thankful therapy

thankfulnesstherapy

I thought the post I wrote last week would be the last one until after Thanksgiving, then I began thinking about just that; Thanksgiving, and what it means.

If you’re on Facebook, you’ve seen people posting daily about what they’re thankful for. Awesome idea. But it’s hard to be thankful when your children are hurting, acting out, and life is not what you expected. Some of you have kids who wrote the book on strong will. Some of you sacrifice your life daily for your child’s needs. Some of you have angry children who are attacking your world constantly because they’re scared. Life is hard, and the last thing you feel is thankful.

Yet, ask yourself where your children came from. Are they in a better place than they would have been if you hadn’t adopted or fostered? Adoptive and foster parents tend to get stuck in this idea that says, “I didn’t save my child or rescue my child,” in fact they can get downright angry when someone says this about them. But I love to ask if your child is better off with you. Would your son be sleeping in a comfy bed, enjoying family meals with people who love him if he were in an African orphanage? Would your daughter be well fed and warm at night if she was on the streets in Russia? Would your son be safer with a mom who’s doing drugs, and has different men over every week, and doesn’t take care of his needs? I doubt it, and I doubt you are saying yes.

Since this is where you are, and where your child is, you can be thankful for your kids. You can also be thankful they are safe. No, it’s not easy, but can you find things to be thankful for? I would encourage you to find attributes in your child that you can be appreciative of. Your child won’t fit into every category here, but ask yourself the following: Does your child…

  • follow directions?
  • eat veggies?
  • do school work without arguing?
  • enjoy creating art?
  • get along with siblings?
  • have manners?
  • think of others?
  • like to read?
  • follow the morning routine well?

Your child may not do any of these well, or at all, but there is something positive about your child, even if you have to dig to find it. They do have worth, and if you can build on those positives, it will help your relationship grow, and that’s the main goal.

Why is being thankful important? I clearly remember the Thanksgiving after we adopted Payton from foster care. It was only days after her adoption was finalized and we were standing in a circle with family members telling what we were thankful for. Someone (left to be unnamed as to avoid great controversy) said they had nothing to be thankful for. I was quite angry because my precious daughter was now in our arms forever and it was the most thankful I had ever been (we knew she was now safe and a year of fearful anticipation was over). I also saw that the thankless person was miserable. When we can’t find anything in our lives to be thankful for, we dwell on all the negative, and that list can be great. If we focus on what we are grateful for, we have a fuller more joyous life.

Why do I care if you are thankful? I care that you find something to be grateful for because I want your family and your kids to thrive, not just survive. I don’t want this to a Thanksgiving and Christmas (or whatever holiday you celebrate) that you try to get through as fast as possible, I want you to enjoy it.

Our hurting kids are hurting, and there are days when there aren’t positives to be appreciative of. So what else in your life can you be thankful for? I am truly sorry if there isn’t much, but my hope is that you can find something. Maybe it’s something simple today, like rain or a warm house, maybe tomorrow will bring something else.

I am thankful for all of you who have chosen to care for the orphan, foster child, abandoned and neglected. Without you, they wouldn’t have much to be thankful for. Thank you for all you do! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Here is another post that might help: finding joy

give thanks

What unexpected things life has brought us since Thanksgiving last year. So much to be thankful for.
Payton was adopted right before Thanksgiving last year, this year we celebrated with an Adoption Day which we will continue to do every year.

trying to copy sister’s somersault

Jeremiah came to us after Thanksgiving last year. Although we have given thanks for him more times than we can count, it was so wonderful to have him with us and celebrate our thankfulness on the special day.
God has done amazing and wonderous things in our family. I can’t begin to name them all, but I am most thankful to Him for showing me His heart over and over again.
We spent this Thanksgiving with my family in the hills near Colorado Springs. My brother Ryan and his sweet wife Aubrey joined us from Georgia. We had a wonderful and relaxing time together.

Payton at the North Pole

The highlight of our trip was going to Santa’s Workshop at the North Pole. We all had a blast, or at least Justin, I, and Payton did. I think Jeremiah was just freezing, and everyone else seemed to be enjoying themselves when their fingers weren’t frigid. Payton and Jeremiah sat on Santa’s lap, when Payton walked away she was a bit confused and asked where her present was. We had told her she needed to tell Santa what she wanted for Christmas. Guess if you’re going to be Santa, you’d better step it up and produce right now.
The North Pole also had a plethora of amusement park rides, Payton rode the fastest one possible, and laughed the whole way through. It was hilarious watching her. Her head was thrown back as if she was having the time of her life. I was concerned about her riding in the seat without me, but she insisted she wanted to sit by herself. I was worried until the ride began and she was in utter euphoria.
Hope all of you had a Happy Thanksgiving!