"This life therefore, is not godliness but the process of becoming godly, not health but getting well, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not now what we shall be, but we are on the way. The process is not yet finished, but it is actively going on. This is not the goal, but it is the right road. At present, everything does not gleam and sparkle, but everything is being cleansed." --Martin Luther

Saturday, August 18, 2012


I use the joke often myself: “Normal is just a setting on the washing machine.”  But the reality is we as a society do have a large area we call “normal” when it comes to social behaviors.  Of course there are variations by region, by people/social groups and what not; but still-when you see someone who is outside the “normal”, you know it.  It may the red rooster hairdo, the clothes, the vehicle.  I don’t know, but I know you know what I am talking about! 

 Nope, we are not shooting for politically correct today :)

I would say that 7 out of my 8 kids fit into that “normal” category.  Most of the time of course; kids will be kids.  Some days are rough with them as well and their actions, some of the outfits they pick make me roll my eyes, but behaviorally anyways, they are pretty normal, and they look “normal.”

The 8th one would fit into the “normal” category is we were strictly going by pick him out of a photo normal.  And that, right there, is where so many parents of adoptive kids, traumatized kids, special needs kids get a lot of flak. 

“But he looks just like all the other kids.”   
“Oh, kids will be kids.”

Not only is this one a tough one to explain, it is very hard to deal with.  We joke sometimes that we wish the kid would put on his “hard day” sticker (ok, helmet) so it wouldn’t be so hard to handle his behaviors.  So when he is having a meltdown and transforms to a one year old rolling around on the floor, kicking his legs in the air like a baby, you could see the sticker and say-oh yeah, it’s a hard day; today he is not an 8 yr old. 
But alas, they don’t do that.  Sure, I know my child well enough to see when the day is going to be tough, and it is very tiring.  It is tiring to have to explain to anyone you may be with that day why you are doing things the way you are that day.  It is so hard when the day before he WAS a very “normal” 8 yr old playing with his friends.  Truthfully, I was actually a little relieved (?) when he had a meltdown before my parent’s anniversary party.  I honestly didn’t feel embarrassed or angry.  I was just glad that someone besides our household was able to see what we occasionally have to deal with.
And it is tough to not feel judged when you have to have these special parameters around your child, even on a “normal” day so that it doesn’t become an un-normal day.

I know-we all need a little grace each day; for our kids, for ourselves, maybe more importantly for others who don’t deal with the kind of “normal” you do.  No, maybe most important for OURSELVES-tired, frustrated, worn out moms and dads!  Parents—don’t worry about what others think of you (or you think they think!).  YOU know what is best for your child at any given day, time, place.  And it’s okay when you get tired and just need them to be in their special place so you can have some rest or spend some time with your other children (and spouse!!) who need you too.  And it’s okay that you fail sometimes.  Failure is a great opportunity to have “repair” and “redo” time.  Lots of healing can happen in those times.  Grace.  Grace for yourself today.

Monday, August 13, 2012


“All day long I am reminded of my shame. My face is covered with it because of those who laugh at me and attack me with their words. They want to get even with me.”  Psalms 44:15-16 New International Reader’s Version

J had Brian read him these words the other morning.
The morning started okay, but the nervous system was definitely activated and running on high.  Numerous words were spoken about calming our engine down, doing the usual helpful things to get it calm, and yup, even some consequences were even threatened.  And still the morning continued to go downhill.  At one point it just became obvious that the potential risks of going to church were going to outweigh any possible benefits.  So the decision was made that Brian would stay home and I would take the rest to church (another post someday about how hard it is for me to be okay with that-that I don’t have to be the one to deal with everything 100% of the time).  This of course brought about the very thing we were trying to avoid (especially out in public).  I left and shortly after things settled down at home.  The list I left for him to do after calming down was finished and he began to read in his bible.

I am sure some would call it only mere “coincidence” that he ended up in Psalms reading these very verses, among others.  I can only surmise that God had a huge hand in it; for me and for him.

