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

What Can Adoptive and Foster Mamas Do When Rejected?

I can’t imagine what it’s like for foster and adoptive mamas when they constantly pour themselves into their kids, only to be rejected.

In my mind, I see a mama feeding her baby, but then the baby spits out everything in her face.

Oh, my goodness….the pain of giving your best but the one you love more than life itself rejects you.

Where is a mama to go when she’s rejected?

Will her mom friends not touched by adoption understand? Or, will they judge?

How about the church? Will they understand, or look down a long nose at her?

Just lately, I think much about my adoptive mom, Retha.  She and my dad thought the sun rose and set on me.

The first time she saw me was when my grandma carried me into their modest home.

Her heart must have felt like it was going to beat out of her heart.

This was the realization of her dream of having a child, a family. Perhaps, the 1940’s shame-based culture would disappear when they learned about their adoption?

But, the baby was so small.

Mike held out his shaking hands and held the 5# infant. He would remember that moment until his dying day.

But, how could Retha bathe such a tiny one? She was so nervous that her nurse-friend gave the first bath.

How Retha’s dreams must have soared during those first days. She would be the best mom ever to this little one. She would pour love into her like crazy. She would delight in the close relationship she would have with her daughter, beginning now and lasting for a lifetime.

Some have said that we are prevented from seeing our futures, for the pain would be too much to handle.

That would be Retha’s story, even beginning at the beginning.

Her daughter was a failure to thrive baby, who arched her back whenever Retha held her. In addition, she couldn’t get her to drink from a bottle.

Retha wondered what she’d done wrong to have a baby that wouldn’t be held or fed?

Of course, she’d done nothing wrong, but this was foundational for shaking her confidence as a mom.

In time, other oppositional behaviors would be like bricks that would make her question her worth and ability as a mom.

This is the calling of an adoptive and foster mom–to love when rejected, trusting that love will be stored somewhere in that heart that pushes you away.

Legacies aren’t lost.

They remain deep in your child’s heart until the time for release occurs.

This very thing has happened to me–an adult adoptee whose late mom’s legacy of love has been released in this, my seventh chapter of life.

Take heart, moms!

You are building a legacy in the midst of defiance.



I Hope That Someday My Child Will Have Loving Thoughts About Me

How Will Your Adopted or Foster Child Remember You?

“How will my kids remember me?”

Is that not the thought of every mom, no matter our age?

Just think.

Who, out of 85 million American moms, wouldn’t want them to remember us as loving, giving, compassionate, forgiving?

Most of us strive for this, right?

But, what if the kids don’t want our love? What if they’re belligerent and rebellious? What’s the use when you can’t see any results?

The question: “How Will My Child Remember Me” infers legacy. A mom’s legacy.

When you hear the word legacy, what pops into your mind?

End-of-life activities? Funerals? Wills? The family sitting around the dining room table listening to the reading of your last will and testament?

Legacy is that, but so much more.

It’s about now.

It’s about creating something now that your child can have forever.

You may think you’re too young to engage in making such a gift.

Let’s remember how quickly our lives can end on planet earth.

I was reminded of the brevity of life when our little family was planning to drive to Florida for special time with my parents.

The night prior to leaving, mom called to confirm contact information.

I found her irritating and was rather curt, but I assured her that after a two-day stint in Orlando, we’d arrive at their condo and carry out our family tradition of a yearly Florida vacation.Upon returning to the hotel from a fun-filled day at Marineland, we found a note on our door asking us to come to the office.

Bob went alone.

When he returned, his face was ashen, like old coals after a fire.

“You’d better sit down,” he said. “Your mom died two days ago. The Florida police have been trying to find us.”Oh, no.

Mom was gone? Really? I wouldn’t see her anymore? Gone forever?

Silently, we drove two hours to their condo.

“Where were you?” Dad ranted when he saw me.

For the next few days, we would find a way to get Dad’s car back to his hometown in Michigan, arrange for transportation of my Mom’s body, and secure five plane tickets.

As her child, in the deep loss, I would have loved to have a timeless memory that she’d created for me. Something I could hold in my hands and remember the values and beliefs she held dear.

I’m sure she wondered with an attachment disordered kid what I would say about her effectiveness in parenting. Would I ever say she was a loving mom?

How about your kids, mamas?

What will they say about you when you leave planet earth?

This week and for weeks to come, I’ll be sharing a new way to create an heirloom, a gift, a legacy that is timeless, a way that will insure your love, values, and virtues will be passed on, if not now, then later to your kids.

Will you join me, mamas?

I’m going to be doing this right along with you.


Get Rid of False Guilt

Is Reactive Attachment Disorder A Lifetime Sentence for Adoptees and Foster Kids?

I get ticked off when some call RAD a mental illness. And, I also get upset when all kinds of diagnoses are plopped on the heads of adoptees and foster kids. I hate it when kids who were confined to their beds by ropes in orphanages didn’t receive one bit of love from caretakers.

Most mental health providers don’t know diddly about adoption loss, which is defined . by Drs. Brodzinsky and Schecter as a loss deeper than death or divorce. https://www.amazon.com/Being-Adopted-Lifelong-Search-Anchor/dp/0385414269/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1542147412&sr=8-6&keywords=brodzinsky

There’s nothing wrong with those of us who have it, but it was wrong what we had to experience that would result in our behaviors.

