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When Your Child Publicly Hates You – Parenting Tip #40 (Part 1)

 

Time to address a very sensitive subject…

For many, this type of conversation is painful – and will possibly elicit anger and a lashing out, but there are so many suffering parents out there that need you to know their reality and be reminded that they are not alone that I must speak out.

Insight into what it is to be a family like ours – to parent children with a difficult past, to invite into our family those who carry around emotional baggage and painful memories will not only help those of you who are on the outside looking in, but it will also help the children and families that that will be represented here. Bringing issues to light is needed.

This is not intended to paint a picture of pain and suffering to gain sympathy but to garner some understanding and support for families like ours who bear the brunt of disgruntled children.

Like many, we are still waiting for part of our family to establish a foundation, to reconcile their past and discover the value of family and reconnect with us. It’s not easy for some, though it may seem easy to us. “Just come home!” we want to shout at them. But it must be their decision. There must be a change of perspective and change of direction.

So we wait… and hope.

Public Hate {Mom of Many}

Do you have a child that publicly hates you?

Do they tell everyone around them stories of cruelty, abuse or favoritism? Do they post nasty comments about their upbringing on Facebook to try to garner sympathy and the “Aww, you poor thing, no wonder your life is a mess.” comments? Do they paint you as a monster that got joy from making their lives miserable? Do they desire to hurt you because their bitterness drives them to it?

In case you are one of many parents experiencing the hate that children who have become adults often dish out, I want to offer you hope. This is a temporary situation and one day they will, with God’s help, have their eyes opened and reconcile those deep seated conflicting emotions.

It’s Not Just an Adoptive Family Issue

Though our story centers around adoption, this issue doesn’t just affect adoptive families. Families are struggling all around us. They need our compassion and support…not our judgement, criticism and too often offered advice.

I ask you to give a little latitude while reading about our personal experiences and the conclusions we have drawn because of them. Unless you were there, and even if you were, you cannot 100% understand or know what it is like to raise “interesting” children.

Do You Think You Have the Right to Judge?

Families are complex entities that cannot be easily measured or evaluated by onlookers. As the heart can only be known by God and is so often misunderstood even by its own flesh and blood owner – families are too intricate and complex to be judged easily or even fairly by anyone but the One who in His infinite wisdom brought them together in the first place.

And if we do, and we realize that God brought the family together, are we not criticizing the One who in His sovereignty deemed it so? Do we in our own eyes and heart assign wisdom to our Maker and then show our lack of belief when we criticize or judge the actions of those who are doing what we are unwilling to do ourselves?

This will be a series…for there is  much to talk about.

Let me make a few statements and lay some groundwork before we begin…

  • We adopted many special needs kids, so some of them at the time of adoption were a bit behind in many areas (socially, intellectually, emotionally, physically, educationally etc.). They ranged from 3 months to 9 years old at adoption. Some came to us individually, some by groups of 3 and 4. Some were easy to raise. Some were not with a capital NOT.
  • We were as their adoptive parents in a precarious position – living down what other adults had done or not done to them and being the brunt of their preconceived ideas and experiences. We dealt with severe fear, distrust, anger, confusion, and bitterness that were firmly planted in their heads and affected their behavior long before we came into the picture.

Do Your Children Publicly Hate You? {Mom of Many}

  • Their prior history and/or disabilities ALWAYS colored their perspective and reactions.
  • Normal discipline seldom worked with the “interesting” kids, so we had to get creative or deal with mutiny. Our feeling of responsibility to craft them into loving, responsible human beings was at times overwhelming. Needless to say, we were not successful with many and had to give them to God to complete the work. Who, by the way, has been wildly successful with most of our kids.
  • It is common for those who are trying to cope, mature, and find their way to blame others with their failings: “Oh no, it couldn’t be MY fault.” It is too painful to accept responsibility and much easier to blame the siblings or parents.
  • We parented the best we knew how without much help from others. No one knew what advice to give when we asked, but many onlookers were critical and judgmental when they had no personal experience or knew all the facts.

