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Posted 11/24/15 at 4:04 PM | Bethany Christian Services

Life After Adoption: Lessons in Gratitude

The following was written by Jennifer Winkelmann, Founder and Clinical Director of Inward Bound, LLC, and originally appeared in Lifelines, Bethany Christian Services' quarterly magazine.

Children adopted at older ages frequently have more difficulty with building and maintaining relationships, even with people who should feel “safe” to them, like their adoptive parents. For parents who have adopted older children,* many would agree that there can be unique and unexpected challenges. During consultation with such families, I have often heard parents say:

“This isn’t what we signed up for, so what are we going to do? We can’t live like this!”

“After everything we went through to make this adoption happen, how can it turn out like this? Our family is falling apart!”

“Our child came from abuse/poverty/neglect…. Our home is a better and safer place for her to grow up. Why can’t she just appreciate it?”

“I have given so much love to our son. Things are better for him now: He has a new room and clothing, food to eat, a good school. How could he not be grateful?” FULL POST

Posted 11/17/15 at 11:51 AM | Marianne Kurtz

I Can't Fight This Feeling

When is it enough time to get over a child going into the military? This is an open-ended question everytime you tell someone that your son joined the Navy. Maybe I shouldn't say "you" I should just call it like it is...everytime "I" tell someone that my son joined the Navy. I'm not supposed to cry, I'm not supposed to feel pain because it's been ONE WHOLE YEAR since he has been gone.

Well, I'm sorry to say but it still hurts and I still cry!!! and if you don't like it, don't ask how I'm doing or how he is doing because chances are I'm going to cry...oh wait, you don't ask!

Friendships come back and then a picture is posted on FB of him on a ship and I am not ok seeing this! Maybe you think I should be but, I'm not! When I look I see a big world and my small son...does that make me crazy? Does that make me emotional? Do I think joining the Navy and verge of menopause should go hand in hand? HELL NO!! to all three! Well, except emotional, I do get emotional, and you know what? That's all right! FULL POST

Posted 11/13/15 at 5:17 PM | Bethany Christian Services

Podast: Deborah Gray, Attaching with Love, Hugs, and Play

In Bethany’s pre-adoption training, parents hear a lot about attachment—what it is and why it’s important for you and your child. It takes time and consistency to build an open, trusting relationship, especially with children who have experienced profound loss and trauma.

Deborah Gray, founder of Nurturing Attachments, is a clinical social worker specializing in the areas of attachment, grief, and trauma. She encourages parents to keep trying to establish a connection, even when children don’t immediately respond to you the way you hope they will.

A variety of factors may contribute to a child’s reluctance to attach to adoptive parents. From experience, they may have found that attachments aren’t permanent. If they’ve been hurt in the past, they may not want to try again. If they are grieving previous attachments (biological parents or other caregivers), they simply may not be ready to attach to someone new.

“It’s not their fault,” Gray said, “but it is their history.”

Kris Faasse, Bethany’s senior vice president of clinical services, spoke with Gray about how adoptive parents can walk with their children through the grieving process and, in doing so, lay a foundation for secure attachment. Listen here. FULL POST

Posted 11/10/15 at 9:19 AM | Marianne Kurtz

Train Them Up, Don't Beat Them Down...Let the training begin


I really have no other way of beginning the training then by sharing some of my own scenarios and then later explaining how they played out. I already told you about the Barney show and how I trained Jacob to answer when I called him no matter what he was doing. I do think I need to elaborate at bit more on that subject. You will learn by experience that what I am about to tell you will happen in many areas and when it does you’ll think, ‘I read that in Marianne’s book and so I’m not going to get frustrated, I’m just going to continue being consistent because she said this would happen.” It’s ok you can laugh out loud (LOL) at that especially when it happens.

We got through the initial ‘Barney training’ but that was not all there was to it because for some reason answering when I called him it suddenly did not apply to when he was playing so I had to run the whole training again. In the time following it would happen about once in each situation however, not for his brother growing up seeing Jacob get spanked for this he just knew plus I taught them to warn each other to listen so they won’t get spanked. They were not allowed to be happy about the other getting spanked or they would both get spanked. Our saying from the word of God was, “Am I my brother’s keeper? YES” Eventually the answering when I call became them saying, “Coming” and then get up and come to me. Because I soon found out that just answering led to loud communication like, “Come here” and they would answer, “What?” and so forth and so on. Needless to say I had to evolve the training to what suited our lives. FULL POST

Posted 11/9/15 at 9:25 AM | Bethany Christian Services

Why Adopted Children Need to Know Their Stories

The following was written by Angie Johnston, adult adoptee and mother, and originally appeared in Lifelines, Bethany Christian Services' quarterly magazine.

Good information about how and when to talk with your children about their adoptions is available, and I highly encourage you to read it. But before you do that, let’s grapple with the issue of why talking with them is important.

The purpose of open, age-appropriate dialogue about adoption is to connect our children with their existence so they can freely become themselves. To become secretive, afraid, or even passive about adoption dishonors a child’s very being and creates more doubts about the significance of his or her existence.

