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Adopted and Foster Kids Can Survive Winters

Winters are a given for those touched by adoption and foster care. They’re the times we wish would disappear…or that we could disappear.

In our winters, we feel utterly vulnerable and if we were a tree, we might say:

  • I feel naked….only my branches and trunk show
  • I am at my wits’ end trying to make buds blossom…they’re being impossible
  • I am worried about what others will say about me losing all my leaves
  • Why is the sky so gray?
  • I am sick of seeing snow, snow, snow
  • Why doesn’t God end the snow and wind?

What has brought on your winter season?

  • A failed adoption…birth mom changed her mind
  • Infertility struggles
  • Surfacing of unexpected special needs in your adopted, foster-to-adopt, or foster child?
  • A birth parent rejecting you at reunion
  • Finding a tombstone at the end of your adoption search
  • Absolute fatigue
  • Your child loses it and you lose it in turn
  • A pregnant teen
  • A disillusioning marriage
  • Wishing you’d never adopted (very common)

Whatever your winter, let me assure you that it won’t always be this cold and stormy. We constantly move from one season to another in our lives, parenting, and growing up.

In winter, it’s always a temptation to give into “the halo effect.” In other words, put a positive spin on winter. “Oh, I love the white of the snow.”


You love the white….come on!

While we’re freezing and naked emotionally and spiritually?

You and I don’t have to do that.

We can say winters suck.

We can say we’re cold to the roots.

We don’t have to smile…but we must remember that spring is coming.

It won’t always hurt  this bad.

Remember spring….and you may begin to hear a still, small voice saying, I love you! I love you even in the winter. Your leafless branches reveal my intricate design of you. And you now possess a beauty….a new beauty as you stand firm, awaiting the coming spring.

“In fact, your beauty is so magnificent today that I declare you to be my oak of righteousness. Lofty. Strong and magnificent. Distinguished for uprightness, justice, and right standing with me. You are my planting that I may be glorified. (Isaiah 61:3 Amplified)

Yes, winters are a given for those of us touched by adoption and foster care.

But, parents, adoptees, and foster children…you will be known as trees that survived the winter.

Other trees experiencing their first winter will be drawn to you for comfort and encouragement.

Way to go!

























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Dear Younger Me…the rejected adopted or foster me

What to do if you're scared about being a mama to a child with special needs and scary background

I wrote this allegory in 1993, six years before my first book was published by Random House in 1999. (TWENTY THINGS ADOPTED KIDS WISH THEIR ADOPTIVE PARENTS KNEW).

Nancy Verrier, colleague and beloved author of the best-selling book– THE PRIMAL WOUND–read it and commented: “I believe your allegory would be very helpful to other adoptees who have had experiences similar to yours. I hope that you can get it published so that it might inspired others to lift themselves out of the trap that keeps yearning for something unattainable into the freedom of gaining something powerful and fulfilling. Even some adoptees who have had good reunions need to be able to stop feeling like victims, empower themselves, and begin to LIVE.”

Last August, I walked back into space and time through a long, dark corridor to a slightly opened door named Adoption.

In my arms, I held a precious baby girl, wrapped in a soft, pink blanket. She was innocent and pure, and lay sleeping in my arms.

“I’m going to give you to your mommy, little baby,” I whispered, cuddling her close to my body.

When I knocked on the door named Adoption, I noticed a sign” WELCOME TO YOUR FAMILY.

An attractive woman greeted us and asked that we come in and be seated.

I spotted a large winged-back chair and eased into it, baby in arms.

As the woman looked into the infant’s dark brown eyes, her body pulled away. Motionless, she stared into space as if frozen in time.

“What are you doing?” I gasped.

She said nothing, but her face grew hard and cold, and her eyes looked like steel knives.

“Take her–I don’t want her, she said, dropping the crying baby to the floor as she fled to another room.

Weeping uncontrollably, I lifted the traumatized infant into my arms.