Do Your Children Publicly Hate You? {Mom of Many}

  • We adopted most of our children at age 3 1/2 or older. The ability to form emotional bonds usually develops somewhere between ages 1 and 3. Many would say we were doomed to fail. We were determined to be the exception. We knew God could make all the difference and hoped it would be so.

I could probably spend 20 minutes listing all of the conditions/syndromes we dealt with.

I’ll just list the few right off the top of my head: ADHD, FASD, OCD, ODD, PTSD, LD, Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia, TMI, EMI, RAD, Asthma, Allergies, Asperger’s, DD, BEH, CCD, ED, TS, APD.

If that’s not enough, add in prior abuse and neglect combined with abandonment issues.

Please use a bit of understanding when you try to form an opinion about families like ours:

  • If a child cannot reconcile the things that happened before they came to the adopted family, those feelings will spill over into their new family. There is a saying about special needs adopted kids, “If they can’t hate the one who hurt them, they will hate one they’re with.” We found this to be very true. You could say, “we resemble that remark.”
  • Special needs adults (special needs kids do eventually grow up, though they don’t necessarily mature) seldom remember what they did as children to warrant discipline or sanctions. They only remember the pain of embarrassment, the painful discipline or loss of freedom. Accusations of abuse roll off their tongue without much consideration of the facts or reality.
  • It is common for the hard to raise kids, the ones with behavioral issues, to compare themselves to the other kids in the family who earned freedoms through trustworthy behavior. Jealousy creates bitterness and clouded memories.
  • Children who have a warped view of love will often cause dissension in the family and disrupt or sabotage family events and outings. It is common for them to target the kids already in the family when they first come (and along the way) and the ones who appear to them to be favored.

Are Your Kids Fighting? {Mom of Many}

  • Interesting children tend to be self-centered and narcissistic because of the pre-adoption days when they felt the need to protect themselves, felt unloved or not valued. Their reality usually isn’t the same as ours.
  • The lack of bonding children experience in their first 3 years will affect their ability to form healthy relationships in the future. You will see issues develop with these kids and those they live with and work around. We as parents are not the only ones who experience their less than adorable nature – we just happen to be the ones they blame for it, even thought they brought it with them when they moved in.
  • Kids with immature impulse control, poor reasoning skills, and trouble coping with disappointment will carry that into adulthood. If they have difficulty adjusting to adulthood (which is more common than not) their out of control lifestyle will breed discontentment, guilt, discouragement or depression. ALL of their failures will be blamed on the parents and how they were raised. “If they weren’t so hard on me,” “If they’d only let me do what I wanted,” “If they’d been fair/reasonable/less demanding/accepting/less controlling,” the list goes on in their head. The alternative would be to take responsibility and change – which would require a change of mind. Pride does not allow them to evaluate themselves or their home life properly.
  • Spiritual maturity is key to turning the “interesting” kid into a mature, responsible, loving adult. When you meet an adopted kid that grew to be gracious and compassionate out of a past of turmoil and upset, realize it was the power of God that brought them through.
  • When you hear hateful comments and accusations publicly, realize that a spirit filled mature child would never malign their family or parents. If the accusations were true, they would forgive. If they were not, a spiritually mature child wouldn’t lie to make themselves feel or look better. Consider the source.

Side note: The kids who were raised right along with the “interesting” ones have had issues of their own to overcome –  their family was changed through adoption – which brought uncommon drama into their life. Few stop to think about them and what they had to live through.

Most of the focus by onlookers is on the adopted child and their perceptions, needs and challenges. This only adds to the prideful arrogance of the troubled child who cries foul and adds to the bitterness that the non-troubled child often deals with. It’s the prodigal child/faithful son story all over again. Be careful how you support these struggling kids and adults. Treading on parental authority is dangerous business.

