Tag Archives: EMDR

The End of Winter

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This winter had been a weird one in Western Pennsylvania…

A bit bipolar in its behaviors with a sporadic mix of unseasonably warm days followed by an unexpected 10 inches of snow.

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There seems to be no rhyme or reason to the recent weather patterns and all creatures, great and small, seem anxious and uncertain as to what the day might bring.

Daffodils reach for the sky, teased out by the warmth of the sun, only to be covered in layer of snow hours later.

Birds are waffling in their duties, uncertain as to whether they should begin laying eggs or hunkering down in their nests for a long winter’s nap.

The furnace has had a workout, shifting from air conditioning to heat in a 12 hour span.

And  my 11 year old has given up trying to make any effort in dressing weather-appropriate and has compensated by simply pairing his flip flops with sweaters.

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The uncertainty has left everyone feeling a bit unsettled and I find myself taking note of how reflective our outside environment has been of our internal state.

Ozzie has spent the last 7 months in a residential treatment facility about 2 hours away. It was with tremendous heartache and no shortage of prayer that he was admitted. The year leading up to that decision was unimaginably traumatic for Ozzie and the rest of the family as the demons from his past history of abuse reared their ugly heads in heartbreaking, tragic, and dangerous ways. After exhausting all therapeutic support for Ozzie that could be found in an outpatient setting it became clear that for real healing to take place he would need to be immersed in an environment of intensive therapeutic support. For these last 7 months Ozzie has thrived under this higher level of care. With the sheer volume of therapeutic supports like daily therapies (individual and group,) music therapy, EMDR therapy for his PTSD, and trauma release exercises, he has found hope.

We all have.

I recently had a friend comment that they sometimes found my recordings on this blog to be disingenuous to our reality. Although not intended to be critical, merely taking note of the fact that most recent blogs have been lighter and fluffier than the heavier stuff that was more common a year ago, I have since thought much about that comment. As a mom I walk a shaky line in recording the story of my family. I share not for accolades or attention but for a mix of other reasons. I blog to record our story as a gift for my children in the decades to come. I blog as a therapeutic tool for myself. (The act of telling our story helps me process and make sense of this often hard journey.) But mostly I blog because I feel called to allow others to walk with us in the hopes that our trials and our joys might help you in your journey and that I might testify of God’s goodness in ALL seasons of life. Every blog is penned with prayer…A prayer that God might use this walk to support another in their walk. I don’t share all. Some would argue I share too much, others would say not enough, but every blog entry is prayerfully approached.

Often the struggle of what to write is not a debate of how much to share but rather HOW to share.

That is where I find myself today.

As the snow swirls outside on April 17th, I struggle to put words to the uniquely emotional journey we have been on these last 7 months. I don’t know that I have the words to fully convey the muddy mix of emotions that are connected to this unique journey. Much like the winter we have experienced these last 5 months, our experience with having a child in a residential treatment facility is a constant mix of sunshine and snow, with so many heartbreaks connected to the decision, but also immeasurable blessings. Each day I find myself uncertain of what the emotional forecast of the day will be and whether the hope or the heartache of the situation with reign supreme.

Saying good-bye to Ozzie on day one… leaving him in the care of a stranger… while I drove home… was the hardest day of my life. It was an adjustment for the entire family as we tried to find our new “normal” with Ozzie gone. As time passed the sharp ache dulled a bit, and while each home visit and the returning drive back brought tears, the situation didn’t seem so hopeless. We were seeing the fruits of God’s hand in leading us to this particular facility at this particular time.

We have watched Ozzie blossom under the intensive therapy offered him in an inpatient setting. He has worked so hard in his healing journey, has learned new ways to cope with the demons of his past that will inevitably raise their ugly head again in the future, but once again it is with a muddy mix of emotions that we transition into another new “normal.”

How do I fully articulate the emotions that fill our home this week when we ourselves struggle to name them all?

Ozzie will be discharged this Saturday. He has worked through the program and has experienced a level of success that many boys there never find. He has fought hard in his healing journey. He has faced down fears, memories of abuse, and his own destructive behaviors with the courage of a knight battling a dragon. None of this came easily and each step toward healing was paid for with blood, sweat and tears…on all of our parts.

I fully believe he is ready to return home.

