One Adoptee Discovers Late Mom’s Legacy of Love

When Rocky Memories Turn Warm

I never dreamed I’d be writing a book about her…my late adoptive mom, that is.

It felt like I never loved her…in fact, I hated her.

Now, something quite unexpected is happening.

Warm memories are surfacing. I can smell her apple pie, see her take care of my kitty, and feel her gentle hands rubbing warm oil on my childhood asthmatic chest.

Had something changed in my brain?

Why the warm memories?

After all, mom died 37 years ago and my lifelong memories of her were far from warm. Instead, I remembered  daily fighting matches.

Where did the memories come from?

Were they stored somewhere deep inside?

At the same time, I was learning about legacy and how it is a gift from one generation to the next.

Could I be discovering mom’s legacy to me at this late date–the seventh chapter of life?

A few months later, I was asked to speak to a group of adoptive and foster mamas in Pennsylvania.

The meeting planner asked about the topic and it was then that I took a leap and asked if I could share these memories along with truths about how mamas can create a legacy, even if their kiddos aren’t ready to receive it.

Before delivering my message, I felt like a scared cat delivering a dead mouse at the door.

How could these weary mamas who were parenting kids with severe behaviors possibly be edified? 

Much to my surprise, their faces were welcoming.

How amazing these turn of events are!

I thought I was done writing books and speaking, but now I’m writing a book about mamas leaving a legacy.

 

Irish Adoptive Mom Writes Groundbreaking Book!

What To Do When There's No Adoption Literature

Dear friends…I am pleased to introduce you to Mari Galligher, an Irish adoptive mom. She is soooo brave. When you read about the current adoption atmosphere in Ireland, you will be amazed that she has broken silence in a country that doesn’t talk about adoption. Please welcome her, and give her a big hug. Love, Sherrie

After twenty years of adoptive parenthood, I give much thanks for lifesaving reading material that came my way over the years.

In Ireland,  parenting books on adoption do not exist, much silence and secrecy still shrouds the topic and even today as I write, adopted people campaign to get rightful access to their identifying information – information that under Irish law they are not allowed to see. 

So as an Irish adoptive parent, I relied on the generosity and talent of adoption writers such as Sherrie Eldridge, to guide me along the way.

Sherrie’s Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew was my handbook, particularly when it came to talking about adoption, a conversation I found the most challenging over the years.

Being adopted into a country thousands of miles from your birth home  – my son and daughter were born in Russia and Kazakhstan respectively –  adds another layer of sadness to the grief of separation. 

Having the conversation with my children over the years, taking it all one day at a time, grieving with them for the loss of their birth families, acknowledging how hard it must be and undertaking a search via an international searcher for vital birth information – all these have helped and both children, now young adults, have enough birth family details to undertake a reunion whenever they are ready.

 I’ve recorded it all – my longing for parenthood, the milestones, the ups and downs, the tears of joy and sorrow and now there is an adoption book on Irish bookshelves. 

My adoptive parenting book called Becoming a Mother: Reflections on Adoptive Parenting was published in 2018 by Orpen Press – the first book on adoptive parenthood on Irish bookshelves and is my story of being an adoptive parent – all that I have learned along the way.

Thank you Sherrie for the opportunity to write on your valuable, wonderful blog or as we say in Gaelic  “Go raibh mile maith agat”.

The link to Amazon Kindle US bookstore.

https://www.amazon.com/Becoming-Mother-Reflections-Adoptive-Parenthood-ebook/dp/B07JLZBLF6/

Mari’s site is: https://www.marigallaghertherapist.com/

 

Has God Forgotten the Fatherless?

 

Perhaps when all is said and done, beneath the anger of many adoptees and foster kids is the primal fear being forgotten. Forgotten by the one who gave them birth. Forgotten by the biological father whose name they may not even know. Forgotten by the blood relatives whose lives went on without them.

But most of all, forgotten by God.

As I became aware of this issue personally and shared it with fellow- adoptees in our support group, eyes welled.

