Parenting Through Valleys
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Can we get real for a second my fellow burnt-out foster, adoptive, and special needs parents? If I were a fly on the wall you in your home, I might find:
You tip-toeing on eggshells around your child and their power struggles, fearful of the next outburst or meltdown.
Receiving high-fives and near saint-hood from people because “I could never do what you do”, but inside you are buried with shame at how often you lose patience with kids who have already endured so much.
You know you need help but barely survive each day of therapy, appointments, visitation, calls from the school, and behaviors before you crash into a chocolate/ice cream/carb/wine/Netflix coma at night, and you simply don’t have the energy for ONE more thing.
It’s not like you set out on this journey wanting it to end up like this.
You read the parenting books or took all the agency’s required classes and truly felt prepared, but I’m here to tell you, it’s not your fault.
What you may be experiencing is called Secondary Trauma. Your nervous system has started to respond to your children with the same cortisol levels as a combat veteran. Your child’s trauma or disabilities, and the way it effects them is not their fault, but it’s still hard for their caregivers and that’s not your fault either.
What you need is more than just a bubble bath and a long walk. You need simple, effective, research based steps to recover from Secondary Trauma and caregiver burnout so you can show up for your child.
Parenting Through Valleys is 6 simple steps to overcome burnout for adoptive and special needs parents and is founded on brain-based strategies to help you recover in just 20 minutes per day. 6 lessons are included with 6 weeks of optional journal activities. Every lesson is infused with the transforming power of the Bible and includes burnout recovery stories from fellow foster, adoptive, and special needs moms and dads, and adoptees who have been there and used these brain-based tools for profound change.
You can’t keep going like this. I’ve been there, so desperate, triggered, and alone I was ready to rehome some of my adopted children. It’s time for a change.
Take a peek inside . . .
First and foremost, you can't get through this book without a serious encounter with the word of God and his love and grace over you. Even if you are not a person of faith, you will still receive incredible support and timeless wisdom from the Bible. People of all beliefs are welcome, but if you don't prefer Christian subjects, this may not be right for you.
Secondly, you'll hear directly from other foster and adoptive parents, including myself, and adoptees about the unique challenges they have faced, and how they used the tools in Parenting Through Valleys to find healing. You will walk away from this book feeling that you are not alone in this journey.
Third, you will go through 6 modules:
- Module 1 wellness assessment and nervous system recovery including sleep, gratitude and movement.
- Module 2 covers the basics of why you feel so bad and how to uncover problem thoughts.
- Module 3 includes a powerful CBT tool for getting past pain points and a parent example vignette.
- Module 4 includes practical tasks to simplify your life and clutter, and manage your tasks in a season of crisis.
- Module 5 covers the topics of parenting shame, pain, fear, and emotions with practical tools for overcoming them.
- Module 6 covers expectations, forgiveness, people pleasing, building community and having fun.
Lastly, each module contains 5 daily corresponding journals using the principles of the Bible, gratitude, and cognitive behavioral therapy as their base. These can easily be done in 20 minutes per day. They are optional but I strongly suggest you complete at least one from each module so you really cement and put into practice what you're learning.
Quotes from the book:
"Our kids were never meant to fulfill in us what only Christ can. We are not guaranteed their happiness, health, salvation, or aiming properly for the toilet."
"Accepting ourselves as broken human beings raising broken human beings, is the fertile ground we need to heal."
"Loss is part of their stories, and no matter how desperately we want to love it away, we don’t have the power to rewrite the past. The pain of accepting the broken parts of our kids, is part of accepting the whole of who they are. I would give everything I had if I could heal my daughter’s wounds, but instead Jesus is asking me to walk with them in their brokenness. Isn’t that the same as what he does for us?" -pg 109
"The very best gift you can give your spouse and children, is the gift of your own wholeness and happiness. It’s not your family’s job to make you happy or to watch out for your needs." -pg 84
"The problem with people pleasing, is it seems kind and altruistic on the surface, but at the core is manipulation. We change who we are, say yes when we don’t want to, and pander for the approval of others. If you’re not letting someone down at some point, you’re probably not doing it right. God has already approved of what you do, and that’s all that matters." -pg 136
"The savior persona we are assigned by the world looking into our lives adoptive or special needs parents, is ultimately cancer to our souls. We can never live up to it. We are utterly and entirely unable to be the savior of our children. When we expect perfection of ourselves, we place ourselves on the throne of God, and the result is shame at ourselves, and anger at our kids. What if B- parenting was good enough?" -pg 105
I am a grandparent helping raise my 2 granddaughters due to their mom being very ill. Raising children is complicated and helping to raise children that are not in your home all the time and have seen years of drug abuse is not simple. I'm so grateful for this book and the practical daily homework that helped me to sort out some of my wrong motives and thinking. I think the Author sells herself short when she says this book is for Adoptive or Foster parents. I think it's for every parent or grandparent!!
So helpful. I’m going to read it a 2nd time !
We are still enjoying your book. I especially like your questions that you ask us to answer. I was reading it the other day as we were in the car and answering those questions really opened up conversation between the two of us. It made me realize how much goes unsaid. Not for any specific reason, probably from exhaustion and brain fog. Thank you for this book!
I stuffed down the loneliness of trying to bond with two girls who resisted my efforts and ended up with chronic headaches for six months. I gained thirty pounds and struggled with debilitating upper back pain. I sold my gym and slowed down long enough to listen to my thoughts and allow myself to feel everything I had been pushing away. I knew if the one who formed the heavens, earth, sky, waters, animals, and stars rested, so should I.
While there were many other things I did to process my emotions, I started with sleep, rest, and abiding in Christ. When I could think straight, I was able to feel again. God did amazing things with my story as I began to unpack the emotions buried deep.
I am so grateful that you wrote your book! I already have some precious adoptive moms I want to share it with!