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!

























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













Most Popular Post of 2017: Why Are Many Adoptees and Foster Kids Clumsy?

Problem of clumsiness in adopted and foster children can be traced to sensory issues that need to be identified and then help. Suggestions for help here.

Run into walls? Drop dishes way too often? Feel like the sound of the vacuum is a screaming siren in your head? Do people laugh at you because you’re so clumsy?

How many adoptees would identify with these words describing clumsiness in Merriam-Webster Thesaurus?

  • lacking or showing a lack of nimbleness in using one’s hands
  • awkward
  • butterfingered 
  •  uncoordinated
  • bungling
  • inept

When on vacation last summer, while carrying a bowl of ice cream to the porch, it dropped from my hands, like it had been coated with Crisco.

My face flushed as our friends retrieved it.

Was it my age, or something else that made me so clumsy?

Curious, I took my question to the secret FB adoptee group. Did anything I said about being clumsy resonate with them?

We had such a great time discussing it. It was a brand new topic for all of us.

As I listened to my fellow adoptee friends share their hearts with humor, I asked them if it was possible that we don’t feel at home in our own skin–kind of like a suit of clothes that doesn’t fit.

Then, I put “clumsy” and “adoptee” into Google.

Three words stared me in the face–sensory processing disorder.

Sensory Processing Disorder

Here is what WebMD says about Sensory Processing Disorder: (

Sensory processing disorder is a condition in which the brain has trouble receiving and responding to information that comes in through the senses.

Formerly referred to as sensory integration dysfunction, it is not currently recognized a a distinct medical diagnosis.

Some people with sensory processing disorder are oversensitive to things in their environment. Common sounds may be painful or overwhelming. The light touch of a shirt may chafe the skin.

Others with sensory processing disorder may:

  • Be uncoordinated
  • Bump into things
  • Be unable to tell where their limbs are in space
  • Be hard to engage in conversation or play

Sensory processing problems are usually identified in children. But they can also affect adults. Sensory processing problems are commonly seen in developmental conditions like autism spectrum disorder. (WebMD)

Dan Travis writes at a comprehensive list of symptoms. His list is far too extensive to put here, but here are just a few:

Sensory Modulation

  • bothered by clothes; certain materials, tags, seams, pantyhose, ties, belts, turtlenecks, have to wear shorts, skirts, or pants exclusively, etc.
  • will often rock or sway body back and forth while seated or standing still
  • constantly chews on ends of pens and pencils
  • over-react to loud noises, like sirens

After learning about this, a certain sadness came over me–both for me and for fellow adoptees and foster children…and all kids from hard places.

Another “diagnosis” of trauma.

For many, we have coped with it for years, believing secretly that something was inherently wrong with us. We have tried so hard to be normal.  We have worn the suit of clothes that doesn’t fit us. We suffer in many unknown ways because of brain trauma.

How to Help

Please don’t make fun of us because we drop things or have to plug our ears when you are vacuuming near us. Please don’t be surprised that we have a huge startle response whenever you touch us. In fact, please don’t touch us. Please don’t call us “Klutz” and laugh. Please don’t give us the “evil eye” that says, “There she goes again.”

Fellow adoptees, I love each of you with all my heart and am so grateful that we are on this journey together, discovering new things about ourselves. Sometimes, new painful things, but at least we have one another, right?




Why Do Adoptees Overextend Themselves?

I could just hear Bob saying, “You didn’t have to do that, Sherrie.”

Such a familiar phrase.

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.

You, see, I love to give, give, give.

I give because I want others to feel special or to help lift a heavy burden from their shoulders.

That’s my nature.


I also overextend, go the extra mile, and do what my heart tells me.

Just about every fellow adoptee 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 is it that we are such givers? Why do we over-extend ourselves? Why do we work like dogs?

No matter what the cost, be it rain or shine, by golly, we will be there. We are as faithful as the day is long.