I’ll leave you with that to chew on for a while. Please realize that there is more to the story than what you have been told or think you have witnessed. If you could only have walked a mile in our shoes…you would have run screaming to the next town and cried, “Mercy!”

I’ve said it before and so now I’ll say it again. I love all of my kids and am grateful for those who do love us and desire a relationship. I am blessed. And for those who do not – I still love them too and will always watch out the window for when they decide to come home. Some will scoff, but they must realize that I will still continue to hope they come back home.

 If you are a parent in need of support, please join us and be invited to our exclusive M.O.M.s Facebook group where we chat every day about mom stuff. it’s a safe place to share your concerns and seek advice.

Next I will tell you how we handle the publicly declared accusations and hate mail as siblings and parents. God speed and until next time…

Val @ Mom of Many

Parenting Tips {Mom of Many}

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Do you stress over your “TO DO LIST”? Parenting Tip #39

TO DO LISTs Only Grow

Wash the clothes, sweep the floor, change the bedding, do the dishes, and on and on.

Moms are probably the busiest people in the world, and the most under appreciated. Unless you’re a mom, you have no clue. Seriously. Even after all the kids leave the nest, Momhood doesn’t end.

Though our nest is empty, I still interact with my kids. Being a mom cannot be described as a full-time job. It doesn’t end at 5:00pm nor does it end when they turn 18 when the world says our job is officially done.

Basically, by having kids, whether by birth or adoption, we are lifers.

Add to that church stuff, work stuff, home stuff…the list goes on – our TO DO LIST grows exponentially as we meet the needs of our family and interact with the world.

The TO DO LIST

For January, I put together MOMentum Calendar to encourage our M.O.M.s group. Each day there is something to do that we often put off because we are so busy. A surprising thing has happened for me as I have accomplished each daily challenge.

January MOMentum Goal Calendar {Mom of Many}

Halfway in I stopped stressing about my lengthy TO DO LIST. For about 2 years I’ve stressed every day because my list has gotten so long and my available time to squeeze in extra stuff has all but vanished. I have no margin and it has caught up with me.

Nearly everyone in our M.O.M. group felt the same way.

I created a January challenge to encourage my M.O.M.s and it ended up encouraging me. Because I accomplish something extra every day that isn’t on my list (like cleaning out a junk drawer), I feel accomplished, have stopped stressing about my TO DO LIST and have finally accepted that I can only do what I can do.

TO DO List Vs. Goal Setting

Have you ever set big goals and then not meet them?

How often have you thought: “I JUST NEED TO GET THROUGH THIS DAY”?

We assume the goals have to be big and life changing to really matter. But the big life changing goals often get set aside because life happens.

Instead of only setting huge goals, we need to set little daily goals too. As the month progresses, the feeling of accomplishment replaces defeat and we become hopeful and less stressed. By setting little daily goals, we work toward meeting our big goals. This is where our TO DO LIST and our goal setting meet. our TO DO LIST basically is really a daily goal planner.

I know. Weirdly simple, right?

Being Practical

So now, realizing that little written down goals are foundational to the larger, I’m designing a multi page M.O.M. planner. I am offering it free to our M.O.M.s FB group. I’m giving you a one page weekly planner sheet today to show you what I’m working on. Just click on it and I will send it to you via email. If you want to receive more pages as they are designed, join our M.O.M. Facebook group.

We need to realize that our TO DO LIST is a tool, not a prison of our own making. We manage IT – IT doesn’t manage us.

We are faithful. We do our best. We just need to see it – every single day.

So we start now. Step by step we move forward – not by beating ourselves up over what we didn’t get accomplished but to  celebrate each small success. We are not defined by how or if we complete our lists; we are defined by who we are and our part in bringing light to the world.

