Posts Tagged ‘attachments’

Our Greatest Treasures: Memories Not Stuff

Wednesday, May 17, 2017 @ 02:05 PM
Author: admin

Our Greatest Treasures: Memories Not StuffAfter a very lengthy and debilitating illness, my husband died in December. During these difficult eight years, we lived with Intention. We resolved not to allow the future to spoil our present and decided how we wanted to spend his remaining time together. This meant not living through a lens of sadness or anger but with a commitment to building a legacy that survived his death. We knew that our greatest treasure as a family lay in shared memories and strong relationships not in accumulations of stuff.

How does this relate to Adoption-attuned Parenting*? The most important things we can give our children is to grow  deep, mutual attachment that is built on a fundamental understanding of the unique demands that adoption imposes on an entire family. These are the ties that bind us together as a family. Such bonds spring from love, encouragement, self-reliance, confidence and, the ability to integrate all aspects of themselves—birth and adoptive. It may be tempting to give our kids lots of stuff. A certain base level is essential. Excess is not. Over-indulgence can be damaging and counter-productive. Stuff cannot substitute for connection. (When we devolve into materialism, it’s a good idea to pause and examine what is driving our choices. How well does the strategy accomplish our goal? What alternatives could be more effective?)

Our Greatest Treasures: Memories Not Stuff

Still, we live in a material world and amassing things is inevitable. They deliver beauty, convenience, comfort and, entertainment. Our things reflect our personalities and priorities. They create a footprint of who we were and what we valued. When we are gone, our things remain for others to sort through. One of the most difficult tasks I have tackled in the past four months has been sorting through my husband’s possessions and deciding which to save, donate, pass on to the children or, toss. The hardest disposition decisions involve the things that evoke memory and emotions.

Each item holds both a practical value and an emotional one. Many have no intrinsic value yet my family considers them treasures (letters, notes, photos, a collection of plastic bugs … yes, not a typo … a collection that he delighted in hiding in hilarious places. He loved a good joke.) Others have some monetary value but are perceived as junk to us. Ironically, these often are items which he truly treasured (plastic trading tokens, obsolete paper scrip, etc.)

The bottom line: after taking dozens of boxes and bags to Goodwill, the curb, I have been profoundly reminded that the real value of things lies in how they connect us to one another. Everything else is secondary, something that fits in a trash bag, disposable.

How are you investing in your relationships each day? What is the most effective way to connect with each of your family members individually? How do you nurture connection as a family? How are you encouraging family members to think deeply and individually tailor their interactions with family members? How are you teaching Intentionality to your children?

How Do Parents Live Out the Realities of Open Adoptions?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013 @ 11:10 PM
Author: admin

four pieces of a heartAs adoptive parents observe a warm relationship between their child and his birth parents, complicated emotions may arise. Along with joy, a subtle uneasiness, envy, or sense of competition may occur. Birth parents too, may experience similarly conflicted feelings. Plus they may have to wrestle with sadness and guilt as a result of having placed their child for adoption.

In cases where infertility drove parents to choose adoption, there may be some unresolved issues that unconsciously factor into emotions toward the birth parents. Parents can also send subtle “unintended” messages to children that may suggest to them that we are uncomfortable with their relationship with their birth parents. In the absence of clearly articulated “permission” or encouragement of their birth parent relationship, kids may infer that adoptive parents disapprove or feel threatened by this parallel relationship.

The dynamics of these multi-layered relationships demand vigilance and a commitment to the best interest of children. Create clear agreements. Avoid relying on assumptions. “If we expect people to read your mind, generally they hear only your silence.” (Quote from “In the Country of the Young” by Lisa Carey.)

When birth parents break boundaries or rules, or interact like “Disneyland” parents, tension and resentments can build. This may feed into the child’s fantasies that his “real” parents wouldn’t hold him accountable or enforce rules. This circumstance could create tension for all parties.

Parents must bring INTENTIONality to their family relationships, not only within the nuclear family, but also with the open relationship with their child’s birth parents and/or birth relatives. When you adopt a child, you become an adoptive FAMILY. Part of the “Forever Family” commitment to the child we love so intently includes valuing their bio-roots and relationships. A family coach helps you to design a plan that balances healthy boundaries, and builds authentic, respectful attachments.

Where could you use a coach to help you face the challenges of your family?