Monday, November 30, 2015

When The Rubber Meets The Road

I used to wonder how pre-adoptive parents could ever reach a place where disruption is an option. I never thought that things could get so bad that it would be better to send a child to a new family. I mean, it's a child, right? What harm could be done? I cannot describe in words how wrong that question is. These, children come from hard, hard places. Places where most people can never imagine coming from. These places rock children's worlds to a point that nothing in life is easy.

We have dealt with more hardships in the last year than we have dealt with in our entire lives. Without our faith and support from each other, family, and friends, we would not be at the place we are today. Foster care is hard, but the challenges these kiddos have been through are harder. I am not going to lie, I have doubted my decisions to start this process. However, in the end I always come to this conclusion: my kiddos deserve a family that loves them even when they are not ready to love back and this process was God-led, He will provide for my needs. It would be harder for me to give up on my kiddos than battle through the trenches with them. They are my heart.  I have faith that things will get better and my kiddos will heal. It will continue to be hard, but it will be so worth it!

After experiencing the difficult side of foster care, I no longer wonder how foster parents reach the place where disruption is an option. I would not be able to endure the hardships without a loving family and the strength I receive from God. Foster care is hard, but not impossible. Every kid deserves love even when they are not ready to receive it. Every kid needs family. Consider being that family for a child. Consider crawling through the trenches with them. It will be hard, but you won't regret it.

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Saturday, November 14, 2015


May I tell you the one thing that will make the kiddos freak out no matter what? Change. Yes, you read that right, change. Change trumps spiders, falling, and losing all their toys. Change is scary. Change is scary, because these kiddos have never known a life without drastic changes. Changes that include new families, separation from siblings, people leaving, new houses, and leaving everything behind. The simplest change sparks worry that their nightmare is about to begin all over again. Let me give you an example.

Earlier this week the kiddos were asked to dress up for an event at school. This kicked their nerves into overdrive, like woah! The kids first responded with excitement. They screamed and jumped and wiggled all over. Once it was time to get ready, they followed me around like little ducklings all over the house. Later, we got to the school and little man asks, "Will you please stay with me?" I explained again why he was dressed up and what the "special" plans at school were. He then said, "ok, mommy I will try to not worry anymore." I told him he would be safe and there was nothing to worry about at all. I then reminded him that I would be back later to big him up as usual. He smiled.

This is one example of many freak out moments due to change. Slowly, overtime I do believe that change will not be so scary anymore. It is going to take a lot of time though. A lot of time with consistency, love, and trust building. We will get there. Until then, we will keep reassuring our kiddos that we are here to stay and explaining every detail before changes occur when possible.

If you have any tips on how to help our kiddos deal with change. Please comment below!

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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Updates On The Littles

It has been a while since I have updated you on how the littles are doing. We have been through a lot since I last posted on their progress. First of all, I wanted to let you all know that it will be a while longer before our adoption is processed. This is simply because we do not feel like our kiddos are ready yet. We want to take as much time as needed to prepare them emotionally and help them understand what adoption means. With adoption there is a gain, a family is created; however there is also a huge loss. It is a confirmation that reunification with the people they love is not an option at this point in their lives. It is heartbreaking for them, which is why we are taking our time. We will let you know when it's time for our family.

Ok, enough about the adoption. Let me start off by updating you on our valiant knight. He is making huge strides in school and his self-esteem is growing everyday. I love when he jumps around the house and says, "I can read," over and over. I can sense the excitement in his voice! He is also starting to trust us both and is willing to open coversations with us. His greatest accomplisment is talking about his happiness instead of bouncing around like a jumping bean and making crazy noises when his happiness overwhelms him. :) Although, sometimes I like his jumping bean side.

Our beautiful butterfly is slowly making progress and processing everything that has happened in her little life. It is joyous to see her true personality shine through. She loves dancing, making beautiful pictures, and reading chapter books. Her big brown eyes and radiant smile will light up a room. I am so proud of her.

And finally, our little peanut is such a little ray of sunshine! She just started gymnastics. She would have you believe that it is the most exciting thing she has ever done and I wish I could describe in words how cute she looks in that little leo. :) The most exciting part about it all though is that my little peanut has the confidence to get out there and give it a go. She would have not been able to do this a few months ago. She is becoming an independent little lady before our eyes!

We are extremely proud of all three of our littles. Our journey has been extremely hard (as I am sure parenting is for anyone), but we would not trade our littles for the world. They bring us so much joy! I cannot wait to see the changes in them over the next few months. I know God has great things in store.

Feel free to ask for updates anytime about the kids. We may not be able to answer all of your questions, but we love sharing the fun stuff! :)

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No names have been used in this post to ensure that our children's privacy is maintained. Please help us keep everything confidential.


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Connecting While Correcting

I have trouble with this one sometimes. Remembering to connect after your child just talked back or hit their sister is hard, but it is more important than the actual correction. Sometimes, I tend to get upset and start in to lecture mode or redirect them and then walk away. I often have to go back and apologize to my children for the way I reacted to my child's choices and failing to make them feel loved in the moment.The connecting while correcting approach by Karyn Purvis has allowed me to have a deeper understanding of the importance of connection while correction. I am excited to share some of this information with you.

Building connection is an important key to allow your child to "build trust, discover their voice, learn to self regulate, and understand their preciousness," (Empower to Connect Parent Training, Session 7).

