Archive for wisdom for adoptive children

Throwing in the Towel

Couples Blog

The Attach Place
Center for Strengthening Relationships, LLC

Dear Parents, Sometimes I wonder where cliches come from.  Usually, I know what they mean, but I am not always sure from whence they sprang; hence the title.  Does throwing in the towel have something to do with surrendering in war?  Boxing maybe?  Mama Google says the latter, “When a boxer is too beat up to continue, his coach throws a towel into the ring to signal that the fight is over.”  Oh, apparently one cannot throw one’s own towel into the ring; someone else does it for said one.  Well, the title of this blog only kinda works then.

When Life Creates Movies

A day or so ago, I watched Instant Family and sadly resonated with the husband and wife scene in the bedroom just after the three kids come home as fosters.  I think they were effectively throwing in the towel and by the end of the tirade, they had grabbed it back again.  I certainly did that a zillion times over the two decades of raising my children.  As far as I know, there isn’t a cliche for grabbing the towel back again, but that’s the part I loved. The part where some deep commitment, I think core human attachment, kicked in and brought me back to reality. Yep, I signed up for this.

Then There Is Life

Sunday, I had breakfast with my 23-year-old daughter.  She had her partner and their almost two-year-old son, my grandson, with her.  The baby is from difficult beginnings.  His parents are both grown-ups with Complex Developmental Trauma.  The little guy was pitching a fight all over the place, not to mention flinging the hash browns and mac and cheese at everyone who walked by.  I was sucked into a time warp when my children were his age and twice as dysregulated.

The distress on my daughter’s face was palpable, while her partner had lost his temper repeatedly until he fell silent playing on his phone.  Personally, I was completely calm and empathic with all of them in a way I was never truly able to be 20 years ago.  Of course, I would be headed home in an hour to a quiet house filled only with dogs.  It’s easy to be regulated for a couple of hours.  Still, I was filled up with love right then when an old, familiar wish barged in–a bittersweet wish that I had known at the beginning of my parenting life what I know now.

Be as therapeutic as you can muster with your children today, my friends.  They will grow up, and they need all the empathy and understanding you have in your bones to get there.  That, of course, involves having empathy and understanding for yourselves, as well.

Love matters,

Ce

The Attach Place Upcoming Events Calendar

Therapeutic Parenting Class for Parents of Children from Difficult Beginnings by Ce Eshelman, LMFT will be held in April 2019  from 10 am to 4 pm.  Childcare provided for an additional fee. CALVCB will reimburse this training. Stay tuned for the exact dates.

AUTISM Support Group:  Monthly Strictly Social Autism Spectrum Disorder Night for Tweens (11 yrs – 16 yrs) at The Attach Place. Open to the public.  NEW DAY: Every third Monday from 5:30 to 7pm.  Gluten-free snacks provided. Please RSVP to Andrea@attachplace.com so we get enough snacks. This is a  monthly social group for the youth; and caregivers will have an opportunity to connect, chat, and chill in a separate space. There will also be occasional fun field trips, like bowling, ice skating, roller skating, etc. A donation of $5.00 will be accepted for food and supervision if you are able, but please don’t let that be an attendance barrier because the group is FREE.  ASD kids need a social life and this is a great way to make it happen.

UPCOMING ADOPTION SUPPORT GROUP facilitated by Ce Eshelman, LMFT:  CLICK HERE to join our monthly  Adoptive Parent Support Group, March 13, 2019.  Childcare provided at no cost. Support Group is every 2nd Wednesday of every month from 6 pm to 8 pm at 3336 Bradshaw Road, Ste 175, Sacramento, CA 95827. Open to the public.

GIVE A BOOK OF SUPPORT TO A FELLOW PARENT ON THE ADOPTION JOURNEY: Drowning With My Hair On Fire: Insanity Relief For Adoptive Parents by Ce Eshelman, LMFT.  Daily inspirational reading for those who sometimes find it hard to keep hope alive. There is hope for healing.  Buy from Amazon or order a discounted copy here.

Get Your Own Complex Developmental Trauma Symptom List

Hello Parents,

While many of you are well-versed in the symptoms of Complex Developmental Trama, I’ve been getting a number of calls lately from parents and therapists asking me questions like:

“Is this behavior normal?”

“Is this reactive attachment disorder?”

“What is this?  Part of normal development or something else?”

If you have questions about some of the things you find yourself coping with related to your child from difficult beginnings of attachment breach and abuse/neglect trauma; or if you have family or friends who need some help understanding the things you are working so hard to quiet with therapeutic parenting, you can download below or forward this post on to someone who might want to know.

Love matters,

Ce

The Attach Place Upcoming Events Calendar

Therapeutic Parenting Class for Parents of Children from Difficult Beginnings by Ce Eshelman, LMFT will be held in April 2019 from 10 am to 4 pm.  Childcare provided for an additional fee. CALVCB will reimburse this training. Stay tuned for the exact dates.

AUTISM Support Group:  Monthly Strictly Social Autism Spectrum Disorder Night for Tweens (11 yrs – 16 yrs) at The Attach Place. Open to the public.  NEW DAY: Every third Monday from 5:30 to 7pm.  Gluten-free snacks provided. Please RSVP to Andrea@attachplace.com so we get enough snacks. This is a  monthly social group for the youth; and caregivers will have an opportunity to connect, chat, and chill in a separate space. There will also be occasional fun field trips, like bowling, ice skating, roller skating, etc. A donation of $5.00 will be accepted for food and supervision if you are able, but please don’t let that be an attendance barrier because the group is FREE.  ASD kids need a social life and this is a great way to make it happen.