Anyway, he brought his bible to dad wanting him to read them to him.  Brian knew very well that he had already read them himself, so he wanted to know why he wanted those read.  “Because you didn’t let me go to church.” 
Now, one thing I am learning a lot through his therapies is the power of perception.  I have to be careful what I read/see in a situation, and then what I think he is reading/seeing, and then there is whatever he really is reading/seeing.  His perception and mine are very clearly different on many, many occasions and as we have had times where he is able to open up and talk about things, we can work together on healing the situations that he (or I) may be hanging onto that are not quite accurate. 
That day we also became aware of the fact that during a “situation” he does not remember what he was doing or saying; I maybe should have already known that.  His therapist says he disassociates once he reaches a certain point, so nope, he can’t remember much, and we want of course to try to avoid it getting there as much as possible.  As we talk through it he starts to remember.  It’s of course hard to know when he is faking the not remembering and conversely when he really doesn’t remember but is just agreeing that it happens because he thinks we want him to.
On this day Dad was able to have a good conversation about how we are trying to work with him to keep him safe, help him avoid embarrassment (he is keenly aware of the times he has acted out in public, even though he can’t control it) and how much we love him.

Me, well, that was great and all but I was struck with a 2x2 in the forehead with these verses.  I mean really, what are the odds that he would find these verses dealing with shame?  Something I had happened to be doing some thinking about.
Sometimes we do things with the best of intentions.  And yes, sometimes we mean to do them even though you know probably it won’t be helpful (to the/ child) but maybe will make you feel better…  

What am I talking about?  Yup, shaming.  What do I mean?  For me, sometimes it is just the “remember last time you did this and this happened?”  I also use my mask of sarcasm, “really, so when did I say that was okay to do?”  

Most of you will go “duh, that never works.”    
There are times though, that I bring up past incidents with various kids and I know it is a teachable moment and they will be helped by talking about the situation and it does.  

There are times too, where I want to remind the kids of past behaviors in an effort to avoid, or at least delay them for awhile.  With some of them it works, some not so much.  

And the ugly truth is sometimes I know it will do no.good.whatsoever. to bring up a past problem but I do it anyway because somehow it makes me feel…something.  Not better, not good…maybe more in control?  I don’t know what it is exactly.  I do know the line is very fine, but I also know it well and sadly chose to step over it.  I can hear a voice in my head saying “too many words” but I want to say it for my sake more than theirs.

Even more ugly, I have “attacked” my children with my words.  I hate it.  I don’t mean to, it just happens as frustration or exhaustion or disappointment or anger takes over and I vomit out all my feelings onto them.  There really is this moment where I do want to get even with them for how “they are making me”.  (“Cuz don’t I always tell them it is their own choice whether to get upset about something, and no one else’s???)  More than anything, it is my own feelings of (perceived) rejection, inadequacy and being unheard that I want to get even with, but it is triggered by something one of them does, and boom.  Explosion.

But then… grace is given.  A huge blessing of this incredibly hard year has been the learning of “repair” work.  How an apology and a hug and an “I love you” can heal a wound.  The kids have gotten pretty good about letting me know when I need to repair something I may have missed as well-hiding under the covers, talking under their breath as they walk away, tears…and they have extended to me so, so much grace that I have not given to them.  Amazing grace, amazing kids who teach me amazing lessons.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

let the bidding begin!!!

Here is the link to the "Christmas in August" fundraiser for the Early Trauma and Attachment Annual Meeting.  The auction lasts for 3 weeks, closing on August 22nd.  All monies raised go towards the scholarship fund for mamas going to the retreat.
Airfare/gas money, room rental, goodies, etc... all add up.  I know some women will pay close to $1000 for this one weekend to relax, rejuvenate, reconnect so that they may go home and continue to give the best care they can for their children from some pretty hard places.
There are some fun items like baked goods, "Wonder Woman" items, jewelry, electronics, just lots of goodies to choose from.  Take a minute to look through.  The bidding has already begun!
Thank you for supporting some awesome, hard working mamas and letting them now they are NOT alone!

(If you would like to help without bidding on items, there is a "donate money" link you can follow as well!  Thanks!)