Just Click to Commit

Does your to do list control you? {Mom of Many}<<< Just “click the pic” if you want to do some mini personal goal setting and commit to de-stressing your TO DO LIST by looking at it in a new light. You can fill it out to set your own goals for the week. If you are interested in taking a look at our other M.O.M. planner sheets like a password log, weekly cleaning check list, etc., join our M.O.M. Facebook group. You will have access to all of my planner sheets as I make them – FREE because you are a part of our M.O.M. group.

If you would like to join us in using the monthly MOMentum calendars, click the one above and then watch for the February MOMentum calendar. If you’d like to suggest daily goals for our calendars, email me from the contact page above or join our M.O.M. group and post your ideas.

I looked for years for support and didn’t find it. Join us and find other moms just like you.

 

Val @ Mom of Many

Parenting Tips {Mom of Many}

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Got Bible? Parenting Tip #38

I Don’t Have Time for Devotions!

I promise, this is practical. It’s not a sermon. It’s not a brow beating. If anyone knows how hard it is to be consistently in the Word, it’s me. I’ve struggled all my life to be consistent.

Too often we think we have to do things in a traditional way – but forget we have liberty. Not liberty to sin but liberty to obey God and His leading how we see fit and how He directs us.

What? We have freedom to listen to Him?

Got Bible? Parenting Tip #38 {Mom of Many}

 

Let’s Get Creative

Years ago when we had a bunch of little ones at home it was easy to have family devotions and prayer time. It was a family event that I often reflect back on – and it always brings a smile. They were such cute little buggers back then! (Kids, what happened? VBG)

Maybe one day I’ll show you a video of them while in prayer circle if I can transfer it from VHS to digital.

Prayer Circle

Our house had a little spot down by the kids’ rooms where all of us fit very well when we sat on the floor in a circle – we called it our prayer circle. When they kids would get ready for bed – pjs, teeth brushing, etc. Mark and I would go sit down on the floor outside their rooms and their bathroom waiting for them to finish. This accomplished three things:

  1. We could supervise – there were not problems getting ready for bed because Mom and Dad saw everything.
  2. As each of the kids finished, they came out and formed a circle. We hugged, talked, wrestled, laughed, etc.
  3. Because fun stuff was going on, the kids hurried!

Got Bible? Parenting Tip #38 {Mom of Many}

When everyone was done, we would talk Bible and then pray together, one at a time. Not only was it fun to listen to them, but it was also fun watching them peek, rock back and forth, giggle at some of the prayers, etc. It was also a good way as parents to find out what they were concerned about, what happened in their day, and to give a little extra attention.

Then when the last little one prayed we hugged and said, “I love you,” and shooed them off to bed.

One of us would sit by their doors until they were asleep to ward off any naughtiness. If they knew we were there, they behaved. Mark and I along with our oldest, April took turns. It was a pain, but much more painful when later we didn’t do that and they got out of bed for shenanigans!

Fast forward a few years…

When they were older and we moved to a different home, the tradition fell by the wayside and they became responsible for personal devotions. We made the rule, “No Bible, no breakfast.” We had gone into full-time ministry and it became harder for both of us to sit down with the all kids at a specific time of day.

Got Bible? Parenting Tip #38 {Mom of Many}At that time it also became harder for me to eek out alone time for my own personal devotions. Getting ready for the day, b’fast, lunches, get them out the door, drive to school, put in 9 or 10 hours, home, dinner, homework, correcting papers (I was their teacher), yearbook (I was the yearbook advisor), school stuff (school photograhper) church work (church photographer, publications, SS teacher, discipler) on and on. You get the idea. I got up at 6:00 AM and went to bed sometimes at 2:00 AM.

Isn’t that the way? You do more for God and it’s harder to get alone with Him?

Getting Creative

Many months I tried to get up and have personal devotions in the morning, but something always happened to interrupt me. A kid was sick, or couldn’t find his socks or somebody was picking on somebody. Then I tried at night and I was just too tired to pay attention to what I was reading. Forget trying in the middle of the day. No way.

