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If your 20222 parenting dream comes true, are you ready?It's January. Perhaps you are considering a word or theme to use as inspiration for the year. But, instead of focusing on a catchy phrase, compelling image, or a list of resolutions, consider this question:
If Your Parenting Dream for 2022 Comes True, Are You Ready?
Let me repeat, if your dream of becoming a parent became true tomorrow, are you ready? Being a parent is one of the most important tasks you can undertake. Have you done the work to prepare yourself? Have you any idea what you need to know? Dreams remain mere fantasies unless we work to bring them to life. Have you prepared mentally, financially, physically, and spiritually?
Your parenting journey will be very different from that of your own parents. Your family will face a different world, with different challenges. You will need new skills and strategies. Careful planning, persistent effort, and intention must blend into an undefeatable force to make your parenting dream a reality. (Although truth requires me to acknowledge that sometimes luck and circumstance are also essential ingredients.)

What is your 2022 parenting dream? Do you want to discern if parenting via adoption is a good choice for you? Are you in the process of adopting and want to use the waiting time to help prepare yourself to be the parent your child needs you to be? Are you an adoptive parent who is experiencing the joys and challenges of parenting and is searching for skills, strategies, and additional knowledge?

Regardless of where you sit in this range of situations, you can approach your dream goal with intentionality. Consider working with a coach who can help you identify your competencies and your learning opportunities. They can expose your blind spots and help you nurture your openness and distinguish between fact and assumption. You may be surprised how rewarding it can be to work toward your goal with a supportive person, a coach by your side. New ideas, new ways of looking at your life and your goal can bring you closer to your dream

We all know that being an adoptive parent is a sacred responsibility. There is a  hard truth about adoption that might make us uncomfortable. Just as surely as it builds a family, adoption begins with the fracture of one. The separation from their birth mother and biological family is a profound loss for adopted children. Their grief and the ramifications of their separation are not simple, trivial, or events and feelings that stay firmly in the past.  Children will rely on their adopted parents to understand this hard reality and to be fully prepared to help them navigate this loss for a lifetime.

How are you preparing and educating yourself for your dream to come true? Like the climbers who ascend Everest or the athletes who compete in the Olympics, working with a coach can smooth the path. A coach helps you navigate these unfamiliar routes with confidence, determination, and a foundation of sound education and preparation. Imagine partnering with a coach who will serve you as a sounding board, cheerleader, and mentor. She will hold your focus on your dream and help you discern what it will take to fulfill it.

If you are interested in a handy coaching tool to get you started on making your parenting dream a reality, review and download the WELL FORMED OUTCOME worksheet.

 

The coaches of Growing Intentional Families Together wish you all the best in the new year!

 


 

Learn how the coaches at GIFT Family Services can help you and your family navigate your adoption journey. We've faced our share of family challenges and crises, ridden the metaphorical rollercoaster, and our families have not only survived; they have thrived. We offer experience, neutrality, and understanding. GIFT coaches are available to present workshops online.  Contact us : 1-800-653-9445

 

Listen to our podcast.

Read these books written by our coaches.

Feeling short of time or finding it difficult to concentrate? You can listen to this post. Listen time 4:55

Listen also to this blog about building enduring connections as a family.

Every November our country observes National Adoption Awareness Month (NAAM) to raise awareness of the children in foster care who are awaiting adoption because they “are unable to continue living safely with their families” (Adoptuskids.org.) Sadly, many will never obtain a second chance at becoming a part of a family.

Each year, approximately 20,000 youth will age out of the foster care system. Many will instantly become homeless as well as “family-less.” Without a family to guide and support them, they have no buffer of loving support and emergency resources to draw upon when facing the difficult moments of life. These youth  are tiny boats floating solo on the sea of life coping with all it has to throw at them with no life raft, no emergency kit, and no support team to whom they can yell “911! I need your help!”

For those of us who have always benefitted from the security of loving, safe, well-resourced families, it is difficult to imagine how terrifying it must be for a young person to be totally on their own without the most basic of resources. Life doesn’t slow down for them just because they no longer have a family. It is sink or swim.

Life is a full-throttle experience with thrilling highs, devastating lows, and every emotional nuance in between those two extremes. Recall in your own life how many times you have relied on your family. How much more difficult would it have been if you had not had the love and support of family? From personal experience we know that the good times feel even brighter when we have a family to witness and celebrate with us. The challenging and frightening times feel more endurable when family and friends help to see us through them.

So, this month please focus on the need to find adoptive families for foster children in need of them—especially for those youth who will age out of care very shortly. Consider adopting one of these youth. Although you may have missed out on their earliest years, you have an opportunity to truly change their lives.

