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When Your Child Hurts You – Parenting Tip #45

My first son and I have something very in common. We write our best articles when we feel passionate about something, especially if that something hits us in our emotions. Yep. We’re emotional beings and occasionally another being will hit our emotional nerve and cause us to sort things out until we feel we sufficiently understand them or can at least put it behind us.

(If you’d like to see his writings about refugees and his newest adventure in Uganda working with communities go to AndrewFrania.com. You will be blessed.)

So, if you’ve gotten this far and plan to continue reading, I’ll get specific and to the point.

Yesterday I spent time with and/or talked to 9 of my 15 children. I know! That’s pretty cool in itself. I could have even reached 10 but one of them hasn’t texted me back yet.

Let’s break it down and then I’ll address my topic.

(1) One of my adult kids just spent 2 days attacking me via text. Blindsided me actually. Out of the blue. I still have no idea why. It just happened. One minute I was holding my new grandson for the first time while out of town visiting him and his family and the next I was looking down at a text that totally obliterated my “new grammie feeling.”

For just a moment. A millisecond actually. I chose to compartmentalize that moment and willed myself to take myself back to that moment of bliss, blocking the cruel punch to my grammie bubble.

It’s something I’m learning and am getting pretty good at. Most of the time. For the most part. OK, sometimes I’m able to do it.

After our “grammie meeting new baby” trip was over, I questioned the texter as to the why of the attack and it just spiraled to an all out “beat up mom for no reason” texting extravaganza. I decided it was going nowhere, so I asked my DH to handle it for me. He’s such a good doobie. I seldom ask him to step in, but I was getting nowhere and just wanted it to stop. It was ruining my day and just adding to the mound of stress I already had been battling.

It continued into the next day – one text after another. This time it was at work and I needed to focus on my job, not this ranting from the abyss. I warned that it must stop and gave my ultimatum: be kind and respectful or I would block any communication using that handy, “block caller” check box. I’ve never done it before. But sometimes “ya just gotta do what ya gotta do.”

Are you like me? Do you check your texts in between your busy moments to see what’s going on in your little world and then get a sick, heart turning upside down, kinda feeling when you read something negative? What if you kept getting negative, mean or spiteful messages every time you looked at your phone for two days straight?

How long do you let it go on? Do you thrive on derision? I don’t.

I am happy to help someone in trouble, lift someone up that’s down. I thrive on meeting needs and encouraging others. But sometimes you just can’t help. Sometimes people are just hell-bent on destroying others because they themselves are unhappy. I don’t get it, but it does happen. That is the case here. I came to realize that whenever something negative or hurtful or disappointing happens to this individual, they immediately text and dump on me. Most of the time I can take it. Most of the time I can talk them through it and find out what happened and help them navigate their way through it.

But this time it was different. I was their emotional punching bag. Right. Mom always loves you. You can do whatever you want to her and she will always love you. Well, yes, this is true. BUT…

This time it was different because no reasoning worked. No questions were answered as to why the attack. There was no foundation for the spewed hatred being typed into words via text. The rant just kept coming. All day. All night. The next morning. So I blocked said attacker. I warned. It continued. I blocked. But that’s not the end of the story. It yet has to play out.

 

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

Now let me tell you what happened after that moment when the attack stopped (on my end, probably not on their end). But I couldn’t hear it because I checked that little box, “block caller.” Sometimes you just have to remove yourself from the path of destruction for your own safety.

But it gets better. At least it did for me. I mentioned I talked to 8 more of my kids that day. I suppose I am more blessed than others because when one hurts me, I still have 14 others that I can look to. And good percentage of those 14 are kind and loving toward me, consistently.

So here is the break down of the other 8.

(2) One called me from Uganda, East Africa in the middle of his busy work day to encourage me when he found out I was having a hard day.

(3) Another joked with me and shared her children – hugs from grandkids cannot be adequately described. A (4, 5) couple of others texted and messaged me – always upbeat and respectful no matter what is going on in their lives. The every day chatting with some of my kids provides a good dose of sanity and grounding, reminding me they do not live in the drama zone nor do they want to drag me into it. Refreshing.

