This blog is my place to vent and share resources with other parents of children of trauma. I try to be open and honest about my feelings in order to help others know they are not alone. Therapeutic parenting of adopted teenagers with RAD and other severe mental illnesses and issues (plus "neurotypical" teens) , is not easy, and there are time when I say what I feel... at the moment. We're all human!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

FAIR Club Writing Assignment: Trust and Lies Article

10 Things You Need to Know About Lies & Lying

  1. Lying is the number one reason that people lose trust.
  2. The most common reason that people lie is to avoid confrontation. Getting in trouble is never fun but lying to avoid it is always a "band-aid" solution. When the truth comes out the confrontation is guaranteed to be even more unpleasant than it would have been without the lie. A lie compounds the problem, it doesn't solve it.
  3. Another common reason people lie is to make themselves seem "better" or more interesting. This sort of lying can be a sign of low self esteem, problems at home, or depression.
  4. Lies are like dominos - one lie can knock out whole relationships, destroy entire aspects of your life or even limit your future in unforeseeable ways.
  5. Lies are a gamble. Every time you lie you gamble with being caught.
  6. Lies have a way of getting out and coming back to haunt you.
  7. The worst lies are the ones you tell yourself. When you lie to others you are also lying to yourself.
  8. Chronic lying can signal a psychiatric or social disorder. If you find yourself "lying for no reason" or to cover up behavior that you know is harmful consider seeking professional help.
  9. Lies can damage your self image and cause inner conflicts (like dissonance) that drastically change the way you view, and act upon, the world and other people.
  10. "Little white lies" are lies that are told about superficial things and are told when the truth would only serve to hurt another person. They ARE NOT told to avoid confrontation or cover up the harmful actions of another person. For example: telling another friend that a haircut looks good when you don't really like it is a "little white lie", telling your parents that you are spending the night at a friend's house so that you can stay out past curfew is NOT.

The Real Reasons Parents Ask So Many Questions

(No, it isn't just to drive you crazy!)

Parents ask a lot of questions and it drives teens crazy. Despite what teen culture says parents don’t make inquiries in order to invade your privacy or control what you do. Parents ask questions because they care, because they’ve been a teen and want to spare you some of the more unpleasant experiences that seem to be common during adolescence, and because they want to keep you safe.
It is not a verbally inquisitive invasion of privacy that prompts your parents to ask, where you’re going, what will you be doing, when you expect to be home, and who you’ll be with, no, parents ask these things for one simple reason – they want to protect you. So it is a sad reality that many teens lie to their parents when they are asked questions about their plans. If you lie to your parents it could be yourself that you are harming the most.
Why? Not only does lying to your parents damage their trust but it has the potential to put you in real danger.
Let’s look at the four most common questions parents ask that teens lie about and examine how being anything but truthful could harm you in the end.

Common Question 1:
"Where are you going?"

The reason teens think parents ask this question.
The three most common reasons teens think parents ask this question are; to be nosey, to stop them from going, or to know where to go to check up or spy on them.

The real reason parents ask this question.
Parents really ask this question so that they can be sure that where you are going is safe, suitable for somebody your age and properly supervised. While it is possible that your parents would stop you from going somewhere unsafe, unsuitable or poorly supervised their motive for asking is not to ruin your fun but to make sure that you won’t be put in harms way.

The danger to YOU if you answer this question with a lie.
Teens who believe that their parents wouldn’t allow them to go where they want to go will often lie when asked this question, but lying could have some dire consequences. If you feel you have to lie about where you are going you should take a moment to reflect about why you are lying, do you know that where you want to go could pose a danger, even a remote one, and is this why you are covering up? If you lie to your parents about where you will be you put yourself at risk of not being able to get help if you need it, of your parents not being able to locate you if there is an emergency, of them being unable to give accurate information to law enforcement if something happens to you, and you will be more likely to engage in further risky behavior in order to keep your lie from coming to light. One example, if you lie about going to an un-chaperoned house party and find that your ride home is too drunk to drive you may be more likely get in their car because calling your parents for a safe ride home would expose the lie.

Common Question 2:
"What will you be doing?"

The reason teens think parents ask this question.
Again, the most common reasons that teens think parents ask this question is to invade their privacy or to exercise control over what they will be doing.

