Christmas In the Orphanage

It was here that abused and abandoned kids found refuge and love.
It was here that abused and abandoned kids found refuge and love.

Dear Diary,
I didn’t know that the big red brick house was an orphanage. To me, it was Grandma’s house.
That meant lots of kids to play with–all races, ages, and backgrounds. I didn’t know why they were all at Grandma’s. They were just my buddies who I liked to be with.
At Christmas. Grandma cleared one bedroom and covered the floor with mattresses, converting it to a gym. It was perfect for practicing cart wheels and back bends. Carmen could bend her body like a pretzel!
After the grown-ups talked, we got to decorate the Christmas tree. Long needles reaching almost to the ceiling. All us kids gathered around the tree and hung the ornaments and silver icicles, nice and straight so they looked real.
When the tree was decorated, we’d gather around the l-o-n-g dining room table. Grandma, wearing her green calico bib-front apron, would serve meat, mashed potatoes, and carrots, always sprinkled with pepper.
How I loved being at Grandmas!

As an adult, looking back, those memories continue to remind me that even in the midst of brokenness and pain, there is hope. Grandma built hope into the kids there….kids who didn’t know what hope was. She considered each person was worthy and significant. Never, did she let any of them “age out.” She adopted them! One of them was named Alta, who I will tell you about soon.
When Grandma died, the obituary called her the “Mother of many.”
Take time to say “I love you” to those you love today!
Sherrie_Signature

What Adoptees Won’t Tell You About Gifts

sherrie.standoncouch
Dear Diary,
I love all the gifts and stuff this time of year, but I get really scared when it is time for me to open my gifts. When everybody is watching me….boy, I really feel scared. When I don’t know what is inside, I’m afraid I won’t like it and then what do I do? If I do like what is inside, I get so excited inside and say thank you so many times that other people kind of think I’m wierd.

To this day, as an adult adoptee, I still feel some of this. Many of us think we don’t deserve a gift. Many haven’t received gifts in the past. Many don’t know how to receive a gift. We wonder:
-Is our “thanks” going to be okay?
-Is everybody expecting me to be happy?
-We feel downright self-conscious.

Don’t ask me why….many do.

Parents, please remember this tendency and handle us with care, gentleness, and affirmations.

Sherrie_Signature.2

Be Cautious About Adoptee Triggers

mixed feelings
We adoptees get overwhelmed in a sensory way this time of the year.
We can’t stand a lot of “overload.”
My mom used to say, “You get wild.”
I thought I was just having lots of fun.
They didn’t know what to do with me, especially when I punched my fist through the door of the refrigerator! Or, when I scratched “I love you” messages on their fine wood dresser.
What can you do for your adopted child?
-Keep track of the tirggers for overload (smell, sound, touch)
-Don’t insist we sit on Santa’s lap. After all, his beard is so scratchy
-Realize at family gatherings we feel different in a yucky kind of way
-Keep things orderly at home. Too many un-finished piles of anything overwhelm us
Realize that “triggers” are to help you and your child realize that its time to make a new choice about how to react. They are not to be used as excuses for bad behavior. “I am like this because I was adopted.”
Make sure you have a spirit of calm about you.
If we get to overload, please go with us to another room where we can calm down.
We’re taking notes.
If you remain calm amidst chaos, we learn that we can, too!