(6) Another called wanting details on a car accident one of our other kids had been in –  I realized I hadn’t called her to let her know. She could have been angry but she wasn’t! Hmmm. That is the standard families should hold to. Graciousness. A little found commodity in many families. Graciousness was what I needed – it was granted to me even when I was negligent by my lack of communication. And she didn’t even yell at me! No nasty texts. Only concern for her brother.

(7) Another called about the car accident, wanting to know how he could help.

(8) Another messaged me thanking me for a tiny gift I’d given him.

(9) One took me to dinner and shopping. Retail therapy. It works! (Maybe I shouldn’t have said that out loud!)

Of course I have to add my wonderful DH as always was, well, wonderful.

So here is my many faceted parenting tip #45.

  • You are not a punching bag. If your adult kids can’t be kind and respectful, walk away. Yes, you should try to help. Offer advice. Do what you can to alleviate suffering and meet needs. But if they are just mad and wanting to take it out on you because they think you are “safe,” then cause them to think again. Will you miss them if they don’t make it right? Yes. But you will not miss being abused.
  • Even if your kids are mentally disabled, emotionally scarred, or generally just clueless, that doesn’t mean they are incapable of being respectful and polite. Put up your boundaries. If they try to beat you up, taking their frustrations out on you, don’t let them do it! Draw your line and if they cross it, walk away. Tell them you love them no matter what, but that you will not let them abuse you.
  • I’m going to say it again. Moms are not punching bags. We are soft and breakable. We are not super human. We can be hurt. We have our own lives to manage and we are not responsible for managing our adult children’s lives. They must figure that out themselves. If anything, once they are adults, THEY SHOULD BE TAKING CARE OF US. We did our deal. For years we put them first, met their needs, taught them, educated them, taught them about spiritual things, modeled adulthood and set limits, taught them respectfulness, how to work hard…the list goes on. There is a time when that stops and you just become “mom” the one who they respect and care for. It’s called adulthood. If they can’t manage to do that, then look to those who do. Revel in their love and respect and let go of those who don’t.
  • Realize they may never come back if you make them stop hurting you. They may walk away because of some misguided accusation in their head that tells them they can’t count on you or that you don’t love them or some nonsense like that. They might choose to do something stupid that will damage them for life. Realize it’s not you, it’s them. Realize you cannot control them or their messed up thinking process. Of course the “*” to that is to assume you were not the cause of their problem. If you are, then fix it.  In this case the attack was unwarranted and I have not discovered the root cause, though I tried. But honestly, it doesn’t matter.
  • The real root cause of such abuse is much deeper than what set the attack in motion. The root cause can only be fixed by God, the healer of all pain and hurt, the one who can spot a deep dark pit that harbors all the hate and anger. You can’t do it. You can’t fix whatever is wrong with them. So stop taking that on. This is a situation where the, “Let go and let God” comes into play. You cannot and are not obligated to fix everything and everyone who is broken. This especially applies to adoptive parents. You’ve done your best (hopefully) to raise them to be hard working, responsible adults with a conscience and a loving heart, ready and willing to serve God and their fellow man. They are adults now. They must choose to live right. Your relationship should and will change. Let it.
  • They are not your peers. If your adult children try to treat you as a peer, don’t allow it. You are the parent and they should respect and honor you. Period.

This was a long one. No pictures. No fancy doo-dads, quips or quotes. Just reality. Let me know your thoughts. But only if you are kind. I’ve had a rough week and it’s only Wednesday.

 

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Volunteering on the Island Lesvos

Andrew Frania volunteering in Lesvos {Mom of Many}

On Christmas Day, our son Andrew left his home in Wisconsin to travel half way around the world to volunteer on Lesvos, an island off Greece about 4 miles from Turkey.

Daily he scans the horizon for boats full of refugees and then offers hope and safety once they make it to shore.