The real reason parents ask this question.
The reasons that parents ask this question are very similar to the reasons they ask where you are going; namely, they want to be sure you will not be taking unnecessary risks and that you will be safely supervised.

The danger to YOU if you answer this question with a lie.
When you lie to your parents about what you will be doing you may think it is harmless, after all if you are truthful about where you will be what does it matter what you plan to do while your there? But there are several things that can go wrong when you lie about what you will be doing. You may be afraid to tell your parents if something bad happens, you may be afraid to ask for their help during a crisis or unforeseen event because of your lie, and you may make it impossible for your parents to help you if you’re hurt since they won’t have an accurate picture about what led up to your injury. Also, if you lie about what you are doing chances are good that you shouldn’t be doing it and regardless of whether your parents ask you for details or not this should be enough to give you pause about your plans.

Common Question 3:
"When will you be home?"

The reason teens think parents ask this question.
As usual teens think parents ask this question to exercise control over their lives. More than lie about this teens are likely to say something like, “I don’t know,” “Before curfew,” or “I’ll call and let you know.”

The real reason parents ask this question.
Parents ask this question because they want to know when they can expect you home (duh!) but not so they can send out a search party if you are 20 minutes late. In fact the real reason parents ask this question may be a little bit selfish on their part. Of course your safety is important to your parents and knowing when to expect you home makes it easier for them to know when you may need help but there is another reason parents ask you this question. Parents ask this question because they never really rest until they know you are safe and knowing when to expect you home gives them peace of mind.

The danger to YOU if you answer this question with a lie.
The danger of lying when asked this question is pretty obvious; if you don’t tell your parents when you expect to be home they won’t know if you’re missing. If you get hurt your parents will know to sound the alarm sooner rather than later if they have a time to expect you home or a time when you will check in. Lie about this and you could end up losing precious time if you land in harms way.

Common Question 4:
"Who will you be with?"

The reason teens think parents ask this question.
The parents v. friends conflict is as old as time. While most parents like the people their teen is friends with there are times when friends and parents don’t really mesh. Sometimes the reasons behind the feud are valid and other times they are not but regardless if your parents don’t like one or more of your friends you should ask yourself why before continuing the friendship. The most common reason teens think parents want to know who they’ll be with is to stop them from being around friends they do not approve of.

The real reason parents ask this question.
Yes, there is some truth behind the idea that parents ask this question to make sure you aren’t spending time with people they do not like but the more pressing reason behind this question is much less ominous. The most common reason parents ask who you will be with is to know where to start looking if you are late or missing. Parents may also want to know who you’ll be with so they can touch base with other parents about where you’ll be, what you’ll be doing and when you’ll be back.

The danger to YOU if you answer this question with a lie.
When parents don’t like your friend or friends 9 times out of 10 it is with good reason. If you have fallen in with a bad crowd or are engaging in risky peer activities your parents will be unable to help you if you lie about who you are with. And again, because you told one lie you may continue to tell lies to cover it up and you may be less likely to ask for help when you really need it or when you know something is wrong out of fear of having to come clean about the initial lie.
Remember flat lying about your plans or who you’ll be with can do some real harm but leaving out important details, lying by omission, can do harm as well. Lies of omission are the kissing cousins of outright lying and the negative results are often one in the same. Honesty is always the best policy when your parents ask questions no matter why you think they may be asking. Giving away a little of your privacy is a small price to pay for building trust between you and your parents and for keeping you safe.

Recently you have lost many privileges because you have lost trust with the people who give you these privileges.  Answer the following questions as honestly and completely as you can.
1.  You are unable to go to the skating rink for 6 months
Who decided that you could no longer go to the rink? ______________ What was his/her stated reason? __________________________________________________________________________________
There were other incidents that happened before this one that led to this person losing trust with you and making this decision.  List 3 choices you have made that led this person losing trust with you and making this decision.



 List 2 possible dangers (different from the stated reasons and choices you made leading to people's distrust of you) that the skating rink personnel might be trying to avoid by suspending kids they can't trust.


2.  You are not allowed to use the internet.
List at least 2 stated reasons that your parents gave for making this decision.


List 3 choices you have made that led to your parents losing trust with you and making this decision.



