I. Is. Treasure. Daddy. 


Our dog does this adorable thing when you are petting her. The moment you stop, she makes these precious noises and takes her nose and tries to lift your hand. She is great at communicating that she wants more lovins. And she ALWAYS wants more lovins.

We were lying in bed petting her this morning when this exact scene was played out for the millionth time since we adopted her about a year ago. I found myself saying out loud, “She has six years of not getting loved on to make up for.” As a thought crossed my mind my hubby spoke it out loud, “Just like our kids.”

See, our dog came to live with us after not having a loving home for 6 years. She was so scared when we first met her that she ran away from us all. She was so scared of human touch. She had never lived in a home before and wasn’t even potty trained.

There is so much about her story we don’t know. So much that we will never know. Her trauma still remains. You can see it in her fear of strangers and her fear of kids. But she has also made great strides. She knows her momma loves her…we call her my mini me because she follows me everywhere. She loves her daddy and is no longer frightened of his height. After months of growling at her, she now loves our daughter and will lay with her.

I often look at our dog and wonder how anyone could have treated her poorly. How anyone could have not showed her how loveable she is. How anyone could have just hurt her and not taken care of her. And my conclusion is always that they missed out on the best dog ever.

The same can be said about our kiddos. Unlike a dog though, they deal with the emotions on a daily basis of what they have gone through. And the questions I ask about my dog are the same questions I ask about them, and even more importantly, they ask about themselves.

Here is something I wrote in May of 2016…a true story about our daughter that I shared last night at the adoption banquet that we had the privelage of sharing our journey at…

      I.IS.TREASURE.

Garbage day. Daddy gets on his blue disposable gloves. We look over. Daddy hunches down, being funny. Silly daddy. She laughs. Don’t catch me daddy. Don’t throw me out. She smiles and hides as daddy walks outside to put the garbage out.

I. NOT. GARBAGE. DADDY. She jokes on the outside. On the inside her heart wonders if she is. Trash. Thrown out. Used. Not important. Not worth keeping.

My heart is heavy. Sweetie, you are treasure. You are special treasure. She tilts her head questioning. I look into her beautiful eyes. God made you that way. You are chosen . You are a treasure and special to Him. You are a treasure and special to us.

Daddy walks back through the front door. She runs over to see him. A huge smile on her face. She looks as though she will burst. I is treasure daddy. I. IS. TREASURE. DADDY. Yes baby, you are indeed treasure!

Trauma Triggers

I Will Never Let you Go

My back is heavy against the front door. I sit on the hard ground, salty tears pouring down my face. I’m crying so hard that speaking is not possible. The pain. My heart feels like it’s breaking. Snot slides onto my lips. But I can’t move. I can’t get up. I can’t leave this door. So I don’t. 

Please let me go Mommy. Just please let me go. Why won’t you let me go? 

I’ll never forget that moment when I rounded the corner of the house and saw you there. Shoes on. Jacket on. Determined look on your face. I’ve seen this before. I know what is about to happen. Our eyes suddenly meet. Everything turns to slow motion. 

Please let me go mommy. Just please let me go. Why won’t you let me go? 

My fingers barely grab onto the end of your jacket. You pull away, dragging me with you. I wonder if my fingers will slip off. I’m so scared. My heart is racing. You continue to try to get away, and I somehow get my arms around you. I half pull, half carry you into the house. I lock the door and slide down onto the floor. 

Please let me go mommy. Just please let me go. Why won’t you let me go? 

I pry myself off the ground and make my way over to you. I sit next to you and pull you into my arms. I squeeze you tight and let you know how much I love you. Your whole body shakes as you cry out your pain. My tears join yours as our hearts hurt together. We sit that way for a long time. I rub your back and reassure you that you are okay. That WE are okay. That I will NEVER let you go. 

