FullSizeRenderToday I’m hosting online, in a Facebook group for mamas: “Relationships, Intimacy, & Parenting.”

The topic I’ll be exploring with group members is self-compassion, a necessary component of relationships, intimacy, and parenting—particularly when parenting the adopted child.

I invite you to ask to be added to the group if the topic interests you.

I say these ten words throughout my 75-minute yoga classes, “Where you are right now is where you need to be.” My intention is to remind students to be present, to have gratitude for their practice, and, most importantly, to have gratitude for themselves.

Today’s post is about you, about loving yourself and honoring yourself as a person as well as the myriad of roles you fill—that of parent, wife, husband, daughter, son, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, friend, and much more. The practice of self-compassion helps to reset you.

Look for opportunities to soften the judgment you have of yourself. Today is about loving yourself and all of the perfect and imperfect aspects of you. And being okay with all of them. Yes, it’s likely you are a work in progress. Who isn’t?

How you think about yourself, and what you think of yourself changes everything. Why? Because your thoughts reinforce your beliefs and your beliefs become your reality. Your beliefs influence your actions and reactions.

How you feel about yourself also impacts how you parent your child, how you interact and connect with him. What is one way to improve your relationship with your adopted child? Love yourself. Honor yourself. Your child will notice the difference, as will you.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

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DSC_0705Adoptive parents are proud parents, wanting to share the emotions, wonder, and joy of their child. Often, what they feel is akin to wishing to share aspects of creating and bringing a child into the world—the labor and delivery, milestones, and bumps in the road.

But, there is a big difference. Their child is adopted.

Regardless of the situation, adopting parents have not experienced creating and bringing their child into the world. They may have missed some milestones, like a first tooth, the first day of school, or the first time their daughter had her period. Sometimes, they feel compelled to share their child’s story because they yearn for the deepest connection with their child, or validation from other parents.

My perspective? Don’t share.

Your child’s story is hers. You are the gatekeeper of her story—all of it, including the painful truths and the missing pieces. Gatekeeping a sacred task.

Yes, your child’s story can be difficult to navigate. However, your child needs the facts with as little emotion and judgment as you can render. Adopted kids can have some tough, tough stuff to explore and work through. Issues such as abandonment; abuse (substance, sexual—including rape, neglect, physical, and emotional); poverty; international and cultural policies; birth parent mental health; and birth parent criminal activity. Talking about and coming to terms with issues such as these is hard work.

These topics are for “in the house” discussions, meaning they stay with you and your child. Keeping these talks in the house isn’t about shame, but privacy. Many adopted people face working through the deep-seated belief that they are never going to be good enough.

In our world today, we overshare. In our world today, people attack via media and social media, often anonymously. There are those who, not connected to adoption, marginalize adopted people. They perpetuate the notion that they are “less than.”

Advocate for your child by not sharing. Her story is hers. If and when your child wishes to share, then, well that’s up to her. It is your responsibility to help her navigate the feelings she experiences and answer her questions, even if you have to respond, “I don’t know, honey.” Additionally, it is your responsibility to arm her with “tools” so that she can handle curious peers, teachers, coaches, and other parents.

Can you use some guidance, talking points or tools? What To Expect From Your Adopted Tween is a guide I wrote to gently and compassionately assist you with parenting your adopted child. This e-book that will help you prepare for these issues and conversations.

For Discussion: Are you uncomfortable with aspects of your child’s story and sharing it—all of it—with her? If so, ask yourself why this is the case.

~Photo Credit: NliveN, LLC

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“A” is for Adoption-Attuned Parenting

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When I reflect on the process of attunement—a parent’s highly instinctive state of emotional connection with their child—the example that comes to mind is when a parent knows exactly why his or her child is crying. Admittedly it took me a few days to know what my infant Chinese daughter’s particular need was when she […]

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Finding Zoe: TMI (Too Much Information)

December 2, 2014

I was invited to participate in a review and discussion of the memoir Finding Zoe: A Deaf Woman’s Story of Identity, Love, and Adoption with several other open adoption writers/bloggers by my friend and colleague Lori Holden. Each participant was asked to submit questions for the others to chose from and answer, as well as a submit a few […]

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National Adoption Awareness Month: Editing and Balancing the Adoption Narrative

November 24, 2014

“Celebrating adoption may mean celebrating family separation, secrets, sealed birth records, lies.” ~ Jodi Haywood This month Laura Barcella bravely shares the difficult feelings she has experienced and continues to experience as an adopted person on the NY Times online blog, Motherlode. I encourage you to read Laura’s words and to read the linked articles […]

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Reunited Twin Sisters Grow Up Worlds Apart

October 19, 2014

“Even if I run and run I can’t stop thinking of her. My biggest wish is one day she’ll come here and see where I live. … I think about her every night because I miss her so much. I care about her a lot.” Alexandra, adopted daughter of Wenche and Sigmund Hauglum, Fresvik, Norway, […]

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