List 3 possible dangers (different from the stated reasons and choices you made leading to people's distrust of you) that your parents can't trust not to happen if you use the internet.



3.  You must be supervised at all times when you leave the house.
List at least 2 stated reasons that your parents gave for making this decision.


List 3 choices you have made that led to your parents losing trust with you and making this decision.



List 5 possible dangers (different from the stated reasons and choices you made leading to people's distrust of you) your parents might worry about if a child they cannot trust lies about being supervised or sneaks around. 





4.  You cannot use your cell phone or talk on a cordless phone.
List at least 3 stated reasons that your parents gave for making this decision.



List 3 choices you have made that led to your parents losing trust with you and making this decision.



List 4 possible dangers (different from the stated reasons and choices you made leading to people's distrust of you) your parents might worry about if a child they cannot trust uses the phone.



5.  Your parents must do random searches of your stuff.
List at least 3 reasons that Arrow and child protective services gave for making this decision. 



List 4 choices you made that led to these people losing trust with you and making this decision. 




List 4 possible dangers (different from the stated reasons and choices you made leading to people's distrust of you) that these people might be worried about.




6.  You must be supervised when you are around money.
List at least 2 stated reasons that your parents gave for making this decision. 


List 3 choices you made that led to your parents losing trust with you and making this decision. 



List 2 possible dangers (different from the stated reasons and choices you made leading to people's distrust of you) that your parents might worry about if a child they cannot trust is around money.


7.  Write at least one paragraph, including a minimum of 7 things, that you can do to start regaining trust.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Detachment Parenting - Including Parenting an Adult Child with Special Needs

Attachment Parenting

There are 2 types of "Attachment Parenting." One is mostly about "crunchy moms," breastfeeding, wearing your infant (sling), cosleeping... which is all great, but not really what this blog is about. 

The other type is more about children with "attachment challenges," kids whose attachment has been damaged by trauma. This type of Attachment Parenting aka Therapeutic Parenting or Connected Parenting is generally the focus of this blog. 

There's a new trend in parenting called Detachment Parenting. When I first heard of it, it sounded like heaven to my burned out, PTSD suffering, guilt-ridden self. I'd been trying to parent my attachment challenged children the way society told me I should, the same way I parented my neuro-typical, totally attached bio-kids - nurturing, child-focused, self-sacrificing... and it was killing me. {Prioritizing Yourself, Your Family, and Your Child - In That Order}

I once heard a house parent in a residential treatment center for emotionally disturbed girls tell a teen that she was a "bottomless pit of need." At the time, I thought he was a horrible person. Now I get it. If we drain our emotional reserves trying to fill a child who can't be filled, then we're empty. You can't fill from an empty cup. Our kids need a different type of parenting and society's "shoulds" can suck it! {Finding The Joy}

Detachment Parenting: A New Trend in Parenting by JustMommies staff
 On first glance, you would think that a “detached parent” was an uncaring or uninvolved parent. Detachment parenting seems almost as if it was created specifically to rebut the attachment parenting model that has grown to be so popular. However, according to Heidi Smith Luedtke, Ph.D., author of Detachment Parenting: 33 Ways to Keep Your Cool When Kids Melt Down, detachment parenting is nothing of the sort.
Luedtke explains in her book, “Rest assured, detachment parenting is not the opposite of attachment parenting. It doesn’t require you to deny your feelings, keep kids at arms’ length or let them cry it out when they’re distressed.” She says, “Detachment parenting does not prescribe choices about how you feed, cuddle or care for your kids." 
What is detachment parenting?  
Detachment parenting has less to do with the lifestyle decisions you make for your family, such as feeding, diapering, or sleeping choices, and more to do with how you as a parent respond to your child’s emotions, as well as your own. It’s very easy to react to parenting scenarios with your emotions, rather than taking the time to calm down or think things through before you respond to your child. In Luedtke’s book, she provides tools that allow parents to “break out of fight-or-flight mode.” Instead of reacting to situations emotionally, she shows parents ways to tune into their bodies’ “natural relaxation response”. Once a parent is calm, she is naturally better able to respond to her child’s needs.
The main premise of detachment parenting is that you become more “detached” from the emotional scenarios that, as a parent, you encounter, and not allow your kids’ or your own high emotions affect how you parent. Some of the methods of detachment parenting are common sense. When you or your kids get angry, you need to take steps to stay calm. You can use simple things to help you get your mind in a calmer place, such as counting to 100, taking a time out of your own, or deep breathing. (Calming/ Relaxation Techniques}
Other ways to keep your family running more smoothly include having structure and rules. {Structure and Caring Support} Routines and rules help children know what to expect. They keep things more predictable, and there is less likelihood of tension or friction when kids have structure. {Structure, Support, Routines, and Boundaries}
Detached parents tend to want their children to be independent and are not completely absorbed in their children’s lives. Of course, they love their kids and spend time with their kids, but they also make time for themselves. They try to make time for “me time” so that they are happier, more relaxed, and better able to deal with the situations that come up with their kids. {Self-Care! Caring for the Caregiver}
What detachment parenting isn’t
Although some detached parents use methods considered to be the opposite of “attachment parenting,” many do not. Being a detached parent doesn’t mean you ignore your child when he cries or that breastfeeding or cosleeping is off limits for you. It just means that you have chosen to use a more structured and less-reactive type of parenting style.
~New Trend - Detachment Parenting 

