Delicious Ham Loaf for Easter Dinner from Sherrie

This is a photo of ham loaf, which is generationally popular in Sherrie's family. If you're in a hurry or out of ideas, she thought you might like this.

Over the generations, my mom’s ham loaf recipe has remained a family favorite. Don’t have any ideas for Easter dinner? Take a look a Sherrie’s delicious and easy recipe. I promise, there will be no leftovers!

Since childhood, I have loved ham loaf.

Not just any ham loaf…it had to be my mom’s.

Over the years, Bob and our daughters have developed the same love for it…even our grandchildren.

It is our family favorite!

And, it’s not a secret…so I’ll share with you here.

Ingredients:

1# ham and 1 1/2# pork (these have to be ground together by the butcher. Most of them won’t do it these days but I have found a meat shop here in Indy that does.)

2 eggs

1 Cup Wheaties

1 Cup milk

Mix the above ingredients, place in two loaf pans, and flatten with fork.

Before baking: Mix this topping:

1/2 Cup vinegar

1/2 Cup water

1 1/2 Cups brown sugar

1 tablespoon dry mustard

Pour the topping over the two loaves.

Bake 1 1/2 hours at 375.

Serve without any hope of left-overs!

Family Devotions and Crafts for Easter Week

This photo is of the breastplate of the high priest of Israel. How can adoptive and foster parents make Easter meaningful as a family. Follow Sherrie's devotions and craft ideas this week.

(Before reading aloud, pray, then underline words and phrases that stand out to you.)

Imagine you and your family entering a time capsule and landing amongst Israeli pilgrims in Jerusalem on their way to the Temple for the most holy of days.

It’s the special day that the high priest is going to plead to God for the forgiveness of their sins. They had to go eHigh Priest.gifvery year for the high priest to forgive their sins.

What is the high priest wearing on his chest? The large square with different colors?

It’s called the “breast plate” and is made of cloth with twelve beautiful, different jewels attached.

Look even closer…each stone is inscribed with the name of one of the twelve tribes of Israel. Jesus made sure that the people He loved were close to His heart when He died so that they could live.

The high priest is a shadow of Jesus, our High Priest, who died for our sin once and for all.

You and I were carried close to his heart, also.

Just like the names of the 12 Tribes were inscribed on the breastplate jewels, your name and mine were inscribed on Jesus’ palms. (Isaiah 49:15)

In fact, if you were the only person in the world, He would have come to die for your sin so that you could have eternal life forever with Him, both now and after you leave planet earth.

Scripture: “….We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven…” (Hebrews 8:1)

Craft: Making a breastplate would be a lovely family activity and way to teach the kids about how special they are to Jesus.

Suggestion: Search for the image of the high priest online. Choose one and make print-outs for everyone. Tonight, read the devotional together as a family and have the colored pens ready for everyone to color the picture.

Discussion: What words stood out to you as we read about the high priest?

  • people were close to Jesus’ heart
  • name of tribe written on stone
  • Jesus died for sin once and for all
  • high priest was shadow of Jesus

Resource: https://images.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search;_ylt=A0geK987CLlaiUkAi5cPxQt.;_ylu=X3oDMTByMjB0aG5zBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzYw–?p=high+priest+of+ancient+israel&fr=yhs-pty-pty_packages&hspart=pty&hsimp=yhs-pty_packages

Bible Study: More verses about Jesus as our High Priest:

 

An Effective Writing Project for Shut-Down Adoptees and Foster Kids

This photo of hands writing in tablet depict an adopted or foster child engaging in a writing project to help them start talking, whereas before, they were shut down.

Write your story” is what’s trendy now in adoption circles amongst adoptees.

YIKES…I can’t do that.

I’ve written seven books, some which tell the circumstances of my story,  but my voice…it’s missing.

Last night I lay in bed, panicked about not being able to find my voice.

Where is my voice?

How can I find the voice of the baby, toddler, school age, teen, and the married Sherrie?

She’s hiding somewhere. 

Recently, I wrote what would probably be the first few paragraphs of the story. It came together in an almost magical way and I felt so pumped after writing it.

It was then that I remembered what my friend, Shefalie Chandra, taught me about stack dolls. As a therapist in the UK, she uses them to help clients get in touch with the developmental stages of their lives.

When an adopted or foster person is shut down and depressed, traditional ways of reaching them won't work. The solution lays in finding a creative way to by pass defenses. This activity of stack dolls can do just that.
When adoptees and foster kids are shut down, it’s not likely that they will open up to a therapist or parents in traditional ways, such as talk therapy and common conversation. However, if they are engaged in a creative activity, their hearts will be freed to discover things about themselves they hadn’t previously considered. Thus, conversation ensues.

The writing project:

First, invite your child to pick out stack dolls online that appeal to her.

Then, when they are in hand, explain the different sizes and what they might mean.

