Outside-the-Box Kids Can Thrive

Outside-the-Box Kids Can Thrive

Outside-the-Box Kids Made to Thrive

Too many children are daily being forced to meet expectations that they were never meant to fulfill.  These outside-the-box kids were made differently and distinctly with gifts, talents and purposes that cannot be met by others.  These outside-the-box kids must be equipped to thrive in this world.

Adoption of an Outside-the-Box, High-Needs Child

My hubby and I adopted a baby boy almost 6 years ago.  When our son hit 18 months, he began to destroy our home and our family.    His horrific and uncontrollable behaviors included aggression, destruction, and dangerous thrill-seeking behaviors. He screamed ALL.DAY.LONG. for about 3 years straight. Did not sleep more than two hours a time for almost a year and a half… that, of course, made things astronomically worse.

However, God used this 4 year experience of HELL in our desperate fight for answers.  He worked through relationships with amazing pediatric specialists.  God forced me into my own season of Christian counseling as I faced my own internal junk. tHe allowed this all to completely transform me as a Christian mother, wife, friend and educator.

And that transformation completely SAVED my relationship with my biological daughter.  Honestly, I believe it has saved her life.

Saved My Daughter

At the time that we adopted my son, we had no idea that our daughter was an outside-the-box kid longing to thrive.  We didn’t know that she was an Aspie girl.

For years, I tried to make her into a social butterfly like her older sister and me.  I didn’t understand why she way so “shy.”  I worried about her heightened-sensitivity level.  Her tears, her emotions… I wanted to “fix” her.
When she would not do what I wanted when I wanted it, I would become frustrated with her…

And she felt it… she felt my disappointment and the disappointment of others when she could not be who the world says a young girl should be.  It kills me to think about what she must have felt about herself knowing that she was different from her sister and a lot of the children we were surrounded by on a daily basis.

It is not the being different that likely made her feel less-than.  Nope, it was the messages she was receiving from the world around her, most importantly, in her own home.   The messages that told her she needed to be someone who God never intended for her to be that could have destroyed her life.

Circling back to 4 years of hell with my adopted son.  The education and humbling that I experienced, radically has changed me as a human being.

And, by God’s mercy, I am convinced that it saved my daughter!!

I fight the tears right now as I think about what she would have felt and believed about herself if I had continued parenting her with the idea that she needed to be someone different.  Someone who the world wants to be.

An Overlooked & Suffering Population

Aspie girls are suffering so much… for so many reasons.  One of the most crucial reasons that these girls are suffering is because they are being misdiagnosed.  They are being completely overlooked because Aspie girls present so differently than boys and the criteria has been based upon boys.  The mental health implications of being missed are astronomical.

Anxiety
Anorexia
Depression
Suicide
Trauma
etc…

But they do not have to!

Our outside-the-box girls are EVERYWHERE!

Except that so many have been told their entire formative years that they are not enough… they are inherently defective.  They have been told that they should not be who they have been created to be.

That their interests are “weird”… that they must change to be accepted.

That they must shove their outside-the-box selves into the one-size-fits-all facade that we have believed is the “right” way to live.

These outside-the-box kids do not thrive like this.  They often don’t even survive.

Can you imagine living your life like this?

So what do these outside-the-box girls do?  What do so many of our outside-the-box kids do?

They hide. At home. Alone.

There are likely millions of outside-the-box kids out there who are not thriving.

Kids with ADHD, Autism, Sensory Processing Disorder, Auditory Processing Disorder, Learning Differences, Aspies, introverts… whatever.  It doesn’t matter if they have a diagnosis or not.  Who cares?!!!

These outside-the-box kids and outside-the-box adults are EVERYWHERE!

Mental Health Crisis Hamster Wheel

Why are we forcing  so many gifted, loving, talented and brilliant people onto the hamster wheel of mental illness?!

‘I’m not good enough.’

‘I always screw up.’

‘The teacher is mad at me again.’

‘I said the wrong thing.’

‘The noise was just too much and I couldn’t handle it.’

‘I cannot focus in a room full of other kids.’

‘What is wrong with me?’

The messages that our children consistently receive from the world are most often the ones that plague them for the rest of their lives.

How many more kids have to scream for help through drug-abuse, cutting, suicide, etc before we take a good look at this one-size-fits all system that is FAILING so many children?

Value Neurodiversity

We say that we value diversity in this country and yet we have a system set up for one type of child.

Our kids have gifts and talents and hearts that just want to love and be loved.

Often times, we try to raise our unique kids using the “world’s” expectations as our goal…

When our young kids cannot take it any longer, they explode… often times behaviorally.

I have learned, by God’s grace, that our children are gifts to this world and need to be raised in a way that allows them to thrive and shine.

Community of Moms Willing to Do it Differently

We must do this in community. We need one another to be brave for our girls… for all of the outside-the-box kids who are wired-differently than the world wants them to be. But again, what in the world is “different” when there are millions and millions of them in this world?!