How We Handled It

I wanted/ needed to be a Detached Parent, but the pressure to prioritize my children's needs was immense. Every time I tried to step back, there was someone there guilting me, shaming me, to do more. (I will admit that often that person was myself - like most women, I'd been taught practically from birth that it was my job to be the nurturer). What kind of horrible parent doesn't do everything possible for their child? 

When I decided to choose joy {Finding the Joy}. I was finally able to step back and became a detached parent. I gave myself permission to change my priorities. To put myself first, then my marriage, then the family as a whole (The rest of my children were suffering from my inability to do it all! There weren't enough hours in the day), and then my child. Prioritizing Yourself, Your Family, and Your Child - In That Order 

I had to stop prioritizing based on the "squeaky wheel" principle. It was benefiting no one. Not even the squeaky wheel. 

Parenting with Love and Logic 

Amazon review: Establish healthy control through easy-to-implement steps without anger, threats, nagging, or power struggles.  

This book gives lots of practical advice that is great for helping me stay calm, and stop rescuing and controlling my kids.  It also gave me ideas of consequences and realistic expectations, and I use it to help me devise logical consequences for the FAIR Club (Parenting Teens with Love and Logic is good too!).  HOWEVER!  You have to keep in mind  that these books are written for kids who are attached and capable of feeling guilt (and therefore want to please their parents and care if Mom and Dad are upset with them) and are cognitively able to understand consequences.  {Using the FAIR Club with Kids of Trauma}

Detachment Parenting with Teens/ Young Adults

Stop Walking on Eggshells - One thing that has really helped me with becoming a Detached Parent with all of my teens (even my neurotypical biokids), was one of my favorite books, Stop Walking on Eggshells. I still reread it often. It helped me with setting boundaries. 

At What Point Do You Let Go?

It took me quite awhile to understand and accept the fact that my son was going to need Structure and Support the rest of his life and a little longer to feel it was OK to fight for it. For many years, I had so much angst about how to handle my son turning 18. There is a LOT of pressure to "lighten up" and give our kids the "freedom" to make mistakes, because "he's going to have to deal with the real world soon."  18 Is Not The Finish Line 

While he was a teen, we provided that structure, and let him know that while he lived under our roof, this was the type of parenting he would receive. When he moved out (which was inevitable since he didn't think he needed this level of structure) we were all relieved, even as we worried what would happen to him. 

Maintaining this level of structure is exhausting, even when you're as detached as possible. Once again, I had to focus on Self-Care to heal from the Caregiver Fatigue.

Detachment Parenting Children in Adult Bodies

The Unattached Child

With my son, it was easier to detach once I accepted that I hadn't failed. {You Have Not Failed} I didn't have a relationship with my son anyway. It's not possible to have a relationship with someone incapable of having a relationship. {Relationships, Relationships (Cont.)} Of course I didn't just decide this and give up, but I worked hard to stop stressing out about it.