Searching for wisdom, I learned that far from being forgotten, the orphan is the object of God’s special care and protection.
• He does what is necessary to preserve the orphan’s life (Jer. 49:11)
• He gladdens the orphans’ heart with the bounty of Providence (Dt. 24:19-farmers were to only glean fields once & leave rest)
• He feeds them from the “sacred portion” (Deut. 24: 19-21) • He defends the cause of the fatherless, giving food & clothing (Dt. 10: 18; Is. 1:17)
• He hears even the faintest of cries from the orphan (Ex. 22: 22-24) • He becomes a Father to them (Psalm 68: 5)
• He rescues when the orphan cries for help (Job 29: 12)
• He considers helping orphans an unblemished act of worship (Jas. 1: 27)
• He provides what the orphan is searching for – love, pity, and mercy (Hosea 14: 3)
• He blesses those who provide for the orphan (Dt. 14: 29)
• He has a unique plan for the orphan in history (Esther 2: 15)
• He strongly warns judges who issue unrighteous decrees & the magistrates who cause oppressive decisions against the orphan (Is. 10: 2; Mal. 3: 5)
• He is pleased when nations and people treat the orphan justly (Jer. 5: 28)

•He will draw nigh and be a swift witness against oppressors of the fatherless (Is. 10: 2)

• He commands others not to remove “the ancient boundary stone” (could this be their biological history?) or encroach on the fields of the fatherless (Prov. 23: 10)

 

While studying the subject of feeling forgotten, I saw a poster-sized reproduction of a
U.S. commemorative stamp. Two words grabbed my attention —”NEVER FORGOTTEN.”
The poster illustrated an army dog-tag on a chain, inscribed with the words MIA & POW— NEVER FOR- GOTTEN.

 

“That’s what I, and possibly many others adoptees and fostered need,” I zealously concluded. “A tangible reminder that we will never be forgotten!”

Then, fantasizing as only an adoptee can, I envisioned commissioning a talented jeweler to design a golden dog-tag (diamond-studded, of course), inscribed with the words ADOPTEE — NEVER FORGOTTEN! It could be worn daily as a reminder. A symbol.

However, the purest of gold, the brightest of diamonds, and the boldest of letters will not erase an adoptee’s primal feelings of being forgotten.

Not that the feelings necessarily dominate or paralyze. Rather, they lay dormant, triggered into consciousness only by specific present-day events.

  1. An unanswered letter
  2. A geographical move
  3. The death adoptive parents.
  4. “Behold, I have indelibly imprinted (tattooed) a picture of you on the palm of each of My hands.” (Isaiah 49: 16)
  5. The rejection of a friend.

    6. The remarriage of a former spouse.

    7. The empty nest.

    8. The death of a spouse.

    Because adoption is a life-long journey, filled with pleasure as well as pain, this writer has learned that by acknowledging, accepting, and verbalizing these feelings of orphanhood, my spirit is open to embrace and enjoy the words of another inscription. Not an inscription written on a dog- tag or a U.S. commemorative stamp, but one that is eternally imprinted on the living, nail-scarred palms of Jesus Christ — LORD of Lords and KING of Kings. ■

     

    Recommended Resources

    The Gilbert Adoption Video
    Home Sweet Home Educational Media Company Box 544444
    Dallas, TX 75254

    The Children of the King, by Max Lucado Crossway Books, 1994

     

What Adoptive and Foster Parents Can Do If Short-Changed by Social Workers

When Shortchanged by An Adoption Professional, Parents Can Still Work through Grief with Their Children

My heart broke as I read her message of desperation. Also, my blood boiled because I hear about this painful reality all to often.

Here’s the deal. She’s a mom of four and lives in the Ukraine. While reading my Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew, she suddenly  realized that she didn’t even know what adoption loss was for her children.

The social worker there hadn’t told her a thing about what to expect about her children’s grief.

“I was handed an empty slate,” she said, while grasping for straws and trying to catch her breath between questions.

How would she tell her children? What effect would this lack of information have on her parenting? Would there be long-term repercussions for the children? Could they ever thrive?

This situation doesn’t only happen in foreign countries.

I remember talking to a group of parents for a well-known adoption agency. When I asked them if they had been taught about their child’s loss…their profound loss…they all looked like deer in the headlights.

So-very- sad.

If you’re  parents in that situation, what can you do?