I just want you all to know that there is a different way and I am rallying moms of outside-the-box kids to be BRAVE and do this parenting thing differently. 

Parenting Peanut-Gallery

We must stop being afraid of what the parenting commentary peanut-gallery people think of us as parents. We have to not care what the “experts” say if it is going to destroy the adulthood of our children.

These girls will spend roughly 75-80% of their lives as adults. These years matter. What they believe about themselves matters! They will carry this childhood with them into adulthood. We all do.

Let’s do this differently, Friends.

Rallying a Community of Moms

Please join me in this. I recently laid aside my side-business as a private tutor for kids with varying learning disabilities (again… they just learn differently that the system tells them they should…).

I did this to start an organization to equip moms to confidently parent their outside-the-box kids for a life of confidence and purpose.

I am rallying moms all over the country and the world to learn how to see Behind the Behaviors so they can “see” the true needs for their children. Then I equip them with tools, strategies and steps so that they can equip their outside-the-box children well.

Let’s equip these precious kids (our girls, in this instance) with what she needs to take the next step towards her amazing future.

I believe we must do this in community, Moms.   Join the private Facebook group, a community of moms partnering together to raise THRIVING outside-the-box kids.  

I cringe when I think of what could have been with my daughter if I had continued following on the path of traditional discipline and parenting with her.

She is thriving!!!

My son is thriving.

My almost 14 year old NT daughter is thriving…

Not because of me… but because of God and  how He has taken the lies I have believed for so many years.

The lies that told me that my value came from my children’s behaviors.  The lie that told me that if my child wasn’t behaving according to the culture’s expectations at one given moment-in-time, that I was a failure and that they would end up a mess.

Fear is a LIAR

I am a Christian.  I put my faith in Christ.  As such, I know that we have an enemy who would love nothing more than for me to look to the benchmarks and expectations of the world to dictate who my children “should be.”  The reality is though, that our children are each “wonderfully and fearfully made” and that God has a plan for each one of them.

Why can’t we trust that God has a plan for our children that may not look like every one else’s plan?  Why does every child have to be and act in the same manner in order to have value and develop confidence?

Let’s not fall into FEAR-based parenting… for the sake of our children.

Clearly with the mental health stats for kids off the charts, it makes perfect sense that we as moms should feel pretty confident that there MUST be a different and more effective way to equip our children.

Imagine a happy, thriving Aspie daughter who knows her worth… who finds her people… who knows that mom is in her corner and believes in her fully.

Imagine that same scenario for thousands and thousands of children throughout the country.  Imagine what they could do if they were encouraged to be who they have been created to be and equipped accordingly?

Oh my word… I cannot wait to see what God does with these amazing children He has so uniquely made.

 

What about you, Friend?  Does this idea of parenting our more outside-the-box kids differently resonate with you?  Would love to know more about you and your family.  Comment below.  Grateful for you.

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Moms, Let’s Be Brave

Moms, Let’s Be Brave

To my momma friends and fellow educators who love and are invested in outside-the-box children, let’s be brave for our kids. ❤️ 

The children who are constantly hearing that they are not enough. 

The ones who will never live up the expectations of the adults around them. 

Like the kid back in school who was considered a troublemaker and ended up exactly as expected by the adults around him… 

The “loser” with a life that went nowhere. 

There is an underlying belief in our homes, schools, churches and our culture as a whole that there is a one-size-fits all approach to “unacceptable” behavior. We may try to deny this in the name of political correctness, but we must be honest about this reality for the sake of our outside the box kids. 

 

When we cannot control 

When adults cannot “control” the “challenging” behavior of children, the perception is that there is something wrong with the child. 

The idea that perhaps we are using the wrong approach with the more “challenging” kids rarely comes to mind. 

Again, the adults blame the child and continue with the same ineffective, life-sucking discipline strategies… and the behaviors increase as the child’s sense of self-worth decreases. 

 

Set Up to Fail

So many of our kids are placed in no-win situations as they continuously fail to live up to the accepted expectations of the world around them.

These expectations are often based upon benchmarks of development academically and behaviorally… Except these kids don’t meet the benchmarks and are always behind. 

They are repeatedly corrected, punished, and shamed. 😔 These kids spend their formative years hearing about their faults, and their inability to please the adults and even other kids around them.

 

 

 

 

Mental Illness Hamster Wheel 

These misunderstood children frequently end up trapped in a cycle of mental health issues that plague them for life. Rates of childhood anxiety, depression, cutting, and suicide are growing. 

We need to wake up to the fact that there are so many kids out there suffering under the pressure of inappropriate adult expectations. 

We are raising children to one day be adults. These formative years are crucial.

 

Mom Friends, it’s time to be BRAVE for our children.

 It’s time to be BRAVE for our outside-the-box children. 

Let’s stop approaching those who don’t fit the mold, who don’t respond to traditional discipline, with the belief that these kids are WILLFULLY making a choice to disobey. 