Knowing his discharge date was approaching, my focus has been on preparing for that transition. Outpatient therapies have been put in place. With his return home he will continue EMDR therapy with Miss Tina, Family Based Therapy services have been put in place, and Ozzie will begin equine therapy (horse therapy) next week. Contact has been made with the school, his room has been prepared, and our schedule has been altered to account for Ozzie’s weekly appointments.

Once the logistics of this transition had been figured out it was time to address the emotional impact this transition was going to have on all members of the family.

When Ozzie left in September he was in a heightened state of crisis and his behaviors were threatening and unsafe. These last 7 months brought feelings of felt safety to the other children, feelings of safety they had not experienced in the year prior. With Ozzie’s return home pending, the anxiety in the home has increased significantly as the kids brace for the unexpected…

And while I know Ozzie is returning to us stable and safe, it will take time for the other kids to see that themselves and begin the process of trusting him, forgiving him, and reconnecting with him.

To help them express , process, and work through some of those emotions and concerns, I set up a family therapy session with Miss Tina. Knowing that Rusty and Tyler would be less comfortable/capable of using traditional talk therapy to express the emotions churning within, I suggested we do an art project.

At home we have had a great deal of success with Tyler using markers to express his emotions. When he can’t say what he is feeling he will color an abstract work of art, assigning an emotion to each marker color. The result is incredible. He is able to purge the feelings locked within and I am able to get a powerful visual of what he is feeling, and thus know how to best help him.

I suggested we use this same technique with the other kids at our family therapy session. The day before our appointment we sat down and made a list of emotions that we might all be feeling about Ozzie’s return home and then we made an emotion “key” with Tyler selecting which paint colors would be assigned to each emotion.

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On Thursday we drove to Miss Tina’s office with our paints, brushes and canvases. While the kids painted their emotions we talked through our crisis/ safety plan. When everyone’s paintings were complete we went around and talked about the emotions (and the corresponding thoughts) that went with each brush stroke of color, allowing the kids to comfortably share the muddy mix of emotions they have been feeling. I think it brought a sense of comfort to look around and see that the rest of the family had the same mix of colors/emotions that we had each been feeling individually.

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It is with great joy, gratitude, and relief that we welcome Ozzie back home, but the reality is that there are other emotions that color this transition as well.

Anxiety seems to be the prevailing constant in everyone’s work of art, so as we take this next step in our adoption journey we petition you, our fellow sojourners, to lift our family up in prayer.

We are ready to leave winter behind. We are ready for the new life and hope that comes with spring.

May the storms be over.

May the sun come out.

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Please pray for us.

The Blessing of Blogging

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Isn’t it a beautiful thing to watch God work…

Taking our vision and transforming it into something so much greater than anything we could have planned ourselves.

How grateful I am for the journey God has taken me on these last 5 years. When we opened the door to the world of adoption we had no idea the wild ride we were boarding. We didn’t anticipate the twists, turns, sharp drops, and stomach flips. We also didn’t anticipate the magnificent peaks, thrilling climbs and heavenly views.

Perhaps that is why God opens doors an inch at a time. Had he swung the door wide open revealing the entire ride I don’t know that I would have been brave enough to climb on. Rather He has revealed it a turn, a hill, a twist at a time, allowing us to grow in our ability to trust that as the ride conductor He won’t push us past our limit. Through the journey He taught us that if we simply lean into the wind and trust the creator of the ride we find ourselves buckled into then there is no need to fear the tracks ahead, regardless of what the next turn brings.

Often in the midst of a journey we struggle to see past the climb we find ourselves on. We can easily lose sight of where we began and how far we have come. I think this is revealing of the shortsightedness we as human beings struggle with.

In the scriptures the word “Remember” appears in various forms over 300 times. The significance of this word is revealed in the frequency God commands us to “remember.” Our Father in Heaven knows us. He created us. He is aware of our shortcomings and our shortsightedness. History has revealed men’s propensity for forgetfulness especially when it comes to remembering lessons revealed to us during the strain of an upward climb when we then find ourselves coasting on a straightaway.

One month after Tyler moved in with us I was prompted to embark on a different journey, one well outside my comfort zone. I felt called to record the journey we were just beginning by way of a blog. I knew nothing about blogging, was pretty much absent on social media, preferred my privacy, and was downright frightened of putting our journey out there for everyone to observe and perhaps judge, but for every reason I found to not move forward with this prompting three more reasons why I needed to take this leap were revealed.

