Well, hopefully you are noticing our new look here on our Hope at Home blog. Nothing says Spring like a new look and some internal reorganization! Take some time to look around our blog-- you'll see we have added some new tabs and topic categories. This lovely and helpful facelift is the work of our good friend, Stephanie Bradac.
Stephanie specializes in graphic design ranging from birth and adoption announcements to wedding invites to professional logos and marketing-- helping companies and organizations develop a unique brand identity and cohesive voice. She can be found at http://mostazaseed.com or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You will LOVE her work and her inspiring blog.
Connections and FaithEarlier this week we enjoyed one of our favorite activities-- meeting with other adoptive and foster parents to share and pray together at Hope at Home, Heart to Heart. Just LOVE IT!
We started out just sharing a bit about ourselves, and it was quite the diverse group! We had fathers and mothers who traveled twice a year oversees to visit sons who may never be adopted but who know they are known and loved, to waiting parents, to parents who have just had their first child home for two weeks, all the way to parents who have had children home for one year all the way to 15 years. Some adopted internationally, some domestically, some through foster care. We had families with no birth children and families with birth children. Families who adopted infants and families who adopted older teens. I find this so exciting, for it is such a beautiful picture of the Father's heart for His beloved. For it is true what the scripture says, each of these children and each of these precious mothers and fathers are "accepted in the beloved." (Ephesians 1:6)
After we prayed shamelessly audacious prayers (Luke 11:8) we went around the room and shared one thing we have learned through our adoptive parenting journey that we think would help other parents. Stephen and I felt so encouraged and helped by this time. It is clear that God is busy teaching us all, and increasing our wisdom. Since you all couldn't be there, we decided that you shouldn't miss out on what we heard-- such good advice!
- Communicate. Don't expect your child to intuitively know what you are thinking or what you expect from them.
- Be vulnerable and willing to ask for forgiveness. This models something for them that is more helpful than never seeing you struggle or make mistakes.
- Give your child language for his/her emotions. Help them discern and express how they feel beyond "this is stupid" or "boring."
- Don't take yourself, your child, the current circumstance so seriously. Step back and remember there is a big picture.
- There is GRACE for every weakness you have as a mother or father. God covers us. He has our back.
- Be present. Be there. Just Listen.
- Sometimes the best thing you can do is NOT SAY A WORD. Just Listen. Don't correct.
- You don't have to be right all the time.
- Pray. Pray. Pray.
- Be willing to change the way you parent according to the way Father God parents you, rather than the way you were parented growing up.
- Make your parenting decisions based on what God says about your child, rather than according to their current behavior.
- Connection and Relationship are more important than correcting behavior. Always maintain relationship.
- Don't put your child in a box-- appreciate and enjoy and celebrate who they are, even though it is so different from you.
- Pray together as a family. Make special times to pray, like before school. Create a culture of prayer and devotion to God in your home.
- If you don't know what to do or say then don't do anything-- WAIT for the Lord to show you the way forward before you make a parenting decision.
Now it's your turn, friends. Leave a comment with your one piece of advice you would like to share with other adoptive families.