhood, and they can share stories about theirs; and then giggle, laugh and cry.
These talks are talks of healing and understanding ; they are rich AND fun.

Yesterday Miss Alli got hooked on talking.  She LOVES telling and hearing funny stories.  "Please mama, tell another one!"  This is GOOD, HEALTHY communication!

Why I titled my post Adoption or Attachment is because over the weekend we had some behaviors that were over the top on the absurd side. 
I was seeing them as "controlling".  I was seeing them as "disrespectful".  I was seeing them as "defiant". 
What I WASN'T seeing was that I was the PROBLEM!  Yes, ME!

The issues were NOT attachement related. Our girls are attached. They love us. They have expressed this in MANY ways. They CARE for us, they are GLAD they are here! 
The issues though very MUCH had to do with disrupted lives... NUMEROUS foster placements or adoptive placements. 
The funny thing is, I can TOTALLY IDENTIFY.... We moved SO MUCH when I was younger, several times in a year sometimes.... that I didn't feel settled. 
Now, Imagine if that move included new family too!
While my girls knew they were just moving down the hall, they had not been given TIME to process it as they should have been. Things felt out of control for them. Just as when they had NO choice and NO warning, and were just "moved".
THIS IS WHERE THEY ARE. They are NOT STUCK.... they are at this point in the process.
It took me MANY YEARS to not start packing at a 6 month mark of a place that I lived and start looking for new apartments.  It made no sense.... or did it?  To the one who hadn't been through all the unprepared moves ( we learned how to move in literally hours)  they wouldn't have understood.
My husband lived in the same house for most of his growing up years. The thought of moving was so foreign to him. LOL

So, for the girls, underneath the understanding that they were moving to the next room, was that forboding  feeling of impending doom.  And I had not prepared them.  "Moving day!" I said Happily!
How could I have been so stupid!

We pressed on to finish.  We want them to change up roommies now and then to learn to live with each other in closer quarters.  That was NOT the issue. 
The issue was lack of preparation.

So, their ugly popped out and so did mine.  What I found was, as they were spiraling, I started to do the same thing.
NEVER a good idea. :)
I found myself being "controlling" to try to control the out of control, instead of STOPPING and regrouping; getting to the source of the issue and then  dealing with it peacefully.

While Alli was painting her dresser, I was busy cleaning behind the other big dresser and in the process moved it, without our other daughter's permission.  I also moved the book case. And then, she came in and started to cry.  "Now my posters aren't right!"  And I said, "well, why don't you move your posters?" duh...
"Why are you crying?"  "Moving a dresser is just not a big deal!" 
Well, if it wasn't a big deal, why was "I" making it one?  Control.....

As a child, we never decided where anything went. It just was.  And you know what? I didn't like it! And even though I didn't like it,  the change of furniture that didn't seem a deal to me. But it was a HUGE deal for my daughter.  Why did that bother me? Why did I then make it a deal?  Maybe it was my own issue coming back to haunt ME.

I went to pray and regroup..... I went and talked to Mike.  And then, I went back and told my daughter.  "You know, this is your room, not mine.  You can put your furniture the way you like it. If you want it to be where it was, that is ok. "
 Now, that last scenario had nothing to do with adoption OR attachment, that had to do with MY ISSUE.... and it resolved when I dealt with my own sin.
One thing we did talk about later,  was HOW to handle a problem when you are overwhelmed.
We came up with some ideas together.  Instead of "You covered my posters on purpose!"  How about, "Mama I like the dresser the way it was, better." :) 

Later, I took my daughter's one at a time into my room to talk.  And what happened was nearly miraculous.  Things my Anna,  wouldn't talk about before, started to pour out.  Memories of being moved and leaving behind precious things.  Memories of being unprepared for moves.... BINGO.... they would just come and get her.
SHE KNEW LOGICALLY she was staying HERE.... it wasn't about that. It was about the HURT she felt as a little child, being controlled, not being allowed to be a child growing up in a stable environment... not being able to stay anywhere. She didn't know why.

I was able at that time to piece together for her a timeline of events and why some of those moves took place.  We had a very grown up conversation as we rocked in the rocker and snuggled.
She made it VERY CLEAR that she loves us. She feels SECURE with us.  This was NOT about THAT..... :)
It was more about feeling "fake".... "like I had another life and while I'm happy living this one.... that other one isn't gone."  Very mature thoughts. :)
I can SO UNDERSTAND THIS..... I had another life too.  I had a different family too.  I was divorced. When I was newly remarried, I felt the same way. I was in a new state, new friends, and many people didn't know.    God uses the ugly things in our lives for such good.
I was able to share with my Anna that it is ok for people to not know. Or, if you want to tell them, that is ok too.
She said something quite funny.  "Mama, most of our friends and so many people at our church have adopted, it seems more like adopted is normal and being born into a family is more unusual!" LOL

