An Adoptive Mommy’s Purse

By: - August 1, 2019

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nurturing tools

I met my sons for the first time 10 years ago.  Even after so many years, the anxiety I felt in that moment is palpable.

Sweaty palms.

Upset stomach.

The intense urge to flight somewhere in the complete opposite direction. This was the first of many steps in obeying God’s call even though I was terrified.  I hesitantly knocked on the door of their foster home.  Little bubba bolted out of the door and nearly tackled my husband with a bear hug.  It took sweet cheeks a little longer to connect, but by the end of the night he warmed up.

The next day we took the boys for a few hours by ourselves for the first time.  Again, terrifying.  They didn’t cry which was beneficial to my emotional state, but it left me wondering if this was the first clue to attachment issues.  When we were putting the boys in their car seats, I ripped part of my fingernail off.  Ouch!  So off we went to the gas station for Band-Aids. We played with these Band-Aids for the rest of the day sticking them all over the car and our bodies.  At the time I had no idea I would repeatedly hear Band-Aids as a recommendation for nurturing children from hard places. My husband and I were so naïve.  We didn’t know what we didn’t know, yet God orchestrated the situation to help us create healing. He provided in ways we couldn’t even understand until years later. We would want to look for a free childcare where our child can learn better.

Band-Aids are still one of the tools I use to create moments of nurture with my children. Inherently, I am more of a “suck it up butter cup” type of parent with a natural tendency to parent with authority and structure.  Nurture is not natural to me.  Left to my own tendencies, I might have even said things like “Put your big girl panties on. You are fine. I have had worse scratches on my eyeball.” I really have to work on upping the nurture.  Here are a few nurturing tools I carry in my adoptive mommy purse to help me strike a balance between nurture and structure:

  • Band-Aids do more than heal physical wounds. They are a powerful tool for healing and connection to be used for both the physical and mental wounds.  When my two year old niece pointed to her imagined boo boo, I offered her a Band-Aid.  While she is not a child from a hard place, she immediately connected with me and gave me her full attention. She promptly started fake limping on the leg I put her Band-Aid on. #cutestthingever All children crave care and connection with caregivers.     
  • Chewing Gum is calming, can lower levels of stress cortisol, and increase focus. I never, ever go to church service without it.  Sugar free gum is also a wonderful way I can say “Yes” to my children.  I once asked them what makes them feel loved and all four of my children replied with some version of when I say “Yes” to them.  Gum is an easy “Yes”.
  • I work at the school my children go to, and my boys come into my office at the end of their school day. I usually have at least an hour more of work to complete when they arrive.  Fidgets are what I use to distract them while I finish up. Clay putty is actually their favorite.  These are good to carry in your purse for whenever you are out and about and need to get something done. Offering fidgets to them in moments also keeps me from “flipping my lid”.  You can find some great fidget kits on amazon.
  • Remember I told you I am not a very nurturing parent.  Hugs and touch, which is an important component of nurture, do not come easy for me.  I use essential oil roller bottles to help me level up the touch.  I rub it into their hands and/or bottom of their feet at night or other times when I want to encourage calm.  This is a tool you can also offer teachers and care givers. I know of one adoptive child who was struggling connecting with their teacher.  The mom offered a roller as a connecting tool for the teacher.  It worked and the relationship improved.
  • For my boys, any hint of stress or transition, triggers a sudden urgent need for food and water.  I try not to leave home without some type of snack and water bottle in my purse. They simply can’t function when they feel thirst or hunger triggered.  This is another way I can offer an easy “Yes” to them.

Nurturing moments help shape and heal children from hard places. It builds them up and helps them understand their precioiusness.

Be intentional and think about easy ways to up the nurture for your child.

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Also Found In: A Mother's Heart, Resources for Families, Tapestry Blog