Tag Archives: Resources

Help! My Adopted Child is Terrified of Sleep

For the first year or so home, my youngest (adopted) child literally screamed himself to sleep.  One of my adopted daughters would often yell out in her sleep (still does occasionally after 10 years), never fully waking up and never remembering it in the morning.  Another one of our adopted children used to get to sleep okay, but get up during the night or wee hours of the morning, unable to fall back to sleep (and wander the house which also caused problems).

Adults may be able to self-talk and work through their night-time anxieties, but kids have less experience and big imaginations!  Even as adults we understand that worries, fears, concerns often loom larger at bed-time, weighing on us.  But children from traumatic backgrounds may have an even harder time with all of this.  It’s harder for them to separate what’s real and what’s not, especially at night.  And it can really affect their sleep which affects their days and the rest of the family, too.  The cycle can spiral downward if it doesn’t stop.

Lack of good, restful sleep on an ongoing basis can affect a number of things and can be detrimental to their health.  It is during sleep that our brains make a clean sweep of accumulated toxins, so among other things we can think clearer the next day.  It’s during sleep that production of several hormones rises, including growth hormone.  Ever hear that children grow in their sleep?  Lack of growth hormone can impact not only growth in height but even cellular repair.  Another hormone, lack of melatonin, the sleep hormone can cause greater sleep problems.  A strong immune system is supported by good sleep.

Sleep is should be restorative and our children need even more sleep than we as adults do in order to function optimally during the day.  I recommend making sleep a priority for your entire household.  Try not to deal with stressful issues near bedtime.  If you can table it until morning, do so.  If there is always conflict over pajamas or tooth brushing, drop the issue or do a workaround – – maybe brush teeth right after dinner so it’s over and done long before bedtime, for example.

We are super careful not to use supplements with food coloring or msg (an excitotoxin to the brain).  But using melatonin has helped so much, as well as other supplements depending on the person,  and specific essential oils that are beneficial for sleep either for calming or with a sedative effect or to help alleviate racing/troubling thoughts.  Some are effective to help with pain that may seem worse at night and be a hindrance to getting to sleep.  There are different ones for different issues.  With my large family, we have had lots of sleep issues which vary from person to person.  I know I personally cannot take anything that will up my blood pressure.  Essential oils have been a huge help to me, too as well as my kids.  Wish I had had them sooner!

I want to emphasize that there are a lot of reasons you or your child may have difficulties sleeping.

IMPORTANT:  I am not a doctor and nothing in this post is meant to diagnose, treat or cure anything.  Please see your healthcare provider for any medical issues.  I am not giving medical advice here.

And please don’t give up looking for the right solutions.  There ARE solutions and it IS important.

When you become your own sleep detective you may gain new insight as to what you can change in your daily routines for optimal sleep to take place.

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Real life is often emotional and kid’s from hard places often have overwhelming emotions. As a parent, I want to help my children learn to use positive coping skills and give them helpful tools. 

Contact me to request my free “Sleep Detective” PDF booklet to download.  It’s a fun way to help your child or teen start to focus on their need for sleep and empower them to be an active force in making positive changes.

And if you like the content on this blog you might like to check out Yesterday’s Orphan on Facebook with the link in the sidebar.

 

 

Yes to God’s Plans

Question:  Are you attempting to live out YOUR PLANS for your life or GOD’S PLANS?  

If your own plans, then why would you expect God to honor them?  . . . Really.

At least are your plans in accordance with his Word?  If not, perhaps some re-evaluation is in order.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.
Do not be wise in your own  eyes;
fear the Lord and depart from evil.” — Proverbs 3:5-7
If GOD’S PLANS . . .  how are you doing?

 

Ephesians 5:15 tells us “be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise” and the entire theme of the little book of Haggai is repeated again and again in the phrase, “consider your ways”.

 

As parents, we sometimes give our children warnings of what their behavior may lead to if they do not change it.  Obviously, this is not a doom and gloom prophecy of the future, but an attempt to have them consider their ways and the likely outcomes SO THAT they will change their ways before it’s too late to avoid negative outcomes.  