So my DH bought me an MP3 player because I found the Bible on MP3. I had grown up listening to Alexander Scourby and found an MP3 of him reading the KJV. I was in business! For years now I have listened to the Bible in the morning while I am getting ready.

Got Bible? Parenting Tip #38 {Mom of Many}

The kids knew I had to have that 40 minutes to get ready in the morning and Mark was in charge running the show until I could take over. I had to multi task or I would never get it all done, so as I dressed, did my makeup and hair, and was able to listen to several chapters every morning.

I found a solution. Happy dance!

I had a little notebook handy to write down notes if something struck me. I also learned to L.O.V.E. the Old Testament, unlike before, because I heard it and imagined it as if it were happening right then. There is something about hearing the Word – the pictures just came. It became real and sank in – embedded into my brain like a video on a blog!

God Was Silent

There was a time while in one of our ministries that we fell on hard times. I had so many questions as to why things were going south but couldn’t seem to find an answer. I was in the Word. I was faithful. I was doing my best and keeping my heart open. Nothing.

It wasn’t until we left that situation that God started answering each one of my questions – perfectly, one at a time as if He had my list in His hands. It was a palm hitting forehead two years as He unraveled it all for me to understand. For some reason, while I was going through it He was silent on the matter. Apparently He was waiting until I was ready to take it all in. Fortunately I was still “listening.” I have each one of them written down on this blog on a separate page at the top of this site underministry.”

Challenge Yourself

There was a time when the subject of personal devotions came up in a sermon and I challenged myself to not miss a single day for a year. That year turned into 4 – once you establish a habit, it’s so much easier to continue! I cannot say I never miss a day now, for I put that challenge behind me and eased off on myself a bit. Those were the days that I was very structured and harder on myself than I should have been because of all the pressure and stress I endured in that ministry.

But I still find the Bible intriguing and have kept it as my standard all these years. I could not be happy, confident or balanced if I didn’t have it. It is my foundation. I love listening to it while I get ready in the morning.

So I challenge you, Mom. Stop being so hard on yourself. Yes, we should be in the Word. But life is what happens when you have other plans. I get it. So, if you have a hard time staying in the Word – give the MP3 thing a try. It changed my life and I know it can yours.

Val @ Mom of Many

Parenting Tips {Mom of Many}

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Fostering Your Kids’ Gift Gratitude – Parenting Tip #37

 

Look at all those gifts!

Your tree has your opened gifts still under it. You pass by and feel grateful for the family and friends who remembered you this Christmas, showing their love with a gift. This attitude of gratitude has grown over the years because of your experiences and matured sense of appreciation and it is a blessing.

But what about your kids’ gift gratitude?

Do they get that warm fuzzy feeling when they play with their new toy from Meemaw or wear that glittery jeans jacket from Auntie Em? How do you foster your kid’s gratitude?

Instilling Gratitude Tips

  • At gift opening, teach them to open the card first. It’s is at that time that you have them thank the giver by looking them in the eye and smiling a “thanks.” I learned this from attending baby showers. When the new mom opened the card, she searched the crowd for the gift giver to make sure they knew she was opening their gift – it’s a way of pre-thanking them and letting them know they are a part of an intimate moment.
  • As they open the gift and get that sparkly look in their eyes that every gift giver looks for, teach them to thank the giver again (those sparkles go a long way!) Gift givers want to know that they have made a difference in people’s lives. One moment of eye contact with a grateful eye will float their boat – and you definitely want their boat to float!
Fostering Kids' Gratitude Parenting Tip #37 {Mom of Many}
This is the face that won my gift giving heart back in 2007.