April Dinwoodie, former head of the Donaldson Institute,  has collaborated with Adoptuskids.org to host a 6-part podcast series on this topic. Please listen and learn how you can help.

I offer a final caveat: please remember that National Adoption Month NAAM is not the time to crow about all things wonderful about adoption. Keep the focus on the effort to find families for children for whom reunification is not possible.

Ask yourself these questions:

Have I deeply listened to adult adoptee voices to learn about adoption from their lived perspectives?

How much of what I "know" about adoption is accurate and based on the latest research about adoption?

What steps have I taken to ensure that I do not unintentionally accept or  spread beliefs and information that are based on myths and/or outdated presuppositions?

How can my understanding of adoption complexity help me be a better parent for my children?

How can  Adoption Attunement validate and support my children in ways that they can actually feel, trust,  and believe in that support?

How does my recognition that all adoption is rooted in trauma help me to meet my children's needs better?

#HonorAdopteeVoices #ValidateAdoptionComplexity #FindFamiliesForFosterkids #AdoptionGriefLoss #AdoptionAttunement

Learn how the coaches at GIFT Family Services can help you and your family navigate your adoption journey. We've faced our share of family challenges and crises, ridden the metaphorical rollercoaster, and our families have not only survived; they have thrived. We offer experience, neutrality, and understanding. GIFT coaches are available to present workshops online.  Contact us : 1-800-653-9445

Listen to our podcast.

Read these books written by our coaches.

 

 

Feeling short of time or finding it difficult to concentrate? You can listen to this post. Listen time 5:42

I’m in the midst of a 30-day session wearing a heart monitor. It is minimally uncomfortable yet singularly dedicated to its purpose. Always operating. Never off duty. Never distracted. It periodically zings an alert or vibrates to catch my attention.

Imagine that our families have a collective pulse. Like the human heart, a family is subject to changes in rhythm—some benign, some dangerous, and worrisome, possibly fatal. Imagine if we had a similar device dedicated to monitoring our family’s emotional health. This backup system would ensure that we notice how relationships in the family are working—or not—as individuals, between siblings, and between parent and child as well as a family unit as a whole. The monitor would provide valuable failsafe attention. Uninterrupted information.  Insistent. Persistent. Always on duty. Never distracted

Because, it is easy—too easy—to get distracted by life and take our relationships for granted. When we are not paying attention, things happen. Things get overlooked, stuffed, ignored, delayed, and even denied. Relationships wither.

Pause now to remember how passionate, zealous, perhaps even obsessed you were when you pursued adoption in the first place. You allowed NOTHING to get in the way of your effort to build a family.

Of course, life is not that straightforward. Things are always happening. Events, experiences, relationships, the unexpected assail us on a daily basis. The responses, emotions, actions, and experiences that touch our families are complex and not necessarily easily accessed, measured, or processed. Sometimes it is easier to engage in denial or distraction because we are afraid to admit that something isn’t quite right. We know that once something is seen, named, and acknowledged, it becomes real. True.  The idealized picture is fractured and reality seeps through the cracks. It needs attention. And attention requires energy. Anything we cherish requires attention and effort. Family relationships are no exception.

When we have the courage to notice and cope with problems and challenges, we are dealing with Truth. This is the space where authentic love and acceptance flourish. By admitting our frailties and limitations we reconfirm our commitment to make things work. Truly work. We disavow the shallow charade of staying on the surface. We refuse to gloss things over as if everything were “fine”.

Instead, we address our missteps, oversights, shortcomings. We apologize for errors, omissions, and skewed priorities, ask for forgiveness, and work to reconcile and heal. These moments of honest seeing, of openness and vulnerability, actually weave a robust tapestry of family connection and history. We are not role-playing. We are rolling up our sleeves and doing the hard work of truly being family, loving and being loved as OURSELVES, not a hollowed-out guestimate of what we think others wish we would be.

Child and parent voices are heard. Our individual experiences are validated. Our individual needs are met. Our individual truth is valued. This is what all human beings desire. As healthy, whole human beings we come together to create healthy, loving, attuned families.

Questions to consider:

If you did a gut check right now and really listened to it, what would it alert you to?

Where are you being less than fully truthful with your spouse/partner?

How long has it been since you shared a meaningful conversation with each of your children?

What is getting in your way?

What is getting in their way?

If you took a pulse check of each of the relationships within your family, what do you notice?

Who is faring the best?

Who needs more attention, interaction, validation, or assistance?

After answering these questions, what would be your best first step?

By when will you take that step?

 

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Learn how the coaches at GIFT Family Services can help you and your family navigate your adoption journey. We've faced our share of family challenges and crises, ridden the metaphorical rollercoaster, and our families have not only survived; they have thrived. We offer experience, neutrality, and understanding. GIFT coaches are available to present workshops online.  Contact us : 1-800-653-9445

Listen to our podcast.