It is time for us to be our child’s cheerleader and coach. Let us coach them well while we encourage them on to be the best outside-the-box kid they can be. 

 

God Intentionally Chose You 

Moms, you know in your gut there must be another way for your “outside-the-box” kid.

You know that God has created your child uniquely and that He must have a plan for your child. You KNOW IT!! 

Yet, fear takes over. However, you don’t know what to do, but you know your child cannot thrive knowing that he is a constant disappointment.

We must be brave for our children who have been created differently. We must be willing to think outside-the-box with our outside-the-box kids. 

Let’s equip our children with tools and strategies so that they can live a life of confidence and purpose. 

Or we can continue to listen to the world and it’s rewards and punishment mentality. How is that working for your child? 

Every child needs an adult who believes in them… let’s be that for our kids.

  

Wisdom of Moms Raising Outside-the-Box Kids

 Mom Friends, it’s time to be BRAVE for our children. 

It’s time to be BRAVE for our unique outside-the-box children. We must be brave for our children who dare to be “DIFFERENT.” 

 

The Irony of “Different” 

Interestingly, referring to our outside-the-box kids as “different” is insanely ironic. Why? 

Hello?!! There are hundreds of thousands of them in our country. However, many of them are hiding out at home suffering alone because the culture’s expectations have destroyed any shred of their confidence. 

These kiddos need to be raised, educated, disciplined, and loved in a way that best equips them to flourish into healthy adults. God has equipped our children to be “salt and light.” 🥰 

Many of our kids display behaviors that are perceived as pure willful disobedience… Adults mistakenly believe that these kids are choosing to behave poorly. 

Further, we adults reek of hypocrisy and confuse our children. When we lose it, fly off the handle or meltdown in some way, we justify it by listing all the stress in our lives.

  

“It all just built up and I lost it.”

 

We give ourselves and other adults grace, but rarely our children. 

On the other hand, when children dare to meltdown in the grocery store after a long and exhausting day at school, we shame them. Onlookers often pass judgment and whisper, “He just needs a good spanking.” The self-righteous mom with her “perfectly” obedient, shakes her head a the mom wrestling her son into the cart. 

Unfortunately, I’m ashamed to say that prior to the adoption of my son with “hidden” cognitive special needs, I was incredibly oblivious to the severity of my pride and self-righteousness. 

The reality is that as a culture, we act as though we are surprised when a young, immature and growing child has a meltdown. 

 

Fear Leads to Meltdowns in Adults Too 

More importantly, when we as adults feel out of control, it scares us… 

Adults often respond to socially unacceptable behaviors from a place of fear and insecurity.. Because we believe we should be able to control children, we feel like failures and become increasingly frustrated.

Think about it. When we feel fear and insecurity how do we most often respond? punishment, aggression, anger. 

Let me repeat that: Adults respond to internal fear and insecurity very often through behaviors that look like anger and aggression. 

Could it be that children who behave through anger and aggression are actually struggling with fear?  This is a rhetorical question. 

Unfortunately, mom friends, if we really allow ourselves to go there, we will likely recognize that we often parent out of fear. 

We fear for the child’s future. ‘What will happen to him if I don’t stop behavior X, Y, or Z?’ 

Because we don’t know what else to do, we often fall back on the influence of a culture that is not invested in the heart, mind, soul and spirit of our “outside-the-box” child. The culture and traditional approaches often just want the inconvenient behaviors to stop. But at what cost?

 

Who cares most about your child’s future? 

The culture tells you that it is your kid that is the problem. You had better find a way to mold your child to fit in the box.  Discipline harder. Be more consistent.  Ignore him.   Your outside-the-box kiddo is expected to ‘suck it up’ and behave regardless of his capability to do so.  Parents are told that there is only one way. You are told to force your child to fit the mold. If you can’t change your child, people perceive you as a poor parent. 

Momma Friend, I hear it every day. 

  • The school called. My kid flipped out and hit a little boy in class. Now he is suspended.
  • My daughter clings to me at church because it is so loud and crazy in there. She started melting down in the middle of the foyer last Sunday.
  • The teacher said that my child is off in lala land and that’s why she can’t learn to read.
  • My son comes home from school every day and screams and has meltdowns. No one believes me.
  • My child begs me not to send him to school (church, sports, etc) each day.
  • Getting to get my child to do her homework always ends up in tears and stress. She just screams that it’s too much to do.
  • I just found out that my daughter is cutting. She is under so much pressure. How do I help her?
  • My child can’t sit for circle time. She is going to get kicked out of preschool.
  • My son came home sobbing because he was back on red today. He told me that he tried so hard to sit still but when he did that, he couldn’t focus on what the teacher said. The teacher then moved his card down because he wasn’t paying attention. He can’t win.
  • The mom down the street won’t let my child play with hers because he had a full-blown meltdown when it was time for him to share.
  • The counselor says I shouldn’t coddle him…
  • The list goes on.

