Friday, September 4, 2015

Lather, Rinse, Repeat

Vacation usually means camping or a trip to the cabin.  We go on roadtrips, especially to visit family, but now I know those are not relaxing vacations. 
 
And our trips overseas for adoptions? Most definitely NOT relaxing and NOT vacations (but amazing!).  True confessions, I once tried to convince Hubby that the travel part of adoption shouldn't really count as part of the adoption expense since it was kinda like a vacation.  I can now admit the truth.   
 
Anyhoo, I am happy to report that I now know what a RELAXING vacation is.  My life might never be the same.  It's renting a house (with a hot tub and free passes to the water park), cooking simple meals, spending lots of time together, and having no agenda.
 
It's day-after-day of relaxing.  I get it now.  It's
 
Lather:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Rinse:
 
 
 
 
Repeat:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Lan Lan did NOT get the memo that nobody is allowed to have another bike wreck-Ouch!!! 
 
 
 
Luckily she was wearing a helmet and okay.  Other than that, it was a week of RELAXING bliss! 
 
And after we got home we had a few more summer activities including the wedding of Lizzy's childhood friend (Lizzy was a bridesmaid), salmon fishing, and golf.
 
 
 
 
  
I might even be able to admit that school is almost ready to start.  I did bring my planner along on vacation and organized my soon-to-be chaotic life.  Just a few more days!  Buckle up!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Healing Trauma With Reenactment

There is so much joy in watching our kids engage in life--especially our kids adopted at older ages!  They missed so many positive experiences! 
 
 
 
 
 
Being adopted at an older age also means there were past traumatic experiences--times they were not cared for in the way they deserved. 
 
When one of my children shares a painful memory I tell them how sorry I am, and how different it would have been in a loving family.  I often go into great, loving detail, on how it should have been. 
 
As an example, some of my children were hospitalized while still living in the orphanage, and they didn't receive the one-on-one love of a parent.  One child was left for long periods, all alone.  It was very traumatic.
 
That's often how it is for orphans.  Orphanage staff and even foster families are not always able to stay with a hospitalized child--and even if they do they might not lovingly care for the child.  It breaks my heart.
 
Even though I talk to my child about how it should have been, the trauma leaves a gaping wound.  One child in particular had deep grief over a hospitalization pre-adoption.  No matter how much we talked about it, it remained. 
 
In trying to heal that child's trauma we came up with the idea of a "reenactment."  It wasn't enough to tell our child how it should have been--we decided to show them! 
 
It was a day of silly fun as we pretended our child was sick for a full day!  The day included the couch, with soft blankets, and we brought Jamba Juice and favorite foods.  We even coordinated with relatives and had them send a "get well soon" card.  The relatives wrote sweet words about how much they love our child, and how they will always be there for them.  My child's Godmother made a special "hospital" visit.  There were even gifts and balloons--just like a real hospital stay.
 
 
It was a fun day!  BUT it wasn't all unicorns and rainbows because a lot of negative feelings came back too!  Memories came flooding about the real hospitalization.  There were tears and deep sadness. 
 
In the end though, I truly believe there was healing around that caustic memory.  The memory is not erased of course, but it is softened. 
 
I share in hopes that this "reenactment" might help another child.  It's never too late for our children to learn the way it should have been.  To learn what they deserved to have. 
 
It's never too late for healing. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Abusive, Destructive, Controlling Relationships--Part 4--What To Say To Victims

I'm winding up my series on destructive relationships.  If you need to catch up read
 
 
I've covered my reasons for sharing this topic, the warning signs, and some facts.  As we've discussed, it can be very difficult for a victim to leave his/her abuser. There's an excellent paper written by Dr. Sarah Buel, a lawyer and activist against domestic violence.  Her paper is titled 50 Obstacles to Leaving aka Why Abuse Victims Stay
 
If you know someone who is in a destructive relationship please talk to them about it--even though it can be hard to know what to say.   
 
Sometimes the best thing to say is something simple.  Here's some ideas from Sarah Buel:
  1. "I'm afraid for your safety."
  2. "I'm afraid for the safety of your children."
  3. "It will only get worse."
  4. "I'm here for you."
  5. "You don't deserve to be abused."

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Fun Project--Butterflies!

I was going through some old photos and remembered when we hatched butterflies last summer. 
 
 
 
 
We actually bought the kit a few years ago, but decided to reuse it.  Through the awesomeness of the internet I found we could order new caterpillars and enjoy the fun all over!  It's amazing to watch how teeny tiny little larvae turn into beautiful butterflies!
 
Here is an example of the set we used (it even comes with a coupon to get your caterpillars) and I just saw it on Amazon for $12.  A fun end-of-summer project (or beginning of school project for homeschooling families). 
 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

I Love Summer

I wish summer could last forever!  There's been some very special memories made including a trip to the cabin:
 
 
 
 
 
And a trip to my nephew's wedding:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Which also included a family reunion at an amusement park:
 
 
 
 
 
 
The kids have been enjoying impromptu water balloon baseball games:
 
 
Vacation Bible School:
 
 
And Lan Lan enjoyed her birthday gift seeing One Direction (Lizzy too).
 
 
 

 
Can we please just keep celebrating summer?  And never go back to school? 
 
In fact, I refuse to go back into school mode.  Ugh.  Noooooooooo!  Heeeelp!!!