Friday, April 15, 2011

Remembering For The Sake Of Compassion....

This post is because I felt the LORD stopped me while I was reading some scriptures and The Connected Child.  To pre-face this post...we were very encouraged to find hope this last weekend at the Empowered To Connect conference.  We came home knowing that we needed to do an “intensive” in our home to really bring hope and healing to our children from “hard places.”  This will require a huge change for us as we focus on learning what is needed to help our children.  Yesterday was “not good”, and I say that with a tired sigh.  I did things wrong, but I don’t know what to do “right” yet.  They did things wrong and don’t know how to overcome the things that are keeping them stuck.  So, I felt the LORD told me to write this post and “remember” where they have come from.  I don’t know most of their stories before they came home to us, but I do know that their behaviors give me some “clues”.
(These picture are my children and are private not use without permission-thank you. Also, the pictures do not match the the individual stories, but I did want to remember where I began with them.)
-When we went to bring home one of our little ones, she had scars from IV’s...why where they there?  What medical issues did she face?  She was nick named “the roaring mouse” by the other adoptive parents on the trip to bring her home...what had she lived through that had instilled such a low threshold for dealing with fear and frustration?  She wouldn’t allow us to hold her face to face and is still uncomfortable with hugs.  After she came home she would “fall apart” (at 12 months of age) and even holding her we were unable to comfort her.  She still “falls apart” and we are trying to learn to help her find the safety and trust that she needs.
-Another little one who was adopted at birth needed help immediately after his birth with some “heart” issue.  When we arrived at the hospital a little later we were not able to see him for awhile till he was stable.  What happened pre-natally or in birth to create this early trauma? 
-Another little one had so much stress in her 15 month old body that I thought I might die from the sheer and exhausting demands that came from her fear!  I honestly didn’t think that I would make it.  Her fear and stress was easily the size of Texas.  She was so hungry that she would try to take food from strangers at the airport.  A dear lady finally found a banana for her after hours of her screaming and crying.  This was after another lady rudely said she hoped we were not sitting near her on the airplane.  (On a funny note, in my exhaustion, I said what was on my mind...”Believe me, if I am anywhere near you I will ask the stewardess to move me anywhere else!!!”)  She SCREAMED (my baby, not the lady-LOL) in sheer terror at any unfamiliar or loud noise; cars, airplanes, dogs barking, pop sounds, flushing toilets.  She fell in love the first time her feet touched carpet and would run on it and roll around on it.  Unfortunately, she discovered this new delight at a funeral.  But she would have NOTHING to do with grass.  She overreact to almost everything still. 
-Another little one reacts very quickly to frustration and anger...still.  He had to have pure goats milk when he was a baby because he was unable to eat anything else.  He also has always gaged on certain foods and always tried to hide foods he didn’t like.  I thought the most cleaver hiding trick was scrapping them down the window well and then proudly displaying his finished plate.  
-Another little guy gets mad at himself for getting mad and closes up like a turtle.

-Then there is the mischievous one...scared to death of anyones anger, but has a hankering (Texas slang for urge) for exploring and doing what she shouldn’t.  She has certain reactions that show us that at some time in her three years before she come home she was treated very harshly (NOT BY US).  She has perfected that art of lying and “hiding” so that she wont get into trouble.  She was also very sick, and very close to death by the time she came home.

-And then there is our precious Aiden, whom I have talked about here, who seems to have some huge sensory seeking desires that are unhealthy and unsafe for him and others.  He has banged his head, hard, every night since we brought him home at 5 months.  He still does this and it can be heard downstairs.  In fact a friend of Jace’s stayed the night last week and he told me the next morning that he hadn’t slept at all and he thought our house was haunted...he said that all night he kept hearing these rhythmic banging sounds and he was envisioning a ghost stomping above him.  Aiden seems to have a strength that is not normal for his age, and yet at his heart he is one of the most sensitive and loving people I have ever met.  

With my biological children there are piece of a puzzle that make some sense to me.  Caresse has these horrible bone knots in her body...but so did my grandmother, my mother, my uncle, me and several other people in our family.  Jace is so much like Steve AND me in personality, but he is MOST like my father.  Kalyn is exactly like my darling husband - easy going, relaxed, creative.  When I look at my biological children I see the amazing person that they are, but I can also SEE where they came from to some degree.  There is at least a generational “map” for me to look at.  

With my children home through adoption, there are so many puzzle pieces that are missing, and the “map” is at best, for me, incomplete.  None-the-less, we have made a commitment to them...we have entered a covenant relationship with them and though we may not know everything, HE does, and I find hope that HE will show us what we need to know to fulfill our commitment to these love them, the help heal them and to set them on the path that the LORD has for them.  

My purpose for this post is best summed up in a few quotes from The Connected this is where I will end for today.
“Adopted and foster children deserve deep compassion and respect for what they may have endured before they were welcomed into your home.”
“The difficult history of these children means that you, as a caretaker, have to work harder to understand and address their unique deficits and make a conscious effort to help them learn the skills they need at home with a caring family.  Certainly, your children may exhibit manipulative or assertive behavior, but instead of faulting them for it, respect that it enabled them to survive and cope in profoundly difficult circumstances.”