UPCOMING ADOPTION SUPPORT GROUP facilitated by Ce Eshelman, LMFT:  CLICK HERE to join our monthly  Adoptive Parent Support Group, March 13, 2019.  Childcare provided at no cost. Support Group is every 2nd Wednesday of every month from 6 pm to 8 pm at 3336 Bradshaw Road, Ste 175, Sacramento, CA 95827. Open to the public.

GIVE A BOOK OF SUPPORT TO A FELLOW PARENT ON THE ADOPTION JOURNEY: Drowning With My Hair On Fire: Insanity Relief For Adoptive Parents by Ce Eshelman, LMFT.  Daily inspirational reading for those who sometimes find it hard to keep hope alive. There is hope for healing.  Buy from Amazon or order a discounted copy here.

The Little Things

Dear Parents,

Yesterday, my son–now 22 years old and living nearby in a supportive housing program for people with mental health issues–texted me this: “Mom can I git dentst?” 

I texted back, “Yes, call the dentist office on the corner near your house.” 

He responded, “K, wel, I thnking I go out for a walkng and jus goin, cus  I not good calling.”  

“Sounds good, here is your insurance ID # in case you need it.”

“K thky, by, lov ya,” he signs off.

Now this exchange may sound really disturbing to you, but to me it is lovely and I am so proud of him.  This is progress for a young man who has functioned at about half his age nearly his whole life due to extreme abuse, neglect, and abandonment before he was two years old. 

That abuse is impacting his entire life.  He went to a public school for only 1.5 years before he had to be placed in residential care for safety reasons– he stabbed his 1st grade teacher with a sharp pencil and later came at me with a very big butcher knife. He simulated raping his older sister every time he saw her.  He was a scary, pint-sized 6-year-old.

My son always attended a special day school.  He never worked at grade level, and he never went to a friend’s birthday party. He never attended a school dance, football game, or class trip to anywhere.  He didn’t graduate or even get a certificate for High School despite attending until he was 20 years old.  He lives on social security now, and will likely never work for a paycheck. 

Turns out he is very happy and pleased with himself for living on his own with just a little support.  He cooks for his housemates once a week, again with a little help with measuring from an older resident.  He is known as one of the smartest guys in his house because he can help everyone a little with their technology woes. Did I mention this? He is happy.

His text is evidence of prefrontal cortex development.  First, he recognizes he needs a dentist.  Secondly, he reached out for help and accepted my suggestion (a big deal) that he can handle it himself (also a big deal). Lastly, he understands his limitation with phone calls and finds an alternative solution instead of giving up (eventually being in great pain and maybe losing a tooth).  The cherry on top–he signs off with love to me (finally feeling connected to his mother which is a super big deal to both of us).

Watching him notice that the pain in his mouth is a toothache, ask for help, have insight about his limitations, and take initiative to find solutions–priceless.

Never give up parents.  Hope springs eternal.  No matter how deep your own sadness or disappointment about your child’s journey, your child will eventually unfold his/her own personal potential.  What else is there? 

Love matters,

Ce

NOTE: If you are planning to attend The Attach Place Therapeutic Parenting Class on February 2nd, 2019 from (10am to 4pm, be sure to sign up or drop an email (info@attachplace.com) to let us know you are planning to attend.  Or register here.  CALVCB accepted.

The Attach Place Upcoming Events Calendar

Trust-based Therapeutic Parenting Class for Parents of Children from Difficult Beginnings by Ce Eshelman, LMFT will be held February 2nd, 2019 from 10 am to 4 pm.  Childcare provided for an additional fee. CALVCB will reimburse this training. Register on our website!

AUTISM Support Group:  Monthly Strictly Social Autism Spectrum Disorder Night for Tweens (11 yrs – 16 yrs) at The Attach Place. Open to the public.  NEW DAY: Monday from 5:30 to 7pm.  Gluten-free snacks provided. Please RSVP to Andrea@attachplace.com so we get enough snacks. This is a  monthly social group for the children; and caregivers will have an opportunity to connect, chat, and chill in a separate space. A donation of $0.00 to $5.00 will be accepted for food and supervision if you are able, but please don’t let that be an attendance barrier because the group is FREE.  ASD kids need a social life and this is a great way to make it happen.

UPCOMING ADOPTION SUPPORT GROUP facilitated by Ce Eshelman, LMFT:  Click Here to join our monthly  Adoptive/Foster Parent Support Group, February  13th, 2019.  Childcare provided at no cost. Support Group is every 2nd Wednesday of every month from 6 pm to 8 pm at 3336 Bradshaw Road, Ste 175, Sacramento, CA 95827.

GIVE A BOOK OF SUPPORT TO A FELLOW PARENT ON THE ADOPTION JOURNEY: Drowning With My Hair On Fire: Insanity Relief For Adoptive Parents by Ce Eshelman, LMFT.  Daily inspirational reading for those who sometimes find it hard to keep hope alive. There is hope for healing.  Buy from Amazon or get a discounted copy here.

 

 

 

 

 

Attention Is A Need

I work with a number of children who annoy for attention. Attention is attention to them regardless of whether it is positive or negative.  Some attachment challenged children have difficulty being vulnerable enough to seek attention in a pro-social way.  To do that would be to admit that s/he has emotional needs in the first place. And some are simply habituated to seeking negative attention.

My son has mastered the art of ridiculous questioning to get my attention. For example, “Mom, I’m wondering why it is that I really like to go to those swim parks? Why do you think I like them so much?”

Out of the blue from another child, “One time when I was visiting my grandmother’s farm the dog farted so loud the cats ran into the barn.”

Another child asks, “Can you see air?”

And another, “I noticed cats have big eyes.”

My son, “Mom, I didn’t know you were home.  Are you home now?”  