Outside Structure

I admit, it was validating when he was quickly incarcerated after leaving our home. He finally got the structure that I'd been saying all along that he desperately needed. There are really only 2 ways to get the type of structure that he needed, and he wasn't eligible for the military. He will most likely be in and out of prison for most of his life. (He was arrested almost immediately after graduating high school, and has only managed to stay out of jail/prison for a few months since then - He is 24 and currently incarcerated). 

The Attached Child

Now I'm struggling with my son's sister (11 when she came to us). She IS attached (anxiously attached, but attached). I'm really interested in Detachment Parenting, because this is what I've been struggling with for the last few years with her. Emotionally she's only about 11 years old, but in the eyes of the world (and the law) she's 22. 

Stepping Back from Therapeutic Parenting
The world says she's an adult, but she is not. How do I detach from a young child? {Giving Until There's Nothing Left - But My Child NEEDS Me!}

9 years of Attachment Therapy, me providing most of her emotional regulation (and being her frontal lobe!), accommodating the world for her, being her case manager...  And now I'm having to redefine what our relationship should look like.

Therapeutically Parenting the Adult Child 

I tried to continue to be a therapeutic parent after my daughter turned 18 and it worked somewhat while she was in high school (she graduated a couple of months after turning 19). 

After graduation, she still desperately needed the structure and support of therapeutic parenting, but society was telling her she was an adult and therefore had a right to have all the adult privileges (driving, living in her own place, being able to come and go without telling anyone, getting a pet, handling her own money, going to college, drinking, sex..) even though she could handle none of the responsibilities (paying bills, dealing with insurance, budgeting, housing, health and hygiene...). 

I've struggled for years with where to draw the line. 

Fighting Society's Expectations
Because of her disabilities, my daughter has almost no understanding money, basic hygiene, protecting herself from those who would take advantage of her... she believes that I am controlling her and have only put this structure in place because I'm "mean." 

Unfortunately, most people around her don't understand her limitations, they only see the good-natured, slightly immature, young adult that we worked so hard to help her present. She would literally rather die than let others see her "issues" and struggles. She comes home to fall apart. 

These people try to "build her self-esteem" by telling her she can do anything she puts her mind to. They reinforce her desire to be "normal," by telling her that I'm the one preventing her from being/ doing all the things she wants to do. I understand their motivation, but they have no idea how detrimental it is to her to be told she can do things she doesn't, and will never, have the skills and abilities to handle. 

Accepting her Limitations

All the desire in the world will not overcome my daughter's:

  • Low IQ, Brain Injury, and learning disabilities (she doesn't even have basic math skills or the ability to read contracts or handle complex paperwork), 
  • FASD (you can't "fix" or outgrow permanent brain damage), 
  • Bipolar Disorder (she will always need health insurance to cover her expensive medications - which means she needs to stay on SSI which provides Medicaid, since the type of jobs she can get don't offer health insurance and even if they did, she can't afford co--pays), 
  • Anxiety Disorder (she needs someone to help her emotionally regulate and talk her down when she's suicidal and/or having a panic attack), 
  • ADHD (she has no executive functioning abilities - she needs someone else to handle organizing and planning...)
  • Borderline Personality Disorder (she will always struggle with relationships)
  • ... 

Legal Guardianship

We've looked at Legal Guardianship, and while she is eligible, it is too expensive. 

SSI (Social Security Income for people with Disabilities)

I have worked hard to get and keep my daughter on SSI. It requires almost constant case management. I am her Rep Payee, which means I handle all of her finances including managing her living expenses. I am also her landlord, which means I provide her food and housing.

While she has managed to independently find and keep a part-time, minimum wage job, I'm the one that handles her finances there too.

The Little Red Hen
Recently, I have decided to back off. To be a Detached Parent.

It's frustrating as hell, because I know I'm making more work for myself in the future (when she's pregnant, when I have to deal with yet another marathon session of helping her through an emotional breakdown, when I have to completely strip and remodel her room again, when she possibly burns down the house or we get overrun by bugs and rodents...).

I don't feel I have much choice.

My biggest fear is that she will get pregnant and I will be raising her child (a child for whom there is a strong likelihood that he/she will have most of the same issues/ and diagnoses that she does). I have tried to convince her to get an IUD (most birth control isn't effective with her medications), but have had no luck.