 

We Know God Does Not Make Mistakes 

We know deep down inside of us that there must be a better and different approach in order to thrive. 

And yet, out of FEAR of the culture (the schools, the teachers, the church, our friends, the lady in the grocery store…), we mommas cave and anxiously try to force our child to meet the world’s expectations.

We don’t know what else to do so we then push harder, yell louder, punish longer…  Sometimes our kids acquiesce out of fear or exhaustion… having learned nothing about how to handle tough situations in the future. 

 

Immediate Obedience at What Cost? 

The cost of quick obedience through shame and punishment is HIGH... broken parent-child relationships, depression, anxiety, low self-worth, cutting, increased suicide rates… 

The price is exponentially higher for children with cognitive differences or delays. So many of these kids do not have the capability to comply appropriately through rewards and punishments because they are stuck in fight-or-flight. 

As a culture we say celebrate diversity and yet we have virtually no tolerance for children who are “different.” 

For the child who doesn’t fit inside the cultural box… the ones who are “different.” 

Let’s be brave together, Moms.

  

Let’s Equip Our Kids 

Our children need to be equipped with the skills, direction, tools, LOVE and support of adults so that they can learn to appropriately handle big emotions, thoughts, etc… 

When children are not taught these crucial life skills in a way in which they can receive and process, they fail and disappoint the world around them… over and over again. 

My heart aches for the children whose sense of self-worth and ability to function in this world are often dictated by a perspective of children that assumes the worst of them. 

No more sending our kids to their rooms yelling, “Go to your room until you can behave!!!” 

Let’s actually look behind the behavior FIRST. 

Let’s teach them to behave appropriately by equipping them with lifelong emotional regulation skills and tools. Momma, we must give them the education they need. Our children need to understand the LARGE sensations they experience inside their bodies… (aka feelings). We need to engage them in conversations about how their thoughts impact their feelings and behaviors. 

What if we rally together to equip them instead of shame them?

  

God Chose You to Parent Your Child 

Every adult remembers that kid from school who couldn’t get it together and behave in class… The troublemaker…  Maybe you were that kid.  Maybe you beat the odds… but most don’t. 

Eventually after never being able to please and “obey right away,” that childhood “troublemaker” believed that he could not ever do it right.  He was forced into the cycle of “I suck and I can’t do anything right.” 

These are the ones who will never know real relationship and love because they were never taught how to appropriately handle their thoughts, emotions and such…. 

These are the kids from school who never succeeded. 

 Is that what we want for our children?

 

Fight for God’s Gifts to Shine Through Your Child

 Let us parent our children from the perspective of the gospel. God loved us before we loved him. God sought relationship with us while we were still sinners. He looked beyond our behaviors and showed us love through his Son. 

When our children mess up, let’s pour out the grace that God has gifted to us. Let us pour into our relationship with our child and show them that they are valuable even when they mess up… even when they struggle to focus, are impulsive, can’t learn math, struggle with social awkwardness.  

God has a plan for each of these children.  

Let’s be brave, Friends, and do something different for our kids.  

Imagine fearlessly raising our “different” kids into confident, healthy and productive adults…🥳

God has made us all unique!!   We say we believe in individuality and diversity yet we expect all kids to be the same in development, wiring, behaviorally and we shame them when they don’t comply!!!

 

 Children are adults in the making…

Is it possible that perhaps there is a different, more peaceful, relational way to raise our children so that they can be “wired differently” and that be seen as a blessing?  

It is time that we rally together to love, relate to, teach and ultimately influence these more “challenging” kids in a way that equips them for their best.  

Every child can succeed.  I firmly believe that God has blessed us with so many amazing and UNIQUE children with strengths that may currently be perceived as weaknesses… 🥰 

What happens when we look behind the behaviors and see the strengths of these kids?  What happens if we choose to love them well even when they are behaving in ways that make us uncomfortable? 

Imagine what would happen if we as adults allowed ourselves to focus on what our child needs in this season in order to later be able to function and love others well in the future. 

One step at a time, let’s connect with our kids and equip them with a vision of who they CAN be…. ❤️

 

outside-the-box kids, adhd, autism, aspergers, aspie, asd, sensory, moms, parenting, homeschool, christian parenting, aspie girls, aspergers, autism, adhd, aspie girl

Let’s be ok with parenting naysayers’ judgement and focus our attention on what our hild needs to grow into the person God has equipped him or her to be… 

Moms, let’s be brave and rally together to fight for the different and outside-the-box kids… 🥳

 

Let’s be Brave for Our Kids Together.

 Join the private Facebook Group and find community, encouragement and actionable strategies to equip your unique child well. 

 

Grab Your Free Behind the Behaviors Intro Bundle!

Stop losing your momma mind!  Parent from a place of confidence & freedom! Deepen your parent-child relationship.