Again, my son, “Mom, why do I like cauliflower that way and not the other way? And, “The worst thing to call a teacher is Mrs. P.”

Really?

Instead of giving the “go away from me” look of annoyance or the ridicule that might easily roll off your tongue (like it wants to from mine), pull your child (big or small) in for a hug or a close-up of soft eyes with a “love bomb” smile.  This is all that is needed:  I love you–now run along, Sweetheart.  Anytime you want my attention, come ask for a hug.

Attention is a need. Nothing else. Resist the urge to be sarcastic, mean, ridiculing, or angry.  Honestly, our children need our attention.  Give it to them more when they need it, and the non-sensical crazy stuff will decrease.

Love matters,

Ce

The Attach Place Upcoming Events Calendar

Trust-based Therapeutic Parenting Class for Parents of Children from Difficult Beginnings by Ce Eshelman, LMFT will be held February 2nd, 2019 from 10 am to 4 pm.  Childcare provided for an additional fee. CALVCB will reimburse this training. Register on our website!

AUTISM Support Group:  Monthly Strictly Social Autism Spectrum Disorder Night for Tweens (11 yrs – 16 yrs) at The Attach Place. Open to the public.  NEW DAY: Monday from 5:30 to 7pm.  Gluten-free snacks provided. Please RSVP to Andrea@attachplace.com so we get enough snacks. This is a  monthly social group for the children; and caregivers will have an opportunity to connect, chat, and chill in a separate space. A donation of $0.00 to $5.00 will be accepted for food and supervision if you are able, but please don’t let that be an attendance barrier because the group is FREE.  ASD kids need a social life and this is a great way to make it happen.

UPCOMING ADOPTION SUPPORT GROUP facilitated by Ce Eshelman, LMFT:  Click Here to join our monthly  Adoptive/Foster Parent Support Group, January 9th, 2019.  Childcare provided at no cost. Support Group is every 2nd Wednesday of every month from 6 pm to 8 pm at 3336 Bradshaw Road, Ste 175, Sacramento, CA 95827.

GIVE A BOOK OF SUPPORT TO A FELLOW PARENT ON THE ADOPTION JOURNEY: Drowning With My Hair On Fire: Insanity Relief For Adoptive Parents by Ce Eshelman, LMFT.  Daily inspirational reading for those who sometimes find it hard to keep hope alive. There is hope for healing.  Buy from Amazon or get a discounted copy here.

Time for Hindsight

Dear Parent,
The Attach Place

The Attach Place
Center for Strengthening Relationships

This morning I found myself thinking about how hard I tried to get both of my children to fit into “normal.”  I wanted them to want the things for their lives I wanted for them. That’s telling, isn’t it? I eventually let go of these wants, or maybe I was forced by the reality of my children’s lives to accept them on their terms.  It took me a while to see that I needed to advocate with “normal” systems for my children, rather than insisting my children contort themselves into what was expected.  I imagine a cartoon line-drawing of giant, puffy-pillow children being stuffed into tiny little boxes by a harried woman with her hair on fire.  The caption reads The Good Mother. Frankly, my children couldn’t do all that was expected.  They didn’t want for themselves what I wanted for them because they were busy surviving each day, while I had the luxury of “felt safety” and the ability to imagine fearfully toward their futures. Of course, like all parents, I needed to think about the future for them when they couldn’t for themselves, but that sometimes blinded me in the moment and I lost sight of what was most important—creating a safe, regulated family life for them in which to heal. In the beginning I forced them, by hook or by crook (No idea what that really means, but you get the picture, right?), into regular school hours, traditional classroom settings, curricula focused on higher test scores, behaving well, obeying well, playing well, and, all in all, engaging the world well–emphasis on well. That was a lot to ask, too much to ask, from my children who were robbed of personal boundaries, sacred birthrights, attachment security, and fundamental felt safety in their first two years of life. These are the musings of a mother with grown children who has the delicious abundance of time to look back and think about what she might have done differently to ease the fear, suffering, and disturbance of the early years of her children in their unfamiliar, new home.  I’m sharing this with you in the hope your children might benefit from the missteps, mishaps, mistakes, and musings of this parent who previously traversed the tumultuous terrain now set out before you. Love matters, Ce

The Attach Place Upcoming Events Calendar

Trust-based Therapeutic Parenting Class for Parents of Children from Difficult Beginnings by Ce Eshelman, LMFT will be held in January 12th 2019, from 10 am to 4 pm.  Childcare provided for an additional fee. CALVCB will reimburse this training. Register on our website!

AUTISM Support Group:  Monthly Strictly Social Autism Spectrum Disorder Night for Tweens (11 yrs – 16 yrs) at The Attach Place. Open to the public.  Look for new day and time in January TBD next year.  Gluten-free snacks provided. Please RSVP to Andrea@attachplace.com so we get enough snacks. This is a  monthly social group for the children; and caregivers will have an opportunity to connect, chat, and chill in a separate space. A donation of $0.00 to $5.00 will be accepted for food and supervision if you are able, but please don’t let that be an attendance barrier because the group is FREE.  ASD kids need a social life and this is a great way to make it happen.

UPCOMING ADOPTION SUPPORT GROUP facilitated by Ce Eshelman, LMFT:  Click Here to join our monthly  Adoptive/Foster Parent Support Group on December 12, 2018! Open to all parents/caregivers at no cost. Support Group is every 2nd Wednesday of every month from 6 pm to 8 pm at 3336 Bradshaw Road, Ste 175, Sacramento, CA 95827.

GIVE A BOOK OF SUPPORT TO A FELLOW PARENT ON THE ADOPTION JOURNEY: Drowning With My Hair On Fire: Insanity Relief For Adoptive Parents by Ce Eshelman, LMFT.  Daily inspirational reading for those who sometimes find it hard to keep hope alive. There is hope for healing.  Buy from Amazon or get a discounted copy here.