I still handle her case management. I make and take her to doctor appointments; I handle her SSI and Medicaid; she currently handles her medications, but I have to keep an eye on whether or not she's taking them and handle issues with insurance when they arise; I buy her groceries, clothes, hygiene and hair products...; if we eat out, and she's home, she's generally invited to eat with us; I take her to get her hair cut; I take her and pay for her dentist bills (it's not covered by SSI); I fuss at her when she leaves the kitchen and or bathroom disgusting, then just clean it myself; I no longer request she does chores...

At midnight on paydays, I access her account and remove the portion of her paycheck that she needs to cover her bills. Leaving the rest, knowing that she's blowing it all on crap, despite saying that she wants to save it.

I usually listen when she vents about her boyfriend, friends, and co-workers, and give her my advice, but just as often, I cut her off and let her know I'm busy.

I try not to let my resentment color our relationship.

Housing and the Future
Because she is both mentally ill AND borderline intellectually disabled, my daughter does not qualify for group homes or other residential facilities. At the same time, she is not high enough functioning to live independently.

We're in the process of remodeling, and the current plan is that when it's done, she will have a little apartment with its own kitchenette and bathroom. She will be living "independently," but under our roof.

It is not ideal, but we're still searching for alternatives.

There's a possibility that she will move in with her boyfriend at some point. While we doubt seriously that will end well, we haven't decided if we will interfere. The respite would be greatly appreciated and might be worth the fallout when it falls apart. 

Trying to Shed Lght on the Reality

Trying to shed light on the reality 
a guest post by a fellow trauma mama (posted with permission)

Dear friends and acquaintances, 
I'm hoping to share some of the things our Adopted families face when our kids have spent their first 1 to 8 years (in our case) in and out of the child welfare system. 

There is no shortage of factual research and evidence of many of our family's extra challenges that are specific to the developmental process and specific needs we face everyday. The problem is in denying both the parent and the children avenues for coexisting within the same social structures that cause many of these injuries. 

The abuse/neglect is due to both the actions of the biological families as well as the foster care system - so our families have these origins because we became a family through adoption. We did not cause the harm. 

In our case, I was never given any case file or factual history, but we are the ones stepping up to be the other Mom or Dads who can do better by them and help them work through their grief and the troubles bestowed upon them pain & confusion, unaddressed and long mishandled. My children experienced things early in life that had and continue to affect them and in turn affect us - we are a family who faces extra challenges in our lives that most people do not understand. 

We are fortunate that a long time ago we were brought together permanently as a family, We are able to work through things when others just let us do our thing and do not interfere. 

The purpose of this post is this issue of intolerance. As their Mom, I dedicated myself long ago to work as hard as necessary to help reverse the effects of experiences that NO child should have to go through because of the careless abusive, neglect and absence of conscious, nurturing, comprehensive child care by the adults in charge at the time. 

The harm and the damage from the maltreatment caused a few things to happen that changes things for us and you are not expected to fully understand these issues. They do affect you as you are a part of our society but not in the way that you think. We parents of children dealing with the affects of complex early childhood trauma do work on this additional aspect of development daily - for us its part of our norm. 

We are not a broken part of society or a part who is looking for your pity, we are an amazing and beautiful aspect of society that your ignorance is not seeing correctly and you are missing our blessings. 

We are the Adoptive Parents of a sibling group. We are real parents like you - but few people are willing or able to make the type of commitments we consciously accept along with our gifts (our children ❤️ ). I), It is enormous and it is a lifelong commitment labor of love that not many biological parents are capable of seeing through to the end. I look to the way in which we are treated with a constant lack of care, constantly being criticized and misunderstood as the clear evidence.

The time is past due for the people in our communities to generally understand a few things and in our communities to become more informed. 

We are acutely aware of the complex nature that early childhood trauma had on our children’s development. Please just take a step back and see our families as normal but different then yours, not better or worse just not the same. 

It would be a huge help if others in our world did not judge us based on beliefs that are simply incorrect. Basically just because you are a parent or have had classes in early childhood development it does not mean you know what you are looking at when you see our families acting up. 

Please respect our families right to privacy and our right to have a fighting chance, and pray for us to keep the faith. Support us without judgement, the parents above all else, because we DO know our children. We believe in them and we are in the front lines with them fighting. 