 

Correction.

 

Correction is hard for us to take as humans.  Some of us take it harder than others. It may be that with our adopted children especially, they need some careful building up in order to not be crushed by correction, or hardened by it.  

 

O.Bible.org, in their lesson on the Ministry of Correction from the series on I Timothy,  says that

“as a rule, the most effective correction takes place when the other person knows from experience that you love him.” (See the full lesson here.)  

I think this is true with corrections from people as well as from God, himself!  When we know and feel like we are loved and accepted, correction may sting but we will be less likely to ignore it or rail against it!   

With adopted/foster/stepchildren (and sometimes even biological children) there may be a lingering question in their mind as to whether they are fully loved and accepted, at least at times.  And so correction may feel more like overt rejection to them!

God gives warnings and consequences in order that we will consider our ways – –  not give up thinking we have no hope – – but consider our ways so we can course-correct while there IS HOPE! With my children, I need to help them understand that correction is just that, an invitation and an opportunity to course-correct given out of love. And I need to accept God’s correction with that same understanding.

The book of Ezra gives us a ministry model and an example of how to continue God’s work under pressure.

I’ll share my outline with you, hoping it helps you as much as it is helping me in a variety of areas not the least of which is parenting when it is difficult:

EZRA

I.  God directs the outworking of God’s plan.  

(Whether your ministry is rebuilding the Holy Temple as here, building a ministry for orphans overseas, or your ministry role in your own family.)

  1. God moved the heart of the King.  

    (He can move hearts of those – – whether Christ-followers or not – – who have earthly authority in our lives.)

  2. God moved the hearts of his people.  

    (He is the one who moves hearts, not me – – not you.  We must not think we are the ones who are responsible for another person’s heart or resulting beliefs and behavior.  We are responsible to God. He moves their hearts. I am no-one’s Holy Spirit and I must not become a stumbling block for them.)

  3. God built the team.

     (I don’t have to do the job by myself, nor do I have to stress over the needed help, and neither do you!  God can bring just the right partners at just the right time.)

  4. God provided the resources as the people acted in steps of obedience.

     (We don’t have to have all the necessary resources in our possession to begin.  Steps of obedience show faith in God’s provision on an as needed basis.)

  5. God brought team unity.

     (When there is dis-unity the work is thwarted.  God is the great mediator and can bring conflict resolution when we submit to him.)

  6. God provided housing accommodations, plus time to settle in.

    ( He provides for our basic needs so we can relax and fully depend on him, trusting that there is enough time and enough for our basic needs to be met in order that we are able to move forward in the work in the place where he puts us!)

II. God is FIRST!  He is to be honored in first place above all.

(My family or other ministry or work is not first – – God is!)

  1. Altar built first – – before the other work began.
  2. Regular times of worship were held as well as special celebrations – – Times of worship and refreshment are necessary!
    1. Regular sacrifices were made, despite fears about dangers from surrounding people.
    2. Holy Day Celebrations were held.
    3. Praise Celebration was held at 1st milestone.
    4. Dedication and Celebration at the completion of the work.
III.  Work is done orderly.  

(While people, kids, even I may balk at rules and routines, it is the orderly way that wins the day.)

  1.  Time for planning and preliminary arrangements.
    1. Chain of command was established.
    2. God gave discernment of whom to partner with.
IV.  Opposition to God’s Work – – Expect It!

(I must not be surprised at opposition or let it dictate my course!  Kids will push back! So will others. I must be prepared and focused on my goals – – God’s goals for my work, whether it’s parenting my special needs children or other work.)

  1. Extreme opposition
  2. Lengthy delay
  3. Perseverance
  4. Patience with readiness and Attentiveness to God’s Guidance (not always apparent to outsiders)
  V.  God Turns OPPOSITION into OPPORTUNITY & BLESSING on His People & His Work
  1. Bravery to obey God & resume the work
  2. Tactful honesty to authority & trusting God
  3. God’s Favor
  4. Work completed with God’s Favor & blessing (Yes!  There is a time of completion awaiting and this work will be a done deal.  Another phase of life will open up. The long-range view can help with perspective on days when you feel bogged down.)  