This blog began as an act of obedience. I didn’t know what, if anything, would come of my efforts. When I began it was painfully laborious as each blog entry took hours to complete. As time passed I became more comfortable with the medium, more adept at typing, and more at peace with the transparency that comes with recording my life in this way. What was initiated by a prompting became a source of joy. This blog became my gift to my kids as I recorded the story of our journey for them to have when they are older. It became a way to connect with, offer support, and glean support from others who are walking their own hard road. It became my therapy, my safe place to work through my own emotions and find a resolution and peace that I could only seem to find through words. By sharing with others, I found a piece of myself that I didn’t know existed, a voice that up until then had been silent. As we rode this ride of adoption the purpose and blessings of this blog evolved as we evolved, and in this journey I found my own calling.

 

This week I typed my 1000th blog and I have reflected on all that we have experienced together. While the purpose that drives me to sit before the keyboard has evolved over the last five years, the joy I have found in sharing our story continues to be one of the greatest blessings in my life.

How grateful I am for this journey.

In trauma therapy with Tyler we continue to lay the groundwork for EMDR, a needed next step in healing from PTSD. Unfortunately, we can’t get anywhere near the past before Tyler shuts down. It is far too big and scary for Tyler to face. Knowing we need to get him comfortable with looking backwards in time we decided to start small and safe, moving from his early years with us, prior to his adoption, backwards through time.

The goal is to help him feel safe remembering good times so that he will eventually feel safe looking at the scary stuff, so he then can begin to heal from the scary stuff.

This is where the blog comes in. Originally intended to be a scrapbook of Tyler’s life, something for him to hold onto and treasure as an adult, it has now become a powerful therapy tool. I have had past years of blog entries printed up into “digital scrapbooks.” We have been using these blog books in therapy to look back and REMEMBER, so that Tyler might become less afraid of looking to the past.

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Every night Toby reads a few blog entries to Tyler as his bedtime story. Tyler now looks forward to this special time of getting to hear stories in which he is the lead character.

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We also bring these book to therapy with Miss Tina and read some entries with her, helping Tyler to become more comfortable with remembering, working on identifying emotions felt in those moments from his past, and utilizing those entries to start building a life book for Tyler, something he currently does not have.

When I began blogging 1000 entries ago I had no idea the magnificent journey we were embarking on. I had no idea what God’s purpose was behind the prompting. I had no idea what a lifeline this virtual conversation with all of you would be for me. I especially had no idea that these words, penned for another purpose…

To encourage others and be encouraged, to serve as a form of therapy for myself, to record our story of hope and healing for future reflection…

Would end up being the very tool needed to help Tyler heal.

It is beautiful how God is using Tyler’s own journey, his own story, his own reflections, to heal him from the trauma of his past. It is so divinely perfect and beyond anything I could have planned or orchestrated myself. This daily practice has also blessed us in another way. It has helped us to “Remember.” Remember the struggles, the climb, the self doubt, the worries, the fear…all so distant now. By rereading the stories from that first year of our adoption journey I remember how hard it was and am humbled by how far God have taken us, and the miraculous work He has performed in all of us, refining us and making us better than we were before. 

When God cracks open a door and asks us to step inside without seeing exactly what we are walking into we can trust that is we simply obey and take a step of faith He will take us on an incredible journey, a journey that’s purpose is often unseen until years down the road.

Thank you for walking with us through these last 1000 blogs. We couldn’t ask for better traveling companions as we reflect on and “Remember” God’s goodness in our life.

Healing Trauma away from Home

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Sometimes love…real, deep, powerful love…is about choosing what is right and not what is easy. True love is rooted in forgiveness, in sacrifice, in humility, in choosing to continue to show up and engage. True love is about putting your own desires aside and loving the other enough to make the hard decisions. It is choosing another’s well being above your own, and caring enough to let heartbreak, for the sake of healing, be part of the journey.

