Monday, September 24, 2012

A Mama's heart

Dear "R",

I love you.  I am so sorry for the hurt that you had to endure when you were little.  I wish that I could have swept you away and protected you like a mama bird. I know it must have been so scary to hear the things you did and see the things you did and not know why you didn't get what you needed as a little girl.

I know it was hard moving around to all your different homes.  You must have been so scared and confused by all the changes, smells, people and the rules at each house. You must have been so confused when you were seperated from your siblings and I am sorry for that loss.

When we met you we knew that you were suppose to be a part of our family.  God planned many things out that made is possible for you to be with us.  We fell in love with you right away from your silly talk to your bouncy personality.  We didn't adopt you to "save" you or "rescue" you we adopted you because we wanted a child and you were the super kid who we chose for our family, how cool is that.  I know you have a birth family and they are important to you.  We just want to be an extra part of that family and love you to.

I know lately you haven't felt like loving us.  You have shown us with lots of tantrums and hurtful words. I see it when you kick me and hit me that you are afraid. I know you don't trust me to take care of you.   I know you are feeling scared that if you love us we might give you up.  I know you feel worried that all your behaviors would give us reason to do that.   I see how scared you get because you think you are a "bad girl" and that you don't deserve a family.  I am afraid for you when you say you want to hurt yourself that makes me so sad.

"R" you do deserve a family.  God made you and he doesn't make junk.  You are beautiful and smart and kind.  You deserve a family and so much more.  I know all of this is really hard work.   It is for us as well. Just take small baby steps forward and I will be there with open arms to love you and protect you.  

I assure you beautiful girl that no matter what you throw our way, and it has been a lot, that you are not losing this family.  No matter how much you push us away and say you don't want us that I know deep inside you really do. You keep working hard and we will keep working hard and together we will find a way to heal your broken heart.

With all my love,


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Love like Jesus

I haven't been writing for awhile and that is mostly because we have been in a time of turmoil in our lives.  Our "R" has been struggling with intense behaviors for the past several months and I have been struggling with managing these behaviors.  Most days do not go by without disrespect, swearing, screaming, spitting and hitting.  I have struggled so immensely with loving her. I want to love her, but how can you love someone who treats you so badly and doesn't respect you?  How can you hug someone who is kicking you and spitting on you?  How do you say "I love you" when she is screaming I hate you back.

I was thinking about what Jesus would do and how he would react to the things that "R" is doing and it brought me to the verse in 1 Corinthians chapter 13: 1-6 the Love Passage.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.  Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
I have to admit that this passage though I have heard it a thousand times convicted me in a tremendous way tonight.  I have not been as loving and as accepting as I should be or as patient.  I have struggled to be slow to anger with her and constantly think about her previous wrongs.
Her behaviors are extreme and they are tiring, but they are behaviors done from a place of fear and  she really needs my unconditional love and devotion more than she needs my anger and frustration.  I need to see her from the place I saw her when we first met and see her the way that Jesus sees her and not through my human eyes.
So as we work with our kids that push our very last nerve and we struggle with loving  a child that feels unlovable think about the verse above and that our kids are in a place of fear and need our love to help them feel more regulated and accepted.



Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day

This is my third Mother’s day.  I actually dread Mother’s day because before I was a mom it reminded me that I was not one, and I was sad and frankly jealous of all my friends who were and I wanted to enjoy the day with all the other moms.  Now, I dread Mother’s day because  it causes my “R” to really struggle with her emotions.  She is afraid of the feelings that she has about the idea of having a mom who cares and what that means and how to show she cares.   She struggles immensely with having attention focused somewhere else and not on her. So she can't "allow" that attention to go elsewhere.

My first Mother’s day she did not recognize at all, in fact she gave me an art project she made at school and then she took it back and said she wanted to give it to someone else instead.  She completely ignored me the rest of the day.  My second Mother’s day she threw several tantrums and refused to allow any part of the day be acknowledged as having anything to do with a mother.

Do you blame her?  I mean really….. for her whole life before moving in with us she didn’t know what it meant to have a mother that you celebrated.  “Mother” was not a good word and it was scary and unpredictable and unstable.   Why would you celebrate that?