 

RECAP:  

*God directs the outworking of HIS PLANS!  

*Honor God FIRST!  

*God is ORDERLY and his work is to be done orderly.  

*EXPECT OPPOSITION to God’s work.

*Remember, God turns opposition into OPPORTUNITY and BLESSING on his people and his work.  

 

Gods Plans – -> God First – -> Godly Order – -> Opposition – -> Opportunity & Blessing

 

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”
– – Proverbs 16:3
KEY:  For us to stay in this trajectory we must continue to take steps of faithful obedience all along the way.  What is God asking you to do in faithful obedience today?  

You may not feel prepared, ready, eager, or confident.  You may not have a clear path. There may be obstacles and opposition.  You may feel fear and trembling! You may not understand why God has “allowed” something that seems way out of line to your way of thinking.  

Take the step anyway. — Trust Him. — Then . . . CELEBRATE!  Celebrate when you look back and are able to see more clearly how HIS plan has been set in place and fulfilled.

I hope this peek into my Bible study has been helpful to you.  Parenting is hard. Parenting kids from trauma backgrounds is extremely hard.  We can work hard and feel like we aren’t making any progress. Or worse, going backward.  

I encourage you to #1 make sure your plans are God’s plans, and #2 consider in what ways you may need to course-correct.  Then #3 take a step of obedience  – – Today.


 

Real life is often emotional and kid’s from hard places often have overwhelming emotions.  As a parent, I want to help my children learn to use positive coping skills and give them helpful tools.  We have begun using some fantastic natural products in our family that make a big difference in helping kids cope with overwhelming emotions, to manage and focus.

Hit Reply (e-mail) or Contact me above or below (blog) if you want to learn more about our toxin-free natural-based personal care products and dietary supplements and how they can help your family, too.

 

Could Your Child have Parasites?

Parasites! Uggh!  

 

Who wants to think of the possibility that their child has a parasite problem?  But it is often a problem for adopted children, particularly internationally adopted children.  Overcrowded orphanages, poor hygiene and poor diet can contribute to the likelihood of a parasite infection.  

 

Testing & Treatment

 

Once home, your child’s doctor should do the recommended testing for parasites.  However it is not always that easy. I remember our oldest adopted daughter absolutely refusing to do the stool test at nine years old.  The most current recommendations I have see are for three rounds of stool tests. Signs and symptoms of parasite infestation are often general and vague, making it harder to recognize the connection to the possibility of parasites.  Vague abdominal signs could be attributed to any number of things such as new and unfamiliar foods, allergies, etc.

 

Two of my biological children have had parasite treatment through our functional medical doctor after Lyme disease caused them to have greatly lowered immune systems.  Even in the U.S., people with impaired immune systems are more susceptible to parasites. Many people do a parasite detox or cleanse once or twice per year. There are many options available over the counter, but I highly recommend requesting the CDC recommended parasite testing for internationally adopted children through your doctor if not already done and following the doctor’s recommendations for treating any positive findings of parasites.  

 

Tips for Parasite Prevention

 

As I have learned more about the prevalence of parasites and just how commonplace they are, I now understand that parasites are very opportunistic and can rapidly gain a foothold when there is a lowered immune system.  Therefore, keeping the immune system strong and healthy is key to keeping parasite infections from causing trouble.

 

Many, many things can lower the immune system’s defenses, even temporarily, giving any present parasites an opportunity to spread.  Illness, stress (as with bringing a new person into the family or moving into a new family), even vacations!

 

Good hygiene is imperative. To teach and enforce good hygiene from the get-go is an important step that I am sure you are already aware of.  Hand washing; Not sharing of utensils, hair brushes, toothbrushes, drinks; etc. Some of the things a younger child would normally have already learned may need to be taught your older adopted child, plus they may need to “un-learn” some habits and practices.  (Nail biting and thumb sucking are difficult to curb!) Mouthing objects like a much younger child can introduce unwanted “germs” (viruses, bacteria, and parasites).

