Adoption Transition

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Adoption Transition
I know I haven’t offered an update since our girls came home from Ghana. I think partly because there has been nothing really outrageous to report. And quite honestly, it has kind of shocked me.

Adoption Transition

We read through the books of experts and the stories of other adoptive families how hard things are when their children come home. We were prepared, as best we could, to take on those challenges. The first week was just blissful and all the children got along like best friends. In fact, even today, the children fight over playing with Margaret! Gabriella (12) and Margaret (11) are inseparable.

So, after a few weeks of settling in, we were kind of waiting for the fireworks to begin. We waited and waited. And, well, 5 months later we’re kind of still waiting.

There haven’t been any big explosions to speak of. The girls are adjusting beautifully and each month we uncover more of them; they release more of themselves to us…little by little.

Elvis, the director of the orphanage they came from, stayed with us last weekend and he said Margaret never used to talk. He was surprised to see her talking so much!

Elvis With Girls
Margaret is a very bright, very driven young woman. And I do mean woman. When we first met her in 2011, she was 8 years old and a little girl. When we went to pick her up this July 2014, she was growing into a young woman. It’s hard to believe — it’s almost like we brought home a different girl than we originally met, just because of how much her physical appearance had changed!

She has a gift for drawing.

Margaret's Drawing
Christina has an amazing, strong, beautiful singing voice! She loves to sing, but she’s not yet ready to hone those skills in voice lessons. I pray in time she will because she has a LOT of potential.

Christina is a bit more complex. We knew from our first impression of her that her adjustment would be more difficult, but it’s far from impossible. She is a very sensitive girl and a puzzle at times, but we are working through it a day at a time. She can often struggle with motivation — to do anything; whether it’s school work or learning to ride her bike this summer. Sometimes she tends to give up a little to easily, so she needs some extra encouragement.

I remember within the first six weeks, when Christina would struggle with an issue, she would automatically shut down (or as the experts call it, “take flight”). She wouldn’t talk to anyone, despite our prodding. So, I would do the talking. I would tell her that I understand she has gone through a big change, that she must be scared and miss her family back in Ghana. I then would tell her that I wanted to help her, but I couldn’t help if she didn’t tell me what she needed. I would squeeze her in a side hug, kiss her head, tell her I loved her and leave the room.

After about 10 or 15 minutes, she would come out and open up again. But she would never tell me what it was that was bothering her. After a few weeks of doing this routine, she started to talk to me and tell me what was bothering her. It could be anything from having a headache to not wanting to eat something in particular to not wanting to do a chore.

Here’s an example of such a scenario.

A few weeks ago I integrated Margaret into switching days on and off with Gabriella on hand-washing dishes. Which, in a family of 9, is a big job. So one would wash and one would dry. Because of this, I decided it best to give Margaret’s chore of sweeping the dining room to Christina. Ohhhh she didn’t like that at all and I couldn’t quite figure out why. We had suspicions that it could be because the job was seen as “Margaret’s”.

So, we explained the situation to Elvis while he was here and he said in the orphanage, they NEVER switched chores around. Everyone always had the same chore…even if they switched days, it still remained consistent. That change in the routine didn’t sit well with Christina’s security levels. So, the job went back to Margaret.

Two Common Issues in Children With Trauma

Any child, no matter how early they were adopted, has suffered loss and trauma. When a baby is taken from their birth mother, they automatically experience trauma that is associated with loss. There are all kinds of reasons why that I won’t get into here, but suffice it to say all adopted children suffer with loss and trauma to some degree.

As a result, common behavioral issues will arise that may not be what they seem, such as lying. We don’t deal with the majority of the issues many families face.

Lying

We do continue to deal with some issues such as lying. This was something that went on in the orphanage as well, as told to us from several sources who experienced working with our girls. We are unsure yet why, but knowing it was already a “norm” {strange as it sounds} is a bit comforting.

Bryan Post is an adoptee with a wonderful organization to help adoptive parents. I learned from him that all lying stems from fear, and if you think about it, it certainly makes sense. Why do people lie? They are afraid of something. For a child, it would be punishment. For an adoptive child, it could be fear of being sent back.

These issues are not unusual for children who have trauma in their life and I share these details with you in an effort to help those coming up behind me. Because I know how valuable first-hand experience is and if I can help even one other family in similar circumstances, wonderful.