  1. The biggest doll is current age
  2. The next doll 10 years earlier
  3. This continues all the way to the end…to the little me

cropped-fullsizerender.jpg

Then, the present-day me asks baby me some questions:

Present-Day Me: ”There you are, sweetheart…I  found you! Oh my gosh, you are so beautiful. Your skin is so pink and soft and I love your brown hair and eyes.  I am here with you now and I will always listen to your voice. I know that you’ve been through a lot already because your birth mother didn’t  want you. You even knew that before you were born. Will you let me hold you? Will you let me cuddle you close? I love you so very much.”

Baby me: “Wah, wah, wah. I can’t stop crying. My tears won’t end. I am afraid for you to hold me because no one ever did after I was born. I was put in an incubator and I felt so all alone. I don’t know what love is…is it being sent away from my mom to be alone in an incubator? If that’s what love is, I don’t want anything to do with it. Don’t look at me.”

This is how I will start my writing project.

Perhaps these ideas will be beneficial to you?

Oh, and when looking up stack dolls online, I saw that they make them with nine dolls. I think that would be perfect for each stage in life

How Adoptees and Foster Kids Can Grieve Loss

This is a photo of hands holding a box, which is symbolic of holding adoption loss and grief. Helping adoptees and foster kids to open it and look inside seems impossible. However, this practical tool will facilitate active grieving.

Loss? My child hasn’t experienced loss.

This is what many adoptive and foster parent want to believe.

However, it is a reality of adoptive family living. Connie Dawson, Ph.D, an adoptee, author and speaker, and attachment specialist says, “Understanding  how grief and loss affects adoptive relationships is an inoculation geared to prevent later problems.”

It’s one thing to understand that your child has experienced loss, but it’s another thing to know how to help him grieve it successfully.

Remember that it is appropriate for children, ages nine and upward. In reality, it can be used by anyone who has suffered great loss.

bon-voyage-rainbow-suitcase-set

Constructing the Grief Box

  1. Invite child to do an adoption project with you. (Expect resistance! Hint: Explain that it will involve a treasure hunt.)
  2.  Ask child to make a “sad list.” (Anything from past, present, or future that makes him sad).
  3. Go shopping and buy a box together.  (TJ Maxx has a great and inexpensive selection. It should be big enough to hold several items.)
  4. Select Items at Dollar Store that remind him of each loss. (Example: one teen chose a small piece of rope. She was in an orphanage overseas and was tied to her bed daily because she was one of the “wiggly ones).
  5. Put purchased items in box and puts on lid.
  6. Child takes lid off box. Explain the need to grieve–to feel the sad and talk about it. (Perhaps, go back to the original loss of the first family and validate the profound wound. Tell child that there is nothing wrong with feeling sad…it is your body’s way of feeling really great. Possibly share that it is easier to get mad than sad, and that when we deal with the sad, there won’t be nearly as many meltdowns. Encourage the use of these four words: SAD, MAD, GLAD, SCARED.
  7. Pour out heart. Give permission for saying anything that comes to mind! Naughty, hateful words are okay. Parent validates: “If I were you, I would feel exactly the same way.)
  8. Forgive people who have hurt you. (Tell child that before he forgives, it’s like he’s carrying the person(s) that hurt him on his back. They are roped to him. When he forgives, he sets himself free…credit Beth Moore)
  9. Replace each item with thankfulness. (We can be thankful, not necessarily for the wounds, but because of the facts that God is good and He will bring goodness and growth out of the pain).
  10. Replace lid.
  11. Hold box up and give to God (This is an act of surrendering all of you to Jesus, or your higher power).
  12. Put box on shelf. (Child can learn that whenever a new hurt comes along, you and he can take the box down again and put a new item in it from the Dollar Store). Thus, grief is dealt with in an ongoing way. The child isn’t repressing anymore.

This is a photo of a grief box designed by Sherrie Eldridge to give parents a tool for helping their kids surface and process un-grieved loss.

People often ask me if I get depressed when re-opening my grief box, I say absolutely not! I am reminded of how God can and will change grief into a gift. We only have to open our hearts.

If you’d like to see my grief box presentation, here’s the link: https://youtu.be/1nZCURhCDHU

 

 

Does the Bible Validate An Adoptee’s Primal Wound?

This picture shows a crying infant in a basket on the Nile River. It is Moses. Does anyone hear his cry? Learn a surprising answer to his cry.

I’ve heard this story told again and again, but no one ever stopped at the word that stood out like neon to me.

Moses, the Biblical adoptee, cried when his first mom put him in a tar-lined, covered basket in the alligator-infested Nile?

Yes…it says it right here:

Now a man of the tribe of Levi married a Levite woman, 2 and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months. 3 But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile. 4 His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him. 5 Then Pharaoh’s daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the riverbank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her female slave to get it. 6 She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying (emphasis mine), and she felt sorry for him. “This is one of the Hebrew babies,” she said. (Exodus 2)

So, what’s the big deal?