“If you remain mindful of a child’s unique history and how early growth was disrupted, you can even admire the strength that allowed this little child to survive adversity and have compassion for the ongoing struggles he faces.”

I had lost my compassion for where they have come from, and tonight I am praying for my heart to remember and to be broken...
with the hope and assurance that the LORD causes all thing to work together for our good.
I want to again, say “Thank you” for reading my blog post and for walking this journey with me with your prayer, support and encouragement.
FOR HIS GLORY we journey!


  1. What great insight. May the Lord bless you as you connect with the precious children He has given you!


  2. Shonni
    this is a powerful yet beautiful post. Of course in our humanness we tire, we get frustrated, we face anxiety. You've taken on so much, I marvel at how you manage it all. Thank goodness our Lord knows how challenging these issues can become for us parent's and His Word and His loving compassion gives us the strength and courage to press on.
    I'm glad you put that passenger in her place, she had it coming.

  3. Oh Shonni,
    Thank you so much for this post. It is so easy to get caught up in all the negative, theirs and mine as we struggle thru each day. I needed to be reminded to remember, yet again, and probably, again and again and again, as we continue to navigate these turbulent waters of children from hard places. May God strengthen us for the journey and lead us to His high and glorious ground of whole, healthy children!!
    Much love!

  4. Oh Shonni...thank YOU for your honesty and for reminding us that these babies do require an extra level of compassion and patience. It aches my heart to think about the unknown...the things these sweet babies endured on their own.\

    Praying for God's healing grace upon your family!

    Love and blessings,

  5. Thank you for heart sharing. The pre-"us" experiences do continue to shape the now.

    Blessings as you travel the healing road.


  6. Thank you so much for sharing this. Yes, it is so easy to get exhausted from the constant working with the brokeness. I am having so much that got dredged up when we lost Jackson a YEAR ago. A child that is just now admitting his anger to God and us over that. I am so grateful to finally have his heart open, but it has meant a LOT of struggle. I too am trying to balance the weights all the time. I HATE the unknown maps but yet that is what we have. I am needing to be reminded of the compassion too. For a while I have been low on it. I appreciate your sweet insight and help.

  7. Shonni, thank you for writing about your insights from the conference. I am having a hard time getting it all down to share - I'll post a link to your blog this weekend. In many ways, I am still processing where we've been, where we are now, and my hopes for the future. May God be glorified.


  8. Shonni-
    I waking this walk with you! At times I have lost sight of the vision. Of God's purpose and the appreciation for his gifts. Instead I have chosen frustration and expectations that are too high for my treasures to obtain.

    (I need to get sleep, feel better and get re-grounded on this journey we have been blessed with!)

    Thank you for sharing your walk with us!

  9. Thank you for being so real. It will help us understand your progress too.....Praying for your family as you heal together.

  10. Thank you so much Shonni for sharing about your precious children, and the struggles you all face together.... sometimes when we are battling for our children's healing we feel so alone... the enemy has a way of making us think only our children are fighting the trauma of their past. Yet, when we share with each other the Lord uses it to lift up, build up and edify each other. We are not alone, our children are not alone and we are all in this together... Praying for God's continued healing on their hearts, minds and bodies...

  11. Thank you for sharing! It is so easy to forget their past, and just be frustrated when they don't behave like we want them to. We have/are going thru some of the same things, I appreciate your honesty.

  12. Shonni...thank you for this post! It's so easy to get caught up in their quirky behaviors day in and day out and forget that we don't have all of the puzzle pieces...that our babes are very wounded. You described several of my babes!!! Hugs day girl...prayerfully this side of heaven we can chat!!! Hugs, stacy

  13. Shonni, I'm so excited to read your most recent posts. I know it may be difficult, but I do hope you will share as much with us as you can about the next steps of your journey. We are getting ready to bring home two children from Ethiopia, and I want to learn as much from you and other adoptive moms as I can in the meantime. It's one thing to read these things in books, but it's quite another to see it put into action by families who are already there.

  14. Thanks so much for sharing all that you are learning. We had a long rage with our Little Miss today who struggles with RAD. My heart breaks for her ... my heart cries out to the Lord for her. She has 8 or 9 years of trauma before coming to our home. I am left to wonder if our love will ever be able to break through the walls of concrete she has wrapped around her heart.

    So wish we could have joined you all at the conference.

    Hope your week is BLESSED!


  15. Hi Shonni. I'm Julie. I found you through Lisa's blog. What a great post! It is so true that we need to remember and have compassion. I'm really liking your blog. It sounds like many of your kids have many of the same issues that my daughter has. I went to the ETC in Nashville last September and it totally fed my spirit. I have to say, it changed my life. There is so much more joy and peace in our home now. God bless.

  16. Oh I shed some tears as I read this post. Thank you for the reminder for me to remember where my precious ones have come from...

  17. Shonni, thank you so much for this post! We are in a very difficult place right now, and I realize I've lost compassion - every ounce of it! I go through Dr. Purvis' workbook, "Created to Connect," every few months, just to remember where my kiddos came from, but even that isn't helping right now. I need to dig deep into the Scriptures and be reminded of Jesus' compassion - and ask Him to bring that to life in me. Thank you for writing this. (even though it was several months ago) It has spoken volumes to me!


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