Getting the Most from your Pre-Adoptive Wait
National Council for Adoption: 2013
Paula Freeman, MSW
Executive Director: Hope’s Promise (www.hopespromise.com)
You will learn to E.A.T. while you wait, to gain knowledge, skills and healing to equip you for adoptive parenthood.
Learning to EAT well to sustain you for the journey…
Adoptive parenthood is different than biological parenthood!
Our child’s compromised beginnings
The wounds we carry
Other issues: grief and loss, legal risk, types of adoptions, transracial adoption
The capacity for a mutual and reciprocal loving relationship between one person
Attend your wounds
Our children are not the only ones who enter this arrangement with compromised beginnings. All of us bring personal wounds into our adoptions; some become further wounded in the process.
Healthy support communities
Make your marriage a priority!
Extended family member
Thank You…and God bless you on your adoption journey!
This informative documentary is critical for the adoptive family; it’s also uncomfortable. This is a raw tale of adoption stories from two perspectives—one family just starting the hopeful journey and the other further down a tumultuous path. Emotional undercurrents of each person are portrayed to help the viewer gain greater insight into complex nuances of adoption. Core to this video are issues associated with transracial adoption. The stories are told honestly, and each person is respectfully portrayed. From their lives, we glean greater understanding. Companion DVDs are also available, entitled We Can Do Better.
Attaching in Adoption: Practical Tools for Today’s Parents
Deborah D. Gray
Good parents want the best for their children. Secure attachment is central to a child’s wellness. Adoption presents a greater challenge regarding attachment. This book serves as a complete guide, offering education and practical methods to build healthy attachment. Gray has tackled attachment in a careful and objective way, relaying insights despite the fact that attachment theory and research is an evolving science.
The Connected Child: Bring hope and healing to your adoptive family
Karyn Purvis, David Cross, and Wendy Sunshine
This book is one piece of a large and growing repertoire of resources from the Institute of Child Development at Texas Christian University. Truly understanding the behaviors of children from “hard places” imparts great wisdom. The Connected Child describes a child’s needs behind the behaviors —everything from understanding their trauma to brain chemistry changes, sensory processing disorder, attachment, playing with them, and nutrition. The Connected Child articulates the variety of needs, and empowers parents with practical skills to meet them.
20 Things Adoptive Kids Wish their Adoptive Parents Knew
Written by an adult adoptee, this book gives voice to children who have been adopted with beauty and respect. Eldridge unravels twenty complex emotional issues invaluable for adoptive parents to understand. While these truths may be hard to swallow, they are no less true. One, for example, is a child’s need for parents to talk about their birth family. At first, this can feel like climbing a mountain, but doing so regularly allows parents to help their child talk about what she is already thinking. Our children need help to process grief and loss, and to develop trust in order to lay the groundwork for a bright future. We have an enormous responsibility and privilege in ushering them into healthy adulthood, but at the core of parenting these children is seeing the world through their eyes, thereby helping mend their hurts.
ATTEND YOUR WOUNDS
Life’s Healing Choices: Freedom from Your Hurts, Hang-ups, and Habits
John Baker and Rick Warren
Based on the heart of Celebrate Recovery—a Christ-centered recovery program birthed at Saddleback Church, Baker, this book acknowledges we all have hurts, hang-ups, and habits affecting our ability to experience happiness and healing. The authors identify eight choices toward healing, based on the Beatitudes of Jesus: grief, pain, crisis, denial, letting go of control, guilt, repairing relationships, and getting help. With truth and gentleness they lead us through challenging choices, and encourage us by the power of a loving God. Scripture illuminates who God is and who we are in Him—enabling us to confidently to make hard decisions resulting in hope, healing, and happiness.
Parenting From the Inside Out
Daniel Siegel and Mary Hartzell
Founded on the premise that childhood experiences affect how we parent, these authors are quick to argue that even if we experienced troubled childhoods, we need not be defined by them if we gain self-understanding. This book allows us to peek back into influential childhood experiences, and look forward into how we parent our children. Parenting from the Inside Out weaves stories throughout has a sophisticated foundation of science. Self-study exercises at the end of each chapter allow readers to make this experience personal and therapeutic.
The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are
This “Guide to a Wholehearted Life” is founded in Brown’s research. But don’t be fooled—she is also an incredible storyteller. Featured on PBS, NPR, and TEDx, she tackles several guideposts leading to a life of self-compassion. The book courageously helps the reader cultivate creativity, play, rest, laughter, authenticity, and a resilient spirit. Each guidepost offers antidotes to anxiety, comparison, exhaustion, and the need to feel in control. In surprising fashion, she offers us a healthy dose of grace through research findings. Furthermore, this book offers a glimpse into vulnerability, the key to building community.
Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives
Richard A. Swenson MD
Margin identifies and creates restorative solutions for today’s overloaded American. Swenson keenly articulates the pains and problems we face. As a clinician, he is uniquely poised to describe the perils of stress we encounter. Swenson first unpacks the problem, and then offers practical insights to rebalance our lives. This book, in the end, is a prescription for health by offering hope. When we create margin, we better navigate tumultuous times, and store up reserves for the unexpected and unwelcome situations life brings.
“There are three activities that are absolutely vital in the creation of community. The first is eating together around the table. The second is praying together. And the third is celebrating together. By celebrating, I mean to laugh, to fool around, to have fun, to give thanks together for life.” (Jean Vanier)
When “support” relationships drain us as much as our kids do (withdrawals from our emotional bank account!), it’s time to reconsider our banking strategy. Use the following two exercises to stimulate discussion at home and with friends; use them to help build your team to sustain you for the journey ahead.
Exercise 1: Read and contemplate the above quote. Jean Vanier identifies three activities vital to creating community: eating together, praying together, and celebrating together. Consider the relationships listed at the left of this table, then jot down your evaluation in the columns to the right.
Other children in home
Other extended family members
Friends from home
Consider your current support systems (family, friends, church, neighborhood, job, etc.) Who are those you can’t or don’t want to share your true story with, and why? Who do you feel comfortable sharing your story with, and why?
Exercise 2: Make a list of friends and family members who nurture you.
NURTURING FAMILY AND FRIENDS
HELPFUL, LIFE-GIVING TRAITS
Which of their traits are most helpful and life-giving to you?