Equip your child with  tools to navigate BIG emotions in a healthy way.  Empower your unique child to live a life of confidence and purpose.

Create peace & joy in your home and ENJOY your child.

Special Needs Adoption & Parenting- Podcast Interview

Special Needs Adoption & Parenting- Podcast Interview

Our Special Needs Adoption & Parenting Journey

I was about to finally share my family’s story of special needs adoption and parenting publicly.  

A couple of weeks ago, I slyly grabbed my laptop and quickly snuck up the stairs. Once on the landing of the second floor, I briskly tiptoed into my master bedroom. Locking the bedroom door behind me, I settled myself down in the middle of my walk-in closet.   Yep.  Nestled in a pile of jeans, dresses, and shirts that apparently I liked enough to try on that week, but not enough to put them back on their respective hangers, I sat.

Earlier that morning, I had dragged my teal cushioned ottoman into my closet earlier that day in preparation for that moment. Yep… the outside-the-box mother that I have become transformed the ottoman as the perfect “desk” for that Dell. And… it would fit perfectly in my closet.

Special Needs Adoption Requires Parents to Hide Sometimes

‘Lindsay, why were you hiding in your closet?’

Well, that would be because of my son. I was sitting in my closet about to share my family’s story because of my son. Relying on uninterrupted time is not a wise decision in my house. It is always a good idea to add an extra layer of sound-proofing in my house.

The Podcast Interview- Mom to Mom

Rachel Olson of the Sweetest and Toughest Podcast interviewed me that day… we discussed so much.

  • My story of infertility
  • Special Needs domestic adoption,
  • Parenting through the most volatile behaviors of an “uncontrollable child,”
  • Learning about “hidden” special needs,
  • Mom-on-mom judgement,
  • Letting go of the lies that suffocated me,
  • The isolation of special needs adoption and parenting,
  • and God’s redemptive story in this whole journey.

Adoptive Moms Parenting Children with Special Needs 

Mommas parenting children with “cognitive special needs are in every community.  Often, however, they are isolated and alone.  I know because I was and am one of them. Except now I don’t hide in shame and judgement.

This is why I am sharing. This is why I have captured EVERY valuable strategy that I WISH I had known when I was completely alone, depressed and had no hope for our family’s future.

Somewhere there is a momma hiding in her closet. Except she is not hiding for a podcast interview, she is hiding because she cannot bear to face another day living in a warzone. Share this with her. There is so much hope!

Adoption Story: Meeting & Saying Good-bye to His Birth Mom, Part 4

Adoption Story: Meeting & Saying Good-bye to His Birth Mom, Part 4

If you have not read Parts 1-3, please click here to read those first. 🙂

Seeing her for the first time that Wednesday afternoon was intense.

Just moments prior, I had cradled a precious baby boy in my arms.  In reality, I held a fragile and innocent baby boy that she had delivered into the world just 18 hours earlier.  Within that past hour, a kind-eyed NICU nurse had reached her gloved hands into a sterile incubator.  She nonchalantly lifted that infant out of that protective plastic enclosure and gently placed him into my internally shaking arms.

Just moments earlier, I had been holding another woman’s baby as my own. I had been holding HER baby boy.

Ian and I cautiously entered through the threshold of her hospital room and found ourselves engulfed in an anxious tidal wave.

There Ian and I were face-to-face with the woman whom God would use to bring us our own little deliverer.  The next 48 hours were by far the most uncomfortable and conflicted moments of my life.

I was on the verge of a break down. Beyond the point of exhaustion from the year-long emotional hurricane that we had just survived, the fact that I had just been nuzzling her newborn son was too much to process. He was her son but was also supposed to be my son.

Our eyes met and without another thought, I rushed to her bedside.  She looked desperately broken. She and I immediately reached for each other’s hands.  The tears streamed down both sets of our cheeks and I told her how amazing she was for allowing him to live.  She could have so easily taken his life before he was born, but she chose to let him breathe life.  I poured out my gratitude to her and shared with her how much God loves and treasures her.

In those first few moments of sitting next to her bedside, holding her hand, I knew God was going to have to intervene in a very obvious way. The naturally the happy-go-lucky extroverted sanguine that I am, was buried beneath grief, sadness, confusion and a tiny amount of relief. I knew I would be unable to hold it together and keep the conversation going for the next two days.  I was faking it as much as I could but I was on the edge of collapse.

The earthquake inside of me was an 8.0 in the Richter scale.

That precious baby boy was still 100% hers.  I was very aware that even though she had placed a baby boy into another dear woman’s family through adoption in the past, that she could just as easily change her mind with us.  I was so scared and anxious about losing our child and yet, I was also deeply saddened for her.

His birth mom was so incredibly broken in spirit.

While speaking she projected the belief that she was no more valuable than the “scum on the bottom of the gum on a shoe.”  She clearly was not aware of Whose she was and didn’t know how proud He was of her. That brave woman sacrificed her role as a parent because she knew her baby needed to be the first priority.  A selfless woman who suffered incredibly for the sake of her little boy’s life… she was blind to that part of herself.  In her mind, she was a wretch. In our minds, she was an instrument of God.