1000-5000 refugees from Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Turkey arrive on the island every week and need to be cared for and directed to resettle in Europe.

Andrew Frania volunteering in Lesvos {Mom of Many}

I have set up a website to post his pictures and journal. Go read his entries about the families who are fleeing the terrorism in their countries.

Andrew Frania volunteering in Lesvos {Mom of Many}

It will open up your eyes but most of all it will open up your heart.

Andrew Frania volunteering in Lesvos {Mom of Many}

As you probably know, Andrew is one of our 13 adopted kids. We have 15 children. He came to us a week shy of 4 months old from a Korean orphanage with just one outfit and a serious allergy to our country. After battling many years of chronic pneumonia from his asthma/allergies, he finally kicked the asthma and joined the Marines the summer after his freshman year at Maranatha.

He had many rough years while serving our country and experienced much loss. My mother’s heart ached for him and prayed God would scoop him up and make him into an amazing man that would change the world.

My prayers, hopes and dreams for that little Asian skin and bones baby we got off the plane have been realized with one decision – one decision that Andrew made to put himself last and strangers first –  to rescue thousands of refugees coming to the island of Lesvos fleeing for their lives.

Read about his journey to show the love of God to those who need hope.

AndrewFrania.com

Val @ Mom of Many

Parenting Tips {Mom of Many}

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When God Blows You Away – Parenting Tip #8

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

Today’s tip is very simple.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

When God Blows You Away - the story of our son {Mom of Many}

Never give up on your kids – no matter what.

Our only job as parents is to be faithful.

We are to provide for them, love them, teach them and point them to God. When our job is complete and they go out on their own, God will take over and do His work. We must let Him do it and trust His methods.

He knows. We don’t. We just have to trust.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

Let me tell you about my son.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

We adopted our son when he was nearly four months old. He had been in an orphanage since birth.

When we went to the airport to pick him up, I took a little tuxedo sleeper to change him into to bring him home. When I dressed him I was shocked to see how weak his limbs were – I was scared to move him around for fear I would break him!

It took us months to get a handle on his health issues. He was allergic to formula so we had to switch to goat’s milk.

He came down with Pneumonia every few weeks, which eventually brought us an asthma diagnosis. For many years we treated his asthma attacks at home with a nebulizer. Asthma is scary.

He earned the title “interesting” kid early on in his life because of his strong will and headstong personality – but fortunately he was endearing. He drew people to him with his magnetic personality and loving heart.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

Along came the teen years.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

Let’s just say they were challenging. 🙂

He went to Bible college after high school – simply because we asked him to. He and I had many discussions about his future when he was a teen. He disliked my idea that he would be a great servant of God if he’s just surrender. He assumed I meant ministry, which he vehemently opposed. I tried to assure him not ministry but some sort of service to God with his life. I saw great potential in him but surrender has never been in his vocabulary.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

Often folks will deny God’s call because of a fear of what God will ask them to do.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

I knew this to be the case with our son. There was no way I could assure him that to follow God’s call is the safest and most rewarding place to be.

The summer after his first year at college he joined the Marines and went to boot camp. We had hoped he would wait until he was done with college – when he was older. The entire next year at college was a struggle and we feared for our son.

Not long after that he went to Iraq.  He knew I would be worried about him, so he called home often with a SAT phone while standing on the roof of his Humvee to get a signal. I lived for those calls!

Later he volunteered for an overseas mission. Military service can take its toll, but at the same time can be an experience that builds character and strengthens a man’s heart.

The influences in the military and the many losses he has endured over the past few years took its toll. We begged God to preserve him.

When God Blows You Away - the story of our son {Mom of Many}

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

I’ve never regretted adopting my kids.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

I have feared for our kids over the years and wondered at times if they would ever make it to adulthood and be happy, well adjusted adults. It has been hard watching them go through the pain of loss, regret, rejection – and all of what this world can bring. Of course every mom is concerned for their kids, but when you adopt “interesting” kids, often they have a lot to overcome – much more than those who have had the advantage of a smooth and uneventful beginning.