I have learned more about the meaning of true love from our adoption journey than any other relationship in my life. I think it is because it has challenged my way of viewing love, and what love really is, more than any other relationship I am in. I have learned how to love through the hard stuff. I have learned how to love when love is not reciprocated. I have learned how to put aside my own selfish desires for the well being of another. I have learned that love is a choice, not simply an emotion. Love is choosing to continue showing up when it is hard…when it is heartbreaking…when it feels hopeless. Love is more powerful than a simple emotion. Love has the power to transform. Love has the power to mend. Love has the power to grow us and mold us into the beings God intended us to be, but that sort of transformation doesn’t happen when relationships are easy and effortless. No, that sort of miracle growth only occurs in the harshest conditions, when we have reached the end of ourselves and surrendered it all to God.

Oh, what a journey it has been these last eight months. God has been working in mighty ways and we have all been feeling the growing pains. It has been the darkest season of my life. At the time I couldn’t see where it was leading…I struggled to find the hope hidden in the heartache. God was working on me. God was teaching me the lesson of unconditional love. He humbled me and allowed me to fall to my knees so that He could lift me up. There is no greater heartbreak in this world than watching your child suffer, and Ozzie’s suffering has consumed my every thought, my every minute, and my every prayer these last few months.

His past has come back to haunt him and the trauma buried deep within is bubbling to the surface. The flashbacks are paralyzing, and memories of abuse that were never reported are now consuming him. He is victim of an abusive beginning and now that traumatic childhood is affecting his ability to function, attach, and heal today.

After months of escalating behaviors and an emotional downward spiral, he has hit rock bottom…the place we all so often need to touch to begin our journey up. In the midst of the darkness I struggled to find hope, but now as I stand on the edge of the light I can see God’s hand in these last few months. He was laying a foundation for what is to come…a necessary foundation for Ozzie to qualify for the help he really needs.

God’s plan began to come to fruition a few weeks ago when his treatment team made the recommendation for a longer inpatient stay at a hospital that works specifically with kids who suffer from PTSD and early childhood trauma and abuse. I struggled with the thought of Ozzie having to go away to receive the help he needs but understood what the treatment team was saying. For trauma as deep and dark as what Ozzie experienced, weekly outpatient visits just couldn’t dig deep enough, quickly enough, to root out the source of the infection that is festering within. They explained that he needed to be receiving daily therapy with a specialized trauma/ EMDR therapist that can help him get the healing he needs to free him from his past. I understood it on a cerebral level, but my heart hurt.

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I couldn’t make the call. I surrendered it to God, knowing that the chance of him getting into this trauma center was slim to none. The waiting list was long and the chances of insurance approving the placement was minimal. I prayed God would speak through circumstances and if Ozzie was to find his healing in Erie at this treatment center then doors would miraculously open, testifying of God’s plan.

The last two weeks have been wrought with miracles, and two days ago we received the call that a bed had opened up for Ozzie. We will drive him up to Erie on Monday and he will remain there for a few months while he receives treatment. It is all good news…but hard news. I think we are all struggling a little bit with the reality of it all.

Once again I am learning a lesson about the real meaning of love.

Love is doing what is right, as opposed to what is easy. It is making short term sacrifices for long term healing. It is about sacrificing the temporal for the eternal. It is about setting aside our own selfish desires for the sake of what our child needs most, and surrendering this child (who is simply on loan from God anyway) to the hands of a loving Heavenly Father whose plan is greater than ours.

We have felt the strengthening power of your prayers.

Thank you, friends ❤

 

“I am a good kid”

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“There’s a superhero inside of all of us, we just need the courage to put on the cape.”

Every superhero has a logo that represents who they are as heroes…

Superman:

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The Flash:

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Batman:

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And Ozzie:

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That is the phrase that Ozzie chose for his healing shirt.

In therapy Tina has been addressing the Reactive Attachment Disorder diagnoses through a wonderful book written by a grown man about his journey to healing

as a foster child, and then as an adopted child, with Reactive Attachment Disorder.

We read a chapter each week and with it comes a way to apply the lesson.

Ozzie is engaged in the story and has commented on how much of what we read he has thought in his own mind.

We have been working on replacing hurting thoughts and behaviors with healing thoughts and behaviors and in essence we are working toward rewriting the self talk script that plays in his mind…

a script that was written many years ago by the people who were closest to him.

As part of this healing journey Ozzie had the opportunity to design a t-shirt for himself using puff paints. It was to be a physical reminder of the truth…

something he could wear, look down at, and be reminded of when the hurting thoughts became too overpowering.

He got to choose his design: an object that represents the healing thought he needs to remember,

and a saying or thought to express that truth.

