I am a God lover, wife of Mark and mom to 3 children who came to us through birth and 2 who came by adoption. Parenting has changed me more than any other thing in life. This is a place for me to chronicle and share my story and journey as a person, parent and adoptive parent.
For over 25 years – a quarter of a century, half of my life – I’ve been actively parenting children. Our first three children, all amazing boys, came to us through birth. Our next two, beautiful girls, came by adoption. Though there are definitely things I would have done differently and mistakes were made (!), for the most part, our parenting journey with the boys rolled along with the mostly typical bumps in the road. I somewhat brazenly and naively felt fairly prepared, adequate and up to the task.
I was comfortable with and familiar with a “traditional parenting” model that I heard much about in Christian circles. This paradigm mostly demanded respect and obedience with an emphasis on control and left little room for emotional expression – this was my comfort zone. I had confidence in the parenting toolbox in my possession – it seemed adequate to the task. Those who taught and espoused this method made sense to me, for the most part. I spent some years reading such authors until one day I read a book called “Grace Based Parenting” and there was something deep in my soul that resonated with that text. On completion of that particular book, I resolved to take a hiatus from reading about parenting. I needed to experience and impart more grace to myself and others.
This was the beginning of a crack in my parenting paradigm. But things were rolling along in reasonable fashion, so there was no impetus for real change. Enter our daughters. They came to us, via living in an orphanage, at the ages of 18 and 22 months. Though our adoption agency had responsibly educated us and challenged us to see that parenting children who have experienced early relational trauma requires different skills, we still weren’t so sure about that. Love is enough is a very common misconception for adoptive parents – well, that and the parenting skills I already possess.
Critical crossroads – I very clearly remember the moment. There had been a big rage and tantrum that had gone on for hours. I had pulled out all of the tools in my parenting toolbox, and things were escalating. It was as if God Himself whispered, or probably screamed, into my ear, “you can change yourself and your parenting or you can dig in, cling to your old ways and in the process destroy two children – this is your choice”. That was holy ground.
This blog will be an attempt to share the now 7 year, and still ongoing, journey of the pursuit of new, different and more life giving tools to fill up the toolbox. It is quite a ride.