Empowered To Connect

Archive for “Trauma”

The Wounds You Don’t See

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

I recently read a study that highlighted the difference between our ability to recall images versus words. There were two control groups. The first was shown a picture of a circle. The word “circle” was written down for the second group. The groups were re-convened 72 hours later and asked what they were shown. The group that saw the picture recalled that it was a circle one and a half times better than the group that only saw the word.

Maybe this helps to explain why physical wounds often get so much more attention than emotional wounds when it comes to our children.

What we have learned over the years parenting children from hard places is that physical wounds leave physical scars; emotional wounds scar our children’s ability to trust.

Healing the Wounds of Relational Trauma

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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

I remember the first time I heard it said. It came out of nowhere during a conversation with an adult adoptee, and I recoiled as the words made their way to my heart. “There is no adoption without loss,” she declared, “but sometimes adoptive parents tend to forget that.”

Such a categorical statement. So black and white. Surely there had to be an exception. Certainly there was some gray. “All adoption is born of loss?” I remember thinking to myself. All?

I Cried and Nobody Came

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

My son, Ebenezer, has an extreme fear of bees; when he sees a bee, or even a fly outside, he runs into the house and refuses to go back out. It isn’t difficult for me to understand why. When he was 2 1/2, he followed his brother into the pasture to feed the cows, and stepped on a wasps’ nest. The wasps swarmed him, and as we ran to help, we were all stung multiple times. Ebenezer had 35 stings. It was a horrible event for all of us – in fact, just writing about it makes me recall how terrified I was.

I’m currently reading The Whole-Brain Child by Daniel Siegel and Tina Bryson; it has given me so much to think about. Chapter 4: Kill the Butterflies! Integrating Memory for Growth and Healing is packed with fascinating information about the brain and how to help our children process memories. Making sense of their memories helps them better understand their thoughts and feelings in the present.

Learning to Trust and Let Go of Fear

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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Fear — it is a crippling and sometimes debilitating feeling, but it is so much more than a feeling. For many children from hard places, fear is a constant, though unwelcome, companion. It is a way of life. From research we know that fear left unaddressed can have pervasive and long-lasting effects on a child, including negative impacts on cognitive ability, sensory processing, brain chemistry, brain development, ability to focus and ability to trust. As a result, it distorts and dictates much of what our children are dealing with.

Helping a Child with Sexualized Behaviors

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

It is important for parents to understand healthy touch and to communicate respect for personal boundaries as they help their child learn to seek and give affection in healthy and appropriate ways. Watch as Dr. Karyn Purvis provides insights for parents to help them respond effectively to a child who exhibits sexualized behaviors.

What Every Adoptive Parent Should Know

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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

In order to truly understand children from hard places — what they have experienced, the impact of those experiences and how we can help them heal and grow — it is important that we understand some of the basics. That’s why we have put this collection of eight Empowered To Connect videos together — to introduce (or re-introduce) you to some of the most important basics that we believe every adoptive parent can benefit from.

Click here to watch all eigth videos.

Check the Expiration Date on Your Compassion

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

We recently moved out of our house to remodel the downstairs after experiencing a water leak. In the process, I was forced to confront one of the more unwelcome tasks of moving – cleaning out the pantry. In doing so I discovered that we had somehow collected enough random cans of food to survive for months, if not years. That was, of course, if we didn’t mind eating Spaghetti O’s that expired the same year my six-year olds were born! I’m ashamed to admit it, but I had more than a few expired food items lining the shelves.

As I look back on our adoption journey and I listen to the challenges of other adoptive and foster parents, it occurs to me that many of us view compassion for our children in much the same way as we would that old can of Spaghetti O’s. The honest truth is that for many of us, our compassion for our children – for the trauma and harm they suffered, the pain and loss that flows from their past and the lingering effects of their history – has an expiration date. All too often we think in terms of “they’ve been home for six months…they should not be doing that still” or even “they’ve been home for five years…they should know better by now.”

Engaging Food Battles with Connection in Mind

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Monday, June 20, 2011

Food battles can be challenging for any parent, and especially for adoptive and foster parents. Many children from hard places struggle with food-related issues and parents are often at a loss to know how best to respond to these challenges.

Watch as Dr. Karyn Purvis offers insights to help parents engage “food battles” while keeping connection in mind.

Expect Long-Term Challenges

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Watch as Dr. Karyn Purvis talks honestly about the need for adoptive and foster parents to expect trauma responses from their child. While long-term challenges, of various kinds, should be expected, Dr. Purvis reminds parents that there are many answers that offer hope and healing. This video is part of the Insights and Gifts video series, which includes a small group discussion guide that you can download here.

Adoption from the Inside Out

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

In this audio presentation Michael & Amy Monroe speak to a group of adoptive and foster parents (and parents-to-be) at a Tapestry event about what it means to approach the adoption and foster care journey from the “inside out.” This process requires that parents be willing to look back and make sense of their own past, look forward and honestly examine their motivations and expectations, in order to be free in each and every moment to be “fully emotionally present” with their children to help them heal and become all that God has created them to be.

In addition to listening to the audio, you can also follow along with the slides and handouts for this presentation.

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