Food Issues

Many adopted children deal with food issues for a number of reasons. Food hoarding, controlling, overeating, and other behaviors involving food stem from issues of trauma. We have had to deal with some minor food issues, but even after just 5 months, many of those issues have been resolved–at least for the moment.

One of our girls was quite an eater the first 4 months and given the fact that they were rather skinny, I {mostly} let them eat until they were full. After they gained some weight and grew an inch and a half each, their eating habits leveled out. I do believe one of the girls was wanting to be sure her belly stayed full for a while, but even so, since what she was eating was healthy foods with the vitamins and nutrients she needed, I allowed it.

God has taught me (and is teaching me) so much about, not just mothering, but a deeper compassion and understanding. He is teaching me to stop reacting and to think before I speak. Something spoken in the wrong tone or at the wrong time can cause further damage rather than healing. I don’t want to end up going backwards.

Today, I am learning how to care for their hair. I have been scouring the website Chocolate Hair, Vanilla Care and plan to buy their book that just released in September. Which is an entirely different post! ;)

The Art of Apology {in marriage}

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The Art of Apology
Conflict at some point in marriage is inevitable. There are bound to be some disagreements, mounting stress, and escalated arguments. So the question isn’t “if” problems will arise. Rather, how will we (as the wife) handle the conflict when it does arise.

Before I get into some of the ways to ease a conflict, let’s evaluate briefly how marriage should be ranked and valued. Most of us know these already but could use a quick reminder.

  • Our relationships with our husband should be first priority under our relationship with God. We should put high value on it, thus making intentional effort to keep it healthy and thriving.
  • As help meets, we should aim to serve and help our husbands in ways they need us the most. Is your husband struggling to get his lunch made for work? This is where we can (and should) step in and help him get it made (preaching to myself here, right, Dear”). ;) Is he in need of support for a project or ambition? A job or career change? Your support is most important over anyone else’s. Sometimes you may not agree, but you can still be supportive and trust his decision.
  • Unity in marriage is so important. Though it’s not always possible, we should attempt [with prayer and His strength] to remain in unity with our husbands. Being in unity doesn’t mean we’re always required to agree with one another. But we can disagree in a peaceful and mature manner.

I wrote a post about giving up your “right” to be right. When we enter into disagreements with our husband, we can often feel we are right and they are in the wrong — for whatever reason. I realize this isn’t a popular method for handling conflict and it may not work for all couples pending personalities. It is a method that does require some discernment and wisdom when put into use.

But he’s the one who’s wrong! Why should I apologize?!

I can speak for myself and say that even if I was factually accurate, my attitude could have been poor or accusatory, and that puts me in the wrong, too.

Offering an apology when you feel you were “right” doesn’t necessarily mean you were completely wrong in the entirety of the problem. But I’m willing to bet there was something in the dispute you could have handled better. Your tone of voice. The words you spoke. Or even just giving the silent treatment.

The point is, the issue isn’t a matter of right or wrong sometimes. It’s a matter of restoring the relationship when it’s been pricked. The more a relationship is pricked without the opportunity to heal, the more damaged it will become. And it could take years, but damage does happen.

There is an art in your apology; a beauty if you will. When we apologize, it helps diffuse the heat. It allows for the conflict to be addressed, if necessary, without either party being hot-headed or defensive.

Jesus Died to Restore Our Relationship with the Father

Think of our relationship with Jesus — He didn’t do a thing wrong, yet He still took on the blame for our sin. Why? Because He wanted the relationship to be restored. (Galatians 4:4-5)

Our marriage is a reflection, in many ways, of our relationship with God. An apology doesn’t necessarily mean you are taking blame (what a radical idea, huh?), but it does mean you recognize you made some mistakes, too.

What if you didn’t make any mistakes and your husband is completely in the wrong? Maybe there is an issue of sin, rather than a dispute? I wouldn’t go so far as to say this doesn’t apply at all, but it definitely would require a more detailed look.

For now, use the art of an apology when you give up your right to be right during issues of minor disputes (that could get ugly).

Have you been in a dispute with your husband when you believed you were in the right, but valued unity over being “right”?

Your Roadmap to Your Best Year Ever

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Roadmap to Your Best Year Ever

OK, I gotta make this really quick…

Michael Hyatt just released his all-new 5 Days To Your Best Year Ever Coaching Program.

Last year alone over 3,000+ people went through the program – and there are some amazing stories of people experiencing incredible transformations in their life.