  • When the gift giver leaves, have your child thank them again and if appropriate, give them a hug. This is the fuel the gift givers need and will strengthen the bond between the two. Every child needs to know that others besides Mom and Dad love them. Mom and Dad are required and expected to love them. Others are the gravy on their potatoes.
  • When the child plays with the toy or wears the gift the first few times, ask them if they remember who gifted it to them. Not only does this create an attitude of gratitude, it also strengthens the bond between your child and the gifter. (Only do this if a bond IS what you want to create!) When ever I go over to my grandkids house and see them playing with a toy that I gave them or wearing something gifted to them from me, I ask them, “What wonderful person gave you that?” They’ve heard it so much that they know enough to say, “You, Grammie!” This is my way of not only getting them to remember that I love them enough to give them things, but to implant in their minds that I am a permanent fixture in their lives (as long as God allows).

Toys and such come and go, but to realize that these things are gifts of love will last a life time.

I tend to attach sentimental value to “things” because they invoke good memories. I constantly fight the “hoarder mentality” because many of my things bring those I love to mind. I want them around me to remind me I have value. Of course, because I belong to God, I have value. But to know someone with skin on values me brings it very close to home.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

To value those around us is the greatest gift.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

Do your kids know they are valuable? We can foster this by teaching some creative gift receiving habits that will last a lifetime. We realize this grateful gift receiving benefits the gift giver, but realize too that it benefits the receiver much more.

The delight on a child’s face is priceless.
Doesn’t it just make you want to experience it over and over and be the reason for the delight?

Fostering Kids' Gratitude Parenting Tip #37 {Mom of Many}This is my grandson, Isaac at age 2. His grateful heart has grown even more these past 8 years.
I love giving him and his siblings gifts! Their delight is my delight.

What do you do to teach gratefulness?

Val @ Mom of Many

Join the Mom of Many mailing list and be invited to our exclusive M.O.M.s Facebook group where we chat every day about mom stuff. If you are in need of support, please join us – it’s a safe place to share your concerns and seek advice. We are looking for mentors for this ministry, so if you are an experienced mom, please come join M.O.M.

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Do you make your kids share? Parenting Tip #36

Sharing a Different Perspective

If you practice the typical parental sharing rule among your children, you may be creating bitterness, a selfish heart and a self centered mindset.

I know. Parenting can be a scary thing when you consider you might be causing the very behavior you are trying to avoid.

Sharing - Parenting Tip #36 {Mom of Many}A Parenting Mistake

Little Johnny gets a new Lego Bug Obliterater set and he spends hours putting it together. He sits back on his heels and admires his work as his little brother comes from behind and grabs the mega bug and rips off the wings and runs off with his Lego guy.

Johnny hollers, “Moooommmmm! Buster (which is a good name for the little guy since he is Destructo in the flesh) just broke my Lego bug and took my star strider!”

And then how does mom respond? “Johnny, share with your brother!”

What??? Really?

Johnny’s Emotional Response

  1. He now KNOWS his mom won’t protect his things from others. (fear)
  2. His brother becomes the enemy. He decides he must watch for invaders in his personal space. (self protection)
  3. He decides that if mom isn’t his ally, then he must look within and only trust himself. (feelings of abandonment)
  4. Things become more important than the people around him because he begins to fear loss. (materialism)
  5. A little seed of bitterness and resentment begins to grow. (anger)

Sharing - Parenting Tip #36 {Mom of Many}

A Better Parental Response

Johnny hollers, “Moooommmmm! Buster (which is a good name for the little guy since he is Destructo in the flesh) just broke my Lego bug and took my star strider!”

Mom responds: “Buster, you know that belongs to Johnny. You are free to watch him play and maybe he’ll invite you to play with him. But it’s up to him. Johnny, maybe you can build him something to play with?”

Johnny now believes:

  1. His mom respects him and what belongs to him. (security)
  2. Mom considers him to be as important as Buster. (value)
  3. Family can play and work together and be considerate. (courtesy)
  4. Boundaries foster good relationships. (respect)
  5. Buster will learn to play nice or he won’t get what he wants. (cause and effect)
  6. He can share with Buster out of love, not obligation. (love)

“Teach your kids to share,” is not a mandate to make them give up their things. Evaluate each situation and guage your parental response according to what is best.