So how would I handle an adoption issue, vs. and attachment issue differently?
Attachment has to do with RELATIONSHIP.  That is all about working on connecting with each other.  To talk about how we relate, or how we feel about having parents or sisters or even being in a family. It would have had nothing to do with what was going on in her heart.  I would have missed the Forrest for the trees!
Adoption has to do with being placed in a family... kerplunk! It is like being from another planet and just being "PLACED" elsewhere.... she HAD a story and a life BEFORE....
She was hurting because of  past memory due to placements and finally adoption.
We had to talk about THOSE issues.  She NEEDED me  to know and NEEDED to tell me that she LOVES us and wanted to make very sure we knew that the issue was totally different. 
It would have been VERY frustrating for her, if I had only gone on to talk about our relationship and then did something like keeping  her by my side  ALL THE TIME  or PLAYING ATTACHMENT GAMES, or,  not allowing the play date we allowed yesterday.  It would have made ZERO sense!  Her issue was not about attachment!
Instead, we talked about what was on her heart.  We talked about her feelings and the processing of the information she had,  into a greater understanding at a more mature level.  She was also given permission to NOT have to feel like everything was  neat and perfect in her life.  NOBODY'S LIFE IS NEAT AND PERFECT!  I think it was really helpful for her to accept the ugly of her past, and to know that it was NOT HER FAULT....
She also learned that MANY kids struggle with the same issues and feelings.  Mom and Dad will always be here... ALWAYS, at any time to talk, and  to understand. 

Yesterday, a friend came over who also had a very similar background to my sweetie.
She is reading the book "Three Little Words" and can identify with much in the book.
I was telling her about our day the day before, and she very CLEARLY agreed that the issues are NOT the same.
She is a lovely lady.  For those of you who are dealing with difficulties.... my friend is a shining example of HOPE and HEALING and what the Lord can do in one's life.
She also stated that some things will always be with you. They are not up in your face all the time, but they are there.  You cannot relate to some life experiences because you NEVER experienced them and that is a reminder to you of your beginnings.
This friend also had a good relationship with her final family. She remembers doing things that made no sense, and make no sense to her today, except she was a hurting kid, and kids do NOT think like adults.... even older ones. :)

A few more thoughts on attachment:
When our girls were newly home, we didn't leave them with anybody. We didn't do too many outside things.  We kept things simple and scheduled.  We played hand games and sang songs.
Life was very structured, but not harsh or unkind. 

But for older kids, it is a little more complicated and different.  They NEED to have outside friendships and relationships.  It is NORMAL for them.  It seems to hold them back in this area and it can be damaging to your relationship, and cause a child to be very frustrated.
While they MAY BE very young emotionally, that doesn't mean they don't also have older kid feelings and angst. NOR does it mean they are going to STAY young emotionally.  Our kids are NOT STUCK.... they are growing.
Giving them the opportunity to explore a little in a safe environment is a good thing!  It seems some of the more "extreme" attachment parenting suggested by some can cause PROBLEMS in both relationship and also in self esteem.... constantly being reminded that "you are different!"

Three of our  girls, came home before the age of 8. Had they come home at 11, like Alli, they would have gone to Sunday School without us, not with us if that was their choice.  They would go to play dates without us, not with us once home for 3-6 months.  There has to be a sense of rationality when it comes to older children. 
Alli was 11 when she came home.  We handled things a little differently with her because she WAS older.  She was given the option of going to Sunday School. She preferred to stay with us for a while.
When she was beginning to blossom, I did allow her to go on play dates where I didn't stay.  She has some very good friends who love her. They know her story.  Giving her these opportunities helps her to feel "NORMAL" and she LEARNS from her new experiences.

OLDER child attachment happens very differently than with much younger children.
Going shopping!  Dinner dates!  Going for a walk, or just talking, facilitates attachment.  Getting to know them and sharing so they can get to know us, facilitates attachement.  No judgement... no "you did what?"  Just listening...  And yes, older kids still like the rocking chair. :)  But if they don't, that is OK.... we have to work with them where THEY ARE.
  
Just some thoughts. :)


I am so thankful that we NEVER STOP LEARNING... and WE NEVER STOP LOVING!








Sunday, March 17, 2013

What I Learned....

This weekend was STRESSFUL and EDUCATIONAL....
It was educational, FOR ME.
I wrote in my previous two posts about change.  Both Mike and I felt it was time for a change for the girlies.  They have had the same room mates for a year and a half.
When the guys were little, we changed room mates every so  often so they would get used to being with somebody else and so that sibling relationships would thrive.  They seemed to like the changes,
and never really had a problem with that kind of change.

Add ADOPTION into the mix, and you have an entirely DIFFERENT story!

On Saturday, I figured we would have a great day.  Two of our girls DID.  Two others DID NOT!

Here is what I LEARNED.....

1.  IF I want to make changes.... give FAIR warning! TWO of our girls do not handle change well.
2.  Don't be surprised when issues come up because of something YOU STARTED!
3.  LOVE YOUR KIDS.... PERIOD.