The Holidays Can Be Lovely With Children From Difficult Beginnings

Dear Parents,

The Attach Place

The Attach Place
Center for Strengthening Relationships

I just met up with my adult children for a pre-Thanksgiving gathering. I found myself marveling at how they are unfolding.  I mean that.  At 21 and 23, they are adults with lives of their own.  They are happy.  They have interests and friends and places to go and things to do.  They are grown up and I no longer worry about them. And that is the point of this post.

I worried way too much when my children were growing up.  Because they came from difficult beginnings and because their behavior was out of the ordinary, I fretted and worried and over controlled them.  I downright ruined every holiday.  Yes, it was me who ruined them, though at the time I quietly thought it was them ruining it for us.  I was wrong.

What I didn’t know how to do then was accept my children as they were.  I wanted them to be the way I wanted them.  You know, a lot more perfect.  Way less messy.  Seriously better mannered.  Definitely well regulated. I didn’t want their trauma to be impacting my holidays–pure and simple. Every year, every holiday I didn’ want that.  And, every year, every holiday they were who they were–traumatized, attachment reactive children from difficult beginnings.  Who needed to change in this situation?  Who had the most potential for change at the time?  Yep, it was me.

I could have accepted my life and my children. I could have changed my expectations and made the environment trauma-sensitive.  I could have been considerate of what they could tolerate and how long they could tolerate it.  Instead, I tried to fit them into my life the way it was before children and the way I thought other children were able to fit in.  My children weren’t other children; they were actually special with special needs during the holidays.  I could have been more loving and less worried about how they behaved. I could have been more flexible.

I learned a lot about myself while raising my children.  Much of what I learned was not pretty or pleasing to me.  Frankly, I wasn’t personally prepared for traumatized children.  I had to learn to be.  I had to learn to let them be.  I wish I knew then what I know now.

My children are unfolding in their adult lives according to their abilities.  That was always their trajectory.  My advice to my former self (who might resemble your current self): worry less, accept more.  I think that is the definition of love.

Happy Thanksgiving,

Ce

The Attach Place Upcoming Events Calendar

Trust-based Therapeutic Parenting Class for Parents of Children from Difficult Beginnings by Ce Eshelman, LMFT will be held in January 2019, from 10 am to 4 pm.  Childcare provided for an additional fee. CALVCB will reimburse this training. Register on our website!

AUTISM Support Group:  Monthly Strictly Social Autism Spectrum Disorder Night for Tweens (11 yrs – 16 yrs) at The Attach Place. Open to the public.  Look for new day in January TBD next year.  Gluten-free snacks provided. Please RSVP to Andrea@attachplace.com so we get enough snacks. This is a  monthly social group for the children; and caregivers will have an opportunity to connect, chat, and chill in a separate space. A donation of $0.00 to $5.00 will be accepted for food and supervision if you are able, but please don’t let that be an attendance barrier because the group is FREE.  ASD kids need a social life and this is a great way to make it happen.

UPCOMING ADOPTION SUPPORT GROUP facilitated by Ce Eshelman, LMFT:  Click Here to join our monthly  Adoptive/Foster Parent Support Group on December 12, 2018! Open to all parents/caregivers at no cost. Support Group is every 2nd Wednesday of every month from 6 pm to 8 pm at 3336 Bradshaw Road, Ste 175, Sacramento, CA 95827.

GIVE A BOOK OF SUPPORT TO A FELLOW PARENT ON THE ADOPTION JOURNEY: Drowning With My Hair On Fire: Insanity Relief For Adoptive Parents by Ce Eshelman, LMFT.  Daily inspirational reading for those who sometimes find it hard to keep hope alive. There is hope for healing.  Buy from Amazon or get a discounted copy here.

Fix Less, Accept More

Dear Parents,

The Attach Place

The Attach Place
Center for Strengthening Relationships

What follows is not criticism.  It is a chance to acknowledge to yourself, “I got this,” or to see you have some growing to do as a parent of children from difficult beginnings.  Personally, I am always the latter, despite all I know.  Here goes.

Have you ever been in a relationship where you spent a lot of time trying to get the other person to change?

If you would learn to share your feelings…

If you would try to think about me once in a while…

If you were more motivated to grow…

If you were more considerate…

If you liked my family…

If you would go out more…

If you were more adventurous…

If you were more spontaneous…

If you were more reliable…

If you were more positive…

If you weren’t so negative…

If you weren’t so judgmental…

If you would care more about how you look…

If you would care less about what others think…

If you liked to hang out with my friends…

If you had more friends…

If you helped around the house more…

If you didn’t have so many big feelings all the time…

If you would just be happy…

If you weren’t so miserable…

If you worked less…

If you worked more…

If I felt more loved…

Then…what?  I would feel better. I would accept you. I would love you.

That relationship didn’t work out very well, did it?  Or, that relationship isn’t going very well now, is it?

For a moment, think about your relationship with your attachment challenged, traumatized child. Do you have an “If…then” list?

If you would just be normal…

If you would act your age…

If you could stop bouncing off the walls…

If you could stop talking all the time…

If you would just tell me what you feel…

If you would clean your room…

If you would tell the truth…

If you were trustworthy…

If you were honest…

If you were less self-centered…

If you would think about the rest of the family…

If you would take less and give more…

If you would do your homework…

If you would try harder…

If you were pleasant to be around…

If you brushed your teeth, showered, zipped…

If you would stop badgering me…

If you would act right…

If you would do the right thing…

If you weren’t always making me crazy…

If you would stop scaring me…

If you didn’t need so much supervision…

If you weren’t so needy…

If you weren’t so helpless…

If you would just grow up…

If you would show some love…

If you would stop controlling…

If you would stop throwing tantrums…

If you would accept some love…

If you would trust me…

If you would get better…

Then…what?  I would feel better. I would accept you. I would love you.