Read these books written by our coaches.

Feeling short of time or finding it difficult to concentrate? You can listen to this post. Listening time: 7:49

Preparing for the unexpectedIf you are an adopted parent, you have probably experienced many encounters with the unexpected. For most of us, the first “surprise” was infertility. We expected we would become pregnant fairly easily. But that is not what happened. Instead, our children joined our families via adoption. We attune to and love the children whom we adopted and value the unique notes that they infuse into our family symphony. When families are composed of so many different elements, the unexpected becomes the norm. We need to become pros at handling and preparing for the unexpected. Curveballs arrive from many sources.

Sometimes the surprises unfold through our child’s unique interests and talents. A family who can’t carry a tune in a bucket finds delight in the talent of their musically gifted child. An athletic clan is stunned by the artistry of their child who builds with Lego, wood, or recycled materials skillfully and effortlessly.

Surprises are not always pleasant. Sometimes unexpected factors are more challenging, like a child’s medical issues that were unforeseen because of incomplete medical histories.

Sometimes it is the world that delivers the unexpected, e.g., the pandemic which we are all currently facing. Sometimes it is Mother Nature who drops a fair share of the unexpected on our doorstep in the form of floods, hurricanes, fires, and tornados. As Intentional Parents, it is imperative that we plan ahead to predetermine our responses. Create a well-stocked Adoption Attuned emergency preparedness kit. This means that it will include some atypical elements which I will list further in the blog post.

Being proactive telegraphs to our children a message of preparation. It makes visible and exemplifies our ability to meet any unexpected challenges. This reassures our children and helps reduce their anxiety and concerns. An additional bonus is that we will be better prepared to meet whatever comes our way. We will avoid the chaos that occurs when danger is predicted and everyone rushes to make last-minute preparations. . Instead, we can spend time reassuring our kids that we have done our best to prepare the family to face and survive an impending danger.
Because our children joined our families through adoption, they’ve already experienced the loss of one family. It is understandable that they will be especially concerned about the safety and permanence of their adopted family. Family fracture is absolutely something that they do not want to experience again. This danger feels quite real to them. Completing observable preparations offer our children tangible and visible evidence that we have things in hand.

Covid-19 currently dominates the headlines. Reports of folks dying occur daily and they are no longer concentrated in the elderly, now folks of every age are endangered and dying. And it is not just the vulnerable and ailing. This means it is important that we commit to ensuring that we have prepared properly for the possibility that a disaster might strike us down. It could be a health crisis, a car accident, or a weather event that might turn our lives upside down. A dire event could come out of the blue and cause a permanent disability or even death. Our home could be destroyed in a natural disaster.

We want to be sure that we have prepared for this. Make sure we have current wills, Advanced Directives, and guardianship plans on file. Guarantee that the people you have named for this role agree to take on this immense responsibility. Do not assume that they would be willing to take on this responsibility. Be certain that they are educated on Adoption Complexity, Adoption Trauma, and understand what it would mean to parent with an  Adoption Attunement approach.

Be sure to write down your Emergency Preparedness Plan. Keep it with your wills. Clearly label it with the names of the people you have designated to care for your children. Inform the guardians where they will be able to find it if disaster should befall your family. Some of the things Emergency Preparedness Plan should include:

How might your family benefit from talking about disaster preparedness? In my own family, my grandson has known since he was four who would care for him if anything ever happened to his mom and dad. Because he’d known several people who had unexpectedly died, we felt it was important to talk about this. He could recite the succession of caregivers. Periodically he would confirm with me the names of who would care for him. Clearly, it provided him with a degree of comfort.

Like my grandson, all kids live in the world. They hear about tragedies happening like car accidents, house fires, hurricanes, etc. Bringing the topic into the open creates the opportunity to reassure them. Letting them know that you’ve planned ahead will increase their sense of safety. This is especially important to adopted children because they have already experienced significant losses in their lives.

Plan for the unexpected. An Emergency Plan is something that you hope you never need to use. You don’t want to discover in the face of disaster or tragedy for which you need a guardian or an Emergency Plan and do not have one.

Learn how the coaches at GIFT Family Services can help you and your family navigate your adoption journey. We've faced our share of family challenges and crises, ridden the metaphorical rollercoaster, and our families have not only survived; they have thrived. We offer experience, neutrality, and understanding. GIFT coaches are available to present workshops online.  Contact us : 1-800-653-9445

Listen to our podcast.

Read these books written by our coaches.


GIFT, Growing Intentional Families Together, adoption

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