So, I braced myself and expected the worst for this year. In fact I have not written in a while because our life has been in turmoil.  She has been raging and tantruming for weeks now and they have been out of control.  Counseling sessions increased and patience needed at every turn.   She was hurting so bad inside and I could not help her.  I could only hold on until the storm ended and she felt safe again.   There were days I was not sure if I could hold on and was not sure if the storm was going to end and we were talking about what choices we had to help her.    However a week ago she did start to settle again and seemed to take a turn in her healing.  A small step forward and I will take it.  Every step brings us closer to the goal of healing. 

So here we are at year three.  I was prepared for yet another Mother’s Day let down, but to my surprise I was embraced by my girl this morning who was excited about sharing the gifts she got for me.  She has loved on me today…. Real love.   This to me was way more special than any gift she could have gotten me.   It has been a day of tantrum free enjoyment, and I have enjoyed her as well.
I couldn't have asked for a better Mother's Day than this.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Small Moments....big changes

It is in those small moments that I see glimpses of healing. Things that would seem so ordinary to other families and kids that are huge milestones in our family.

“R” has Sensory Integration Disorder along with all her other diagnosis. This makes it extremely hard for her to regulate her senses. The two senses that bother her the most are sounds and touch. She is particularly sensitive to clothing. Clothing with embroidery or heavy seaming are very difficult for her. Anything that is in her eyes “itchy”, and up until this week refused to put on a pair of jeans. Now, when I say refuse we are talking full blown screaming and crying fit with a bit of hyperventilation if a pair of jeans is on her body. We learned this the hard way when I had picked out our outfits for our first family photo shoot in August 2010 and she had a major meltdown 10 minutes before leaving the house. We almost didn’t make the photo shoot.

Fast forward to this week and many other attempts at jeans over the past 1.5 years. “R” asked to try on jeans at the store. I tried to be casual about it but I was thinking “holy smokes” and “I don’t want to deal with a meltdown in the changing room”. However, if she was asking I wanted to give it a try. She did try the jeans on and liked one pair A LOT and another she started to freak out about, to which I pretty much ripped them off her body to avoid a meltdown.

She has worn her new jeans twice this week, she loves them. I told her we could get more if we find the right “feel” she is looking for.

This is a victory for us, a small glimpse into the healing that has been taking place over the past few years. When I don’t see day to day changes I have to remind myself to look for the small moments that can be a reflection of big change.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

RAD Parenting is like Construction work

If you like watching home improvement shows, you may have come across the show Holmes on Homes. It is one of my favorite home improvement shows to watch. It is a show based on a contractor who goes in and fixes mistakes that other contractors made and most of the time are fairly significant issues. To the naked eye you cannot tell that something is wrong, everything looks great cosmetically but as time goes on little things start to pop up that make the home owner concerned that the work was not done correctly, or they spring a leak or have no heat whatever the case may be, but on the surface all looks fantastic.

Holmes comes in and rips down the walls and finds often , short cuts taken, shotty work, and sometimes serious defects in the structure of the home due to neglect by the prior contractor.

When parenting a RAD child it is a lot like being Holmes from the show I just described. On the outside our kid’s seem all put together and capable and functional and nothing seems wrong. It is when we start to rip down the layers that we start to find the underlying damage caused by inexperienced and sometimes abusive caregivers. The work to repair the damage is extensive and will take time.

Parenting a RAD child and helping them to heal is not a weekend do-it-yourself job. It takes time and effort and experience and commitment to the task at hand. Helping to tear out all the old messy work that was done and re-build with a strong foundation in trust, love and safety is so important for these kids. This is a job that will takes years and sometime’s a lifetime to finish and you still may be finding work to do daily even when you think you are done.

I learned watching this show that repair work is much harder than just starting new. Actually it is really hard ,and sometimes you have to just work with what is already there and make due the best you can. A new stronger beam may need to be butted up against the old one instead of taking the old one out because the old one is holding up the foundation and can’t be removed. You can make things better and structurally sounder but the old beam will always be there.