The emotional tension enveloping that hospital room was sucking the breath out of us all.  Her desperation for peace was evident to all. My desperation for finality had to remain quiet.  In her mind, all was final as she had already mentally signed the paperwork releasing her rights to Little Man over to us.

“Do you mind if I go and see him?”  She tentatively asked me the next afternoon.

‘Do I mind?’

He was still her child.  He wasn’t even legally ours.  Didn’t she know what a basket case I was?  How did she not realize that Ian and I felt like imposters every time we entered into the nursery and cradled and held HER baby boy?   Didn’t she know that I was scared to death that she would change her mind?

Her inquiry revealed the reality that in her mind he was already our child.

Oh, that precious and hurting woman.  I will never be able to erase her face from my mind.

Ian was doing his best to walk the tightrope between two extremely irrational and hurting women.

The next two days dragged moment by moment. Interestingly enough, it was my introverted husband who end up maintaining the conversations with her. During the multitude of hours we spent in her hospital room, he was the one to build a safe relationship with her.

My hubby is obsessed with sports and we soon realized that our birth mother was also a sports fan.  It was amazing to see my husband connect with her.  The two of them engaged in light conversations bantering about various sports teams and their star players.  They would discuss scores and statistics and clutch plays from years past.

It was my introverted, prefer-to-not-have-to-talk hubby who maintained the majority of conversation. Ian elevated the mood when she would fall into deep grief and sadness.  He was always able to make her smile and she would begin to engage again.

At one point she confessed that while pregnant she engaged in some pretty dangerous behaviors.

She cried and apologized profusely.  In response, we reminded her that she was already forgiven. Ian and I were so grateful to her for allowing him to live.

Identity In Christ Download printable

Know Your Identity in Christ. Download up to three different versions of this artwork to display for you and every member of your family. Sign up below for access.

 

  Identity in Christ



Know Your Identity in Christ. Download up to three different versions of this artwork to display for you and every member of your family. Sign up above for access.

 

 


Friday morning arrived tentatively as if the sun itself was aware that a death and a renewal of life would occur within the next few hours.     Interestingly, the dichotomy of adoption played out that morning. As she signed the paperwork, a death occurred. The slightest hope that she would be able to parent her own son was annihilated with the stroke of a pen. At the same time, with that same signature came new life in the form of a family which just grew by one. Death brought life that morning.     Birth Mom lumbered throughout her hospital room as she attempted to clothe herself in jeans and a sweatshirt.  She released the well-worn hospital gown to the floor as if she was releasing her shame and condemnation.  She had gifted her child a fresh start and it was her turn to start anew as well.  Ultimately, that was and is my prayer for her.    

 


“Is it alright if I see him one last time?

She asked my permission to see him again.  Just typing those words brings back the muddle of angst which penetrated my soul at that moment.  Her overwhelming grief tormented us both.     It breaks my heart just thinking about her anguish.     In actuality, she believed she was disposable.  I could not believe she had ever felt the need to ask my permission to see her boy.  Her humility was as shocking as a bucket of iced-water poured suddenly on one’s back. “Of course you can see him,” I reassured her.     She and I slowly walked back to the nursery through the long hallway with walls covered in portraits of newborn babies. As we traveled down that never-ending corridor, she pleaded with me.  I will never forget her words.    


“Please don’t ever let him think that I don’t love him.”

     My heart broke in twofor her…     In response, I promised her that he will always know how much she loved him.     My son’s birth mother was and is simply amazing.  In her brokenness, she loved him enough to give him a chance at a better life.     She is the picture of humility and my heart continues to grieve for her loss.  Additionally, our family is indebted to her forever.  She gave us a son.     *****     The nurse approached me with a little life of flesh and blood in her hands. It was as if he was being delivered into the safety of a family chosen by God for him.      Out of the confusion and trauma that he had experienced for the first 39 weeks of his developing life, he was entering the safety of a family.     However, God was also delivering my family into our own place of refuge.  Mercifully, God was delivering us (me specifically) from a life of outward perfection but inward idolatry and arrogance. He was delivering me into the life-altering, pride-crushing, idol-destroying journey of sanctification.      God used our baby boy as a deliverer for me.  My boy has torn me down over and over again, demolishing my pride through repeated humiliation and the disappointment of unmet expectations.      By His Mercy, God has used my precious little man to build me back up stone by stone with His Son as the cornerstone.     Thank you, God, for A. Thank you, God, for our boy.       For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.  In love, he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ. – Ephesians 1:4-5            


 

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Adoption Story: Infertility to Adoption… He is Finally Here!, Part 3

Adoption Story: Infertility to Adoption… He is Finally Here!, Part 3

“This is Part 3 of a Series… If you have not already done so, please check out PART 1  and PART 2 to catch up on our story.  🙂

The sun glared in our faces as we stepped out of the car and onto the black pavement of that Florida hospital’s packed parking lot.

