Don’t Fry Your Adopted/Foster Kid Brain-OK?

Don't Let Your Addiction to Stress Rule Your Day

This weekend is a holiday and then comes September when almost every school in the US will have begun.

Stress city, fellow adoptees and foster kids.

If you’re anything like me with something new, you overshoot the mark.

In other words, you try so hard, work so hard, socialize so hard, do FB so hard….whatever.

Can you identify?

My husband often says…You didn’t have to do that, Sherrie.

He said it when:

  • I accompanied a fellow adoptee up the steps of the Indiana Capitol building when I was just 10 days out of knee replacement surgery.
  • I invited neighbors in for wine and cheese on the day I got home from my second knee replacement.
  • I box the heavy bag so hard that I am in pain the following night.
  • I over-commit at my church…
  • I make promises to demanding friends to avoid feeling rejected or left out

Just about every fellow adopted/foster kid I know has similar desires. My friend,

Jody, and I laughed at ourselves one evening long ago when we gathered for a meeting. We were the only ones that brought a gift and we wondered at the time if that trait is characteristic of many adoptees.

Why do we work like dogs anyway?

Adrenaline….it rushes.

That can be characteristic of addictive thinking…hmmm.

Honestly, in my exhaustion, I get really mad.

Over the years of being an over-giver, I have discovered that when I am in need, people don’t accompany me by post-op hobbling up Capitol steps.  Nor, do they come bringing wine and cheese when I’m a few days out of knee replacement surgery.

They never meet my expectations!

Constantly, let’s remember to not fry our brains. 

So, for these seemingly busy times, let’s choose to remember what Bob tells me, “You didn’t have to do it.”




What Adopted, Foster Kids Must Know About Emotional Abuse

What to Do When A Parent Abuses You

Every adopted and foster kid, no matter our age, must learn about the subtlety of emotional abuse…especially when reuniting with first (2nd, 3rd, 4th…) family members.

I’ve heard that those who lose their first and subsequent families crave connection, like a starving man looking for food.

And, once we find that missing bio family member, we believe all is well in the world.

Many times we enter euphorically into relationships with unhealed moms and dads with unhealed pasts and chronic issues. And, some of them are downright mean.

We all can recognize physical abuse but emotional abuse is incredibly subtle. And, our propensity for connection blinds us to the hurtful elements of the relationship.


Here are some of the subtle signs of emotional abuse:

  1. Threaten you in subtle ways.  For example, when I met my birth mother, she kept saying, “This is very difficult for me.” At the same time, she would keep me at arms length through her friends.
  2.  Refuses to recognize and affirm your strengths and belittles your accomplishments. In my experience of several reunions with birth family, I’ve found that with unhealthy people, they want to convince me how wonderful they are and don’t ask a thing about me. This is a huge red flag.
  3. Hurtful humor. Making fun of you in a joking way. My birth mother and I had an unusual liking for ketchup. I was thrilled to find this synchronicity but when she share the likeness in a social setting, it was in a condemning way that she thought was funny.
  4. Behavior goes from one extreme to another. At one moment you’re being showered with a generous gift and the next minute, the parent is either silent, distant, or attacking.  My mother gave me a beautiful real gold pin from Tiffany’s the second day of our reunion. By the last day she was saying she wished she would have aborted me.
  5. Rejecting your kindness. During the reconciliation phases, I ordered a dozen roses for my birth mom. Two days later, the florist called to say that the dozen roses I ordered for her had been refused for delivery.  He added that in decades of business, he’d never experienced that.


And, dear ones, even if we’re being abused, oftentimes we have trouble letting go.  We keep trying, and trying, and trying to re-establish connection.

About two and one-half years after the reunion rejection, I was still sending her Valentine cards and a dozen roses for her birthday.

For me, as a Christ follower, I believed in reconciliation.

After all, isn’t that what God asks us to do in conflicted relationships?

Maybe in conflicted relationships, but not in abuse!


About that time, I was studying about Abraham in the Bible. Remember him? He was 99 when God told him the he and Sara were going to have a child.

Many of us know the story.

Sara set up an intimate relationship between her handmaiden and Abraham. Her name was Haggai and she conceived a son named Ishmael.

Nice plan Sara.

Only problem?

Sara arranged it HER way…not God’s.

When Haggai’s child, Ishmael, was growing up in the same household, he and Haggai caused much discord between Sarai and Abraham.

Finally, God told Abraham to send Haggai and Ishmael away.


Yes, He told this birth father to send away the contentious one.



That was enough for me!

If Abraham could send her away, I could send my mother away, without guilt.

And, when we finally come to say goodbye to abuse, it is just the beginning of tremendous personal growth.

PS–I’m not a theologian.







How Can Adopted and Foster Kids Grow In Spite of Parental Rejection?

When words fail for adoptive and foster parents the soluation is here

News flash: Adoptees and Foster Can Grow in Self-Esteem in the Midst of Parental Rejection

My heart breaks for fellow adoptees and foster kids who are being rejected. It doesn’t have to a monumental, in-your-face rejection, but it is rejection nonetheless.

For example:

  • Teen waits for birth parent to pick up for movie date but parent doesn’t show.
  • Child fantasizes on birthday that first mom will come to party but she doesn’t show up.
  • Adult reunites with birth siblings who only want to meet once and then ignores any desires to meet again.
  • Birth parent can’t deal with own loss and grief and outwardly disses her child.
  • Adopted child not told  truth about birth family (Life begins at adoption approach).
  • Adopted adult learns that sibling thinks her weird and blasts opinion on social media
  • Teen or adult gets “unfriended” on social media

You may not even want to read on…but you must, for something really positive can come from such an experience if God allows it to happen to your child.


Rejection from my birth mother years ago was devastating, but it was also life-defining. I wouldn’t trade it for anything, for God has used it to enable me to reach others who are experiencing similar rejection.


Reverend Ron Nydam, author of WISE ADOPTIVE PARENTING (,) specified how to do rejection well from a Jewel Among Jewels Adoption News article (Winter 1999): “Doing rejection successfully means opening the door to a full life as an adult who can do self-acceptance and intimacy in spite of a parent’s negative opinion. Our self-esteem can never be something that someone else is in charge of.”


“On the day you were born, you were thrown out into an field, unwanted. But I came by and saw you lying there, and I said, “Live, thrive, like a plant in the field. And you did! You became a jewel among jewels.” (Ezekiel 16:4-7 LB)



What adoptee or foster kid doesn’t love recalling the past and then affirming the present. Affirming that yes, the past was incredibly painful, but I’m not there anymore. I’m living in the present with an awesome future ahead of me.

Our painful past does not define our future…but it does make us stronger and wiser.