All children need to know they matter. They need experiential knowledge that their existence on this earth is real and that it is good. From that internal sense and knowledge, a child can form the virtue of self-acceptance and develop the all-important ability to give and receive love. For our adopted children, that internal sense about their existence is harder to find. What does all that mean? Let’s break it down. FULL POST

Posted 11/8/15 at 6:57 PM | Trace Embry

Anhedonia Index: Quick Access to My Anhedonia Posts

I wanted to provide you with an Anhedonia Index post. Many parents may not be aware of anhedonia and its effects on their family. Today’s post will provide you quick access to all my anhedonia posts and resources.

Understanding Anhedonia

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Discover a basic understanding of anhedonia:

What is Anhedonia:  A brief introduction

Understanding Anhedonia: How to define it in Today’s Culture:  In order to address anhedonia in your children, you must be able to identify it.

Anhedonia: An American Epidemic [Video]:  America’s digital consumerism can lead to an American anhedonia epidemic.

The Problems with Anhedonia

The posts below are a quick education on anhedonia and its effects on you, your family, and the church: FULL POST

Posted 11/3/15 at 10:28 AM | Marianne Kurtz

Child Training for Life

When we become a part of the Kingdom of God we are just that – part of a kingdom. In a kingdom the parents raise the children to be respectful of, honor, and serve the king. In the same manner, when you are part of the Kingdom of God we teach our children to love, honor, respect, and obey God. We are the doorway through which that respect and honor is tramitted. Teach our children to love, honor, and respectfully obey us, as their parents, and that will transpire to the same with God.

Through the years consistency had to remain intact. Last week I told of a the story of Jacob not hearing me when I called and getting him to the point of obedience. In doing so, there had to remain consistency on my part meaning that if he did not answer when I called he would get spanked on first offense, not 1 -2 -3 and then spanking. If you use that method you are basically teaching your child that instant obedience is not necessary they can disobey three times and then they can listen; if you want a child that you always have to repeat it three times then use that method but I definitely did not want that, why would I when I could have instant first time obedience if that is what I train them for. FULL POST

Posted 11/2/15 at 10:05 AM | Bethany Christian Services

Attaching Through Love, Hugs, and Play

The following was written by Deborah Gray, Child and Family Therapist, National Speaker and Author, and originally appeared in Lifelines, Bethany Christian Services' quarterly magazine.

What are your favorite moments of parenting?

Kicking the soccer ball together?

Reading books together? A snuggle at bedtime?

These are all part of the enjoyment of having a secure attachment with your child.

They are the day-to-day expressions of love. Our children cuddle. They save their special surprises for us, show delight at being with us, and feel safe and valued by us. You, their parents, are kind, strong, and sensitive. You set and enforce limits in a reasonable manner. Frustration is low—enjoyment high. Parenting images like this are parenting at its best.

Gazing at each other, playing together, skin-to-skin contact, feeding times, and meeting needs in a sensitive way are ways to “bond.” Over the course of months, as parents and children repeat these activities many times, they become exclusively bonded to each other. We refer to these exclusive and intimate bonds as “attachments.” When your children believe that you will keep them safe, meet their needs, and that you are sensitive to their needs, the type of attachment that forms between you and your child is known as a secure attachment. FULL POST

Posted 11/1/15 at 7:01 PM | Trace Embry

2 Results of No Discipline in the Home

When it comes to parenting, discipline and spanking quickly spark controversy. The results of no discipline within the home is due to permissive parenting and fear.

Spanking is a Bad Word

Picture Provided By mikkashar

Today’s culture tends to present extreme opposition to discipline.

Defending spanking as a disciplinary option is seen as abusive by many today.

Progressive Non-Thinking Produces

The problem is not their “progressive” thinking.

Jesus would have been considered a progressive thinker in His day. The parenting problem is in non-thinking.

Is it not hypocritical to refer to loving discipline as abuse while being tolerant of permissive ideologies with a track record of problems? FULL POST

Posted 10/27/15 at 9:01 AM | Marianne Kurtz

Train Them Up, Don't Beat Them Down

As I have watched my boys grow up, they are now 23 & 21, I cannot help but remember where I started from...One is in the Navy and the other is paving his own path as an author, game designer, and entrepreneur.

It was in 1995 that I found myself a single parent of two children that I tried to have joy being around but they just did not listen to anything I said. My cry for help to God was one of utter frustration.
I knew when I was pregnant with my oldest son that although I was not in a place in my life where having a child was a great choice I knew two things: 1) He would never go to public school and 2) I would raise them in the way they should go even though I was nowhere near the right way to go.

At this point in my life I had no way of knowing how to achieve either of those two things and low and behold 3 years later I did not like even being around them very much because they seemed to ignore everything I said. If I said, “Pick up your toys” I would end up doing it and in my head I was showing them how, even though after three years of saying the same thing I could not figure out how they possibly did not know how to do it themselves by now. FULL POST

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