Today I can assure you that our son has indeed not only survived but is thriving. He has reconciled all of his past and has built his character. He has come through his challenges and become an amazing man – one who defends our freedom and cares for others.

 

When God Blows You Away - the story of our son {Mom of Many}

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

He has a new mission – one that most men would not consider EVER:

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

Quote from his GoFundMe account on Facebook:

“I am returning to Iraq to help the Kurds. I was honorably discharged as a Sergeant in the US Marine Corps Infantry, and have a history with Iraq and that region of the world.

…My goal is to head there with a couple cameras/camcorders, Go Pro, laptop, SD cards, etc. This will allow me to upload everything stateside so that my liaisons in the US can connect the story and spread it to the public. 

For the past 3-4 years I have strongly thought about going back. The past year was not a pleasant one which led me to make my decision to go back. Some thought/think that I am running away from something, and so did I for a little. I’m actually running toward something, it took me a while to get grounded to my roots, the reason why I initially felt I needed to help the Kurds. 

My initial plan was to just head over and fight with the Kurds, but the saying “The pen is mightier than the sword” is so very true. This mission is about fighting alongside the Kurds and telling their story, but it’s [also] about telling the story of the Veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq who are back in Iraq volunteering with the Kurds. It’s about telling the story of the couple thousand people from all over the world banded together to fight for humanity. My goal is to tell a story of people who take no heed of race, religion, language, ethnicity, region of the world, but see each other as brothers and sisters of this world. 

The overall goal to tell this story, this documentary, is for global education on global awareness. If enough people can see that people are standing up to fight for humanity, we can get even more people to stand together. While the nations of the world can never agree on one thing, we as humans can all agree that the Kurds deserve the basic rights of humanity: Life. There is a hate out there that people are trying to extinguish. If we as humans of the world can band together to end this hate, maybe we can start to see each other as brothers and sisters of the planet we share. To give the next generation a chance of hope. The story just needs to be told.

I am blessed to call him son and pray God will preserve him as he goes to help the helpless. He truly is a credit to his nation and is willing to put his life on the line to protect those in need. What a great work God has done – He has truly blown me away.

When God Blows You Away - the story of our son {Mom of Many}

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

Not only am I proud of our son; he is MY HERO.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

There is hope moms – cling to it.

UPDATE: Due to the changing political scene, Andrew took up a different mission. Rather than going to fight, he went to save the refugees fleeing the war torn nations. Catch up on his mission here: AndrewFrania.com. He has found his calling.

Val @ Mom of Many

All photos by Charizma Photography, L.L.C. @ www.charizmaphotography.com. Katy Frey is an amazing photographer – check out her site. You will be blessed.

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Swearing – an Epidemic

Over the years I’ve asked many people not to swear – co-workers, family, friends, and even strangers. It’s not a matter of judging others. It’s all about what is appropriate. I’ve taught my kids to use proper speech, both that pleases God and allows them to be received properly by others whether it be in a home, social or work setting. I’ve explained why it displeases God to utter expletives, how it offends others and even told them it hurts their mother’s heart to hear such things. I’ve explained that people will think less of them, be offended or even exclude them from being hired because of offensive language, whether it be in person or on a social networking site. None of it seems to matter – it appears we have an epidemic of swearing. To tell you the truth, I just don’t get it. Swearing has been such a taboo to me that I’d never consider allowing it to enter my vocabulary. It’s so offensive, yet it seems this doesn’t matter any more.

I guess when it comes to young people trying to assert their independence or prove their autonomy or even maturity to the world, they unwisely choose profanity to try to make their point. When asked to not swear, they say, “I’m my own person,” “That’s how I am and I don’t care what anyone thinks,” or, “It’s my life and I can live it any way I choose.” Well, in a spiritual sense, no, we don’t have the right to live how ever we want, we were bought with a  price if we belong to Christ. It is our responsibility to represent Christ and glorify Him with our speech. But let’s put that aside for a moment and look at it in a purely secular view.

