The other week there was a group forum where an open, mature, passionate discussion was held about how adoption is portrayed in the media.
Particularly, older child and Foster Care adoption.
Many feared that too many “Rainbows and Sunshine” of a representation could set potential parents and available adoptable children up for failure, disappointment and possibly even disruption. This is true.
Others were concerned that if people only were warned of the negative and worse case scenarios, possibly amazing adults willing to open their homes and heart to waiting and transitioning children would be dissuaded from becoming foster and adoptive parents, because really some kids do attach well and can become a seamless part of a family. This is also true.
We all agreed, that some (not all) kids CAN heal. Kids can come into families with a lot of broken pieces and bit, by bit, heal in a family situation and become an intricate happy, functioning member of a family unit. This is a truth in my life and many others.
I talk so very much about the broken pieces I wanted to literate on the healing ones. The ways as parents, caregivers,friends and family of them can slowly begin to see and support a child transitioning from the world of distrust and pain into “Normal Kid-dom.”
My friend Billy Kaplan of House Calls Counseling, gives the advice ; “ If you are questioning a transitioning childs behavior, reaction or motive as whether it is neurotypical or not, error on the side of Neurotypical.”
Isn't that lovely and hopeful? It is Magical when you can start actually SEEING those fruits of change.
I have to be honest though.
It's a double sided sword.
I have to let go of the past junk, my past reactions, and fears and my stuff, my attachment/trauma parenting blinders, and look and see the hard won progress.
Because in order for me to accept and celebrate my kids willingness and ability to heal, I have to heal and be willing to move on too. I have to be willing to see something as NORMAL, when for such a looooong time it WASN'T!
One of my little my little Diva's go-to behavior was irrational anger and defensiveness when she got caught in a lying, unkind, even regular naughty child behavior. She would scream, and knock things over, throw shoes, kick walls, and Waaiiillll for hours. Like really h.o.u.r.s.
I forgot she used to do that. Yesterday I had a friend over and Diva got all sassy about what we were making for Dinner. I told her she was welcome to go out side collect whatever she could and stir-fry her very own dinner on up next to the curry chicken salad I was making for dinner.
She rolled her eyes.
She pouted that “it sounded Dis-gust-ing”.
She said she would probably hate it and be sick, and that I was the worst cook ever.
And then she went outside and played.
I was giggling after her.
My friend looked at me “Um, why are you laughing.”
“Because all of THAT Dramatic girl stuff?, TOTALLY NORMAL!!!
Bratty, snotty as hell, but so normal I kinda wanted to throw it a birthday party.”
I could give a thousand other examples I am seeing day to day with these brave little people.
Ways they can love and enjoy,process and get mad and be annoying and silly and fun and bratty.
And to be honest, that is what healing looks like for all of us.
Not perfection, not a shiny picture of smiles and magazine covers, we still have our ripped jeans and our warts...
But being in the land where the hugs are real, where the apologies sincere and the smiles go all the way up to our eyes?
I will take it.
Because it means we both, though we may have miles to go, are past the fire swamp in so many ways.
We are holding hands and heading in a similar direction together.
If you are in a place of wanting or seeking help and support your and your trauma challenged child, there is a conference coming up in Chicago this month. The Parenting in SPACE annual conference has changed my way of parenting, given me a support system of incredible like-minded parents and given me so very much hope in the healing of our family as a combined unit.
4 years ago I sailed in, almost drowning in my children's trauma and need for something, some lifeline and hope that things could get better. It was one of the best parenting decisions I ever made.
This year I will be doing a Pre-conference with the lovely and amazing Christine Moers, as well as a Breakout session during the conference.
Come, let me and so many others love on you, and remind you of the kind of parent you want to be.
THIS conference is unique in the fact that it is created for Caregivers, it is catered to YOUR needs and questions. There are handfuls of professionals primed and ready at all times to give you answers and listen to YOU.
I will see you there.
Greeting you with a hug, and yes, there is always chocolate.