I think that is a lot like our kids. We can come along side of them and help to build new trusts, and boundries, safety and hopes and dreams but the old memories and hurts will always be there along side the new and we have to allow them to process through that and let the new beam take the weight of their burden as the old beam crumbles away.

My “R” has so many levels and they run so deep that there are days I am still finding new fears and history out after 2 years. Her outbursts and rage toward me are a reflection of her still being under construction.   I have committed to therapeutic parenting her to the best of my ability. I have not been great at this in the past year and I am working to repair that. So I put together a tool belt with all the things I will need daily to help me to be the best contractor to help repair my “R” and help her to have a successful life.

My RAD Toolbelt

A measuring tape of Patience
A can of Empathy
A Roll of Playfulness
A bottle of Love

Tools including:
Self control
Quiet in control voice

Each morning I am working on strapping on my toolbelt so that I can face the day head on and help my "R" to be fully restored.  I look forward to seeing the finished product some day.

Monday, February 20, 2012

" I put up a wall"

During a therapy session, after a week of endless tantrums the therapist looked at “R” and said “What do you think it is, that makes you get so angry?” To which “R” replied “ I put up a wall”.

In my head I thought, “ I totally know what you mean” I have been putting up walls my whole life and it took years to let people past the outer shell. Breaking down my walls has taken a long time, and my story isn’t even half the trauma she has been through.

Each pain, and each hurt has added bricks and height to my little girls wall and she has enclosed herself in this world of pain, hurt and fear and she can’t get out of it. Her past comes back to haunt her and she can’t find a way to break through. The Reactive Attachment Disorder is the foundation for her wall. The inability to allow others to have control, the lack of self confidence, the fear of allowing anyone close so she uses tactics to keep them at a distance. The fear of rejection, so I will reject you mentality is evident every day.

So,I thought about his wall that she metaphorically said she has put up. I want to help her in any way I can.  So I think... Ok, let’s put up a wall and on each brick write what is keeping that wall up. On the other side of the brick, I will write what it feels like to take that brick down and what the opposite of the brick is saying. When Little “R” is struggling with a particular brick we can go to it and look at the back. My hope is that eventually she will be able to start peeling down the bricks.   We talked about burning the bricks as she conquers them and she loves the idea.

Underneath the bricks is a big heart that "R" helped make. She chose what she thinks a heart should have in it and how much of it... She picked the following:

“R” was able to jump in with both feet on this project and she was able to tell me lots of things that keep her wall up, which was hard work for her.

I then spent quite a bit of time coming up with words of encouragement to put on the back of her bricks.

We then velco'd them to the board over the heart.  All of these pains and hurts are keeping her from the peaceful heart she wants and we are going to work on breaking down this wall and getting rid of these bricks.  If she is feeling any of these feelings she can take the brick off and look at the back and remind herself of the love we have for her. We eventually want to completely expose that heart for her.

It is now hanging in her bedroom.

I dug out “R” profile from our initial meeting and re-read it with a fine tooth comb. I couldn’t believe the enormity of the pain she had been through.  They couldn’t write down everything on file, but what was there, was clear that little R had suffered tremendous emotional pain. Things I missed when I first read the profile.   I needed to re-read that to remind myself that her anger and rage is a reaction to her trauma. I am going to do everything I can with God's help to give this girl a fighting chance to heal and help her tear down that wall she has put up!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Falling On My Knees

“I can’t fix this, how do we fix this!” I cried out to God after dealing with somewhere between 14-20 tantrum’s this week.

I had reached the end of my ability to parent this child. I feel like a failure as a mother. I can’t meet her needs and she makes it so hard to love her. At times I don’t feel anything, but pain when we are together. What kind of mother says that about their child? But this is no ordinary situation and this is no ordinary child. This is a child with a history of trauma and abuse and neglect. She can be as prickly as a porcupine and use all tactics to keep anyone from loving or hurting her again.

I am so frustrated at the upheaval in my life, the quiet and calm is gone replaced by screaming and slamming of doors and destruction. What I thought parenting would be is a faded memory. What I thought I would be as a mom is gone and replaced by guilt because I can’t change things and shame that I can’t completely explain.

