by:  Deborah A. Novo It is natural to feel apprehensive and scared navigating through some of life’s challenges and expectations. Much of the time, we can do this with confidence and competence. However, scared doesn’t begin to identify the depth …

Beyond Scared Read more »

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by:  Gari Lister Parenting an adult child with reactive attachment disorder — especially a young adult — can be challenging, to say the least.  My oldest is 23, and we have been through a LOT with her since she became …

Does it Work for Me? Read more »

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By: Julie Beem

The listing of factors that make children resilient from Resilience Theory: A Literature Review by Adrian DePlessis VanBreda made total sense to me. But the paragraph of conclusion supposedly based on these factors did not:

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ATN is delighted to include another post from Carol Lozier. Carol, a member of ATN’s Board of Directors, is a clinical social worker in private practice in Louisville, Kentucky. Her website, www.forever-families.com, offers a blog, free downloadable tools for families, an excerpt of her book, and a supportive community of adoptive and foster parents.

By: Carol Lozier

Have you ever noticed that adopted and foster kids are especially cute? Their beautiful eyes, cute noses, and charming smiles often call attention to them and to their family. In the midst of this attention, adoptive and foster parents often hear remarks of how their parenting could be more effective, or possibly that they are expecting too much or too little from their child. Understandably, parents are caught off guard as they are hit with a critical comment, and sometimes are not sure how to address them.
I wrote the following letter, found on page 63 of The Adoptive & Foster Parent Guide, to help families express their needs and requests to their family, friends, church, after school caregivers, teachers, physicians, and others. Parents, please copy and use this letter; share it with your adoptive and fostering friends. Send the letter to any person(s) in your life who may gain a new understanding of how to help you and your family.

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By: Gari Lister

Four years ago today — May 17, 2009 – my 17 year old daughter broke my heart and changed my life forever. She packed a bag, told her little sister not to tell us, and ran away from home with a boy she’d met a handful of times – a boy who murdered two people within a few months (literally). I didn’t realize what a pivotal moment it was right away; I thought it was just another episode in a series of Katya crises.

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By: Kathleen Benckendorf

ATN is delighted to welcome Kathleen Benckendorf as a guest voice on Touching Trauma at its Heart. Kathleen, a parent member of ATN’s Board of Directors, is a relentless researcher and seeker of answers. An engineer by education and experience, Kathleen has also trained as a bodyworker and in as many other therapeutic approaches and interventions as she has been able to convince the providers to let her attend. Her website, www.attachmentandintegrationmethods.com , describes these approaches and others.

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By: Gari Lister

My post last week was scary and sad for some of you, but please do not confuse heartbreak with a lack of hope. I have a huge amount of hope for our kids, and for the progress that we are making in helping them. For every child like my Katya, there are many, many more children who can and who do heal. My youngest, in fact, is a poster child for healing – at 10, she is perhaps a little odd, and she is certainly a little quiet. But she has an amazing sense of humor, she loves to ice skate and take ballet and she can talk my ear off when she wants to – a far cry from the little girl who screamed for hours every night when we brought her home and from the 5 year old who didn’t and wouldn’t talk. Now, yes, we haven’t lived through her teenage years, so perhaps there are crises yet to come.

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By: Gari Lister

Our oldest daughter, Katya, has been gone nearly two months. She packed the car with everything she could find, changed her phone number, blocked us on facebook, and disappeared into the urban Dallas wilds. In many ways, our life is back to normal, and I have adjusted to my new status. Only a few weeks ago, I couldn’t stop myself from pulling away from the little girls in subtle ways. I finally realized I was petrified they too would throw me away, walking away without a backward glance. I’m mostly now able to accept the risk.

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Advertisement for The Impossible

By: Nancy Spoolstra

Last weekend I saw the movie The Impossible with my husband and very pregnant daughter. The movie is about a family of 5 that miraculously survives the Indian Ocean tsunami intact … no family member perished. Most families were not nearly so fortunate. The movie is all about relationships. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house … at least among the movie-goers who were healthy enough to be in relationship with one or more other people. I left that theater wanting to hug each and every member of my family who is near and dear to me. And it forced me once again to examine the dichotomy of my family dynamics.

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