Sunday, February 19, 2012

Hey, Mr. Bad Guy...

Note:  This post was written a while ago.

Hey Mr. Bad Guy,

You are slowly losing your grip on my daughter as the King of Kings holds her tighter.

Two things happened in the last 24 hours that reminded me of your loss of power over her life.  Read it and weep, Mr. Bad Guy.

Mama Bear Mamita

Yesterday, Cupcake came home from school with a paper she had written. 

Her stories tend to reveal deep fears and a hopeless outlook.  It has been the theme of her life.

For instance, during play therapy, we would go into the playroom and play "family".  Pretty soon, a bad guy would come and take the baby away.  I would call the police and go rescue the baby myself.  Before I could get her, the bad guy would come again and take the baby to a new place.  Or I would get her home, and within 5 seconds another bad guy would come.  Over and over again.

Never a happy ending.

Never quite safe.

That's what my daughter has lived with her whole life.  :-(

It's called hyper-vigilance.

We haven't played "family" at therapy for a few months, and I had forgotten how intense her feelings had been and how hopeless the story always was.

Until yesterday.

The following paper was handwritten by my little one.  I've edited the spelling/grammar for your reading pleasure.  You may be shocked at the content and intensity coming from a 2nd grader.  This was written from her experience and her imagination.

The Case of the Clue Club

There was a little girl in the park and she saw a man walking and looking at her.  Then she started to walk faster and faster.  Then she ran into someone she didn't know.  They said, "Hi" to her and she said "Hi" back.  Then he started pulling her to his car and he pushed her in the car.  Then he tied her up and then they were at his home.  It looked pretty on the inside but on the outside it looked all dirty.  When they got in it was bedtime and in the middle of the night she escaped from the house and ran home to her mom and dad and sisters and brothers.  They were so glad to see her again.  She was happy to see them too.  They went out for ice cream to celebrate.  There was a big party.  Her friends were there at the party.  That was really fun.  Then the man came to the party and she ran away because she thought that he was going to take her back to his home.  So she ran home but he was chasing.  He said "I am so sorry for taking you away." and she said, "That is okay."

A happy ending, forgiveness, and redemption all in one story! 

WIN!  :-D


This morning, the news was on back in my bedroom.  Cupcake ran back to grab something.  She comes running out, yelling "MOM!  MOM!  YOU'VE GOT TO COME SEE THIS!!!!!"  She grabs my hand and literally pulls me down the hall with all her strength.

This is what she saw...

(It's the video of the 7-year-old in Georgia that fought off a would-be abductor in Walmart.)

Let me tell you, there were high-fives and victory dances all around!  She was so happy for that little girl and so grateful that she got away.  It was exhilerating for her to see the bad guy got caught and was going to jail.  The world is a safer place for my little girl tonight.

I don't think it was a coincidence that my girl saw that news story.  I'm a news junkie, but the news is rarely on at our house - the internet fits my time constraints better.  It seems like every time she catches a news story it's about a little girl who gets away and the bad guy gets caught.  What are the chances?  I think God is orchestrating her healing in His time and in His way.  Sometimes I get impatient with the process (and the girl), but I know that God  is working in her life in spite of me.  That brings me peace, confidence, comfort and deep joy.

Blessings to you,

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Random Notes on Therapeutic Parenting

I am currently reading and taking notes on Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child by Patty Cogen.  This book brings to light so many important points and causes my brain to web all over the place.  :-)  This is my attempt to process, retain, and apply the tremendous principles discussed in the book.  This is a mish-mash of her thoughts and mine.  Please join me as I ramble.

These are some things to keep in mind early in the placement and to continue to consider as your child grows.

Attachment in kids with complex backgrounds may not will not be a stable, upward curve.  It will be erratic and jumpy.  Gains are thrilling, but they might be lost at the first sign of stress.  Things you thought you'd beaten come back when you least expect it.  It's two steps forward, one step back.  (Sometimes, you fall backward off the cliff.)  That's the nature of the beast.  This requires long-term intervention.  It's a lifetime commitment.

Be the detective.  Think about what your child may have lived through that would cause this fear/behavior.  Even if it's not what really happened (a lot of it is a guessing game), it will help you to see your child through the eyes of compassion.

Respond immediately to needs.  It will not spoil them.  If needs are never met immediately, your child will never mature past "baby".

Early on, behave as if the child asked appropriately.  If your newly adopted child screams for water, give them water.  Then show them how civilized people ask for water.  You would never deprive a baby her milk because she cried for it.  This newly adopted child needs to know that her voice matters.  She needs to know that you care and that you will meet her needs.  There will be a time to learn ettiquette later.

There are no easy if/then parenting scenarios when parenting kids from hard places.  It will require getting to the core issues.  In order to heal they must deal with the gut-wrenching big questions.  Sometimes you will find something that "works" to stop a behavior, but more often, you will need to bring your child to a new way of thinking/feeling in order for the behavior to stop.  This is hard work, but it is incredibly rewarding. 

Blessings to you,

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Proactive Parenting

I've been reading this amazing book called Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child by Patty Cogen.  I've read a lot adoption books in the last 6 years.  This one is chock full of great insight and practical tools.  So much so, that I am taking notes as I go, so I can remember and apply this stuff.

Therapeutic parenting is the best way to parent.   Period.  It is the narrow gate that allows kids from hard places to recover and heal in a family setting.  But it is an awesome way to parent your regular, typical kids, because it focuses on relationship and deeply understanding your child.  That's good for all kids. 

Here on the blog, I will be reviewing my notes and thinking out loud.  You're invited to follow along on my journey.  I will only be covering some of the things that really strike me in the book.  You should get the book and read it yourself.  Really.

Patty Cogen begins by defining proactive parenting.  Simply put, it means that the parent should primarily be the initiator in the relationship, rather than the responder. 


As it relates to Cupcake, I get high marks.

With the big kids...

When they were younger, I initiated the relationship. But as the kids got more independent, as Cupcake's needs overshadowed all other needs, and as I battled physical and emotional exhaustion, I stopped (or slowed down) making the effort to just love on my big kids.  I don't like that.

It's time for a change.

What do you do to proactively parent your teenagers?

Blessings to you,

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Still Here

I'm still here.  I just have not been able to find the time to type in my thoughts.  I've been reading a wonderful book on adoption parenting.  It is so good, I'm taking notes and I hope to bring you on my journey.  The book is "Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child" by Patty Cogen.

We've had lots of stuff going on at home.  Cupcake is in a happy zone right now and has been doing okay. 

We're just busy, busy, busy. 

I hope to check in again soon with something worthwhile to say.  :-)

Blessings to you,