I laid there crying for some time begging God to take the pain away I was feeling and begging God to help me to fix the situation. Help me to know what the next step should be, how to find her help and get her the help she needs. Help me to love her and find compassion for her.

 I laid in bed thinking about all we have been through and I was quietly reminded by God: “I AM the only one who can heal her”, “I AM the only one that can heal her heart and spirit”.” Stop trying to do this alone”

I realized I have been going about this all wrong. “R” looks completely healthy on the outside. I have met to her physical needs and I even meet her emotional needs as far as her nurturing but I cannot meet her spiritual needs. This need runs so deep that it rattles her soul. She has a broke spirit and the only one that can reach down in and take away that anger, rage, fear, resentment and hurt is GOD.

So on my knee’s I went in prayer and I will continue to do so each day. I will pray for the words to say and the way to act to help “R” to continue to heal and I will pray for God to touch her and reach her in an amazing way. I pray that He will heal this little girl and help her broken spirit to be healed and that He will be able to restore her. Each morning before I get up I am asking God to help me to know exactly what to say and do during times of trial to be his hands and feet. I am praying every day for the bonding that has not taken place to become evident and that we will be bonded and connected.

This isn’t about what I can do, because I have done all I can, this is now about what God is going to do in this girl’s life and I am the tool or the vessel he is using. I want to be a benefit to this healing process not another one of her broken piece.

It isn’t going to be easy; it isn’t going to change overnight. God didn’t say following him would be a bed of roses. I do know a peace I haven’t felt in a long time that God is in control and she is his child and he will see to it that in his timing He will start to heal her.   I lean on that, and in the mean time I will do whatever I can to get her the services and help she needs to help the healing process.  

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Family Rules

When we went through our foster classes they asked us to create house rules, so when “R” first moved in  we had a list which we created based on the Traditional way of parenting . Our rules where typical. No running in the house, take your shoes off and then we had the more serious set which we had in a frame on “R” wall and on the fridge.

1. Use only kind words no swearing or yelling (that one went out the window week 2 when trucker mouth came out of “R” and lots of yelling)

2. Always tell the truth ( ummmmm RAD kids lie all the time…. Telling her not to lie is like telling her not to sleep)

3. Respect the animals ( ok I’ll give this one to her she has done OK except for a few times, the animals really do not like having legs and tails pulled)

4. No stealing ( we are good on this one at least I think....)

5. Do not use your hands to Hit ( well… that was broke week two and pretty much every week since I had the black eye to prove it)

6. Do not use your feet to kick ( she is really good at this, want to see our shins?)

7. Do not use your mouth to bite ( she is a pro on herself and others when mad she even made a bite on my arm that when healing looked like a heart...go figure)

I think there were 10 on the list but these were the top 7. They may work great in a traditional parenting home with well attached children but it definetly did not work in our home since most, if not all the rules were broken within the first month.

Since taking on the Therapeautic parenting approach more fully I wanted to find the best set of house rules I could. Is started to make my own up with the families help, but then we were in a department store and I found this huge plaque of family rules and it fit our family perfect. “R” Read it out loud which is great because she can now and she said “Those are great family rules” and I said “your right they should be ours” and so we bought the plaque and it is now hanging front and center in our living room. You can see it when sitting on all the couches and from the kitchen table.

There are no words in it of negativity and nothing in it which will produce shame or anxiety when not met. This has been another great milestone for our family.

Friday, February 10, 2012

It is not so RAD

I have recovered from my ranting post the other day and I am ready to tackle this disorder head on.  Bring it on RAD.

Reactive Attachment Disorder what an ugly disorder. It has been under controversy for many years as to whether it is a true diagnosis for behavior exhibited by some children due to early neglect and abuse. The stories most people hear are about children who are violent, set houses on fire and torture animals and kill parents. All of that does happen in children with RAD but there is also the side that is the daily tug-of-war to maintain control, learn to love, trust and feel connected. A child with low self esteem but hyper vigilance in everything going on. Lacks motivation to succeed and makes few real friends. Our story is a testament that it is fact a real diagnosis.