“Don’t worry, little one, I will take care of you. I won’t let her hurt you anymore. We will go far away from her and you will be safe.”

The baby’s body, once soft and pliable, was tense and rigid. Her eyes were filled with terror as if to say, “What has happened to me? Won’t somebody help me?”

I carried her back to my own home, to the rocking chair I used to comfort our now-grown daughters.

“I will take care of you,” I whispered, rocking while cradling her in my arms.

“Welcome home, little one. I am so glad you are here. I have been looking for you for you long and finally I’ve found you. You were lost but now you are found. I will be your mommy. I will love taking care of you….for now you are mine.

Here are some ways that those who have been rejected can “Do Rejection Well:”

  1. Process Your Anger and Pain: This happens with real, live people! Lone rangers don’t find healing. Journal, therapy, support groups. Be active here rather than avoiding the anger and pain. If you do, you’ll get sick. Connect!
  2. Pronounce Your Relinquishment: This is making your claim for your life in spite of the rejection. Communicate by letter, email, text, or whatever—-“I am done with the rejection. I am a deeply-loved person.”
  3. Refuse to chronically hope for a miracle.



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Dear Younger Me…the adopted or fostered me

What Can Adoptive And Foster Mamas Do When They Can See No Results?

Dear younger me…the baby delivery nurses named Baby X, the messed up me…the angry me….the me who has had more than her shares of struggles…

Oh, little one….tiny, unseen, unborn one…

My heart aches for you.

You’ve been through many hard things in your short life. You have no way of actually knowing.

But now since I’m old, I can tell you.

I have lived many days and read many books to help me understand.

If you feel upset, I will gently hold your head to my heart. If you cry, I will wipe away your tears with kisses.

Your actual conception was a shock to the yet-unformed you.

Your first developmental position in the womb probably was not in the fetal position, curled up and feeling safe….when one is in shock, no matter how old, relaxing is impossible.

Your life was not planned by any person. Because your parents didn’t plan you, your mother’s body worked  at aborting you through internal secretions. Because you knew you weren’t wanted, your life from the very beginning was one of defense. Push away anything to do with her.

When attached,  you knew that “something wasn’t right.” It felt like one person having an argument with another.

Your mother may have been drugging or drinking while she carried you, and your brain may have been damaged. These wounds will produce behaviors you can’t control, but rest assured little one, this is not your fault.

Your first conversation with her was when you were an unborn 7 months old. Hers was the only voice, so the deep and sad tones set the stage for your emotional health and future.

You may wonder why God let bad things happen to you…evil things, like your mother being raped, her wanting to abort you, or your brain being wounded with drugs.

None of us know this answer.

The only thing we know is that God is always good and that He promises to bring good out of evil.

And, you, my younger self, are that good.

I love you, Baby X.

Practical Suggestion to Increase Adoption Awareness Between Parents and Kids

Adoption professionals say that the most effective way for adoptees and foster kids, no matter our age, to get in touch with feelings about the birth mother is to write and letter to and from the birth mother.

I’m taking it a step further during Adoption Awareness Month 2017. You can observe this from this post. This time, the letter is from the older me to the younger me.

How about trying this with your kids, or fellow adoptees and fostered, with yourself?

Here are some suggestions:

  1. You may want to take a few minutes to find out some developmental markers of the age child you are writing to. Each of these could be springboards for talking to your younger self. Try this site:
  2. Ask yourself these questions:
  • What is normal for that age?
  • What do I know about my history?
  • What do I believe I might have been feeling, hearing, seeing?
  • Who else are key players in the scene for the letter?
  • How would these key players be addressed?
  1. Think of examples or metaphors that would further describe the experience. eg.–hot like a blazing fire, stinky like poop
  2. What is the name of the younger self? Does he/she have one?

  3. Is there a truth that can be anchored in this letter? eg.–God brings good out of evil

  4. How will the younger and older adoptee/ foster child interact?


God Is An Expert At Bringing Good Out of Bad--Pastor Rick Warren