As parents, we need to focus on how we correct our children. To help us with this Karyn Purvis has developed the levels of engagement:

1.) Playful Engagement (for mild behaviors)- redirecting with a playful voice.

2.)  Structured Engagement (for moderate behaviors)- this would include choice giving. For example, a child says, "I do not want to read a book." You respond by saying, "okay, darling would you rather read a book or color a picture?" The child would have to choose from these two choices only. If you noticed both choices have a similar theme--quiet play. You still are able to meet your goal of quiet play, for example, while giving your child a choice. Of course, this is not always an option and sometimes children do have to complete the task at hand, but when there is wiggle room this option is nice to have.

3.) Calming Engagement (for verbally aggressive behaviors)- this would include a time in. You may be wondering, what in the world is a time in? I know I wondered myself at first and to be honest the whole idea made me a little crazy, until I tried it and understood it more. A time in would be an alternative to a time out. For example instead of sending your child to the corner or their room. You would allow them to sit near you. For example, you may have them sit on the couch while you tidy up the living room or read a book next to them. You tell your child, "Okay, honey when you are ready to talk about what just happened you just let me know. I will be right here." The child is then able to calm down enough to talk about the problem rationally. I have tried both time out and time in with my children. Time out tends to cause a huge melt down and rarely ends with a desire in my child to talk about the problem. With time in, my children do not feel isolated and know that I am there for them. They also feel a little bit of control over the situation (not too much) due to the opportunity to let you know as the parent when they are ready to talk about it.

Here is a video about time in from Karyn Purvis:


4.) Protective Engagement (for physically aggressive behaviors)

We have used each type of engagement with our children. I can tell you from experience that each one works well and the levels allow me to avoid over-responding to a problem. I know that it is okay to give a choice when needed and it is okay to calmly redirect. If I did not do these things and responded with a harsher, more drawn out punishment, the problem would escalate with me. When circumstances warrant, I do use calming and protective engagement. This work also, but definitely take more patience and time to get to a point where I reach a level of connection with my child(ren), but in the end there is connection. I have found this much more rewarding than sending my child away or giving them an earlier bed time, for example. In the end we both feel connected and the problem has been solved, not ignored or avoided.

During engagement, it is crucial that we as parents stay focused and calm (honestly this is sometimes difficult for me). In order to give you a better understanding of what an effective connecting while correcting approach may look like, Karyn Purvis provides the IDEAL response.

1. ) Immediate- it is important to respond to a behavior while it is happening rather than pushing it off until later. An example of pushing it off until later would be, "Wait until your Dad gets home," or "We will be discussing this when we get home."

2.) Direct- this would include looking at your child in the eye during correction and perhaps even holding their hands or putting an arm on their shoulder. This would be the opposite of following your child down the hallway while verbalizing commands, which would warrant less attention from the child.

3.) Efficient- this is where the levels of engagement come in. Try not to over respond and use as few words as possible.

4.) Action-based- this involves giving your child a re-do after correction. For example if a child runs down the hallway. You may say, "woah, woah wait a minute. can you tell me how you are supposed to go down the hallway?" After the child tells you the correct way you would give them the opportunity to try it again. This provides motor memory for the correct behavior.

5.) Leveled at the behavior and not the child- this involves correcting the behavior without shaming your child. At the end, the child should still feel loved by you as their parent.

The video below talk about the IDEAL response. 


Another thing to keep in mind when correcting a child is having total voice control, which would mean remaining calm and avoiding harsh tones and body language. The video below explains in further. 


Believe me, I know all of this is extremely difficult and I do make mistakes when correcting my children sometimes. Thankfully, my children have grace when I have to go back and ask for forgiveness for my response to conflict. Just remember, when a behavior occurs you have a choice in the way you are going to react. You can be against your child OR choose to solve the problem WITH your child. I have found that the latter is much easier in the long run. :)

If you want to learn more about connecting while correcting, please consider taking an Empowered to Connect class. You can find a class near you by going to and clicking find a trainer near you.

You may also find The Connected Child By Karyn Purvis, David Cross, and Wendy Lyons Sunshine very helpful throughout your journey.

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*I was not paid to advertise any book or program. I give all credit to Karyn Purvis' work.

Monday, November 2, 2015

National Adoption Month News

November is here again! It's National Adoption Month! This year's theme focuses on teens with the slogan, "You never outgrow the need for family." It breaks my heart to think of the many teenagers that need families. Could you imagine graduating high school and being on your own without any family to lean on? I imagine it would be scary, hard, and lonely. About 85,000 teens in the United States not only imagine what this scenario would be like, they live it. Their risk for homelessness, drug use, pregnancy, and school drop out is higher than other kids their age. Having a loving family to lean on makes all the difference, but unfortunately these children are difficult to place and often go unnoticed.

AdoptUS Kids offers an illustration of many reasons why teens need families and how being a caregiver to a teen aids them in their lives. The last picture breaks my heart. Ensure that a teen always has a place at a table. It's sad to think about these teens alone on holidays and without a family to eat dinner with. Please consider opening your home to a teen. You have the power to help change their future. For more information on the need for adoptive families for teenager please visit the National Adoption Month website at

We Never Outgrow the Need For Family

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Updates on the Littles

Our knight is growing so fast! I cannot believe he will be eleven this year! He loves sports. He just finished basketball and will be start...