Enough said, right?

I am always fighting my own “If…then” stink’in think’in.  It keeps me from being present, from accepting, from being a loving person.  Love is free, not an “if-then” proposition. I am a work in progress. How about you? Steady on.

Love matters,

Ce

The Attach Place Upcoming Events Calendar

Trust-based Therapeutic Parenting Class for Parents of Children from Difficult Beginnings by Ce Eshelman, LMFT will be held in January 2019, from 10 am to 4 pm.  Childcare provided for an additional fee. CALVCB will reimburse this training. Register here or on our website!

AUTISM Support Group:  Monthly Strictly Social Autism Spectrum Disorder Night for Tweens (11 yrs – 16 yrs) at The Attach Place. Open to the public. November 19, 2018from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm.  Gluten-free snacks provided. Please RSVP to Andrea@attachplace.com so we get enough snacks. This is a  monthly social group for the children; and caregivers will have an opportunity to connect, chat, and chill in a separate space. A donation of $0.00 to $5.00 will be accepted for food and supervision if you are able, but please don’t let that be an attendance barrier because the group is FREE.  ASD kids need a social life and this is a great way to make it happen.

UPCOMING ADOPTION SUPPORT GROUP facilitated by Ce Eshelman, LMFT:  Click Here to join our monthly  Adoptive/Foster Parent Support Group on November 14, 2018! Open to all parents/caregivers at no cost. Support Group is every 2nd Wednesday of every month from 6 pm to 8 pm at 3336 Bradshaw Road, Ste 175, Sacramento, CA 95827.

GIVE A BOOK OF SUPPORT TO A FELLOW PARENT ON THE ADOPTION JOURNEY: Drowning With My Hair On Fire: Insanity Relief For Adoptive Parents by Ce Eshelman, LMFT.  Daily inspirational reading for those who sometimes find it hard to keep hope alive. There is hope for healing.  Buy from Amazon or get a discounted copy here.

 

Neurofeedback Solutions for reducing the intensity of Developmental Trauma symptoms in foster and adoptive children and their parents.  Get more information here.

Change Your Child’s Brain / Change Your Child’s Life

 

 

Caring For Your Life–The Great Parenting Challenge

The Attach Place

The Attach Place
Center for Strengthening Relationships

Dear Parents,

It has been a while since I stepped up on my soapbox about the importance of self-care for parents, and the last time I made my soapbox case a parent retorted, “And exactly how are we supposed to do that?”  Right.  I didn’t say it was easy to get all your ducks in a row to escape to adult time away from children. But, your hyper-aroused neuronet needs a break.  I just said it was imperative.  So, knowing the difficulty, I still challenge you to spend the next month saving your pocket change, searching actively for childcare, training those you find in therapeutic care strategies, and booking time alone with or without your spouse–even if it is just down the street at the Motel 6. Try to find one with a spa and order food via Grubhub or Doordash.

When I was raising young children, my later to be, husband, whisked me away nearly every month for a couple years for a brain break.  I was extremely fortunate, I know. So grateful today for him and his generosity–and the break.  I also know it saved my emotional life.  Raising my dysregulated children 24/7, 365 for 18 years was the hardest thing I ever did in my life–seemed a little like rock climbing the side of a cliff without ropes or a net. Or muscles.

It may not be that hard for you, but you have to admit it is still stressful and requires constant energy output.  Your neurochemical complex needs active recovery.  The Great Parenting Challenge is before you.  Will you accept the challenge?  I hope so.

Love matters,

Ce

P.S. I know the idea of taking our easily dysregulated kids to a toy store brings about hand-wringing and the gnashing of teeth, but there is a great toy store in the Folsom Outlets, Folsom, CA that caters to kids and is owned by a woman who actually came to my office to chat about what we do at The Attach Place, and to lend her support to our effort to heal the hearts of traumatized children.   Check out their website where you can become a VIP Club member and see events that happen every week.  They know you might be coming and are prepared for the shenanigans of children from difficult beginnings.  

Upcoming Sacramento Adoption Community Events

Working with Kids with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders And Other Neuro-Based Challenges: A training for caregivers, child welfare professionals, mental health providers, and school and community personnel

FASD is underdiagnosed and many adoptive parents have no idea their child may have it as other diagnoses have overlapping characteristics.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018
Registration 8:30
Training 9:00-12:00
Presented by Barb Clark, Master Trainer

Location: Sierra Forever Families
8928 Volunteer Lane, Suite 100
Sacramento, CA 95826
Phone: 916-368-5114
RSVP: Kim@capadoptfam.org

Hosted by Sacramento County Community Champions Network and the North American Council on Adoptable Children

Caring For A Child Who is Someone Else’s?

Are you informally caring for a child, an adoptive family, a foster/resource family, or a guardian? Looking for support or information? Need help finding services? Please join us for a community discussion! With the help of the Community Champions Network we may be able to create something helpful in our community. Can’t attend the meeting but still want to participate in the conversation? Email Kathryn at kemoryka@netscape.net

Meeting Details:

Tuesday September 25, 2018 6:30pm to 8:30pm

El Dorado County Office of Education

6767 Green  Valley Rd.

Placerville Building B, Room 2

NACAC shares current child welfare information and post-adoption best practices through publications, our website, social media, webinars, and educational events. Each year, NACAC hosts the most comprehensive adoption conference in North America.