You can experience the same: Best Year Ever Roadmap

But there is a catch…

It’s only open for the a very short period of time.  After that, he closes it down to focus on supporting the new class of people going through the program.

If you know deep down that you’re capable of more but have felt stuck not knowing how to experience the kind of breakthrough you deserve, then go check this out.

Christin

P.S. There is even an extra bonus just on opening day!

P.P.S. The registration for this course is only open for a short period of time so don’t miss out, click the link below:

http://bestyearever.me/a7548/roadmap

Giving Up Your Rights to be Right {in marriage}

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Giving Up Your Right to be Right

{Modified from original post Jan. 2011}

My husband and I are in our 15th year of marriage. We have certainly had our shares of ups and downs as well as a couple of serious issues we had to work through. We have both grown over the years on how we handle conflict in our marriage and I can honestly tell you, that our marriage, though not perfect, is blissful.

Almost Never Easy

I realize not everyone has a blissful marriage and sometimes what works for one couple just does not work for another. Given that we each have unique situations and are unique individuals, some things just may not work in everyone’s marriage.  On the flip side, there are some radical ideas out there that can seriously save a marriage when someone has the courage to try them. I don’t mean that in a degrading way. The fact of the matter is, it takes courage to do things that go against what we’re used to or what we know based on others teachings.

I want to share with you one concept I have learned to embrace over the years. I will warn you: it is not easy. It is not popular. It is not comfortable. It requires complete and utter self-denial. It could help save your marriage. Not just from divorce, but from emptiness and building up walls.

Give Up Your Right to be Right

That concept is learning to give up your “right” to be right.

When we are right about something, we believe it is our duty to make sure our husband knows it. Somehow we’ve bought into the idea that when we are right it must be known.

Most of the time, our disputes are based on someone being right and someone being wrong. They can involve issues of sin, a simple misunderstanding, or forgetfulness.  Obviously someone is [usually] right and someone [usually] wrong. Those are the conflicts we’re going to focus on.

Right now, think about how much you value your husband. Think back to when you got married and why. Think about how wonderful it is when you two are in unity and all is happy in your marriage. It’s a great place to be! What price have you paid to keep that unity? What have you sacrificed? What have you implemented to help your marriage get to where it is now? {Assuming, of course, your marriage is doing alright}. Was it worth it?  Do you value your marriage enough to do whatever it takes to keep it healthy and thriving? To remain in unity?  The reason I’m asking all these questions is because if you answer “no”, this idea is going to be pretty useless.

Try It. Practice It.

The next time you have a disagreement with your husband, try giving up your right to be right. Give up being known as the one who has the right answer, the right response, the right attitude. Even if you know beyond the shadow of a doubt you are right. Yes, I am serious.

Very often, when I am in a dispute with my husband, I find that being in unity with him is way more important to me than being right about the argument. I’m talking matters of misunderstandings in this case, not so much sin.  Honestly step back and evaluate: what is more important? Is being right that important? Does it really matter who accidentally left the milk on the counter all night? Or if it’s his fault he doesn’t have clean socks because he didn’t throw them down the chute [or put them with the dirty laundry to be washer]. Think about what you most value. Sometimes we just need to be the one who backs down and let’s something go.

Let go of your “right” to be the one who is right. Choose unity over pride. You don’t necessarily need to say “You were right and I was wrong”. Just let it go and move on.

Apologize.

Apologize?! For what? I didn’t do anything wrong! Aha! We’ll talk about apologizing in another post.

*Disclaimer:

What I am NOT saying:

I am not saying to ignore large issues that need addressing. This is simply talking about the smaller “tiffs” in marriage that could blow up into a whole big mess for nothing.

I am not saying you have to be a door mat. This is a personal decision based upon your particular circumstances. I have found this to work wonders in my marriage, even though it is not easy. My husband does not take advantage of my “backing off” by making it worse. Use discretion. Be sure this type of thing would work in your marriage and not make things worse.

Characteristics of Those Who Succeed

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Characteristics of Those Who Succeed

Can we be honest for a second?

It’s not easy making progress against our big goals is it?

Today more than ever there are a million things competing for our attention and I don’t know about you, but life often feels chaotic.

Whether it’s work conflicting with family time or missed appointments and deadlines and feeling like you never have control over your schedule – life can feel disheartening at times can’t it?

It’s like no matter what you do, you always feel like you struggle to find time and the important things are falling through the cracks.