I did a search on “swearing” and found a few secular sites that deal with swearing and why it’s detrimental to the individual as well as society in general. Below I’ve posted thoughts from  a site on the Internet called “Cuss Control” about swearing and how it affects a person and those around them. I found it interesting and very much like the things I’ve told my kids over the years. I found a really good article on an Internet site that is solely for men and it supported the list below as well. Basically that article said it’s not cool or mature, let alone attractive to swear. I’d give you the address of the site, but it had links that I’d just prefer not to pass along, if you know what I mean. 🙂

Please don’t swear. It’s offensive and hurts society in general. Common courtesy should rule. I’ve been assaulted so much lately with profanity that I’ve had to limit my news feed on my Facebook. This ought not so to be. It especially brings me great sorrow when it’s my own children – they certainly know better. They say the more you love someone, the easier and more you can be hurt by that person. I personally know this to be true. I long for the day that they desire to please the One who gave them a life worth living. But, I digress…

Below is the list and if you’d like to see the Cuss Control site that contains this list as well as other comments, click here. Used with permission.

What’s Wrong With Swearing?

Swearing Imposes a Personal Penalty
It gives a bad impression
It makes you unpleasant to be with
It endangers your relationships
It’s a tool for whiners and complainers
It reduces respect people have for you
It shows you don’t have control
It’s a sign of a bad attitude
It discloses a lack of character
It’s immature
It reflects ignorance
It sets a bad example

Swearing is Bad for Society
It contributes to the decline of civility
It represents the dumbing down of America
It offends more people than you think
It makes others uncomfortable
It is disrespectful of others
It turns discussions into arguments
It can be a sign of hostility
It can lead to violence

Swearing corrupts the English language
It’s abrasive, lazy language
It doesn’t communicate clearly
It neglects more meaningful words
It lacks imagination
It has lost its effectiveness

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To Taylor from Dad

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ab4VRWX8y1A&w=425&h=349]

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Daniel Goes to College!

Recently we were able to get funding for Daniel to go to Shepherd’s college. He’s happy as a clam and enjoying college life. His teachers told us at our visit last week that he’s an excellent student. I said in my heart, “Of course he is, he’s a Frania!” I guess I can’t claim humbleness when it comes to my kids. The first year he will work on the basics like math  and grammar. The second year he will begin either horticulture or culinary studies. This is a three year program, so we are hoping that each year we can get his funding renewed.

Below are some pictures of Daniel’s dorm and one of him sporting the bronze medal that he brought back from the Special Olympics.  The last pictures are of him playing BB with his Dad in the Shepherd’s gym.

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Daniel Gets the Bronze

Daniel went to Nebraska for the Special Olympics Nationals in July with one other team member from Shepherds. His team brought back the bronze.  Good job Daniel!

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Family Pictures

I had a lot of fun photographing Marissa’s family. Please leave me a comment and let me know which ones you like the best!

 

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Thankful for God’s Protection

3 car pile-upI am very glad to let you know that God protected our family today. Our daughter Jillian was driving back to work after lunch today and was stopped right in front of the daycare where she works when another car stopped right behind her. They both had to wait for a tow truck to pass.

After it had passed, she turned into the daycare parking lot. As she did that, she heard a loud noise, but thought it was just the noise of a nearby truck. As she parked and looked, she witnessed a six car pile up right behind where she had been waiting to turn in.

Apparently someone three cars back wasn’t paying attention and rammed right into the car that was stopped right behind her. At the present time, she’s watching the scene unfold as ambulances and police cars arrive. One of the vehicles received the most attention. The back was smashed in about two feet and it appears that the rescue personnel are trying to extract a car seat from the back of the vehicle.

Thank God that she was saved from a possible fatal accident and please pray for what it appears to be a child that will be air lifted to a hospital. I’ll let you know more as she find out what has happened to those involved in the pile up. I am reminded today that life is fragile and that our lives can be changed in an instant. I am very glad I have a God that is in control.

Thank you God, for protecting my daughter today.