Monday, September 17, 2012

Empowered to Connect 2012

still in process...

This past weekend I had the priviledge of attending the Empowered to Connect conference in Nashville. I thought I was going to an adoption conference, but it was so much more. I had read Dr. Karyn Purvis' book The Connected Child before we brough Louba home, and had flipped through it since trying to find ways to better connect and discipline her. I'll be honest, I HATED Dr. Purvis before we adopted. I didn't think she knew what she was talking about. I had two kids already that were fine. Why do I need to read how to raise another? But, after attending the conference, I really think she needs to come live with me for a few days and help me to better understand how to make these connections and help our family understand Louba's past. This woman is AMAZING!!!
I've always thought that we've had a great connection and attachement with Louba, and after the conference, I still know we do. We're not on the severe end of the spectrum of attachment disorder (or sensory disorder), just somewhere in the middle. Louba spent over three years in an orphanage. an orphanage with staff who I believe loved her and nurtured her as best as they could. But it still wasn't a mom and dad to hold her when she cried or give her things when she wants. Or, just making sure she knows she is "precious" like all children should feel. Seeing the videos from the conference, and hearing the stories from Dr. Purvis and the Monroe's, I heard Louba's story. I heard the neglect that she had to endure for those three plus years. I heard the cries that went unanswered when she was a baby. I heard the stories of the horror she must have faced when children would die in front of her. Things I know she will NEVER forget.

I sat in tears most of the weekend thinking about what my baby had to live through for three long years. But, also knowing that this is a new life for her. A life that I hope to make as enjoyable as possible. Michael Monroe, one of the speakers at the conference was such an inspiration, along with his wife Amy. (They are involved with Tapestry Ministry). One thing he said was "this is the beginning of your journey." No matter how long we have been home as parents, we can't go back, but we can sure go forward with healing and help. I really liked this couple. They gave a no nonsense view into their lives--the good, the bad, and the sometimes ugly. They admitted to mess ups and that sometimes they give the sermons for misbehavior, sometimes the steps don't work the way you want them to, but we should keep on keeping on.

I only thought our journey had begun almost two years ago. Today it's beginning again. These strategies are not easy. I was emotionally drained this weekend from listening to these stories to trying not to get frustrated when trying them on all three of our kids. I tried really hard not to yell, not to put in time out, but to disfuse the situation or to help them make better choices. I have to keep reminding myself that it took her almost four years to learn these survival strategies, she's not going to "unlearn" them overnight.

I took pages and pages of notes. Here are some snippets from them.

From the Monroe sessions:
  • know your buttons and how to deal with them.
  • It's not about you, it's about healing for them
  • Pay attention to your past to make your child's (or children's) life better.
  • You can't implement the strategies if you can't make sense of your past
  • Learn who your children are and where they come from. They are not "mini-mes"
  • Try YESES instead of always saying no. Think about why you are saying no in the first place.
  • "Today is the first day of the rest of your journey"
  • Unlearn what we've been doing and do it the right way
  • experience helps
  • help family, friends, others understand
  • Take it one day/month/year at a time
From the Purvis sessions:
  • Give them permission to negotiate
  • Our journey is "in-process" not to fix them or us
  • Help them to self regulate ("magic mustache," chair push ups, wall pushes)
  • Model honesty
  • 1 in 20 kids have sensory processing disorder
  • keep a sensory journal
  • the most violent kids are usually the most tender-hearted
  • They are surviors
  • Give them a VOICE
  • Touch, eye contact, protective, and soft voice
  • Have shared power
  • If you discipline with force, you will get force in return
  • Immediate positive reinforcement is needed within 3 seconds
  • Tiers: Playful Engagement, Structual Engagement, Calming Engagement, Protective Engagement
  • Put the bar where they can succeed! Don't raise too fast or too slow.
  • If you up the structure, you must up the nurture
  • When it's over it's over; don't dwell
  • redirect the behavior, not escalate it
  • Use their VOICE
  • 40-60% of kids in international orphanges do not survive because of lack of contact
  • Use a warm tone when you talk
  • One-on-one time is a must
If you are adopting, have adopted, know someone who is...If you have kids regardless of if they are biological or adopted, you have to read this book and try to attend the conference or even listen to or watch the videos of the conference. It will change the way you deal with behavior issues of all children.

Sites worth viewing:

1 comment:

Stacia said...

Thank you so much for sharing this, Stephanie. :)

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