We also provide information and training on adoption topics for parent group members, parents, young people who were adopted or in care, and child welfare professionals. As part of a federally funded collaboration called Critical Ongoing Resource Family Education or CORE, NACAC is currently working with Spaulding for Children and other partners to help improve the training offered to foster and adoptive parents of children who are older and have more needs.

Are You a Professional Who Works With Children?

We are hosting a discussion/focus group for professionals who work with children who are not being raised by their biological parents. Our community would like to assess the needs of professionals (agency workers, therapists, community providers) who serve our families. What do you need? What does the community need? A Community Champions Network may help us meet the needs and fill the gaps in our community. Can’t join us for the discussion but still want to join the conversation? Email Kathryn at kemoryka@netscape.net.

Meeting Details:

Tuesday, September 25, 2018 1pm to 3pm

Cameron Park Library

2500 Country Club Dr.

Cameron Park, Ca 95682

Working with Kids with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders And Other Neuro-Based Challenges: 

A training for caregivers, child welfare professionals, mental health providers, and school and community personnel

FASD is underdiagnosed and many adoptive parents have no idea their child may have it as other diagnoses have overlapping characteristics.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018
Registration 8:30
Training 9:00-12:00
Presented by Barb Clark, Master Trainer

Location: Sierra Forever Families
8928 Volunteer Lane, Suite 100
Sacramento, CA 95826
Phone: 916-368-5114
RSVP: Kim@capadoptfam.org

Hosted by Sacramento County Community Champions Network and the North American Council on Adoptable Children

The Attach Place Upcoming Events Calendar

Trust-based Therapeutic Parenting Class for Parents of Children from Difficult Beginnings by Ce Eshelman, LMFT will be held in November 2018 from 10 am to 4 pmChildcare provided for an additional fee. CALVCB will reimburse this training. Register here or on our website!

AUTISM Support Group:  Monthly Strictly Social Autism Spectrum Disorder Night for Tweens (11 yrs – 16 yrs) at The Attach Place. Open to the public. October 19th, 2018 from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm.  Gluten-free snacks provided. Please RSVP to Andrea@attachplace.com so we get enough snacks. This is a  monthly social group for the children; and caregivers will have an opportunity to connect, chat, and chill in a separate space. A donation of $0.00 to $5.00 will be accepted for food and supervision if you are able, but please don’t let that be an attendance barrier because the group is FREE.  ASD kids need a social life and this is a great way to make it happen.

UPCOMING ADOPTION SUPPORT GROUP facilitated by Ce Eshelman, LMFT:  Click Here to join our monthly  Adoptive/Foster Parent Support Group on October 10th, 2018! Open to all parents/caregivers at no cost. Support Group is every 2nd Wednesday of every month from 6 pm to 8 pm at 3336 Bradshaw Road, Ste 175, Sacramento, CA 95827.

GIVE MY BOOK FOR SUPPORT TO A FELLOW ADOPTION ADVENTURER: Drowning With My Hair On Fire: Insanity Relief For Adoptive Parents by Ce Eshelman, LMFT.  Daily inspirational reading for those who sometimes find it hard to keep hope alive. There is hope for healing.  At Amazon or get a discounted copy here.

 

Shine A Little Light

Dear Parents,

The Attach Place

The Attach Place
Center for Strengthening Relationships

We humans tend to like what we are good at.  Actually, we are more inclined to like things we excel at than we are to like things we simply enjoy.  When I was young, I was good at public speaking–go figure.  I spent a lot of time giving speeches about things I didn’t really care about because I was good at speechmaking.  As a young adult, I found myself in careers like teaching, lecturing, training.  I am generally considered a pretty good teacher and trainer.  It is my strength.

I’ve told this story before, but maybe it is worth repeating. About 10 years ago I had a minor epiphany.  I am shy (this is true, but hard to believe if you know me).  I don’t really enjoy public speaking. I am simply good at it.  Because I was channeled rather early to hone my speaking ability, I really didn’t do much of anything else for enjoyment.  I recall wanting to learn the piano, but I wasn’t good at it.  I wanted to try basketball, but I wasn’t athletic.  I wanted to train dogs, but I didn’t know how.  I was good at talking and everyone around me reflected this strength to me.  I thought it was all I was good at, so it was mostly all I did.  Imagine a child and, eventually, a  teenager who spends her free time writing, practicing, and engaging in competitive speechmaking. It’s a great skill I’m grateful teachers encourage, but not to the exclusion of developing curiosity and other delights. Really seems odd to me now.

Our traumatized children have trouble accepting that they are good at anything.  Some of them are quite good at many things, while others are quite poor at many things.  Once in awhile our children will grab ahold of a strength and become extremely boastful about proficiency. And sometimes they think all their skills are superior, in the absence of skill or talent. That is a desperate attempt to feel good inside.

Why am I saying all of this?  Because children need to have all their strengths and all their interests reflected back to them so much that they actually begin to see themselves as “good, talented, interesting, joyful, strong, fun-loving, and capable.”  Emphasize enjoyment, fun, playing, trying new things, taking a chance, and making an effort.  Exposure to diverse activities at a young age shapes the natural curiosity in children who might otherwise be content with iPad video games.

On top of this, our children are often embarrassment averse.  They are mortified by so many things, especially standing out in a negative (or even super positive) way.  If they try something and stand out, they may not try that again and maybe they will stop trying to avoid having that horrible feeling again.  A remedy: set the bar low and build on success to avoid internal shame triggers while your child is learning to be competent in the world.