Here are some things that may be helpful:

  1. Forgive yourself. This is not your fault and you must not carry any shame for it.  it doesn’t mean that you are bad parents. I know that you love your kids to the moon and back and would even give your lives for them.
  2. Acknowledge You Got Short-Changed. I believe the children need to know this too and that you all will have some forgiving to do together.
  3. Go to your children and humility. I know you will.Tell them that you had no idea of what they have been through when they lost their first family or second or third family….or when they got passed by again and again in the orphanage or foster care. Tell them you’re sad about this
  4. Invite them to begin learning about unresolved adoption grief and loss.Tell them it can be a team effort and that she will do whatever you can to support them. Be their #1 cheerleader.
  5. Create a safe place. As you shed a few tears over this situation, they will know your heart. You can assure them that they can tell you anything, which means they don’t have to clean things up that they share. Tell them it’s okay to hate.The Bible says that. Tell them nothing is forbidden to say. Assure that you are strong and you won’t be offended or shocked.
  6. Offer hope. Present something concrete that you can work on together, or with a trusted therapist. Years ago I shared”The Grief Box”  with audiences. I hope to share this practical tool for kids to work through grief soon. Let me know if this would be beneficial to you?

So dear parents, take heart and remember that every day of your life was planned before any one of them ever came to be.

God knows about your situation and He cares…and He will equip you to do what you’ve been called to do.

I know that’s your heart’s desire.

For more info on TWENTY THINGS ADOPTED KIDS WISH THEIR ADOPTIVE PARENTS KNEW: https://www.amazon.com/Twenty-Things-Adopted-Adoptive-Parents/dp/044050838X/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Adoptive and Foster Parents Must Resist Over-the-Top Giving

I was ready to wring that mother’s neck.

While waiting in line at the ice cream shop, she repeatedly bent down to the order window to give the latest detail of her eight-year-old daughter’s order for an ice cream cone.

What kind of a cone would you like, honey? Oh, you want a waffle cone? Okay, sweetheart. Do you want to have it dipped in chocolate? Sure, sweetie. Do you want a single or double dip, or maybe a triple?  Get whatever you want, precious girl.”

Afterwards, the girl took the top-heavy cone and skipped off.

My blood was boiling…for several reasons, one which I discovered while writing this post.

First, the mother believed the lie that love means over- over-giving to growing children and/or adults. She thought she was demonstrating the greatest love, but instead she was harming.

Actually, she was overindulging, which we’ll take a close look at.

But first, let’s apply to adoption and foster care.

Overindulgence is a factor in parenting an adopted or foster child.  You love those kids of yours dearly and know full well their hard-place history. But, sometimes, a thought like this may run through your mind as you’re shopping: “How could it possibly hurt to give them one, or two, or even three extra gifts?”

You may not have been told that the “over-the-top” giving is really overindulgence.

Overindulgence Communicates

  • scarcity in the midst of plenty
  • parental needs are more important than mine
  • the life lesson of contentment will elude me
  • pleasing me is such a task…I must be too much to handle
  • I will never have enough
  • I am neglected
  • I will learn to manipulate
  • I won’t learn the developmental lesson of “Enough”

Connie Dawson, Ph.D. and Jean Issley Clark say in their excellent book HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH? EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW TO STEER CLEAR OF OVERINDULGENCE AND RAISE LIKaBLE, RESPONSIBLE, AND RESPECTED CHILDREN–FRO TODDLERS TO TEENS:

Overindulging children is giving them too much of what looks good, too soon, and for too long. It is giving them things or experiences that are not appropriate for their age or their interests or talents. It is the process of giving needs to children to meet the adult needs, not the child’s.

Overindulgence is a form of child neglect. It hinders children from performing their needed developmental tasks and from learning the necessary life lessons.”

Types of Overindulgence

The authors say there are three types of overindulgence.

  • Giving Too Much: (candy, presents, excitement, recreation, stimulation)
  • Over-Nurturing (smother love…doing for children what they should be doing for themselves…it may look loving but it keeps child from fulfilling full potential)
  • Soft Structure: (giving too much freedom and license. ..experiences not appropriate for child’s age. It can be not insisting that they learn important life skills.

Parents, I beg you to look at your giving this Christmas. It is extremely easy to believe that love is over-giving.

As I write this warning, I am warning myself. You see, I was like that bratty girl getting ice-cream and my mom and dad gave me e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.

Now, what rings in my ears is what I say often to my grandchildren when I take them out for a meal: “Get whatever you want.”

Being overindulged gets passed down generationally.

Oh, no!

Let’s all pray for healthy giving this Christmas…myself included.

PS–Treat yourself to a copy of How Much Is Enough? Here’s the link: https://www.amazon.com/previously-published-Enough-Children-Teens/dp/073821681X/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1512937619&sr=1-4&keywords=how+much+is+enough