I spent the weekend in Austin Texas at Together for Adoption. My friend Jenn and I arrived to Austin Texas at midnight! I meet my friend Erica for the first time, and we just hit it off! She is one of those people you can meet and you don't feel like you need a lot of background your just buds right from the start! We found our way after 5 turn around to the hotel and woke poor Suzi up from her slumber. 3 am lights out and bright and early the next morning we were up and ready for the conference. In the hotel lobby you look around to find many people wearing Adoption love T-s. 147 million, Africa shirts, sporting some cute orphan loving gear. I felt connected with everyone. I meet some super fabulous women! The funny thing is I felt so small with the number of kids in my family. When I would ask how many kids these women's had, moms were telling me 8,9,13! When I said 5 in normal circles I have this side snarl I do, because I am anticipating the other persons response which in most cases is "WOW YOU HAVE YOUR HANDS FULL!'' So saying I have 5 felt like saying I have 2!
We drove to to Hill Country Bible Church in Austin all anticipating the teachings we would have. Would they be beneficial, or would I feel like I do with most conferences a bit challenged and ready to change my pare ting ways, or even broaden my views to go back to the not so challenged again in a few short weeks.
We grabbed our seats and the music began Aaron Ivey was at the piano, the room was full with music and sound, I closed my eyes for worship, it was amazing, the band was lively, God spirit filled my insides.
The first break out session I listened as Karen Purvis a developmental psychologist from Fort Worth Texas who works with foster and adopted children from 'hard places', began to shed light to the immense depth to the pain my children are carrying. She would speak in her oh so sweet motherly Texan accent and I would want to crawl on her lap and have her whisper to me my preciousness. I felt like I had been hit by a book, my stomach was in knots after listening to her first session. I knew my children had come from hard places, I had to do research and listen to hours of videos and we had to read books before our children came home. Yeah we got it. Now, I GET IT. I have not been nurturing the kids as they would need, I became a love and logic parent as I do with my other children and It was not working with them. There was no connection, and things were not changing they were just existing in nowhere land.
These are quotes I remember Karen saying "You must never get into a control battle with your child, never, its not worth the win'', ''Your child has been bleeding before he came to your home, the bleeding must stop you do not need to add to it.'' ''Your children are survivors, you know what that means don't you?'' ''Never challenge their survivor skills, they are doing what they know how to survive.'' My kids were doing well, but there was a connection I was missing with my oldest especially. Sad to say some days I was feeling left on feeling connected to my bio kids.
She shared the phych of the brain and how it didn't matter how old the child was before he/she came to you. She said many of the kids that ended up in her care, kids that end up in her care, come from REALLY hard situations, the parents were in the delievery room when they were born! The 9 months that you spend growing a child, nurting yourself to grow your baby does a HUGE diifrence in a child. HUGE. The next three years you spend comforting that baby when they cry, feeding, tending to basic needs, even if that child did have this care, it was not from you. There has been severe trama to this child, and yes there is a way to bring this child to healing. There is a DO and a DO NOT list and I think we have mostly been checking off Do Nots :(.
I am going to tell you, if you are adopting, have adopted or will foster or are fostering, this is a MUST to read and watch her videos. I am even trying it with my bio kids, Karens program.
Let me tell you a little about it I have been doing it for the last 5 days and have seen an IMMENSE change in my older 8 year old. Cradle every two hours, I know this sounds so strange, but while she is in my care every two hours, I give her a snack and water and cradle her yes in my arms. I rock her back and forth and I whisper precious words to her.
The crazy thing is its helped with my son with special needs. HUGE! She is a miracle worker for sure. I just need to find the strengths for those times where I am rushed and I need to take a moment to connect. Also to give up all the other methods I have hung on to before. Methods that were learned for our biological children can not be used for our children that come from a hard place. Simply can not!
I will let Ya'll ( My new word for my Souther friends) know how connection goes in the future.