Let me be very clear.  ALL of our girls LOVE each other, and they LOVE us.  I have no doubt about this.  But CHANGE is HARD..... HARDER than I expected it to be.  And I was WRONG in not preparing them better.

So, after a day of tears and trials.....
Everybody is fine.  I did not handle things perfectly.  But at the same time, I was able to have a VERY GOOD TALK with both of my sweeties, one at a time. 
They shared some very personal things on a level they have never shared before. I was able to comfort them and sympathize with their fears.  As we snuggled and talked, finding a common ground, I felt so comforted by the Lord, and by them too.

One of our precious  girl's words ministered comfort and peace to me last night.
She ministered to ME, when I thought I was going to be ministering to HER!

I  can kick myself for not preparing the girls before I started a new MAJOR project, and for not remembering that they are more fragile than I sometimes remember!  A move; even a move to the next room can be traumatic.

I talked to a friend today who has a background in foster/adoption due to her OWN experience as a child. I shared with her our weekend adventures and some of what our precious daughters shared with me.  She affirmed that much of what our sweeties said was right on.

There are BIG  differences between Attachment issues and Adoption issues.  I think sometimes they can be mistaken.
In talking with my daughters and then my friend, it became very clear to me today that some issues regarding Adoption may never truly go away.  They may possibly be something one carries the rest of their life. 
Adoption is NOT the NORM!  Most children are parented by their parents!  Adopted kids are very WELL aware that we are not their first parents. They can love us and be attached to us, and yet STILL feel that rejection caused from their past experience.
My friend today helped me understand that some things regarding the past, isn't always up front and in your face, but it is there.
The changes that I brought into our home over the weekend that were seemingly benign, were not so benign for some of our kids.
Instead, it brought up old wounds of being moved OVER AND OVER.....
How could I have been so insensitive?
UGH.....
I LEARNED something new...
I am so thankful that the Lord's mercies are NEW EVERY MORNING. :)
And THIS is Alli's COOL NEW DRESSER!  She say she now has the coolest dresser EVER! It went from Pink to Black. :)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Friday, March 15, 2013

CHANGE.... Part 2....

I wrote about the  CHANGE coming here. <----
Things are going really well. :)  Anna and Alli are over the change shock. :)
Some kids REALLY DO NOT LIKE CHANGE!  These are two of them. But change is good, especially CONTROLLED change that can benefit them.
So the tears are over....
And now they have moved to acceptance with joy. :)
 Taking down and putting up!
 Working together and discovering cool new places to put things.  I told Miss Alli she can do morse code through the wall to Sarah. :)  They are just one door away. It isn't like we have a huge house! LOL
 And somebody is just Miss Cheery! :)
 Anna very kindly wrote this special letter to Miss Alli to welcome her into the new room.
Anna and Alli are going to do really well together! 
Proud of them all! :)

Tomorrow, there will be final pictures, I hope. :)

CHANGE.....

When Alli first came home 2 years ago, we moved ALL FOUR girls into our master bedroom, and we took a smaller room.
After 6 months, we knew she was ready to be in a regular room with Sarah. And the living arrangements have been the same ever since. 
Erika and Anna, Sarah and Alli.

When our guys were younger and at home we used to change the scenery every year or so.
Oldest with youngest, two older, two younger, two middle, first and third, second and fourth.....
Just so everybody could learn to live with everybody else.

That time has come for the girls, and the two who DO NOT LIKE CHANGE are  not too thrilled with the idea.  The two adventurers are just fine with change.

Honestly, I think it is for the best, as they really DO NEED to learn to live with different kinds of people.  And all four girls are VERY different.
They have different likes, different tastes in music. Some like to sleep with a light on, some not so.
Some go right to sleep and some don't.  Some read, some listen to stories... but all love each other.
They just are not so sure they can LIVE with each other. LOL

So, the experiment begins..... STAY TUNED!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Spring Break

We are in the midst of Spring Break and am I ever glad we decided to take it!  Sometimes we Homeschoolers can be a little too much "put your nose to the grind stone types".....
I know for sure, I needed a real break and so did the girls.

There were no plans really, but we HAVE kept to our normal schedule of getting up and going to bed as best we can.  Although, last night I did allow 1/2 hour later so they could watch the first 30 minutes of  the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice.

Yesterday we went to the store, but when we got there, I started feeling weak.... almost flu like, and we had to go back home.  Sorry girls.  They handled that change VERY well! I know it was disappointing. :(
Today, I was much better and Anna found 2 dresses on sale for $8.50 each! 
Erika, Sarah and Alli went for a long stroll down the country road, and when they came back, Anna and I had chocolate chip cookies baked.

Today has been a wonderful day. 
Here are a few pictures from our day.


 The Black and White Girls
 Anna
 Miss Bo Peep : Alli LOVES doing dressup.

 The cat has enjoyed lounging with Sarah while she worked on Calligraphy


 Enjoying the use of the old table outside on the front porch.
 Erika relaxing.... watching "The Waltons".

You Are Still Holy

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