It was almost noon… closer to 11:30 actually as our meeting time had been set for just before twelve.  Our little boy had been born just 15 hours earlier as Ian and I were passing through Georgia on our way to the Sunshine State.

Hand in hand, Ian and I hesitantly approached the hospital’s main entrance in anticipation of meeting our son.  I remember feeling incredibly anxious and curious at the same to as to what these next hours would hold for us.

In the past year, we had been through what seemed like a nightmare.

We had lost 7 pregnancies.  One of our losses resulting in the delivery of our stillborn daughter.  The trauma of holding her lifeless body in my hands has been etched into my brain so deeply that the cavern of anguish will likely remain forever.

Then add to that the rocky terrain of the next 9 months.  I fell into a monthly ritual of staring at those annoying white sticks clad with pink positive signs.  Later, I would listlessly watch those plus signs become fainter and fainter until alas, I would bleed.  With that release of blood would come the mixture of shame, pain and anger all at once.

As we passed through the threshold of the hospital and into the sterile foyer, my emotional state began to tilt towards the side of anxiety and dread as I prepared myself for the next shoe to drop.  Ian and I took a seat on the cool leather couches of the waiting area.  We rested our weary bodies for just a few minutes before a lovely lady exited a nearby elevator.  Our nervous eyes met her cheerful and calming glance, and she eagerly approached us.

That sweet lady introduced herself as our social worker and proceeded to go over the details of our son’s delivery and his current state of health.

Soon after his birth, he began struggling to breathe, she informed us, and therefore was admitted to the NICU overnight.  She gave me a brief overview of our birth mother’s state of health and mind and then asked us if we were ready to meet our son.   We nodded our agreement and began to follow her throughout the hospital.

The sound of our shoes on the cold, hard, lifeless linoleum floor echoed through the hospital corridors.  The journey to the NICU seemed to take forever and with every step I could feel my heart pounding that much harder.  I remember taking a quick peek at Ian thinking, “Praise God that I have him.”  That man is my rock here on earth.  He always seems so chill.  If he were like me, we would be in big trouble!!  Ha!

As we turned a corner, we came upon two massive white double doors.  The social worker scanned her badge at the door and the door unlocked allowing us to pass through.  After washing our hands thoroughly and dressing in sterile robes, we were escorted into the NICU.  We were welcomed into the pediatric safety haven by the sound of various beeping noises and the sight of several small incubators encasing the most precious and vulnerable babes of this world.

Our social worker led us through a maze of vulnerable dependent little bodies to our little man’s incubator.

I remember staring at him for the first time as if I was watching myself on film.  Thinking, “Oh my word!  This is him,” I cautiously examined his fragile body.   He was crinkled up with his legs and arms pulled into his torso.   I remember contemplating the fact that I was “supposed” to feel a certain way… that I was “supposed” to instantly fall in love with him like they do in the movies.  However, that was not my reality.  I held his little body in my arms and thought to myself, ‘I am holding a stranger’s baby.’

“I am holding another woman’s baby.”

He was still her child.  He was not my child yet. He could be ripped away from me just as quickly as all seven of those pregnancies.  I was emotionally guarded.  I did not want to be… I remember wishing away the emotional distance and fear.  However, I am simply a human being.  I had to “love” this baby as best I could under the circumstances.  He was precious… no doubt about that.  He was hers though.  I needed to respect that.  I needed to respect her.

Adoption is beautiful, but it is at the same time so tragic.

In order for my family to grow here on earth, a precious and broken woman would have to say goodbye to a baby boy whom she had carried in her womb for 9 months.  That contradiction was not lost on me.

Soon after our initial meeting with that precious baby boy came our first introduction with his birth mother.  Nothing could have prepared me for what we were about to experience those next 36 hours.

Sweet Friend, do you have a story of infertility or adoption?  Do either of those topics have a place in your special needs parenting story?  I would love to know more of your story.  Comment below or feel free to email me.

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Adoption Story: Miscarriage to Special Needs Adoption, Part 2

Adoption Story: Miscarriage to Special Needs Adoption, Part 2

In that season of grief, I memorized more Scripture than I ever have in my life.  Chunks and chunks of Scripture were embedded into the core of my mind and spirit.  This season of Scripture memory work was His preparation for the next tumultuous chapter of our story.

I received the call one evening while my family and I sat around the dinner table.

I looked down at the number, didn’t recognize it, and so I let it go straight to voicemail.  Something stuck out to me, however, because I immediately knew that the person calling was calling me about our adoption.  I just knew it instinctively.

Backing up just a bit…

After losing Ryan Adeline, my husband and I spent months and months of time seeking intervention from a reproductive endocrinologist.  We chose not to pursue more invasive forms of fertility treatment, but I did have many procedures to try to determine if there were any structural abnormalities within my female anatomy that may have caused her passing.