Do we not protect our possessions? As adults, we hate taxes. We’d much rather give out of a heart of love or concern for others than have things taken from us without our consent. Remember the Boston Tea Party?  Are you against socialism? Do we not lock our doors to protect what is ours?

If your children fear loss, they will put up barriers and self protect. Rather than teaching them to fear, teach them to prefer others and learn to love in practical ways. Lead by example. Let them see you are a giving person. Let giving and sharing be by their choice.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

You don’t teach your kids to GIVE by TAKING AWAY from them.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

Do you make your kids share?

Val @ Mom of Many

Join the Mom of Many mailing list and be invited to our exclusive M.O.M.s Facebook group where we chat every day about mom stuff.

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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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Merry Christmas from Mom of Many

Merry Christmas {Mom of Many}

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Are you an overprotective mama? 10 Ways to Know for Sure – Parenting Tip #35

Are you an overprotective mom? {Mom of Many}Let’s take the umbrella test…

  1. Do you know your child WELL?
  2. Do you have their best interests at heart – are they your priority?
  3. Do you take the time to get to know your kids’ friends?
  4. Are you a good example?
  5. Are you involved in EVERY part of your kids’ lives – school, faith (church), home, outside activities, hobbies, friends, etc.?
  6. Do you know the adults WELL that are responsible for supervision when you are not around?
  7. Do you pay attention to what is going on in your family, with your kids, and those they spend time with?
  8. Do you talk to your kids – and listen?
  9. Do you supervise well and watch for issues that need to be addressed?
  10. Are you consistent, available and faithful?

If you answer “Yes” to these questions then I’d say you can trust your mama instincts. Too many times I let others’ opinions influence my decisions negatively. It took me years to shut out the whisperings and follow my own mama bear instincts. If you have no one to support you, and you believe your are doing the best you can, then go find someone that you respect, has experience, and can get in your corner.

Stick to your guns.

We don’t like it when people criticize our parenting. But then we stress over their “advice”. We know that if others criticize us then we must be doing something wrong – um, no. Not necessarily. We need to confidently hold our own if we truly feel we are doing what God has appointed us to do. We need to reek of confidence when we deal with our kids too. Why do we cave when our kids throw a fit over our parenting? We need to drip of confidence in order to get our kids to take us seriously and have reason to trust us.

You are not your kids’ friend.

Make it clear that you are the Mom and you will make hard decisions when needed. Let them know that no matter what, you will always look out for them and choose what is best, ALWAYS – even when they don’t agree. If you are a good mom, and if you are reading this I’ll bet you are a stellar mom, then trust your intuition. Ask God for guidance and then do what you think is best – even if others disagree – even if your kids throw a fit.

Learn, grow, ask questions, seek advice.

Keep your eyes peeled, consider, evaluate, follow through. Your kids are counting on you and if they don’t agree, do your mama thing anyway. I do believe we ought to listen to them and consider their wishes, if they present it properly. But remember: they need your guidance even if they don’t want it or appreciate it.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)God is your umbrella and you are theirs.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

“When my kids become wild and unruly, I use a nice, safe playpen. When they’re finished, I climb out.”
~Erma Bombeck

Val @ Mom of Many

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Adoption Family Parenting tips Things I've Learned

Do you ever wake up discouraged, Mom? Parenting Tip #34

Keep a clear head in crisis {Mom of Many)There was a time about 10 years ago that I couldn’t shake the morning blues.

I’d wake up discouraged even before the day started.

Before I explain how I overcame them, you need to know something. My foundation is not made of concrete or brick – rather, it’s made of rock – The Rock. Since I claim Christ as my Rock, everything that happens to me, in me, and around me is in His control.

Existing. Discouraged. Defeated.