What makes me so angry about RAD is that it is completely avoidable. Loving and nurturing a child in the early formative years and meeting a child’s needs and being a present caregiver would eliminate the years of pain a child goes through to recover. My “R” did not deserve this and it makes me so angry that she has to go through this painful healing process.

I hurt for “R” the fact that she is unable to trust adults, have healthy relationships with adults and peers, and has a battle inside of herself daily about whether she can trust me or her dad at any given moment.

They say that parenting a RAD kid needs to be backwards parenting. What works for normal functioning families for parenting and discipline does NOT work in a home with a RAD child. I did not want to believe this, to me it just didn’t make sense. She should respond the same way Right? No, living with a RAD child for two years I’ve learned that, that is exactly how you have to parent. The opposite of everything you learned. Throw it out the window and start over new.

I know it seems scary and it has been for me and Mike. We are learning all over again how to parent in a therapeutic way. In a way that creates safety and trust and bonding. It is a parenting style that requires that you don’t punish for wrong doing that may seem like it should be punished for but rejoice when your child comes and looks you in the eye and apologizes. That is a victory with RAD kids. Also, allowing natural consequences for actions so they learn life skills. Allowing yourself to laugh when the situation just seems so silly that you have to laugh about it or get angry. Letting yourself have freedom to see growth in the small things. Not to take it personally because it isn’t your fault.

This morning as we got out of the car “R” got mouthy with me and sassy and rolled her eyes and used some not so nice words with me about wearing her winter coat…. (Ummmm it is 24 degrees out and she has been sick, I think she needs her coat on). I looked at her and said “Honey, I am thinking that you don’t trust me right now to make the best choice for you and I get that, it is tough. I would like to talk to you about it if you could come over here” It took about 5 minutes but we had the conversation and a hug ended it and the coat was on. That was Progress. Do I like that she was rude to me “NO” but she was in a RAD place of panic and I needed to tell her I understood, and if I can get her calmed down to talk to me and get the point across then I have had success.

Therapeutic parenting isn’t about how strict you can be or how military you can be in your house. It is about finding a way to be empathetic. Reaching inside and finding that place of empathy for where your kiddo might be at that moment. Seeing the surface reaction with a tantrum or blow-up as a fear or concern that they cannot verbalize at the moment and maybe you have to put words to it for them.

I am finally getting it now and this isn’t what I expected from parenting and I have so much more to learn as I take one day at a time but by golly this is what we got and I am going to do the best job I can.

I can’t change her past but I sure as hell am going to fight to change her future.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

No real words today...

Disclaimer… if you want to hear the mushy, I love you, cutesy stuff about adoption please don’t read this. If you want to see the raw emotions of parenting a child with RAD and ODD read on.

New Mama in town didn’t work the way I thought.

I remember when we learned about little R they told us she was a tough cookie.  They mentioned homes she had been removed from and behaviors she exhibited.  They also told us that she just needed stability and love and she could change.   I was asked on several occasions if we could do this and I said “yes”. I can be stern and loving at the same time and guide and nurture. I love kids, I want kids. I yearn for children in my life.

Two years later and thousands of hours of tantrums, screaming, and every type of oppositional defiant behavior later I am not so sure. We are not talking typical kid tantrums here we are talking rage and deliberate defiant behavior and turn of the hat anger with little regard to living things when angry.

I don’t want to get blasted for this post about how I made this decision and so I have to lie in the bed I made. I don’t want to hear about how she will change if I love her. I don’t want to hear about the good job we are doing and how much change she has made in two years. I don’t want to hear about how she MAY grow out of this.  It has not gotten all that much better and in fact she has gotten bigger and stronger and the tantrums are scarier now.  Her mental stability is unhealthy and unstable and that scares me. We have worked with all sorts of doctors and mental health professionals to make life better for her.