It is worth it to spend the time to focus and really train good hygiene practices early on, as all through life a healthy immune system is going to be a good foundation for health and prevention of not only parasites but other health maladies.  

 

In addition, though your child may not show any definitive symptoms of parasites, they could be present and easily spread to the rest of the family.  We know when traveling to a foreign country where parasites are rampant, the local folks may not show symptoms but travelers are often advised not to drink the water or eat any uncooked vegetables.  Those who do are often hold up with some painful symptoms, unable to enjoy the remainder of their trip due to an acute parasite infection. So it’s worth it to zero in on good hygiene practices for the whole family (Hey, we can all use a reminder sometimes).  

 

Be aware also that there are gentler household products that clean as well or better than some of the commonly available products with harsh ingredients.  Some of the common ingredients can not only aggravate pre-existing conditions (our youngest adopted child had persistent respiratory problems and severely dry skin), but can sometimes do further damage to an already lowered immune system.  We avoid the now common hand sanitizers and either use good old fashioned hand washing with soap and water, or the waterless hand purifier available through Oils for Orphans that does not strip away the skin’s natural protectants.

 

Good nutrition is certainly a great way to boost their immune systems and help them get over some of the issues they may have upon coming home.  Of course with picky eaters it may not be as easy as it seems. And then the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) may be better than what they had if it was severely restricted, but yet not optimal.  If malnourished (and with possible parasites) even the food that they are eating may not be being utilized well in the body. You may ask your doctor about supplements and look into getting the most bang for the bite by offering nutrient dense foods more often and tweaking some of your recipes to include them.  Just google “nutrient dense foods list” from which to make your own list of foods to try. Just because your kid won’t eat liver doesn’t mean there isn’t something else that may become a favorite.

 

A transition diet may even be in order if they need healing time for gut health to improve.  Your doctor or dietician can give more help, but these are things to consider and perhaps ask about.  Being careful not to introduce harmful pesticides through serving mostly organic produce that is thoroughly washed is important, as is helping them flush out toxins that may have accumulated plus those they are continuing to accumulate.  A high antioxidant diet can be beneficial and can boost the elimination process. One of the ways parasites do damage is from the toxins they secrete in the human body, and eliminating these (as well as the parasites when they die) is paramount.

 

Supplements

 

While you are working on getting your child to eat healthy, a good multivitamin or at least a B-complex vitamin and/or multivitamin can give them a good boost, supplementing what they get in their food, and sometimes can be easier for the body to metabolize.  An enzyme supplement can help their bodies to break down their food more effectively as well as a good quality probiotic.

 

Oils for Orphans has a range of healthy supplements without unnecessary fillers and with proven ingredients from high quality sources.  Kids like our super-food high antioxidant drink supplement, Ningxia Red with micronutrients. With Ningxia Red you may want to begin with a half-ounce or quarter-ounce and work up to a recommended one ounce daily serving (two ounces for adults).  

 

Wherever you get your supplements, it may be a good idea to run them by your health practitioner if you are unsure.  If medical treatment of parasites is necessary, it may be unpleasant, but very worth it for healthy digestion and ability to break down and use the nourishment available in the diet.

 

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If you are interested in any of our children’s supplements or other products contact me and I will be happy to help you.  You can browse the Oils for Orphans website at http://www.oilsfororphans.com

 

Top 3 Shifts for New Adoptive Parents

From one adoptive parent to another I am no professional and so my perspective is as a parent, same as you.  It is easy to fall into thinking that parenting your adopted children with the same ways of thinking and parenting other children should have similar effects, but in my experience and from what I have learned from others it absolutely does not.

I want to touch on just three shifts that I think will help adoptive parents and their children in practical everyday experience.