All babies cry, right?

As I studied what the word “cried” meant, it became abundantly clear what I and millions of other fellow adoptees and foster kids experience when separated from our first (second, third, etc). families.

Defining the Cry

The root meaning of crying is: (Thesaurus)

  • to weep
  • bewail
  • sob
  • weep continually
  • weep longer
  • weep bitterly

Even though culture and times were different, Moses experienced the same challenges those who lose families face today. Everything familiar disappeared and for the first time, on a sensory level, he experienced what relinquishment feels like.

Many adoptees today reflect relinquishment’s reality.

How Other Adoptees Describe “Cry”

“I am adopted! Someone didn’t want me. This became my story, my scar and my struggle. When I learned of my adoption, compounded by dynamics in my family life, I ‘heard’ only that someone DIDN’T want me. I was rejected somewhere and somehow, I was now different. All of this became the energy force that kept me, motivated me and often controlled me on a lifetime course of anger, debate, searching and stubborn determination to prove that ‘they,’ whoever the natural parents were, were wrong to give me up.” (Dr. Richard Gilbert, from Jewel among Jewels Adoption News)

Other adoptees say:

  • I wake up at night and cry, but I don’t know why.
  • Something inside doesn’t feel right.
  • I am crying on the inside but the tears won’t come.
  • I need my parents to understand that I have an invisible wound.
  • I need the freedom to cry.
  • I need comfort.
  • If I were a diabetic, they would give me insulin. If I were deaf, they would give me hearing aids. Why don’t they do anything for my wound from adoption

What Experts Say About the Cry

“What I discovered  is what I call the primal wound, a wound which is physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual; a wound which causes pain so profound as to have been described as cellular by those adoptees who allowed themselves to go that deeply into their pain. I began to understand this wound as having been caused by the separation of the child from his biological mother, the connection to whom seems mystical, mysterious, spiritual and everlasting.” The Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted Child, by Nancy Verrier

“The loss inherent in adoption is unlike other losses we have come to expect in a lifetime, such as death or divorce. Adoption is more pervasive, less socially recognized and more profound.” Being Adopted: The Lifelong Search for Self,  by David M. Brodzinsky, Ph.D. and Marshall D. Schechter, M.D.

“Can a baby under one year ‘remember’ this traumatic separation from his original parents? No, he will probably not remember these events as a series of pictures which can be recalled. What is remembered, or preserved, is anxiety, a primitive kind of terror, which returns in waves in later life. Loss and danger of loss of love become recurrent themes or life patterns. What is preserved may be a profound moodiness or depression later in life, the somatic memory of the first tragic loss, which returns from the unremembered past even, ironically, at moments of pleasure and success. What is preserved is the violation of trust, of the ordered world of infancy in which love, protection and continuity of experience are invested in people. The arbitrary fate that broke the first human bonds may damage or shatter that trust, so that when love is given again it may not be freely returned. And finally, what is preserved is likely to be a wound to the embryonic personality in the first year which may have profound effects upon later development.” Every Child’s Birthright, by Selma Fraiberg

How God Responds to the Cry

He had no awareness of Jehovah–the Being who is absolutely Self-Existent, the One who in himself possesses essential life and permanent existence. Even though his mother wasn’t there with Moses when he was floating on the Nile, Jehovah was. Jehovah’s strong hands were holding him up and keeping him safe.

Psalm 63:7-8 says, “Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. I stay close to you; your right hand upholds me.”

How Parents Can Validate the Cry

Parents and counselors may want to consider using these questions and activities:

  • If you could sum up your adoption experience in one word, what would it be?
  • Describe your perception of  being separated from your first family (parents bringing me into their house; baby in a basket, baby in a dumpster, baby on the steps of a church, parents picking baby out, parents so happy when they lay eyes on you, the day you lost your birth mother, etc).
  • Draw a picture illustrating your perception of adoption/foster care/orphanage from using only your left hand (or right if you are left-handed).
  • How do you think your birth mother felt at your birth? Your birth father?
  • Do you ever feel like you are crying on the inside, yet tears won’t come? If so, how long does the feeling last?
  • What do you need most when you are feeling confused and mixed up inside? List specific ways of getting this need met.
  • Write a letter TO your birth mother about how you were traumatized when she disappeared from your life.
  • Write a letter to yourself FROM your birth mother, expressing thoughts and feelings you think she would want you to know about her reasons for placing you for adoption and how she feels about what you have just said in your letter to her.

Verses that Comfort the Cry

  •  Psalm 91:4“He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.”
  • Psalm 139:13“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”  
  • Psalm 139:15“My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.”  
  • Psalm 139:16b“all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Who planned every day of your life?

Feel free to use any of this material.

Sherrie