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: 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: Marc Deprey

I’m not sure this is some great revelation, but this idea came to me this morning and it put a lot into perspective for me. We all know as adults (or at least I hope we all do) that we can’t expect the world to fit to us, that we know down deep that we need to fit the world and meet its basic requirements. That’s a fundamental truth we accept almost unconsciously and it allows us to navigate things pretty successfully overall.

By: Julie Beem

This whole Russian adoption ban issue is ridiculous!

There, I said it. I suspect many of you were thinking it. A knee-jerk political reaction designed to make Americans in general, and American adoptive parents in particular, look like violent, evil monsters. The Russian government uses the deaths of 15 Russian-born adoptees as the fuel to stop thousands of adoptions and to insist that they be allowed to come to this country to provide oversight on our adoptive families.

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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.

By: Nancy Spoolstra

It has been nearly five years since I regularly blogged at adoptionblogs.com, and I have been excited to resume blogging, although on a less rigorous schedule. So it was surprising to me that I was struggling to get this first blog written. I think I wasn’t quite sure how or where to start. As many of you understand, five years can be a long time and a big change in our families … or, it might be five years later and the same old, same old. In my case, I am five more years down the path of redefining my life without the daily reality of breathing the same air as one or more children with severe attachment issues.

By: Anna Paravano-Frise

Ok, let’s face it:
“Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t.” (Hershey’s)

Kind of like that nutty guy on the ceiling in the movie “Mary Poppins” who sang, “I love to laugh!” I really do love to laugh! I love anything and anyone that makes me laugh. BC (Before Child), I really bought into the notion that “laughter is the best medicine.” Life can be such a serious business so I made it a point to watch comedies and comedians as a way to release stress, fight depression, or simply have fun. Yes, I loved a good drama but when times got tough, I used laughter as one of my coping mechanisms.

By: Gari Lister

Our attachment therapist a long time ago suggested that if my girls had a difficult time with my massaging and touching them, I could have them rub lotion on me. Well, I started out with lotion, but I have three girls so . . . the lotion turned into nail polish, and the nail polish turned into hair styling, and the hair styling turned into makeup. Every so often, one of my little girls runs into the bathroom and runs out with a lotion or a blush or a handful of hair accessories and gives me a hopeful look.

By: Gari Lister

Mom and daughterUntil today, my first blog was going to be uplifting. I have three girls affected to varying degrees by their early trauma in orphanages in Russia and Ukraine, and things seemed to be going really well. We just finished a wonderful vacation with the two younger girls, and the third had returned home in October after years of living “on-her-own-traumatized-child-style,” which means she dropped out of high school and generally could not handle being part of a family. Unfortunately, though, we made the mistake that all of us moms and dads of traumatized children sometimes do. We forgot. We forgot she wasn’t like other teenagers, or us, or even the 11 year old (she’s 21). We forgot how messed up her brain is when she makes decisions – or doesn’t make decisions. We believed that she could handle what seemed so simple – feeding our cats and cleaning up after them. She doesn’t have a job (long story), and we agreed to pay her to feed them so she would have a little spending money. We asked neighbors to keep an eye out on things, and put our dogs in boarding.