No one is in our shoes on a daily basis. I wish sometimes you could be a fly on the wall to see.   It is tough. I am not sure that everyone could do this, I don’t know how I do.  This past week alone we have not gone more than an hour or so without a tantrum every single day/hour. Something as simple as “put your shoes away” leads to Screaming and hollering, door slamming, complete defiance, breaking things, and complete disregard for anyone else.  Being told I am hated and to stay out of her life. Triangulating one parent against the other is her new favorite.    Questioning if her homework is done leads to arguing, screaming and threatening to run away.

She is almost 11.  You can say this is hormonal changes, but this is so far beyond that.   The rage that we see in this child is terrifying and the anger and defiance is scary.    If we ask her to do anything she does the opposite and looks at us and says “what are you going to do about it” and walks away. 

Last night I cried myself to sleep.  The dream I had of parenting and loving on a girl and enjoying life together seems to have faded into a nightmare of tantrums and having to leave the house to protect my heart and sanity.  My marriage is struggling to cope with the constant tension in the house and neither of us have answers and we both want to “fix” the situation. We have come to a crossroads what do we do?  What help do we seek out that we have not already?   What is the next step to protect us and her?

Why am I writing this?  It isn’t to get your sympathy because although I appreciate it, it isn’t going to change reality. I am writing to let any other RAD adoptive mom out there know if you are going through the same thing you are not alone.  I feel alone, and most days feel like I am the only one in the world going through this and how I want to love my child and parent her and yet she fights that and doesn’t really want it in return.

Today I feel……empty, dead inside, used, defeated, lost and a failure

Monday, January 30, 2012

There is a new Mama in town

Parenting children with trauma is tough.  Parenting children with trauma with traditional parenting methods is impossible. Want to know how I know?  Because I have been trying it for 2 years and it was NOT WORKING AT ALL.

I was raised like most people that your parent’s word is law and you listen and obey, enough said.  You definitely don’t talk back and if you did you would be punished. You certainly wouldn’t even consider kicking or hitting them.  But we were raised in stable homes and given what we needed.   Children with traumatic pasts did not have that same stability.  They didn’t have examples of healthy adults to trust.  They don’t know what a safe relationship with an adult looks like.  They deal with big pain every day and really big shame.  Their misbehavior most of the time is not pre-thought and malicious it comes from deep within them a place of fear and shame.

So, if I am not going to parent her with traditional methods of parenting then how do you parent a child with trauma to help them feel safe, loved and learn rules and boundries?  Well in some ways I am still figuring that out.  I thought if I didn’t parent the way I had learned she would never behave or learn or be respectful.  I am finding that my method is not working and I am not meeting her where she needs me most.   So, I sought out the help of an amazing parenting coach Christine Moers who gave me some fabulous encouragement and tips on parenting children with trauma I love her  youtube posts and her blog posts about parenting.

I began to implement them into my home and what an amazing transformation I have seen.  No, the tantrums have not stopped and the screaming is still ear piercing at times but I feel so much calmer and in control and the funny part about it is that it is going against everything I have ever learned.  She hasn’t changed but I HAVE. I needed to look outside the box and see that there are other ways to do things.

So what is so different?  First I am not reacting to her behavior like I used to.  The calmer and quieter I am the shorter the tantrums are. I am not taking her tantrums as a personal attach on me but as a cry for help from her.    When I don’t react to her behaviors that are negative she seems to “pull out” of them faster.   I am learning to empathize with her and feel her frustration and anxiety to help her calm down faster.   I am not giving her consequences for behaviors I don’t believe are within her control at the time but are in the grasp of her PTSD or anxiety and fears.   I am learning to give myself room for silliness in the midst of some of these tantrums I can find the silly and help her break the negative cycle she is in.

This is just the beginning but for the first time in months I feel such a weight lifted off of me.  There is hope.  As I take each day and add more skills in I see change.  It isn’t easy. I have to go against all my preconceived notions of parenting to make this work but it is working!!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Beautiful To Me

Music moves me. Music is how I relax, and it is often how God speaks to me. I have been so busy lately that I haven’t taken the time to slow down and listen. I decided it was time and I loaded a bunch of music onto my ipod.  I found this song below and it made me start to think about my Little R. I look at her and see a little girl that has so much to offer the world and I see the potential in her, but she often doesn’t see that in herself.