Just trying to get through the day? Yep. That was me.

For believers, there is a solution.

Every night before I went to bed for about two weeks I prayed that in the morning, God would give me an uplifted spirit ready for the day’s challenges – no more dreading the day – no more morning blues.

The fog was lifted the first morning.

The dark clouds that hung over my head were completely gone. Whoa. Months of sadness gone just like that. I didn’t do anything different other than ask God to do it for me.

Are you a discouraged Mom? {Mom of Many}

Duh. Why didn’t I ask Him before?

The cloud was gone. No more morning blues. I’d never thought of it. I had just prayed that things would get better, but they didn’t and I was stuck in discouragement because I’d not thought to ask him to change ME. My thoughts. My outlook.

We can’t always control our circumstances, especially when you’re a mom and all of your circumstances revolve around little sinners who are not led by the Spirit and have no concept of tomorrow, or have any idea of the effects of their actions on others.

I’ve since asked for help in other type of circumstances with 100% success. Good stuff.

Val @ Mom of Many

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Family Parenting tips

Do your kids believe in Santa? Parenting Tip #33

Do your kids believe in Santa? {Mom of Many}This has been a debate forever.

Some say it’s hurting the cause of Christ to allow Santa into our homes. Others say Santa is a harmless fantasy that makes Christmas fun.

Here is my take on this debate. (Read to the end, please.)

  1. We didn’t teach our kids Santa is real.
  2. When they saw plastic Santa’s in stores, they asked, “Who is that?”
  3. We emphasized the Christmas story of Luke 2 every year.
  4. We had a bunch of adopted kids that we needed to trust us – we didn’t see lying to them even for fun being an option.

Let me explain why we nixed Santa.

Besides the fact that Christmas is a time of celebration of Christ’s birth, I had a negative experience when I was little. That formed my opinion on how I would parent my kids. My brother told me Santa wasn’t real when I was around 6 or 7 and I remember distinctly that moment when I realized I’d been lied to.

Now, don’t get all in a huff, hear me out.

Up to that point everyone had upheld the Santa story and I faithfully filled out my Christmas list every year. It was a fun time. But when my brother spilled the beans I was embarrassed and felt betrayed. I remember I was in my closet playing around on the pole…doing chin-ups.

My brother came in with a friend and told me with a smile on his face. Apparently it gave him pleasure to reveal the secret – little kids…what are we to do with them? That moment is forever burned into my memory – 50 years later I can still picture it.

Yet, I know other families who teach the Christmas story as well AND include Santa in the festivities.

Who is right?

I’m here to tell you that it’s up to each parent how they will handle this issue. If they never had any issues and can keep it a fun little fantasy then what’s it to us? Seriously. Why debate and point fingers? Every family is different and every family must decide for themselves what they will and will not do with their kids.

I honestly don’t think Christ cares AT ALL.

As long as those of us that name the name of Christ give Him the preeminence in our lives and give Him the proper respect and devotion then I don’t think He really cares what silly little fantasies we play around with. If He has His rightful place in our hearts then everything else just pales in comparison.

Really. Do you think God cares one whit about Santa?

Let’s focus on the right things. Forget the debate. Forget about judging other families and just enjoy the season and all it brings to us. There is too much fun stuff out there to waste time considering this issue. Just decide what is best for your family and go with it. If the Lord has a problem with it, He’ll tell you – if you are listening. If you’re not, then how much chance do I have that you’d listen to me?

Christmas time is amazing. Focus on family, the beauty of the decorations, the fun of the gifting and leave the rest to God. I would say focus on the beauty of the “snow” too but we’ve not seen any yet!

I’m pretty sure Christ would prefer we all focus on Him rather than being bothered by the Jolly ol’ Soul.

Tell me what you do in your family – do you do the ho ho ho holidays? Leave me a comment, I’d like to hear what you think.

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Val @ Mom of Many

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