by: Julie Beem

“I’m so strong that I could destroy this whole house.” His declaration was matter-of-fact, not launched as a threat but to gauge my response. “Really?” I responded, “why would you want to destroy my house?” “Because I’m powerful enough.”

By: Julie Beem

There’s a lot of talk about resilience being the antidote to trauma. Lots of workshops, books, and training programs talk about building resilience in kids as a way to counteract the impact of trauma in their lives. On the surface all this seems to make sense, but it’s always puzzled me. What did people mean by resilience, and why does it appear that my child has none, even after years of parenting her?

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.

By: Marc Deprey

Perhaps our suffering is a wake up call that our investment in what we call reality—feelings, forms—is misplaced. We are more than just individual life, but life itself. I’m always struck with the limitations of language and the assumptions inherent within. Words relate to the experience of physical reality. Yet much of what words mean is metaphorical. You see a tree and call it such, but what is the reality of a plant that is connected to the ground and the air and sun for food? At an atomic level there is no “place” where the “tree” starts and the “not-tree” begins. Atoms are 99.9% space. What we see are merely vibrations that seem like dense forms.

By: Gari Lister

What is a good mom? Here’s how I would answer a questionnaire on how I was a good mom today: I drove my ten year old an hour and twenty minutes each way to skating camp; I tried really really hard to talk to my twelve year old about sensitive pre-teen things I cannot share here; I fed my kids mostly healthy gluten free meals; my house is reasonably clean; I taught my middle daughter how to complete a job successfully; I gave the girls all kinds of brain-strengthening vitamins; and I went to yoga. Ok, maybe I wouldn’t include the last item. But maybe I should.

By: Julie Beem
Many of the parents who contact ATN have children with multiple diagnoses and we’re frequently puzzled about which ones are the “right” ones. I’m included in that group. My child has an alphabet soup of diagnoses, including autism spectrum and ADHD/OCD/Tourettes (aggravated by her trauma.) Fortunately for us, we had professionals who also recognized the RAD, PTSD, DTD components and pointed us in the right directions for treatment of those. Yet, her developmental and processing struggles continue.

By: Julie Beem

My child has __________________ (pick one or several: Bipolar, ADHD, autism, ODD, anxiety, executive functioning problems). When parents of traumatized children turn to professionals for diagnoses and treatment, coming away with at RAD or Developmental Trauma Disorder diagnosis isn’t a sure thing. If I had a dollar for every time a parent told me, “but my child has only been diagnosed with ADHD,” I could fund ATN’s activities well into the next decade. Nearly every child I’ve met with attachment or trauma problems carries an ADD or ADHD diagnosis. Don’t misunderstand me, children can have both attachment & trauma problems and ADHD. But do they always co-exist? No

By: Julie Beem

“You don’t want her labeled for life.” This sentence is usually spoken by your child’s grandparent (out of sheer concern for you and your family) or by a school official (who may be trying to block access to special education services). Either way, crossing the threshold into “labeling” your child is a difficult thing for many.

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.