Her spirit has been so beat down over the years by people telling her she can’t do and can’t be and isn’t beautiful. She has come to learn to tell herself she isn’t worth it and isn’t beautiful both on the inside and out. I heard this song and it has spoke to my heart and I want so badly for my Little R to see yourself as beautiful.

Nichole Nordeman   Beautiful for Me

Every girl young and old has to face her own reflection
Twirl around, stare it down
What’s the mirror gonna say
With some luck, you’ll measure up
But you might not hold a candle to the rest
“Is that your best?” says the mirror to the mess
But there’s a whisper in the noise
Can you hear a little voice
and he says
Has anybody told you you’re beautiful?
You might agree if you could see what I see
‘Cuz everything about you is incredible
You should have seen me smile the day that I made you beautiful for me
If it’s true beauty lies in the eye of the beholder
What my life and what’s inside to give him something to behold
I want a heart that’s captivating
I wanna hear my Father say
Has anybody told you you’re beautiful?
You might agree if you could see what I see
‘Cuz everything about you is incredible
You should have seen me smile the day that I made you beautiful for me
Close your eyes
Look inside
Let me see the you that you’ve been trying to hide
Long ago, I made you so very beautiful
So I ought to know you’re beautiful
Has anybody told you you’re beautiful?
You might agree if you could see what I see
‘Cuz everything about you is incredible
You should have seen me smile the day that I made you beautiful
You’re so beautiful
Beautiful for me
So beautiful for me
Has anybody told you?

After I heard this song I stood my little R in front of her mirror and we talked about what she saw.  I reminded her that God made her perfect, just the way he intended.  Nothing about her is a mistake.  We talked as we stood in the mirror and I pointed out all the beauty about her on the out and especially on the inside.  I reminded her that as the inside becomes more and more beautiful  the outside will reflect that beauty.

How important it is for us to grow spiritually beautiful children.  How important is it for us to teach our girls that there inward beauty is the most important and then that will be what shines through. I had forgotten that not only do I need to nurture my girl with all the things she needs, I need to remind her of her beauty and remind her that God made her and she is beautiful in his eyes and that is what matters.

Have you told your girls lately that they are beautiful?

Friday, January 13, 2012


One year ago in the middle of a blizzard we adopted our girl. I remember when we were in front of the judge she asked us if we understood the complexity of what we were about to do and if we understood that this was a permanent never to reverse commitment. She knew our Little R’s history and understood at great length the challenges that we had already endured and what we were up against with little R.   I remember looking down at the document as I signed thinking “here we go, bring it on”.  

  I don’t think I really knew what I was getting into when I said that, but here we are in this life that some days I pray we will just make it hour by hour.  Life has not  been easy during this past year, and at times I feel like I am pulling out my hair and losing my mind all at the same time.  Struggles with attachment, trust and control are just a few of the things I attend to each day.  We take 10 steps forward and 12 steps back sometimes daily.

Despite all of that I would not change that day in the court room a year ago and I would sign that document again even knowing what I know now.  This little girl needed a family.  Despite what we deal with on a daily basis she needs a family just like anyone else.  I believe with all my heart she needs us and we have a responsibility to help her to heal, and grow into a beautiful young lady. 

If I can teach her just a few things as her mom it will be to respect herself, respect others, do her best, and most of all honor God with all her heart.    I hope that I can instill those things in her as we go through the years.

As adoptive parents we have extra responsibilities to our children.  To be open and good listeners.  Willing to accept them and their past.  Allow there past relationships to exist within your family.  Willing to be vulnerable and take on our child’s pain and have patience to allow the process to work and prepare that the healing is very slow.   If you have the expectation that it is going to be a quick process then you will be disappointed and not helpful in their healing process.  Give yourself credit that you are doing your best.  Take time for yourself and allow yourself the time you need to rest so you can be 100% present for your child. They need you desperately to be present for them.

So here we are 1 year later and I look forward to seeing where we are a year from now and hopefully heading back into the courthouse again in the next year to two.