Secrets and lies breakdown their faith in us and most of the time we are protecting them from their dangerous behaviors. In the more complex cases, like ours, we are studying and learning and praying all day everyday for better tools and for the public to stop negatively impacting our fragile families. 

Our kids often learned to lie, cheat, steal, manipulate and play people against one another from their abusers. We are trying to teach them that it's OK to trust a loving mother or father even though that concept has been hard - literally beaten out of them. The abuse was taught to them since birth ( often when the parent was under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol) and then again by them being continuously shuffled around like property. The layers of trauma are not easy to explain. 

Outside chatter that interferes with our ability to reach them and keep them is very possibly permanently harming and re-injuring our children.
This “help” often reverses healing and reinforces the beliefs that all people are selfish and no one really does care. 

Please realize that this applies to every single adult that comes into contact with our children (who usually appear healthy).  Your attempts to "rescue" them and "help" is actually causing more harm.

Sadly these people do exist. As a parent, I'm often offended that its perfectly OK for everyone to cause more harm to my children day after day. 

Many of our kids “need,” or think they need, to control every aspect of their lives because they had none when the hurt happened. It's usually the reason they manipulate all the so called experts and adults. 

The adults all but encourage this too, with the loaded questions and the desire to be a hurt kid's hero. Taking responsibility for these controlling and manipulative behaviors is apparently near to impossible for both the outsider and our children. (We know about our kid's issue with this but the outsiders - not so much) 

I personally find it unbelievably careless for the adults that make up our society and the public at large to "wing it" with personal bias and false beliefs. As long as the truth stays suppressed, everyone can happily blame someone else and not face reality - all the while perfectly satisfied being the biggest part of the problem. 

Adults are too lazy or jaded or whatever to take a few minutes to understand things better. Maybe someday you could give the adopted parents the benefit of doubt and just listen carefully to our requests. They are usually simple but very specific. 

For us, comprehensive care is make or break and our system has across the board failed us in creating support that works. 

We do know what our children need though and it's referenced in part above ❤  

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Trauma Mama Gift Swap 2017

Several trauma mamas and I have decided to do a small Trauma Mama gift swap. If you are a trauma mama and interested in participating, please complete your registration form (there's a copy in the comments) and email it to marythemommy at gmail dot com. 

Please be 100% sure that you are able to participate, remember there is another trauma mama who may be hurt and disappointed if you do not follow through.

One of my favorite things to do at Christmas time over the last few years is to participate in the Trauma Mama Holiday Gift Swap. Unfortunately over the years, the people sponsoring it found that doing this for large groups quickly became too much for any one person to organize. For one reason or another, many people did not honor their obligations (which I totally understand as we are all trauma mamas and Christmas time is HARD!) so many mamas did not receive gifts. Many others tried to step in and fill the gaps, but a lot of needy mamas were hurt and disappointed.

Over the years, I have participated in a small group exchanges, one on one swaps with another mom, and been an "angel" to a trauma mama who could not afford a gift for her child or herself. I'm so glad to be in a place in my life where I can do this.

If anyone wants to organize their own gift swap or just exchange with a friend, here's a form I adapted from the From Survival to Serenity 2012 trauma mama holiday gift swap. I found it to be particularly helpful in finding just the right gifts. I hope this will inspire you to start your own group or just a one on one swap with another mom. Moms deserve special gifts under the tree too!

Trauma Mamas Holiday Gift Swap Registration

Please complete at least the required questions marked with an asterisk. All other "Get to Know You" questions are optional, but please do keep in mind that the more questions you answer, the better the person who gets your name will be able to connect with you. It will also help us in creating matches based on similar situations, geographic areas, interests, etc.

**Hint** If you would like to answer the "Getting to Know You" questions, but don't have time to complete the whole form all at once, write out your answers in a word processing program and then cut and paste them into the form boxes when you're ready to send it in. 

Registration forms are due no later than November 21. All matches will be made on or before November 22. 

Unless there are special circumstances that need to be considered, packages should be mailed to their recipients no later than December 14
International packages will need to be shipped no later than December 1. We learned from sad experience that if they're shipped any later than that, they don't arrive before Christmas, even when they're coming from or going to Canada.

