Drowning with My Hair on Fire: Insanity Relief For Adoptive Parents

Ce Eshelman has more than five hundred blog followers, many of whom pled with her for what is now this book. Her self-help memoir, which includes hundreds of letters to adoptive parents, is seriously messy, way too personal, mostly informative, sometimes disorganized, occasionally ridiculous, irreverent, and often pure crazy town. As a child of trauma herself, she weaves a compelling story of raising her own two adopted children from difficult beginnings, and becoming a therapist with a thriving practice helping other adoptive and foster parents with equally huge challenges.

Praise for Drowning with My Hair on Fire

In one of our first sessions with Ce, she told us that before we could work on our trauma and attachment-challenged child, we needed to work on me (Mom). I believe I may have audibly gasped. Work on “me”? I’M fine. I’M not the problem. I was oozing righteous indignation. Then came D-Day, when our parenting skills were failing us, and my mind desperately grasped for Ce’s pearls of wisdom. With no loss of life, limb, sanity, or self-respect, we witnessed a profound moment of therapeutic-parenting success; our epiphany. What we’ve learned from Ce is that it isn’t about us not being good parents, or the right parents; it is about how to be this traumatized child’s parent. Ce’s daily blogs have been invaluable lessons on how to effectively, lovingly engage a traumatized child when they’re melting inside, and her calming words have had a way of talking me down from my ledge—reminding me that “love matters.”
Kim Petersen, Adoptive Mother

Ce Eshelman’s daily blog is a therapeutic beacon to guide anyone who feels lost in their efforts to understand, support, and teach attachment-challenged, special needs, and easily dysregulated children. Ce brings an empathic and hopeful voice to those caring for kids who have been impacted by trauma and the significant barriers stress has presented to their healthy brain development. As a professional and a parent, I have benefitted immeasurably from her wisdom.
Brenda Vaccaro, PsyD, Founder & Attachment Specialist, SPARK Center for Psychology, Sacramento, CA

This woman saved our family. This book will save your sanity! After years (and many therapists) of getting it wrong, Ce Eshelman got our traumatized family on the right path to attachment, sanity, and big, big love. Ce’s unique therapy is grounded in the latest brain research, her own struggles raising traumatized children, and work with hundreds of families like ours. Her stories, contained in this book, are our stories: full of pain, confusion, hope, faith, love, and practical magic that really works.
Elaine Smith, Adoptive Mother

Ce’s daily blog has been a lifesaver, particularly when days are most dreary and hopeless. Not only have her words of empathy proven to be priceless to our family, but I have often forwarded them on to others. Such a comfort to feel understood, with no judgment.
Patty O’Hair, Adoptive Mother

Foster and adoptive parents often face very daunting challenges not experienced by people raising their biological children; how much more so for those raising children with attachment challenges. Full of the painful honesty of raw truth and lessons learned the hard way—as well as grateful humor—Eshelman’s Drowning with My Hair on Fire is an anchor of solid support for these parents and a helpful reference for helping others to understand this rocky path. It is a generous and loving book. As Ce always reminds us, Love Matters.
David Hafter, LMFT, Author of Growing Balls: Personal Power for Young Men

Ce’s words provide insight and relief on so many levels: practical advice based on brain research on how to do this thing called “therapeutic parenting;” emotional balm when life with my attachment-challenged child goes on tilt; deep empathy and understanding because she’s walked in my shoes; refreshing honesty about her own struggles and failings; applause for a tiny step forward and encouragement to keep on going.  I need these words, sometimes like I need air to breathe! Ce has been a God-send for our family.
Debi Zacharia, Adoptive Mother

About the Author

Ce Eshelman, LMFT

Ce Eshelman, LMFT

Ce Eshelman, LMFT, attachment specialist and founder of The Attach Place Center for Strengthening Relationships in Sacramento, CA, has been in practice since 1987. Learning from the best minds in the attachment field—Dan Siegel, MD, Bruce Perry, MD, PhD, Bessel van der Kolk, PhD, and others—she works every day with adopted children and their parents. Raising her two adopted children into adulthood has given her the insight, humor, and hard-earned wisdom to write with authority and love.