Build your child in small ways by reflecting the small things specifically, rather than saying “good job” about everything, which becomes empty praise over time. This takes some practice. Here are a few ideas:

  • You set the table creatively tonight. How will you top this tomorrow?
  • You seem to enjoy singing. Is that right?
  • I saw you laughing your head off when you played in the pool today.
  • How did you like strumming Dad’s guitar?
  • Let’s share your cookies with the neighbors.  You are a yummy cookie maker.
  • You take a lot of pride in decorating your room. Which is your favorite wall?
  • Nice outfit you put together.  You have quite an eye for style.
  • I sent a picture of you playing baseball today to Grandpa.  He will like seeing how you enjoy playing his favorite sport.

Guess what, parents, I know you are putting a huge amount of effort in being a therapeutic parent. I think that makes you a person of awesome character.

Love matters,

Ce

Upcoming Sacramento Adoption Community Events

Working with Kids with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders And Other Neuro-Based Challenges: A training for caregivers, child welfare professionals, mental health providers, and school and community personnel

FASD is underdiagnosed and many adoptive parents have no idea their child may have it as other diagnoses have overlapping characteristics.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018
Registration 8:30
Training 9:00-12:00
Presented by Barb Clark, Master Trainer

Location: Sierra Forever Families
8928 Volunteer Lane, Suite 100
Sacramento, CA 95826
Phone: 916-368-5114
RSVP: Kim@capadoptfam.org

Hosted by Sacramento County Community Champions Network and the North American Council on Adoptable Children

Caring For A Child Who is Someone Else’s?

Are you informally caring for a child, an adoptive family, a foster/resource family, or a guardian? Looking for support or information? Need help finding services? Please join us for a community discussion! With the help of the Community Champions Network we may be able to create something helpful in our community. Can’t attend the meeting but still want to participate in the conversation? Email Kathryn at kemoryka@netscape.net

Meeting Details:

Tuesday September 25, 2018 6:30pm to 8:30pm

El Dorado County Office of Education

6767 Green  Valley Rd.

Placerville Building B, Room 2

NACAC shares current child welfare information and post-adoption best practices through publications, our website, social media, webinars, and educational events. Each year, NACAC hosts the most comprehensive adoption conference in North America.

We also provide information and training on adoption topics for parent group members, parents, young people who were adopted or in care, and child welfare professionals. As part of a federally funded collaboration called Critical Ongoing Resource Family Education or CORE, NACAC is currently working with Spaulding for Children and other partners to help improve the training offered to foster and adoptive parents of children who are older and have more needs.

Are You a Professional Who Works With Children?

We are hosting a discussion/focus group for professionals who work with children who are not being raised by their biological parents. Our community would like to assess the needs of professionals (agency workers, therapists, community providers) who serve our families. What do you need? What does the community need? A Community Champions Network may help us meet the needs and fill the gaps in our community. Can’t join us for the discussion but still want to join the conversation? Email Kathryn at kemoryka@netscape.net.

Meeting Details:

Tuesday, September 25, 2018 1pm to 3pm

Cameron Park Library

2500 Country Club Dr.

Cameron Park, Ca 95682

Working with Kids with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders And Other Neuro-Based Challenges: 

A training for caregivers, child welfare professionals, mental health providers, and school and community personnel

FASD is underdiagnosed and many adoptive parents have no idea their child may have it as other diagnoses have overlapping characteristics.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018
Registration 8:30
Training 9:00-12:00
Presented by Barb Clark, Master Trainer

Location: Sierra Forever Families
8928 Volunteer Lane, Suite 100
Sacramento, CA 95826
Phone: 916-368-5114
RSVP: Kim@capadoptfam.org

Hosted by Sacramento County Community Champions Network and the North American Council on Adoptable Children

The Attach Place Upcoming Events Calendar

Trust-based Therapeutic Parenting Class for Parents of Children from Difficult Beginnings by Ce Eshelman, LMFT will be held in November 2018 from 10 am to 4 pmChildcare provided for an additional fee. CALVCB will reimburse this training. Register here or on our website!

AUTISM Support Group:  Monthly Strictly Social Autism Spectrum Disorder Night for Tweens (11 yrs – 16 yrs) at The Attach Place. Open to the public. October 19th, 2018 from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm.  Gluten-free snacks provided. Please RSVP to Andrea@attachplace.com so we get enough snacks. This is a  monthly social group for the children; and caregivers will have an opportunity to connect, chat, and chill in a separate space. A donation of $0.00 to $5.00 will be accepted for food and supervision if you are able, but please don’t let that be an attendance barrier because the group is FREE.  ASD kids need a social life and this is a great way to make it happen.

UPCOMING ADOPTION SUPPORT GROUP facilitated by Ce Eshelman, LMFT:  Click Here to join our monthly  Adoptive/Foster Parent Support Group on October 10th, 2018! Open to all parents/caregivers at no cost. Support Group is every 2nd Wednesday of every month from 6 pm to 8 pm at 3336 Bradshaw Road, Ste 175, Sacramento, CA 95827.

GIVE MY BOOK FOR SUPPORT TO A FELLOW ADOPTION ADVENTURER: Drowning With My Hair On Fire: Insanity Relief For Adoptive Parents by Ce Eshelman, LMFT.  Daily inspirational reading for those who sometimes find it hard to keep hope alive. There is hope for healing.  At Amazon or get a discounted copy here.

Coping with All The Feels

The Attach Place

The Attach Place
Center for Strengthening Relationships

Dear Parents,

We have to help our attachment challenged children to understand how to think about all the feels.  First, they need help identifying that they are even having a feeling, and then what the name of the feeling is.  Emojis only go so far.

It helps to supply thoughts they could have about the feeling, such as “Everyone has the feels like this once in a while and sometimes a lot of the while.”  You might even go so far as to suggest that this is a righteous feeling they have every right to have in this situation, by golly!   Then explain what “by golly” means.