* Required

Contact and Shipping Information*
Name (first and last):*
Shipping Address:*

Other Contact Information:
Examples: Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, etc. You are also welcome to include a phone number or whatever other contact information you wish and/or feel comfortable sharing.

Getting to Know You
These questions aren't required, but the more you share, the more the mama who gets your name will be able to get a feel for who YOU are outside of being a trauma mama. Finding a gift that will be enjoyed by the recipient is a big part of the fun.

Not only does this information help her be able to put together a special gift for you, but it will also help us in deciding who you ultimately get matched with.

One of the most fun aspects of participating in an event like this is finding others to add to your circles of support and friendship. If matches can be made among people with similar interests or family situations or whatever, they will be. Unless otherwise noted, these answers (along with your contact information) will be shared with the person you are matched with.

Briefly describe yourself. Share whatever you want about what makes you you.

  • Your personality
  • General age
  • Your profession / how do you spend your time
  • Any special talents

Share a bit about your family.

  • How many kids you have and their ages
  • Bio or adopted? If adopted, how old were they at adoption? Where were they adopted from?
  • What special needs do they have?
  • What type of activities do you enjoy participating in with your family?
  • Are you married, in a relationship, single?

If you had spare time for hobbies or interests, what would they be?

What are your top 3 favorite movies?
...the ones you could watch over and over again and only love them more each time you see them.

What are your favorite colors?
...both for decorating and for wearing?

What is your decorating style?
funky, contemporary, eclectic, shabby-chic, country, traditional, minimalist…

Do you collect anything in particular? 
(coins, figurines, butterflies, angels, snowmen, etc)

What are some of your favorite things?
These would be things you love and enjoy having in your life and in your space

What type of gifts would you most like? 
things to pamper yourself, accessories, crafts, soft cuddly items, inspirational items, food treats, things you collect…

What types of things do you dislike?
This would be things you smile sweetly at initially, but then they secretly end up in the trash bin later on.

Do you have any allergies? Gluten free? Caffeine free?  Include food, chemical, metal, etc

What are your favorite foods and/or beverages? Do you drink alcohol?

Do you have any dietary restrictions and/or preferences?

What are your 3 most favorite restaurants?

What stores do you like to shop at when looking for a little something special for yourself?

Is there anything else you'd like to share? ie: a particular religious affiliation, perhaps you celebrate a holiday other than Christmas, any unique life circumstances or situations, etc.

I am 100% committed to participating in this event. *(Yes/ No)
100% commitment means that I acknowledge and understand there is a very real mama with very real feelings on the other end of this swap. She's also a trauma mama who's been in or is still in the trenches just like I am. She's very likely put much of herself into preparing something special for another mama. I want her to receive something special this holiday season to remind her that she is loved, that the work she's doing is worth it, and that she's not alone. It would be very sad for her to be looking forward to receiving something special from a potential new friend, but not have it arrive. I will make sure that doesn't happen!

What if I need to back out? *(Yes/ No)
If circumstances arise and I'm unable to keep my participation commitment, I will notify one of the organizers as quickly as possible so another match can be found for my assigned mama.

Shipping Confirmation *(Yes/ No)
I promise to ship my package using a method that can be tracked, even if I have to pay a little bit extra in order to make that happen. I want to make sure my mama actually gets my package once I've sent it.

I can help with this event by...
If you have the time, sanity, and desire to help make sure this event continues to be a fun and fulfilling experience for everyone, please let us know.

I can help with event coordination and logistics if needed.
Should the need arise, I can help with the coordination efforts and logistics of this event. I am willing to help out by working with the other event coordinators, sending emails to other participants as needed, or doing whatever else is needed to make sure the logistics of this event are manageable.
•  Yes/No

I am willing and able to ship my package internationally if needed
•   Yes/No

I am willing and able to be an "Angel Mama" if needed.
Should the need arise, I can help out by putting together a second package for a second mama. Feel free to contact me if you need some help in this area.
•  Yes/No

If you have a question or want a copy of the form emailed to you, please feel free to leave a comment on this post (Comments are moderated. I will not publish any comments with personal information like emails).

There's a form in the comment section. 
To participate you must email this completed form to marythemommy at gmail dot com. 
Be sure to add this email to your safe senders list so you will receive updates.