You Didn’t Have to Do That

Yesterday, I was reminded of Bob’s admonition.

While preparing for a meeting at our home, I baked homemade blueberry muffins, washed and used my mom’s china tea cups, picked fresh flowers from the garden, and served salami, cheese, and crackers because the meeting went longer than expected.

The dear women who attended didn’t care if we sipped coffee out of mom’s china tea cups.  They didn’t care if the muffins were homemade. They were simply there to start planning a community outreach.

But, I cared!

Big time.

Aha! I think we’re getting down to some issues.

Addictive Thinking

First, I get an absolute “high” when I use mom’s tea cups or bake homemade muffins. It is my way of saying, “You are special.”

The high?

That can be characteristic of addictive thinking.

Second, why am I exhausted after over giving? Why am I spent? Isn’t that what God calls us to do and be? To love others more than we love ourselves.

No…God says to love others as we love ourselves.

Because I care more about the needs of others than I do my own. I sacrifice my health for others. I would get zero on a quiz about self care.

But, what if others don’t feel special or know that burdens have lifted?


Honestly, in my exhaustion, I get mad. Really mad.

Over the years of being an over-giver, I have discovered that when I am in need, people don’t serve me coffee in their mom’s china tea cups. They 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.

How could others be so unthoughtful?

I expected tit for tat. I thought if I did it for them, then they would certainly do it for me.

That is stinking thinking.

I believe what our hearts are saying, fellow adoptees, is: ” I want to feel special. I am the one that needs help, not only up Capitol steps, but every step of the way. I am the one who wants to have wine and cheese brought to me.

Someday, that will happen.

Jesus is preparing something phenomenal for those that love Him–a wedding banquet in heaven.

And, in my adoptee heart, I believe He’ll be serving coffee… in exquisite china tea cups.

I’ll feel special, not because of the tea cups, but because of the nail-scarred hands that pour the heavenly coffee.

I can’t wait!





How To Get Past Kid Defenses When “Talking Adoption”

Dear Parents,
Sometimes your best-laid plans for talking adoption with your kids get sabotaged! Right? You’ve thought deeply about what to share/ask, determined the best time, and perhaps even rehearsed possible scenarios and outcomes.
The pre-planned time arrives and you ask, “How about talking about adoption for a few minutes?”
Many parents hear responses like these:
• “Nope.” Child then walks away or stares into space.
• “WHY do you keep asking me about adoption?” Adoptee exits room in a huff.
• “Adoption is NO BIG DEAL, mom!” Teen adoptee throws up hands.
• “I am happy that I was adopted. That’s all I need to know.” Adult or teen adoptee looks puzzled at your desire to talk more, like you’re a bit crazy?

This article is a letter from Sherrie to adoptive parents...from the NEW Forever Fingerprints
This article is a letter from Sherrie to adoptive parents…from the NEW Forever Fingerprints

Later, you may have a car full of kids and you’re making a left turn into the busiest intersection in the city. Above the chattering, you hear, “Why did my birth mother give me up for adoption?”
You take a deep breath as your heart races. If I could read your mind, you might be asking, “WHAT can I do?”
Allow me to give you some of the inside scoop about we adoptees. Many of us, myself included, can be downright tricky at times. We find it difficult to trust you or anybody, except ourselves. Basically, we are control freaks and just as traditional talk therapy with a clinician doesn’t reach us, neither do pre-planned adoption talks with parents.
So, what’s the answer for reaching defensive adoptees?
• Throw out pre-planned agendas for talking adoption.
• Learn to “think outside the box” about the timing. Be flexible!
• Identify real-life situations that can become springboards into deeper conversations with your child.
• Be patient with yourself. Developing this new set of skills takes time.
• Remember that your adopted child does want and need to talk but is scared.
Lucie, the main character of this book, along with her adoption -savvy parents, will show you how to talk adoption in a winsome way that will be welcomed by your child.
All best to you!