This material was written by the late Lauren Hamilton and Sherrie Eldridge. Lauren, a teen at the time, was placed in residential care to save her self-destructive life.
While there, professionals couldn’t get her to open up.
In 1999, Sherrie’s first book was published–Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew.
Julie Kraft, Lauren’s mom, got the book, and wrote her reactions to the content, such as “I am so sorry….I didn’t know,” or “This thought is totally new to me.”
Julie sent the marked-up book to Lauren and it became the ice-breaker Lauren needed. It became a voice when she couldn’t give voice to anything in life.
Sherrie and Lauren met after her recovery and return home. Sherrie became Lauren’s mentor and together they worked on the workbook called Twelve Steps for Adopted Teens. The highlights are listed below and you are welcome to use.
12 Steps for Adopted Teens
- I admit that I am overwhelmed by the feeling that something inside doesn’t feel right.
- I realize that only Someone stronger than me can help the mixed-up feelings go away.
- I ask God to take care of me and help me learn how to trust him.
- I look deep in my heart and discover how I have hurt God, others, and myself.
- I tell God and the person that I trust exactly how I have hurt others.
- I ask God to take away how bad I feel about hurting him and others.
- I asked God how I can become his child.
- I make a list of everyone I have hurt and need to apologize to.
- I go to the people I have heard and say I am sorry, unless it would hurt them or someone else.
- I keep track of every day of how I hurt others and ask themRight a way to forgive me.
- I try everyday get to know God by reading the Bible, praying, ending with other Christians.
- I reach out to those that are still hurting and live daily is Jesus
Twelve Promises for Teens
- Adoption is filled with pain as well as pleasure and a part of my life I cannot change.
- Feeling sad about losing my birth family is normal.
- Taking care of myself when I feel sad or like something inside isn’t right means that I am growing in self-esteem.
- Taking responsibility for strong emotions means I am learning to be accountable to God and others.
- Choosing to admit that I want to hurt myself is not a sign of weakness, but strength.
- God will never abandon me even when my emotions tell me something else.
- God loves every part of me–even the parts I cannot see.
- Honesty frees me up to be all God created me to be.
- Only God can create a life. My life is no mistake. I am his creation.
- God has a special plan for my life in human history that no one else can fill.
- Evidence that I am doing what God wants is that I am filled with joy.
- Reaching out to others who are hurting blesses me as well as them.
Two Prayers that Connect Teens with God
Please help me accept the things I can’t change, courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference.
Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespassed against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen!
Creative Project for Teens
Create 3 collages showing:
- Your painful past
- Your growth
- Your promising future