Continuing Education and Fostering and Adopting

“How do you handle lying?”

“My son is stealing every day, what should I do?”

“My kid is so angry all the time, I can’t seem to get him on the right track!”

These are just some bits of conversations I have had with adoptive/foster parents. Kids getting kicked off the bus, suspended from school, kicked out of kid’s church. I could say, “Been there. Done that,” and sometimes I do, but that is not enough. Adoptive/Foster parents need real tried and true info to help them on their journey. We parents need to understand where the behavior is coming from, what’s going on inside the child’s brain, and what we can do to help foster attachment as well as moral and physical development.

What happened?

If you adopted a cute cuddly baby or toddler and he suddenly starts behaving in off the wall ways, you may be asking yourself, what have I gotten myself into and what happened? What did I do wrong? I used to ask myself this on a daily basis. When rotten behavior burgeoned its ugly head and morals seemed non existent, I cried, disciplined and when traditional parenting didn’t work, I delved into research. That doesn’t make me super woman. I am definitely not a super hero. What it did for me was bring me out of denial. I was denying that there was anything different between them and my bio kids because I felt like it meant I loved them less. It didn’t. That was a lie. The other lie that was difficult to battle was “you’re not being fair!” from the bio kids. I had to approach dealing with behaviors differently in my adopted children and it was evident that I was doing things differently. I wish there was a magic wand I could wave over my bio kid so they could understand I am parenting two different backgrounds, a set of kids from a secure foundation and another with no foundation of family. You can’t base fair on two different circumstances to begin with. It wasn’t fair that my adopted children had traumatic beginnings. Let me get back on track here, education is the key for parenting children from hard places.

A New Perspective.

Out with the old. In with the new. That is the perspective we must take in parenting children who have had trauma in their lives. Adopted/foster kids don’t come with a clean slate that we can write on. They come with a chalk board full of past. We must acknowledge that and focus on child rearing that meets them where they are, not where we expect them to be. For example, we expect an eight year old to act his age, yet if he has had a traumatic beginning, he may only have an emotional age of three or four. He may lie, because in his mind, he believes you will believe exactly what he tells you because his brain is only developed to the stage of a three year old. Four year olds think you only know what they tell you.

It’s a difficult thing, this re-shifting of parenting. It’s a bit easier if you think of your children as half their physical age and measure their brain development rather than their shoe size. If they have poor impulse control, they are using only the downstairs brain, it takes time and consistent parenting to help these kids move to the upstairs brain. Kids who have not had the opportunity to explore truth and fiction may struggle with the two, not matter their age.

Raising children from hard places helps me understand the portion of scripture referring to renewing my mind. When raising these children with cognitive dis-regulation due to early trauma, it takes a constant flow of education, a renewing of the mind in how to meet these kids where they are mentally, physically and spiritually.

. Check this video out for help in handling lying.

 

Gifting a set of tickets (non professional) for the Show Hope Empowered to Connect Simulcast today!  How do you enter? Share this post on Facebook and tag The Whole House (you must tag to be entered!) For more info on the simulcast including how to order tickets, find it here. Drawing at 9pm!

Linking up with these ladies:

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Happy New Year!

Happy new year! Thanks for joining me today for a short post!

I’m giving you a New Year’s gift, a  Kindle copy of Positive Adoption A Memoir (Click on the photo for more info on the book.)

book cover

And … inviting you to join me for an online book study of Positive Adoption A Memoir.  Join me for the seventeen week study  (one week per chapter) starting Monday, January 18 and ending Monday, May 9th. I will post the study questions on the group page Monday mornings. I will be available online to chat about them Monday evenings from 8:00-9:00, so don’t panic, it won’t take a big chunk of time. Just an hour a week or less if you choose. You are welcome to answer the questions at any time of the week or post on the page! So, pick up the gift today, the Kindle copy of Positive Adoption A Memoir !

How do you sign up? Just comment on the Positive Adoption Facebook Page and say “I would like to join the book study” I will invite you! Sign up today!  

Blessings,

Kathleen Guire

Three Practices that Help Promote Adoption

I love to promote adoption. I could stand on a soap box all day and talk about it. I want more children to be adopted! But, there is a catch.

Adoption isn’t as complicated as it sounds until you get immersed in the system of paper work, caseworkers, therapists, etc.. Talk of all that is enough to scare anyone off the adoption trail.

How do we promote adoption in a positive way?

  1. Don’t give too much info at once.

When Jerry and I began pursuing adoption, a wise friend and adoptive parent told me,

“I’m not going to explain everything. That’s too overwhelming. Let’s just focus on one step at a time.”

Trying to cover every inch of the adoption journey is like sitting a pregnant mama down and giving her all the info she needs until her child goes to college. Less info at the beginning is better. Each step has enough new information to digest.

pregnant mama

2. Don’t hyper- focus on the negative, but tell the truth.

When we began the homestudy process, we were given a stack of material to plough through. Eighty percent of it was negative. I pitched it.

It’s not that I was trying to be unrealistic. I knew what trauma was. I had lived through it. I was looking for material to equip, educate and encourage me. (That’s why I started Positive Adoption).

When the lens of adoption zooms in on the negative, no one is looking for the positive. It takes stepping back from the microscopic and looking at the whole picture.

If the negative is an eight year-old with self-regulation issues, stuck in angry, survivial mode, then the positive is, with some attachment, some regulation skills, leaning how to use the upstairs brain, this child can bond, regulate and smile. He learns how to recognize other emotions and allows himself to feel some. None of these wonderful steps would have occurred without adoption. He would be a name on a page in a file with a sad picture while he grew up in an orphanage.

3. Offer a support group.

When speaking with future foster/adoptive parents, point them to a support group online, in person, or both. Make sure the support group equips, educates and encourages.

No one likes a negative Nelly, but then again, Pollyanna can be a little much at times. We parents need a place to be honest, authentic and know we can leave our masks at home. We are among our own tribe in a support group.

It’s not all about the T-shirt (those are cool), advertising adoption without the provision of support is like inviting someone to join you in your canoe without providing them with a life jacket.

We adoptive parents can go overboard sometimes, trying to spread the good news of adoption. Adoption is positive. We want everyone to know about it. We want to shout it from the rooftops. We just need to practice promoting it in a concise, productive, encouraging and honest way!

*If you are interested in joining Positive Adoption, the live support group, contact me. If you are interested in Empowered to Connect Parent training, send me and email! Here’s an intro:

To contact Kathleen Guire, please email positiveadoption[at]gmail.com . Kathleen will do her best to reply promptly, but please keep in mind that her inbox and her day are both often full!