To be a super good helper, you could brainstorm with your child some things to do when an attack of the feels surfaces willy-nilly.  I know this sounds silly (oh, that rhymes with willy-nilly, silly), but practicing having a feeling and handling it in a few different, socially acceptable ways could be beneficial.  Practice is just like experience only you don’t have to actually give or get a black eye in the process.

Some kids could use a picture chart to show the ways to identify and cope with feelings. Many will think this is stupid but do it anyway. Here is a way of understanding emotions for older children:

Sharing power around picking solutions for how to cope with these feelings comes in handy for buy-in.  Some will do best by being shown a physical move or two–planks, jumping jacks, wall push-ups, clapping hard, etc.  If parents actually use some of these coping skills when having big feelings of their own, kids will take all this much more seriously.

Look for signs that your help is sinking in.  Throw out a compliment when you see some coping successes.  It’s amazing what catching kids doing something positive can do for their motivation and self-esteem.  I know they pretend it does nothing, but we parents know better, right?

Yep, that’s how you positively brain-wash a child to cope more effectively with life’s little (massive) feels.  I didn’t say it was easy.

Love matters,

Ce

Life is a lesson waiting to be learned.

Upcoming Sacramento Adoption Community Events

Working with Kids with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders And Other Neuro-Based Challenges: A training for caregivers, child welfare professionals, mental health providers, and school and community personnel

FASD is underdiagnosed and many adoptive parents have no idea their child may have it as other diagnoses have overlapping characteristics.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018
Registration 8:30
Training 9:00-12:00
Presented by Barb Clark, Master Trainer

Location: Sierra Forever Families
8928 Volunteer Lane, Suite 100
Sacramento, CA 95826
Phone: 916-368-5114
RSVP: Kim@capadoptfam.org

Hosted by Sacramento County Community Champions Network and the North American Council on Adoptable Children

Caring For A Child Who is Someone Else’s?

Are you informally caring for a child, an adoptive family, a foster/resource family, or a guardian? Looking for support or information? Need help finding services? Please join us for a community discussion! With the help of the Community Champions Network we may be able to create something helpful in our community. Can’t attend the meeting but still want to participate in the conversation? Email Kathryn at kemoryka@netscape.net

Meeting Details:

Tuesday September 25, 2018 6:30pm to 8:30pm

El Dorado County Office of Education

6767 Green  Valley Rd.,

Placerville Building B, Room 2

NACAC shares current child welfare information and post-adoption best practices through publications, our website, social media, webinars, and educational events. Each year, NACAC hosts the most comprehensive adoption conference in North America.

We also provide information and training on adoption topics for parent group members, parents, young people who were adopted or in care, and child welfare professionals. As part of a federally funded collaboration called Critical Ongoing Resource Family Education or CORE, NACAC is currently working with Spaulding for Children and other partners to help improve the training offered to foster and adoptive parents of children who are older and have more needs.

Are You a Professional Who Works With Children?

We are hosting a discussion/focus group for professionals who work with children who are not being raised by their biological parents. Our community would like to assess the needs of professionals (agency workers, therapists, community providers) who serve our families. What do you need? What does the community need? A Community Champions Network may help us meet the needs and fill the gaps in our community. Can’t join us for the discussion but still want to join the conversation? Email Kathryn at kemoryka@netscape.net.

Meeting Details:

Tuesday September 25, 2018 1pm to 3pm

Cameron Park Library

2500 Country Club Dr.

Cameron Park, Ca 95682

Working with Kids with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders And Other Neuro-Based Challenges: 

A training for caregivers, child welfare professionals, mental health providers, and school and community personnel

FASD is underdiagnosed and many adoptive parents have no idea their child may have it as other diagnoses have overlapping characteristics.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018
Registration 8:30
Training 9:00-12:00
Presented by Barb Clark, Master Trainer

Location: Sierra Forever Families
8928 Volunteer Lane, Suite 100
Sacramento, CA 95826
Phone: 916-368-5114
RSVP: Kim@capadoptfam.org

Hosted by Sacramento County Community Champions Network and the North American Council on Adoptable Children

The Attach Place Upcoming Events Calendar

Trust-based Therapeutic Parenting Class for Parents of Children from Difficult Beginnings by Ce Eshelman, LMFT will be held in November 2018 from 10 am to 4 pmChildcare provided for an additional fee. CALVCB will reimburse this training. Register here or on our website!

AUTISM Support Group:  Monthly Strictly Social Autism Spectrum Disorder Night for Tweens (11 yrs – 16 yrs) at The Attach Place. Open to the public. September 21st, 2018 from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm.  Gluten-free snacks provided. Please RSVP to Andrea@attachplace.com so we get enough snacks, right? This is a  monthly social group for the children; and caregivers will have an opportunity to connect, chat, and chill in a separate space. A donation of $0.00 to $5.00 will be accepted for food and supervision if you are able, but please don’t let that be an attendance barrier because the group is FREE.  ASD kids need a social life and this is a great way to make it happen.

UPCOMING ADOPTION SUPPORT GROUP facilitated by Ce Eshelman, LMFT:  Click Here to join our monthly  Adoptive/Foster Parent Support Group on September 12th, 2018! Open to all parents/caregivers at no cost. Support Group is every 2nd Wednesday of every month from 6 pm to 8 pm at 3336 Bradshaw Road, Ste 175, Sacramento, CA 95827.

GIVE MY BOOK FOR SUPPORT TO A FELLOW ADOPTION ADVENTURER: Drowning With My Hair On Fire: Insanity Relief For Adoptive Parents by Ce Eshelman, LMFT.  Daily inspirational reading for those who sometimes find it hard to keep hope alive. There is hope for healing.  At Amazon or get a discounted copy here.