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.

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: Julie Beem

LuLu and I build gingerbread houses. We build them for the annual competition at her virtual school. She’s a serious competitor. Prior to the houses we built for the last competitions, I had absolutely no gingerbread house experience. It has been a trial by fire – and a lot of work! But the interesting thing is that it’s been a fruitful adventure and one that showcases some of her talents.

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: Julie Beem

Every Monday my daughter (let’s call her LuLu) goes to a social skills class. Most of the children are on the autism spectrum and that seems to work fine for her, even though I truly believe her developmental issues are trauma-related and not true autism (or at least not entirely autism-related). It’s a nice bit of downtime for me, given that she’s in virtual school and I’m her daily learning coach. Chatting with the other mothers is my own social break. One of the mothers recently revealed that her daughter was also adopted and did it in the context of exploring why she acted the way she did. We’ve since discussed ways that her daughter’s autism diagnosis doesn’t quite “fit” some behaviors and maybe there was something more there. (Yes, I believe there is – early childhood trauma.)

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.