Tag Archives: self esteem

“I am a good kid”


“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…



The Flash:



batman's logo

And Ozzie:


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…


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.”


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.


“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.


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.


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!


Fly, my son, fly!

Christopher Reeve


“Won’t you be my neighbor?”

My Mr. Rogers :)

My Mr. Rogers 🙂

It has been said that Mr. Rogers often carried around a note in his pocket that was given to him by a friend of his who was a social worker. The note read, ” Frankly there isn’t anyone you couldn’t learn to love once you’ve heard their story.” He carried these words with him as a reminder of that truth and his life was a reflection of that philosophy.

Mr. Rogers was my childhood friend. Every day during “arsenic hour,” as my mother called it…that fragile hour before dinner when everyone was hungry and tired and emotional..my mom would place us in the care of Mr. Rogers while she went to get dinner on the table. She walked away knowing that we were in good hands and for a half an hour we learned the most important of life lessons..

1.We learned the key to success:

“There are 3 ways to ultimate success. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. The third is to be kind.”

2. We learned what it meant to be a hero:

“Anyone who does anything to help a child in his life is a hero to me.”

3. We learned the value of play:

“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. When we treat children’s play as seriously as it deserves we are helping them to feel the joy that’s to be found in the creative spirit.”

4. We learned the power of words:

“Imagine what our real neighborhoods would be like if each of us offered, as a matter of course, just one kind word to another person…One kind word has a wonderful way of turning into many.”

5. We learned that it takes a neighborhood:

“We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It is easy to say, ‘It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.’ Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.”

6. We learned that we are important:

“If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.”

7. We learned that love is a choice:

“Love isn’t a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.”

8. But the main lessons we learned as we sat and watched him change his shoes were…We had value, we were loved, and  we were okay just the way we were:

“I am just so proud of all of you who have grown up with us, and I know how tough it is some days to look with hope and confidence on the months and years ahead. But I would like to tell you what I often told you when you were much younger..I like you just the way you are.”

What a profound lesson. I think the greatest lesson I have learned during this adoption journey is the importance of loving people (particularly children) where they are rather than trying to make them into more “loveable” children.

A few days ago I had an unexpected email from the therapist of Tyler’s brother. Of the 5 biological siblings this brother is the only one that has not been adopted. He is the second oldest and the one that carries the most scars from the abuse. I received an email from his therapist because when asked what he wanted for his birthday next week he replied that all he wanted was to see his siblings again. This email put into motion the efforts to get these biological siblings together for a visit after many of them having no contact for years. We are hoping to get everyone together in a couple of weeks at our home. I know it is going to be a special day for everyone involved. As I have reached out to the other adoptive families, these past few days, the stories they have to share are similar. The behaviors we have all dealt with, the fears our kids have battled and the wounds that have slowly healed are all too similar. These kids survived horrible circumstances and have all struggled with trusting the love offered to them. They didn’t know the security of unconditional love as young children and have had to be taught those same lessons that we often take for granted..that we have value…we are loved…we are ok just the way we are.

It is a lesson that so many need to hear. Your value has nothing to do with what you have, how you look, the life you’ve lived or the talents you possess. Like Mr. Rogers would say, “You have value because of who you are.”

“It’s you I like.

It’s not the things you wear,

it’s not the way you do your hair.

It’s you I like…”

Mr. Rogers has been on my mind the past few days because of our Trunk or Treat activity this weekend at church. Trunk or Treat is a chance for the kids to trick or treat in a safe and fun environment. Families from church decorate the back of their vehicles in different themes and the kids trick or treat to the different cars. We decided to make our trunk into the Neighborhood of Make-Believe. Toby dressed as Mr. Rogers and the girls handed out treats with the puppets.  It was a cold, windy night but that didn’t deter many. The turn out was great and the kids all had fun.

Mr. Rogers and the Neighborhood of Make Believe.

Mr. Rogers and the Neighborhood of Make-Believe.

Handing out treats..

Handing out treats..

My trunk or treaters!

My trunk or treaters!

The girls behind the curtain!

The girls behind the curtain!

Perhaps we all need to ponder on the wisdom of Mr. Rogers more often. The world would probably be a much nicer place..

“Let’s make the most of this beautiful day.

Since we’re together we might as well say:

Would you be mine?

Could you be mine?

Won’t you be my neighbor..” 🙂