The first shift is to add visual language. Since our adopted children were not native English speakers, one of the first glaring need was that of basic communication! Our youngest is deaf and hears now with a cochlear implant but still struggles with English. As the old saying goes, “if I had known then what I know now. . .” well, now I recommend adding visual language in your first year home (regardless of hearing status) and preparing ahead of time to do so.  While it seems like an extra step in the hurry to get them fluent in English, the extra effort will pay off.  If your child has any language delay or is switching primary languages I strongly recommend everyone in the household taking time to learn the basics of a visual (sign) language prior to bringing your child home and continuing to learn along with him/her.  Even if there is no language delay or language switch, I think adding a sign language component is a fun way to do something as a family, to have a bit of a secret code that not everyone will know (but some will – and that’s fun too!).  Plus, when a child can sign to communicate at times when they are too overwhelmed to use their voice it can be a huge way to stave off frustration.

Is is worth the effort and time to put into learning to sign? In the long run, a second language (or third) will only help.  ASL is a beautiful language that with fluency can open doors of opportunity.

We learned (and later saw it in our own children) that children who are moved away from their native language (as was ours with an international adoption) typically lose the native language gains faster than the gains they acquire in their new language.  As language builds upon language, the basics of a visual language can be learned rapidly and serve as a bridge to a more complex spoken language (and a great start to learning sign language) Language builds upon language. And building a new relationship with understanding, trust and attachment requires communication.

The whole family can begin to learn the sign language alphabet and some basic words and phrases while waiting for adoption finalization and continue learning together once the new child/children are home.  Children are very visual and pick it up easily.

Signing Time videos are a great child friendly start which adults can learn from, too. Lifeprint.com has a free video course which is terrific for parents.

The second shift I recommend is in the perspective toward stuff. While it may be tempting for you and all your friends and relatives to shower your new little darling with tons of new stuff, it is better to temper the urge and keep it simple.

Let friends and relatives know in the most tactful way possible that you have chosen to follow the advice not to overwhelm your child with gifts, but to focus more on personal relationships. An alternative for those who insist on giving something would be to suggest gift cards that you can use at a later time for your child’s needs.  Or perhaps a family membership to a local zoo.   (Along the same line is to avoid overwhelming them with crowds of people initially and keep it to smaller get-togethers spaced out over time.)

Finally, the third and most counter-intuitive big shift adoptive parents can make is in thinking about discipline.

Because of their backgrounds the typical rewards and consequences not only may not have the desired effects but may totally backfire!  Trauma and neglect plus a host of other possible issues can predispose your child to think in a way that defies logic.  Suffice it to say that instead of connecting the dots (Behavior X leads to Consequence Y, therefore if I do not like Y, I must not do X) responses to consequences and rewards seem often to result in reinforcing undesired behavior and/or thinking.

If you find that typical parenting techniques frequently leave you wondering what just happened over a period of time, I recommend seeking out knowledgeable, professional help.

Be proactive in these three shifts: adding a visual language bridge; prioritizing relationships building over stuff, setting firm boundaries on allowed items; and have trauma-informed understanding of discipline.  You will find it is time well spent to be ahead of the curve.

Proverbs 3:5 says Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding . . .”

 

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Real life is often emotional and kid’s from hard places often have overwhelming emotions.  As a parent I want to help my children learn to use positive coping skills and give them tools to help. While not a substitute for professional help when needed, there are some natural products we have begun using in our family that make a big difference in helping kids (and their parents) be ready to learn appropriate ways of coping with their big feelings, to focus and be more settled.

If you think it might be helpful for your family to learn more about these products feel free to contact me and I’d be happy to fill you in.

 

Facebook Group

  1. If you are a parent/caregiver of a former orphan you can join the Yesterday’s Orphan closed Facebook group and find more helpful and insightful information and other people in similar situations who can relate to your struggles.  This month is our new membership drive and I’m giving away a free resource book on January 1st to one of the new members. Link below20171202_211318.jpg so check it out! https://www.facebook.com/events/1744034098941137/?ti=cl