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They Want Answers.

Posted by on Sep 10, 2014 in Adoption, Be Informed | 0 comments

We’ve got a great guest post today from Susan Tebos…author and adoptive mom who has a heart for adoption and doing it the right way.  Today she shares with us one of the most important conversations you can have with your adopted kiddos….or more like a series of conversations. 

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I’ve got a gut feeling that I need to share with you. It’s a feeling that winds me up like a top and makes me spin like a crazy woman. I get this feeling that adoptive parents aren’t absorbing the truth of how important it is to tell their adoptive child their story. Sure, many tell their child that he or she is adopted and loved, and now in his or her forever family… that “God wants you right where you are”. I hear this a lot from well meaning parents as I travel around and love this approach especially for little kids. It soothes our hearts and theirs. But what if this approach is not enough to help our kids heal?

The reality is our kids age into wanting more. They want answers that we’re not giving!

What if your child needs more information so he doesn’t point a finger at God and blame him for separating him from his first love?

And with lack of information…

what if your child silently wonders if he is good enough because his first love let him go and he doesn’t know why?

And once the wondering starts…

what if your child wonders if anyone cares about how he feels about being relinquished or that he thinks ill of himself for reasons he can’t articulate?

Feelings are tricky. They can stir up all sorts of commotion, lies that kids will believe. If we don’t help our kids sort out their feelings the lies will win.

I know. My three kids think and wonder and have trouble managing the lies that seep into their vulnerable hearts. All kids do to some degree. Adoptive kids even more.

What if God is counting on us to help our kids heal? What if He’s counting on us to be truthful and authentic and compassionate truth tellers? What if he is asking us to enter into the painful places of our child’s heart to encourage understanding, acceptance and forgiveness? What if we are missing the very thing we are supposed to be doing for our kids, being agents of hope and truth and healing and teaching them what forgiveness means and how to forgive?

All adopted kids need to know the truth. They need time, sometimes years, to wrap their heads around what happened and decide what they are going to do about it. If left alone…

they may let lies fester and mess with who they are.

they may fight, suppress, and ache inside not knowing why.

But with help…

they may one day accept the truth and ultimately forgive?

Kids can’t navigate this stuff on their own. Their thinking skills are not sophisticated enough, yet. That’s why I am standing on my soap box trying get your attention.

Our kids can’t put it together in a healthy way. It’s our job to put it together for them.

Will you join me today…whether your child is eight or eighteen and gently invest in his heart? Choose a time when he’s approachable and not stressing over homework or tired, for example. (Cookies help) Casually invite him to talk about first mom…then offer him something new he needs to know like that she loved but was young or that she feared, or that she was unable. Help him see first mom was fallible like you and me are fallible. Ask him what he wants to know about her, what he misses. Keep it casual. Sometimes just quietly sitting with a child can be enough to say, “I know and I care”.

Let me know how it goes.

From one adoptive parent to another…Do this, okay?

Warm hugs,

Susan

I remember as a kid that one of the most intimidating part of the school day was…recess. Unstructured time where you had to make your own way on the playground and find a friend. It was kind of tough for my introverted tendencies, particularly in elementary school, which has made me extra sensitive about it now with my own kids.

So I always like when I come across great books that address the topic of making friends in an memorable way. Peanut Butter & Cupcake by Terry Border is one of those books.

Peanut-Butter

Peanut Butter has just moved to town, and is looking for someone to play with his new ball. He searches high and low for the perfect friend, but Cupcake is too busy making sprinkle castles, Hamburger is walking “the dogs” (hot dogs, that is) and French Fries is trying to “catch up” to Hamburger. He almost gives up, but the perfect friend finally comes along. They start to laugh and play, which attracts the rest of the gang, and they realize that they ALL go together like Peanut Butter and…well, you can fill in the blank.

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The pictures are hilarious, the puns are groan-worthy, and the message is solid. Sometimes it takes a while to find that special “Peanut Butter and Jelly” friend, and that’s okay. But it’s also important to realize that everyone can have fun and “chuckle deep down in their bellies” together.

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Over the last couple of days, my Facebook and Instagram feeds have been jammed with pictures of kids with their “First Day of School” smiles. I love it, seeing their excitement for a new year, new teachers, new experiences, and of course, new lunch boxes. My kids caught the fever too, hopping out of bed even before their alarm clocks went off, jumping into their favorite outfits, and humoring me with their very own first day of school picture on the front porch.

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First days are extraordinary days.

But so quickly, the first day is over, and we are onto the second day.

Second days are not always so extraordinary, at least at my house. The snooze button gets hit a few extra times, everyone’s eyes are little sleepy, and leaving the house feels more like a fire drill than a casual trip to school. Reality starts to set in, as we look ahead to day after day of…normal.

We like to celebrate those special days; we seek them out, over-document them, and lament them when they are gone. Sometimes I think I build up the extraordinary while looking down on the ordinary. But I have been trying to work through the truth that we are not always called to be extraordinary, but to be simply faithful. In our work, in our marriages, in our friendships…we just need to show up and do the work…on the second day…and the third…and the twenty-third…and eight hundredth…

It is something I need to teach my kids. It is something I need to learn for myself. To be faithful…to be consistent…to live for the second day.

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Since this week has been a rude wake-up call with the beginnings of the fall schedule, I thought I would let my kids take over “Things We are Loving Right Now…”

the five-year-old…

bigblock

Over the summer, my five-year-old discovered Big Block Sing Song, which has become her absolute favorite thing to sit around watching on the Disney Junior app. And I’ll tell you a secret….I love it too. The songs are ridiculous, but catchy…the animation is simple, but cheery…and a few of the songs even have a message or two. Okay, maybe not the one about how awesome noses are, but the one below called “Brave”? It talks about being brave enough to eat a bite of salad…and my kids need that motivation. Maybe yours do too…

the 7-year-old…

With my older daughter, I never had to convince her to want to read. She just did it…all the time. But it takes a little bit more work to find a book or series to engage my less-than-enthusiastic almost 2nd grader. Enter the world of Ricky Ricotta.

ricotta

He reluctantly picked it out it as his prize for completing his Barnes & Noble summer reading program, because he wasn’t sure if he could read it. Once we jumped in the car, he started reading it, and didn’t stop until he was done! The book was a fun combination of text, cartoons, and brightly-colored pictures, and it was just the right length and difficulty for my summer reader. It inspired him to pick up two additional Ricky books at the library last week, and that? That is happy news to this mom’s ears.

the nine-year-old…

diy

When I asked Madi what she was loving right now, all I could get out of her was “reading”. It’s true…she spent a large portion of her summer with her nose in a book. But she also is in love with the app, DIY. It’s an app for kids where they can be inspired to learn new things, post pictures or videos of what they created, and earn badges for completing tasks. For example, she earned the photographer badge for shooting a portrait, making trick photography, and photographing a landscape.

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Her “trick photography” picture earned her 97 likes and 8 comments, which leads me to a note of caution. Kids have to sign up with a parent and they have disguised identities, but they can chat with other users inside the app. We had to have a serious conversation about what she was allowed to do in that context, which was probably a good thing. It’s a great app, but it needs a certain level of maturity!

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