This was what he created…

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a picture of himself speaking these words:

“I am a good kid.”

Powerful in their simplicity.

He couldn’t have picked a better healing thought that he needed to believe more:

“I am a good kid.”

He struggles to believe in its truthfulness. He has been told too many times that the opposite is true.

He feels that it is because he was a “bad kid” that all the hurts in his short life were his fault.

I have heard him whispering in the dark, “If I had only been good then none of this would have happened to me.”

That t-shirt has evolved from being a security blanket for therapy days into being his super hero cape. He wears it now to therapy each week, not because Tina asked him to but because it makes him “feel brave.”

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We have begun EMDR work and Ozzie has been asked to open doors and step back in his memories to hard, scary, sad times of his life. Tina sits across from him, guides him through the use of rapid eye movement, in an effort to help him unlock memories and emotions connected with those memories and help heal the trauma. It is beneficial but is SO hard for Ozzie.

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“Sometimes what you are most afraid of doing is the very thing that will set you free.”

His eyes begin to tear up and he tenses when Tina says, “It’s time for EMDR work ,”

but he does it.

He bravely faces something that is so hard and so scary for him.

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He always leaves the appointment feeling emotionally drained but he is slowly healing those hidden hurt parts of himself…

He does what is hard and shows remarkable courage.

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So he puts on his t-shirt “armor”…

his super hero uniform…

 and reminds himself that he is a good kid, he is brave, and he is healing.

Ozzie, I am so proud of you!

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Fly, my son, fly!

Christopher Reeve

 

“Blue Bunny”

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“Blue Bunny” is the word of the week.

This past week, in therapy, we talked about how quickly escalating emotions have become common place, particularly following therapy sessions for Ozzie. He can go from 0 to 60 in 3.4 seconds over what the untrained eye might see as unimportant or trivial. With Ozzie out of the room I shared with Tina my struggles to properly parent these hyper-speed mood swings.

She explained that part of what we are dealing with, in addition to the other diagnoses, is classic PTSD. The trauma he has experienced is the cause of  much of the behaviors we are dealing with. Angry outbursts are one of the symptoms.

She called Ozzie back into the room to share with us another tool to add to our “tool box”… and I eagerly agreed to give it a try since we have had such amazing success with all of our other homework.

(Have I mentioned how much I love this woman!)

She told us we need a safe word…a word that can be uttered by Ozzie or I (or any other member of the family) when emotions are starting to escalate and we need to push the pause button. It is, in essence, like calling a time out. Everyone stops the conversation, retreats, applies the coping tools we have been working on like the shoulder tapping and deep breathing, and when everyone is back at their baseline we come back together to try the conversation again.

It has been amazing!

We had multiple opportunities to put it to the test this week. Each time when things were just beginning to get heated (The key is to use the safe word as early in the escalation as possible) one of us would yell “Blue Bunny” and the conversation stopped.

Its effect is much like throwing a bucket of cold water on fighting dogs. It snaps the brain out of its current mode, makes you smile at the silliness of the word, and allows everyone to decompress and then try the conversation again.

You hit pause, rewind the tape, and press play again when both family members are ready.

While this has been hugely effective with my traumatized son I would imagine it would be a helpful tool to add to any parenting toolbox…or marital toolbox, for that matter.

Just imagine the look on  your defiant 18 year old’s face if in the heat of the moment you yelled out,

” Pickled Platypus.”  🙂

It certainly derails the tantrum, if only for a while.

All of these coping tools we have been working on with Ozzie are in preparation for the EMDR work that his therapist will be beginning with him soon.

Here is a little summary of what EMDR is according to WebMD:

“Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a fairly new, nontraditional type of psychotherapy. It’s growing in popularity, particularly for treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD often occurs after experiences such as military combat, physical assault, rape, or car accidents.

At first glance, EMDR appears to approach psychological issues in an unusual way. It does not rely on talk therapy or medications. Instead, EMDR uses a patient’s own rapid, rhythmic eye movements. These eye movements dampen the power of emotionally charged memories of past traumatic events.

Your therapist will move his or her fingers back and forth in front of your face and ask you to follow these hand motions with your eyes. At the same time, the EMDR therapist will have you recall a disturbing event. This will include the emotions and body sensations that go along with it.

Gradually, the therapist will guide you to shift your thoughts to more pleasant ones. Some therapists use alternatives to finger movements, such as hand or toe tapping or musical tones.

