What Do Hairstyles Have to Do with Adoption?

Who would ever think that a birth mother’s or adoptee’s hair style would have anything to do with their adoption reunion? After all, hairstyle is a personal choice, right?

 

Preparing Adopted and Foster Kids for Family Holiday Gatherings

Isolation Might Be Choice of Adopted and Foster Kids in Social Situations

There’s nothing much more shocking than walking into a room of family members who snub you. Well, not only snub you, but act like they don’t know you’re there.

I still remember when Bob and I attended the funeral of my beloved birth uncle Dave Clark, who stood up for me against a mentally-deranged and abusive birth mother…to his death.

Before the funeral, family gathered at his house.

When we arrived, no one said hello. No one reached out. They acted like they didn’t even see us.

Then, at the funeral, my aunt who was suffering from Alzheimers, kept calling out during the church service,”Where’s Sherrie? Where’s Sherrie?

I wanted to disappear.

We didn’t go back to the house after the funeral.

Foster children and fellow adoptees are all too familiar with these dynamics….they were first brought into a nurturing, strange home. This probably happened multiple times to foster kids.

Then, imagine the entire family gathered for dinner.

Again….trigger….going into a nurturing strange group of people.

Common Struggles Get Exacerbated On Special Days

As I think about Thanksgiving and then Christmas, I believe fellow adoptees and foster kids may struggle and dread it.  Probably parents, too? We may:

  • Prefer isolation to being with family
  • Go somewhere else and be with another family
  • Desire to eat Thanksgiving dinner in our rooms by ourselves
  • Not want to talk
  • Feeling like a square peg in around hole
  • Feeling that we don’t belong

What Can Parents Do to Help?

Be Proactive

Express empathy about their adoption journey, especially during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season. “I know sometimes special family gatherings can be stressful for you.”

Be Aware of Specific Issues

  • “I feel like something is missing.”
  • “I feel like I don’t belong.”
  • I get so angry at all of you.
  • I wonder what it would be like to have Thanksgiving and Christmas with my birth mother/father.

Make a Collage

If your child is old enough, have him make on i-phone or i-pad. Here’s a good site: https://preview.tinyurl.com/y6udr8qp

Suggest A Journey Pal

Perhaps, you and your child can find a fellow adoptee or foster child he/she can “check in with” through texting or phone calls throughout the family gathering. This will give him an anchor and hope.

Provide Brain Relief By Offering Mandala Activity

How we adoptees and foster kids hate social anxiety. Give us relief in the midst of family chatter by providing mandala coloring sheets.

This site provides a cazillion designs for mandalas and it’s free! All you need are the colored pencils. Costco is great for these. https://preview.tinyurl.com/yafch9eq

Thanks for letting me share.

SherrieEldridge.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.”

Really?

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!

Sherrie_Signature.2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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