Family is a Treasure; Treat Them with Care

School is out for the summer here which draws to mind a question: How can Intentional Parents glean the best that this interlude can offer families? Released from the burden of homework, academic projects, and extracurricular activities and all the stress and time constraints that accompany them, we have a chance to create something special. […]

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Making Space for Remembrance and a Complete Picture

As our observance of Memorial Day remains fresh, it calls to mind the pain of loved ones lost in defense of their country. We feel an upswell of grief, yearning, and remembering. In the context of this blog, thoughts of loved ones lost take on a different slant. It reminds us of how adoptees experience […]

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The Complete Family Picture: Who is Present? Who Is Absent?

My GIFT colleagues and I have just returned from our annual retreat. Because we live in different states, we believe it is important to get together and reconnect. It’s one of the ways in which we invest in our relationship both as colleagues and as friends. It’s also a clear example of our practicing what […]

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Intentionality, Conflict Resolution and Prioritizing Relationships

All relationships experience conflict. Healthy relationships are characterized not by the absence of conflict, but by the effort expended in addressing conflict, repairing emotional injuries, rebuilding broken trust, and cultivating an ongoing commitment to one another. Pasting a happy face over unresolved conflict allows emotional wounds to fester and ultimately destroys both connection and trust. Equally damaging, are expectations that rely on the other person’s ability to read our minds, to intuitively know what we need and want. It takes courage to speak up and say, “You hurt me,” especially if we admit this not in the passion of anger but rather, with a clear head and a willingness to expose our vulnerability. Sharing this message requires courage and reveals an emotional investment in the relationship. Sharing the truth and hearing the truth requires both persons to be emotionally vulnerable.

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Adoptee's Birthdays Blend Laughter and Tears, Joy and Sadness

For many adopted children, birthdays can be overwhelming as it awakens powerful & conflicting emotions. Their birthday is inextricably linked with the primal loss of their first mother & extended biological family. I suspect that many kids do not even understand why they feel so conflicted on their birthday nor do they understand what might drive them to create chaos and turmoil in the midst of all the celebrations...Just as assuredly as a puff of breath extinguishes the candles on a birthday cake, adoption snuffed out one version of life for all of us and replaced it with the one which we have lived for several decades. Perhaps we will never know if this was "best." At this point in time, it is simply what is and we have made peace with that fact even as we all understand the profound "cost" of that reality.

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Successful Families Take Care & Build a Strong Core

The business of family is the care and protection of its members. We succeed or fail together. As Intentional Parents we strive to be purposeful in our choices and actions particularly when it comes to our children. We must always keep in mind that our relationships with our spouses and partners predated the arrival of […]

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The Burning Truth When Things Really Are on Fire

My husband had the admirable ability to remain calm in the face of upheaval and chaos. As a person strongly influenced by emotions and with a deep need for “safety”, his equanimity was like my life raft in a storm. Ironically, this same “unflappableness” occasionally also drove me crazy. But sometimes when I felt like […]

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The Flames of Grief

Here in Florida, the Parkland community is reeling from the recent deaths by suicide of two student survivors of the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas School massacre which occurred on Feb. 14, 2018. On the heels of that double tragedy, the father of one of the first-graders murdered during the Sandy Hook Massacre succumbed to the weight of […]

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Food for the Heart, Spirit, and Body

Last week’s conversation about family traditions got me thinking about how traditions help create a thread of continuity through the generations. Adoptive families want to be intentional in finding ways to establish and nurture a sense of connection within our nuclear and our extended families. What thought have you given to the legacy you will […]

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Family Traditions by Intention

Have you ever given thought to the small yet memorable traditions which generations of your family have repeated? Pause for a moment to call your favorite to mind. Focus on the emotions which this memory evokes within you. In your mind's eye conjure an image of those with whom you typically share this tradition and […]

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And the Winner is ... Our Family

We are in the midst of Award Season. Media is touting favorites and making predictions for the Oscars, Emmys, etc.. The buzz is a pleasant distraction from more serious contemporary issues. Americans love winners, especially those "underdogs" who overcome stacked odds and manage to succeed. While we enjoy this entertaining diversion, as parents, we remain […]

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Helping Hands, Helping Hearts

To ensure that kids get the lesson behind every choice we make, we must make the thoughts and choices visible to them and share our reasons for doing these things. Even if we feel silly or self-conscious, let's choose to do it anyway. Imparting our values is too important to leave to chance or the wavering attention of children. Here are just a few examples:

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Soundtracks Build Connection

Music evokes emotion in ways deeper than words. It unlocks memories reminding us of people, places, times, and events. This is why film producers spend small fortunes blending the perfect soundtrack for their works. Most of us compile music collections on our phones and can listen whenever we wish, to whatever we choose. We care about music and even consider certain special songs as “ours.” As Intentional Parents, music offers us an important avenue for strengthening connection with our kids.

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Heart to Heart Conversations

Unless adoptive parents are also adoptees, we can only approximate in our minds and hearts what it must be like for our children. Adoption was the answer to our prayer; but for our children, it is far more complicated. The benefits they gained via adoption coexist with significant loss and trauma. Adoption is not an […]

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Muscle Cramps, Triggers & Traumaversaries. Oh My!

In the world of adoption, we hear a lot about grief, loss, trauma, and emotional triggers. As parents how do we deal with this complicated emotional stew? How do we support our kids, help move them through to the other side, back to a place of calm and security? How do we manage our own […]

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Planting the Seeds of Relationship Success

I took a class this weekend to learn about native plants for the garden in my new house. The most basic rule the instructor stated was to choose the right plant for the given location. Consider the weeping willow and the cactus. While each plant is lovely, they could not be more different. One requires […]

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Families: Building Bridges over Troubled Waters

The push-pull of modern life keeps us and our families under pressure and on edge. This tends to drive us apart into isolated cells delimited by our social media networks and devices. Often we turn to our cyber worlds for assistance, distraction and relief. Through social media we identify resources, engage with like-minded people and […]

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Childhood Transitions: Endings Hold the Seeds of the Next Beginning

On Friday my three-and-a-half-year-old grandson begins “school” for the first time. Toddlerhood will give way to childhood. My heart clutches a bit at the thought of losing the joy of spending our days together. I have cared for him since he was only a few months old and it has been a lovely experience for […]

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The Gift of Trust & the Courage to Admit Vulnerability

How might efforts to cover up our challenges and struggles be sending powerful messages that the truth is too challenging for our family relationships to survive?

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The Grace of Both/and during the Holidays

Although the calendar clearly indicates that winter has arrived, here in south Florida we continue to swelter. I’ve lived in Florida since the late ’80s, my brain still finds it difficult to equate palm trees and sun lotion as part of the holiday ambiance. Holiday music helps, but Christmas shopping in shorts and a t-shirt […]

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Sally: 612-203-6530 |  Susan: 541-788-8001 |  Joann: 312-576-5755 |  Gayle: 772-285-9607