People who use the technique argue that EMDR can weaken the effect of negative emotions. Before and after each EMDR treatment, your therapist will ask you to rate your level of distress. The hope is that your disturbing memories will become less disabling.

Although most research into EMDR has examined its use in people with PTSD, EMDR is also used to treat many other psychological problems.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has noted that EMDR is effective for treating symptoms of acute and chronic PTSD. According to the APA, EMDR may be particularly useful for people who have trouble talking about the traumatic events they’ve experienced.

The Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense have jointly issued clinical practice guidelines. These guidelines “strongly recommended” EDMR for the treatment of PTSD in both military and non-military populations.”

Ozzie’s therapist is hopeful that Ozzie will experience emotional healing as a result of EMDR work, but she has made it clear that the road to healing is a long one,  a hard one, and the effects of opening those doors to the memories of his past trauma will affect the entire family as we help him cope with the emotional fallout.

It is a delicate dance…

opening the door to the past.

If you open it too wide, too quickly, Ozzie will shut down. Yet if we leave those doors firmly shut the pressure just builds until the force of those traumatic memories push the door open with explosive force. I would love to just lock the door to the past, throw away the key, and never open that door again, but for Ozzie to heal we must open that door and walk into a very dark, scary place to face the demons.

Oh, how I wish I could do it for him and let him remain untouched by the darkness,

but that is naïve…for he has already been consumed by a darkness that I will never fully understand and the only way to loosen the hold of the nightmares that consume him is to face those nightmares again by revisiting those memories.

I can not protect him from his past…for he has already been scarred. All I can do is walk with him on his crusade toward healing and promise him he will never have to face those demons alone again.

At the end of a hard therapy session he crawled into my lap and whispered, “no more.” The therapist, seeing we had gone to the limit, ended the session

and I just held him.

This was turning point in our relationship. Ozzie, who never shows me pure, emotion-driven, physical affection, initiated a hug. In the midst of overwhelming emotion he clung to me for comfort.

And that means he is bonding…

slowly, but surely, he is seeing me as his caretaker, his protector, his ally, his Momma.

We both left therapy completely drained.

This past Monday we also had our adoption support group for parents of traumatized kids. In this week’s session we talked about giving them a new internal voice. A voice to drowned out the voice of their past that whispers:

“You will always be a bad boy.”

“You can never be trusted.”

“They will get rid of you as soon as you are bad, so you might as well get it over with.”

“This is all your fault. If you had been good your father wouldn’t have hurt you.”

“You’re just stupid and worthless.”

“No one will ever love you.”

As we talked about the importance of affirmation,  kindly correcting, looking for opportunities to say “yes” instead of always saying “no,” and looking for behaviors to praise more than you notice behaviors to correct, we also worked on a project for our kids. Every set of parents was given one mirror for each child they had.

Around the edge of each mirror we were told to write words that described that child. As Toby and I sat and worked on each mirror we gave much thought to the adjectives that best described the positive attributes of each child. It was a powerful exercise and we found ourselves reflecting on the blessing of each child and the special, God-given attributes, they bring to our family.

When we arrived home we sat the kids down and told them about the activity we did upstairs while they were meeting downstairs. We then gave them their mirrors. It was touching to see the impact our words had on them. When I asked the kids which word (That we used to describe them) meant the most to them it was fascinating to hear their answers,

and I believe reflective of the traits they value most in themselves.

Grace chose: Diligent

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Molly chose: Generous

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Rusty chose: Talented

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Ozzie chose: Imaginative

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Tyler chose: Strong

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How we see ourselves, when we look in the mirror, is on point with the self talk we hear in our minds. I hope each time my children look into these mirrors they will read the words and be reminded of their great, infinite, divine worth.

Mirrors are powerful things and have great influence on how we see ourselves.

So we must remember to turn the one who holds the only mirror which is true, and clear, and NOT distorted. It is here we will see ourselves as He sees us and we will see those we love through His eyes. It is through our Savior that we see the divine beauty in ourselves and others.

As Lynn G. Robbins said:

“Heavenly Father sees our divine nature. We are His children. They way He sees us, because of His love for us, is perfect. The mirror which He holds constantly before us, if we would only raise our sight to look, is the one in which we should trust. Its image is always true and never distorted.”