Our brains were wired early for disconnection…because of our caregivers….not because something was wrong with us.

RAD in Real Time

We were separated from our initial caregivers and the caregivers we were placed with didn’t have the ability to understand our needs for touch, comfort, food, et.

I was  named Baby X at birth as my mother was whisked away and I was placed in the new-fangled machine called an incubator. For ten days,  I laid in that thing without human touch.

No wonder I jump when someone touches me.

No wonder I’ve had an anxiety disorder all my life.

No wonder I’m not a good sleeper.

No wonder my mother had me tested for IQ and said I was low.

No wonder, even to this day, I know no stranger. I can walk up to anyone, well almost, and begin a conversation.

No wonder I’m clumsy and can’t stand it when my fingernails grow long.

Adoptees and Foster Kids Must Remember This

But fellow adoptees and foster kids….remember this:

It’s not our fault.

What Parents Can Do

Know the symptoms:

  • anxiety
  • trouble sleeping
  • lack of boundaries
  • hypervigilant
  • extreme dependence
  • acts much younger than chronological age
  • underdeveloped conscience, lack of remorse
  • inappropriate responses (laughing or smiling when something is sad)
  • fake, not genuine
  • academic struggles
  • difficulty showing affection
  • disobedient
  • defiant
  • argumentative
  • controlling
  • bullying
  • aversion to physical touch
  • tantrums or rages
  • sensory issues or sensory processing disorder
  • withdrawal
  • lack of eye contact
  • incessant chatter
  • not asking for help when hurt, sick or needing assistance
  • socially indiscriminate
  • manipulative (can be excellent at triangulating adults)
  • frequent lying
  • blames others for their mistakes
  • irresponsible
  • physically and verbally aggressive or abusive
  • mood swings
  • depression
  • See more: https://www.thechaosandtheclutter.com/archives/recognizing-signs-reactive-attachment-disorder

Get Help from A Reliable Source

  • The late Dr. Karyn Purvis through Texas University has laid a wonderful foundation for kids like yours. They even have camps in the summertime for kids from hard beginnings.

The Bottom Line about RAD

And, in the midst of unpacking all this and sharing with you, I must remember the goodness of God, who made me fearfully and wonderfully in the womb and who planned every day of my life before any one of them came to be.

PS….we’re not mentally ill!






What Cripples Adoptees from Connecting and Growing?

What Adopted and Foster Kids Consider Worse Than Anger

I want to scream this during NAAM! We adoptees and foster kids are often terrified, but would never tell you.

Yes, we are literally shaking in our boots almost 24/7.

We sleep and eat fear…gut-level fear.

We hate it, but can’t throw it. We struggle with it only to end up being paralyzed by it.

If there were such a diagnosis as ADOPTEE AND FOSTER KID PTSD…we would be the poster kids.

Listen to what experts say about PTSD, fellow adoptees and foster kids. I bet anything you will identify.

  1. Intrusive thoughts such as repeated, involuntary memories; distressing dreams; or flashbacks of the traumatic event. Flashbacks may be so vivid that people feel they are re-living the traumatic experience or seeing it before their eyes.
  2. Avoiding reminders of the traumatic event may include avoiding people, places, activities, objects and situations that bring on distressing memories. People may try to avoid remembering or thinking about the traumatic event. They may resist talking about what happened or how they feel about it.
  3. Negative thoughts and feelings may include ongoing and distorted beliefs about oneself or others (e.g., “I am bad,” “No one can be trusted”); ongoing fear, horror, anger, guilt or shame; much less interest in activities previously enjoyed; or feeling detached or estranged from others.
  4. Arousal and reactive symptoms may include being irritable and having angry outbursts; behaving recklessly or in a self-destructive way; being easily startled; or having problems concentrating or sleeping.

I don’t know about you, friends, but all of it rings true for us.

And, we’re so ashamed of the darn thing….the gut-level fear.

But, this crummy fear consumes, engulfs, surrounds, and ties our tongues.  It condemns beautiful personalities,  prompts self-protection at any level, and requires all dangers to disappear. It thrives on isolation and multiples with broken promises. It cripples authenticity and encourages sickness.

Thinking back over a lifetime, I remember what was missed because of fear.

  • Promising to meet a friend but panic and never contact or follow up.
  • Hiding in a hotel instead of attending a party thrown in my honor
  • Backing out of a friend’s celebration for no reason except anxiety
  • Not wanting to follow through with commitments
  • Not being able to tolerate the stress of growth in my journey
  • Unable to relax with family and friends
  • Wanting to disappear
  • Fake being sick as a child so that I wouldn’t have to go to the first day of school…every year

Fellow adoptees and foster kids, my heart goes out to you. Fear is so awful.

For me, part of my journey was getting medical help for my anxiety and fear. Nearly 30 years ago, my shrink put me on a baby’s dose of an anti-anxiety drug, which provided immediate relief from social anxiety and showed my brain that fear doesn’t have to equate with normalcy.

Please let me know how you are doing and what you are learning as you begin to deal with gut-level fear?

I love you.