(Written by me 2/10/17)

_________________

I wrote this not long after one of our children tried to run away. This wasn’t the first time, and it may not be the last. The reality is that children who have come from hard places have lots of trauma, and that trauma doesn’t just disappear no matter how loving of a home they are now in. I don’t think a lot of people realize that. People just assume that once a child has been in your home for a while that things should be going great…that any problems you had at first would be all better by now. But as a foster-adopt mom, let me assure you that that’s not how it works. The impact of trauma is far reaching and long lasting and different triggers can cause it to rear its ugly head.

In our case, when one of our children’s trauma was triggered, they attempted to run away. Our child didn’t really want to leave. Our child was scared of being loved and of loving. Scared because everything this child had loved in the past had been taken away.

The thing about trauma is that you never know what is going to trigger it, or when it is going to be triggered. It could be as simple as a smell that reminds them of something. It could be a word you say. It could be a food that you give them to eat. It could be a situation they are in.

Sometimes I feel like a detective, as I try to figure out what is going on underneath the surface when our children act out in these ways. What part of their story is being triggered? How can I help them walk through what they are experiencing in this moment?

And in case you were wondering, yes, it is emotionally hard when your child does something like try to run away. Yes it is hard not to take it personal. Yes it is hard not to be mad. Yes it is hard to remain a calm presence. Yes it is hard to not feel rejected.

In these moments I have to remind myself that my child has gone through a lot and is responding out of the trauma, not based on whether they are happy here. I also have to remind myself that our children are gifts for us to steward…loving them is about THEM, not about US.

lori

Foster Adoption Realities

We love our children.

It is hard to believe that the 4 year old girl we first met is going to be 6 in a few short months! When they were adopted we gave each kiddo a choice on whether they would keep their middle name or take one we chose for them. Our little girl was very excited to change hers to Joy. And there is a reason we picked that name. This girl brings a lot of joy and smiles to those around her. She loves helping other people and making things for them.

Our middle boy who practically shares the same birthday as me is 8 now. He is a lot like his momma in his spontaneity, adventuress heart, and out of the box thinking. He gets a kick out of being so much like me in this way. 🙂 This kiddo has a heart of gold. We have often witnessed him seek to comfort a child at the bus stop who is crying, or reach out to someone who seems left out.

Our oldest is 10 1/2! Wow! This funny boy  continues to remind us often that he is a pre-teen. 🙂 This guy can do things I can’t even wrap my mind around. He is much more like his daddy in this. He loves doing scientific type things like snap circuits…I tried to do it with him and boy was I lost! And funny?! Well, actually the correct phraseology would be “punny.” He can make up puns like no one else I have met!

Yes, we love our children, and we are grateful that they love us too. That said, don’t let that fool you into thinking that adoption is easy….for us or for our kiddos. We have often heard, “Your kids must be so grateful to have you.” Though well intentioned and having some truth to it, let’s look at it from a different point of view. Having us in their lives means they were taken away from their biological family. They were ripped out of the home they knew since birth, never to be able to go back. Even though it wasn’t a good place for them to be, it still hurt so much. In fact, it still hurts our kids so much. Can you imagine for a moment what that would feel like?

Some of the hardness for us comes with parenting three children from hard places…children who have much trauma…children who are high-needs in many ways. For our first 9 months together, we were woken up probably 12-15 times a night, and only lived off of 2 hours of sleep. Bedtime routines would take us hours because we had to stay in our kiddo’s rooms until they finally fell asleep. I had to sleep on a hard couch for months because one of our children was too scared for me to sleep in our bedroom. We had to sleep with every light on upstairs or else you would hear screaming and no one would be able to fall asleep. And these are just the sleep issues we have faced.

Adoption is a hard road. It is a beautiful road, but very difficult nonetheless. It is a road in which you often get to come face to face with your own selfishness. It is a road that needs to be about the kid’s, not about meeting some need of your own. It is a road of sacrifice. And it is a road that we would still take, even with all that we have gone through.

-Lori