Here you are with this child that stepped off that plane with a suitcase full of needs, desires, hurts, secrets, anger, disappointment, longing, and fears.
It's not that transitioning with ANY new child at home isn't a big unknown.
But to ignore the differences would be to disadvantage our children's healing. So this isn't the place to make those comparisons...
While at this point I am guarded about how much to share about Marvel's homecoming and transition (note: We still reside at 123 This Is Hard Lane sometimes); I did want to share some specific tools we made sure to keep in our belt at all times.
These aren't magic fix-it-all pills. But they are tools that might help back someone off the ledge and away from the downward spiral. And believe me, there are days you need a lifeline or two...
So for my first installment, I thought I would list some of the resources that have helped me establish what I would call the Tools of Transition. I know not all families have the freedom we had. Marvel is--for now--our only kiddo so not only can the world revolve around him sometimes? but we also had no preconceived notions about the right way to parent. 2 point advantage for being a blank slate =)
1. The Connected Child: I personally think there are practical tips and ideas in this book that are beneficial for even the most secure and attached children. But especially for those of us diving into a Great Unknown, this book is as useful as knowing how to communicate "Do you need to go potty?". In other words, it can be critical to your very survival!
2. Empowered to Connect.org: This website is a compilation of webinars, articles, clips of Dr. Purvis addressing specific needs and issues, and has by-far been my greatest Go-To resource in the transition season.
3. Empowered to Connect conferences: I had already read The Connected Child when we made the decision to go to the ETC conference so I was wary that there would be anything NEW to learn. Friends, let me tell you....there is ALWAYS something new to learn..... This conference has been my greatest "pat yourself on the back for doing something proactive while in adoption purgatory" moment. I was so proud that we made the commitment to go because the tools and information we gleaned from this have proven to be INVALUABLE. We are trying to work it out to go again sometime in the next year! If you ever get the opportunity to go, you must. I insist.
3. Blogs: I wish I could list all the blogs that have given me ideas, hope, or even just made me feel a little understood on this journey but I know I would miss one. Regardless of what your journey in life is, I would encourage you to find a few people (or their blogs) who have climbed that mountain before you. Because if you choose to do it alone, you will miss all the stories of triumph and defeat, the tips and tricks for traversing the forests and --let's be honest--you might hit a few unnecessary bumps along the way. Get a village, ya'll.
4. Chocolate Hair Vanilla Care: I didn't go the easier route when it came to boy hair-care. As soon as I laid eyes on Marvel's beautiful curls, I knew I couldn't cut them off. I wanted to see what amazingness might come from nurturing and caring for those locks and I have been blown away by the beauty of my sweet boy's curly hair. I for real could not have done it without this one particular resource. There are many sites for AA hair care (and I will list some in a future post) but CHVH understood that I needed the very very very starting point to be spelled out.... even after 3 months home and countless hours perusing the information here, I was back on this site LAST NIGHT because I needed some additional help. I'm here often. =)
So there you have it, the beginning of our journey home. As I think back to how unprepared I felt, I realize that, while I was NEVER going to
Most of all, as you read this, I hope you remember this solid truth. There is nothing we are going through now that is harder than what our child has already gone through. When I look at the resilience and bravery of my son, I think to myself "You can be better than you are. You have to be better. Because if, after everything he's been through, he can look at you with love in his eyes, then you can read one more book or try one more new thing to help bring him his healing".
There is nothing more important than helping our child see the redemption that God has brought our entire family and grab hold of the healing that He has promised. It's not an easy or quick road and I make no claims that we are out of the forest yet....Heck, These tools I talk about may be completely obsolete in a month. But I am giving my whole heart and will to this amazing boy's healing and hope.
And I am confident that I will see it.