But…

It might be easier than you think to turn things around.

Especially after you watch this video from Michael Hyatt outlining the 5 characteristics of those who get what they want.

It’s arguably some of the best free content online today.

Enjoy!

CLICK HERE TO WATCH VIDEO

Christin

P.S. This video comes with a free PDF download that will take this content to a whole new level for you.

4 Secrets for Creating a Spectacular Year

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Make Things Happen
 

Ask yourself this…

If so many people have good intentions around this time of year to truly create change in their life, then why do so many fail months, weeks (even days) after setting their New Year’s Resolutions?

It happens every single year.

When it happens to so many people, it kind of makes you think that it’s more the goal-setting “process” that’s broken – right?

The problem is, very few of us were ever taught a process for truly getting what we want in life.

NYT bestselling author Michael Hyatt wants to change that – starting with this free video called “4 Secrets To A Breakthrough Year“.

How about a fresh perspective on goal setting?  One that will help you move on from past failure. One that will help you look ahead with clarity and confidence.

I don’t know about you but I want 2015 to be different. If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. Time to change things up and shift your perspective.

Michael shares the four secrets you need to create a solid foundation for success with your goals. Without these, you’ll find it virtually impossible to get what you want this year.

However, with them, you’ll be setup to have your best year ever.

Enjoy!

Christin

P.S.  If you’ve ever felt like there was something standing between you and the things you want most in life, go watch this video (plus it’s free for a limited period of time!):

For His Glory.png

In Which I Admit My Humanity {Moms in the Word}

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The reason I started the Moms in the Word community was to help myself and other moms to get in the Word daily — and that remains it’s goal today.

However, I have been weighing myself down with the weekly blog post that I simply cannot always get to. Having seven children makes life quite unpredictable most days and while blogging is still important to me, I can’t make commitments that I’m unable to follow through on. I don’t want to be worried about an “overdue post” while I’m homeschooling my children because then they don’t have my full attention. And honestly? I’m a little on edge when I’m stressing over things like that.

Moms in the Word Moved
 

I want the original Moms in the Word community and goals to continue, so I will continue to read the Word and share via Instagram and Twitter instead…it’s faster and more efficient and allows me to remain focused on the most important goal: getting in the Word. 

I have also opened up the Facebook group so those interested in sharing can collaborate in an easier way. I hope you’ll join me there? :)

This isn’t to say I won’t ever post regarding Moms in the Word, but I am not setting up specific days or times for it. I’ll post as I feel lead. :)

 JOIN THE FACEBOOK GROUP

Follow me on Instagram. Find #MomsInTheWord on Instagram.

Simple Advent Devotional for Your Children

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  Truth in the Tinsel - Advent Devotional

 

Available right now is the popular Advent devotional, Truth in the Tinsel, written by my sweet friend Amanda. This is such a simple, well written devotional, with simple craft ideas to make it meaningful and memorable, for you and your children, each day of Advent.

It’s not too late!

And, if you’re a bit too busy during this season to make your own Advent ornaments, Amanda offers them all pre-made for you! Sometimes, you just can’t put a price on keeping things simple.

Truth in the Tinsel ornaments

Sometimes, for me, it’s a decision whether not doing it at all, or taking the simple road and doing it. Some seasons just require more simplicity and that’s OK.

GET YOURS HERE

Grapevine Bible Studies for Kids

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Grapevine Studies
I am so excited to share this Bible Study resource with you for your children. I am in the process of going through and preparing a review on The Birth of Jesus for you so you can see how it works, but I can already tell you that it is a very creative and solid way to teach your children the Bible. I love how it can be as creative as your child wants it to be.

Creating the figures and symbols helps to solidify important concepts into your children’s minds. Do you have a child who likes to “doodle” while they listen to a read aloud? It’s kind of like that. It actually helps them remember it better. I look forward to sharing more with you soon! For now, I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity for you to grab a study while they are on the lowest price of the year.

Grapevine Studies
Grapevine Studies Black Friday Sale
 

You can even try out some sample pages.

You can purchase either a hard copy or ebook version. Whatever works best for you!

CLICK HERE

Redeemed Lantern $8 Today!

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Y’all, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share this beautiful lantern with you as it’s only $8 today! Would make a GREAT gift and are only available while supplies last. Snag two or three!

Lantern Lantern 2

 For more Black Friday deals from DaySpring, go here.

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