Ultimately, we never found anything specifically wrong with my body to give us a direction in which to go forward.  In the end, after three more pregnancies and early miscarraiges, the Lord positioned Ian and I to reach a specific conclusion at the same time.

In July of 2013, Ian and I took our two little girls away for some much needed down time in Hilton Head, South Carolina.  It was there that we both landed on adoption as the next step to grow our family.

By August of 2013, we had completed our homestudy with a local adoption resource as we did not go with a traditional adoption agency.  (The adoption process can take what seems like forever when using a conventional adoption agency and I was not in the frame of mind to wait on paperwork.)   I can be somewhat controlling.  Yet again, that’s another blog post for sure.

Fast-forward three months…

It was December 15, 2013.  We received the call while sitting around the dinner table.  Not recognizing the phone number on the screen, I tapped the red “Decline” icon on my phone screen.  However, something inside me stirred.  I glanced over at Ian, caught his eye, and then whispered to him from across the table, “Adoption.”  I knew instinctively that the mysterious phone number had to do with our adoption.  I had no idea who was calling, but something inside me knew… or hoped.

Excusing myself from the kitchen once we had finished eating dinner, I left Ian and the girls to clean up the table.  I trudged up the stairway slowly and with each step my heart began pounding harder and harder.  (No, not due to the physical exertion of climbing a flight of stairs.)  My heart was beating at an ever-increasing rate because of the enigma and wonder trying to guess who was this unidentified caller leaving me a voicemail on this random Sunday evening.  The internal dialogue I found myself dodging in my own head was getting the best of me.  Anxiety rears its ugly head even in the exciting moments of life.

ANXIETY IS BRUTAL… brutal and debilitating but that’s a whole other blog post…

Once surrounded by the four protective walls of my master bedroom, I dialed the number.

My suspisions were spot on.  A sweet friend from my Bible study group eagerly shared with me what had just transpired.

She had just finished an hour- and-a-half long phone call with her sister-in-law.  My friend proceeded to tell me that at the end of their conversation, just as they were about to say their good-byes, her SIL, an adoption attorney in Florida, mentioned that a baby boy was due in two days.  Her SIL casually asked if my friend knew anyone looking to adopt a boy.

“Lindsay!  This is YOUR son!!”  She just continued over and over with the same words.  “This is your son.”

The next 72 hours were a whirlwind.

Early the next morning, I received the phone call from my adoption attorney.  After speaking briefly about the adoption situation, they attorney sent me electronic copies of the birth mother’s medical records.  I, in turn, sent them directly over to my primary care physician for his expert opinion.

You see, my family doctor, it turned out, was an adoptive father himself.  He had a heart for adoption and had offered to help us in any way that he could as we navigated the adoption process.  In the past month, he had already looked through a couple of other potential birth mothers’ medical files for us.  Those adoption situations did not end up leading us to a match.  However, God had clearly positioned us in relationship with this doctor for an obvious reason… for our son.

Despite the fact our birth mother did not have a clean bill of health nor did she make healthy choices during the pregnancy, our doctor called me within a couple of hours to give us the go-ahead to move forward with the adoption.

Those next 72 hours were a whirlwind and so much of it is a blur.

However, there are some moments that stick out so vividly in my mind.  There were so many blessings and signs from the Lord.

That day, my precious (but now deceased) mother and my step-father drove the 3-hour drive to stay with the girls in our absence.  We had no idea how long we would be stuck in Florida and they would need to commit to caring for our girls for at least a couple of weeks.  ICPC mandated that once we left the hospital with our son, that we could be in Florida for up to 2 weeks or more as we would need to await a judge to grant us permission to cross state lines.

As we were making arrangements for the girls’ next two weeks of life, we did not even have to worry about where to stay in Florida.  Another of my precious friends arranged our hotel stay in Florida.

Additionally, that evening before we left to meet our son’s birth mother and our son, as I was frantically packing and preparing a schedule for my two sweet little girls, I heard the doorbell ring.

As I opened the door, I saw the hands and feet of Jesus right there on my doorstep in the form of about 15 sweet and dear friends of mine.

Each of these precious women entered my home carrying in her arms some sort of baby gear… diapers,baby bottles, pacifiers, bags and bags of boy clothing, burp cloths, blankets, a stroller, a pack n play, diaper bag, etc.  You name it, they brought it.  Ian and I had nothing to do or purchase for our son.  We just needed to get in the car and pick up that little baby boy.

My tribe knows me well.  Praise God that my tribe knows Jesus even more.

I was beyond overwhelmed their love and support and still am as I write this.

That very next day, Ian and I would depart from our home in the darkness of early morning and begin the ten-hour drive to meet our little boy and his selfless and desperately hurting birth mother.

What about you, Friends?  How has Jesus shown up to you in the form of community?  Would love to hear about your tribe.  We so need one another.