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Children in Foster Care, Forgotten Fridays, Foster ParentingMay. 26, 2017

Forgotten Friday | Taking A Closer Look at Empowerment–A TBRI Principle

Do you get the idea that it’s good to empower your child, but struggle with exactly how to do it? How do you find that balance of empowering yet remaining in control? Trust-Based Relational Intervention, or TBRI, is becoming the standard for connected parenting. Schools, Child Protective Services, counselors, parents, and others recognize this and are applying these principles in their work and families. I posted a blog a couple of years ago, “Three Principles of Trust-Based Relational Intervention,” that still gets a lot of traffic. Basically, the three principles are Empowerment, Connection, and Correction. If you want a quick […]

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Foster Care Affects on Kids Already in Your Home, Foster Parenting, Make a Difference MondaysMay. 22, 2017

Make a Difference Monday | “You’re a Good Mom” {Perception & Misconception}

“You’re a good mom.” I hear those words very often, and nearly everywhere I go–Costco, Target, church, the grocery store, the doctor’s office…you get the idea. And I suppose the strangers’ words come out naturally when they see a gal with a 16-month-old on one hip, a 21-month-old on the other, a three-year-old tagging alongside. But while I hear the words, they aren’t being said to me. The words are being said to my 16-year-old daughter, Kaitlin. Kaitlin, my oldest child who–along with younger siblings Connor and Kylie–has spent six years sharing her home and life with foster siblings. She was 10 when […]

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Children in Foster Care, Forgotten Fridays, Foster ParentingMay. 19, 2017

Forgotten Friday | My Daughter Has Her Birth Mother’s Eyes.

Yesterday we took our daughter to meet her birth mother for the first time in her (almost) 15 years of life. We were all nervous, anxious, and excited. But I had no idea I would be moved to tears. The wind was whipping down the corridors of buildings along 16th street in downtown Indianapolis. Although the sun was shining bright, it was cold. A typical late December day in Indiana. I eased the car into a spot across the street from the vintage coffee shop we were meeting in, turned the ignition off, and turned to look at my daughter […]

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Children in Foster Care, Foster Parenting, Make a Difference MondaysMay. 15, 2017

Make a Difference Monday | I’m an Inadequate Dad

“We don’t have a dad in our family,” L. remarked to me one night as I put him to bed. That’s right, bud. “But that’s kind of dangerous because dads are stronger than moms.” Yeah, that’s true. “So what if there was a bear and a wolf and a coyote?” If there was a bear and a wolf and a coyote, we would go inside and lock the door. “Oh, yeah. That would work.” It’s something that comes up from time to time. L. craves attention from and the reassuring presence of men. Just today I was helping him climb a […]

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Adoption, Children in Foster Care, Forgotten Fridays, Foster ParentingMay. 12, 2017

Forgotten Friday | Beauty from Ashes

I never thought I would make it to a Mother’s Day that my heart didn’t ache for my momma. Honestly, I thought it would always be a bittersweet reminder…a day to praise God for what I had but at the same time a day to mourn what was taken. This year is different for me. I had hope that one day I would understand, but I thought it might be 10,000 years from now. Instead, it’s today. This year is the year I KNOW that God is always good, always sovereign. He sometimes allows terrible things to happen, because He […]

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Encouragement, Make a Difference MondaysMay. 8, 2017

Make a Difference Monday | I quit my full-time job, but I’m not a failure

I’ve made some terrible choices in the last 30 years. The 90s were a decade of poor choices for me–I mean, JNCO jeans, body glitter, and white tube socks with Doc Marten wanna-be sandals?!? My poor choices expand beyond fashion and reach into more significant realms like alcohol consumption and $0.25 tacos at dive bars. Fortunately, I’ve managed to wise up with age and have made a myriad of good choices, but the one resonating with me the most lately is my decision to step away from teaching. Now hold up: If you’re expecting one of those rant-y, passionate here’s-why-I-left-teaching […]

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Children in Foster Care, Forgotten Fridays, Foster ParentingMay. 5, 2017

Forgotten Friday | All the difference.

Foster care isn’t what I thought. But of course it isn’t. Expectations rarely meet the breadth and depth of human experience. Trauma leaves a greater mark than I knew on these little ones. And that leaves a greater mark on me. But hope remains. Both my own limited personal experience and Harvard’s quantitative study confirm it. Naturally, Harvard says it best: When confronted with the fallout of childhood trauma, why do some children adapt and overcome, while others bear lifelong scars that flatten their potential? A growing body of evidence points to one common answer: Every child who winds up […]

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Children in Foster Care, Make a Difference MondaysMay. 1, 2017

Make a Difference Monday | And Then It Got Real: My First Foster Care Experience

It started when our local Baptist Association hosted an Easter egg hunt for foster families. They were kind enough to include prospective foster parents for the event, so I was attended as well. After parking near the other cars, I watched as foster moms pulled up in minivans and mega-vans and SUVs, most with multiple kids of different races piling out. I smiled as little ones toddled around with Easter baskets bigger than they were, thinking about how real this whole thing was becoming. These were blue-eyed and brown-eyed and chubby-cheeked darlings, no longer case studies or statistics. Here were […]

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Advocacy, Forgotten Fridays, Foster ParentingApr. 28, 2017

Forgotten Friday | Can I Ask You Something? (Single Mom Edition)

The nurse and doctor exchanged a look—the kind of look that said, “Are you going to explain this to her, or should I?” We had been making small talk about my son—what grade he was in, the kinds of books he likes, and the silly things he says—before she started asking me about my medical history. Being a life-long single, I answered one of the most personal questions with “never.” That’s when I derailed her. It’s cool, y’all. I know how this works. I know where babies come from. Because L. is “peach” (as he says) like me, people assume […]

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Children in Foster Care, Encouragement, Foster Parenting, Make a Difference MondaysApr. 24, 2017

Make a Difference Monday | Foster Moms

Foster moms, Two years ago I didn’t know anything about you, what you were capable of, your level of perseverance, or the wide range of emotions your heart fought every day. Two years ago I looked at you with admiration and anticipation… Because two years ago I sat and I waited… and waited and waited and waited on the arrival of our first long-term foster placement. Today that baby boy I was waiting to meet is much more than a long-term foster placement. He is my son. We experienced so much in the year and a half between the day we […]

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