The Ripples You Need for Parenting Your Adopted Teen

“Do you need the girls to sleep over so that you two can have some time alone?” my friend asked.

It wasn’t the first time she’d offered. Or the first time I’d accepted.

Like any house with teenagers, hers has its own set of challenges. At the same time, she has family support nearby. We don’t. Her offer was like manna to my starved mama’s soul.

And so, our coffee date stretched into two hours. We leaned in close. We confessed our helicoptering and tried to loosen each other’s grip. We shared anxieties that we don’t dare speak out loud at home. We leaned back and laughed loud and hard.

We shared life.

“What do you talk about for two hours?” my husband asked when I walked back into the kitchen.

As if 2 hours was enough.

 

And then there’s this: A few weeks back my daughters and I had the blessing of spending an afternoon at the lake with some other moms and their adopted girls–all teenagers born in Guatemala. Oh the comfort in sameness! Sixteen middle-aged white mamas with their beautiful daughters who looked nothing like them, but everything like each other. Within minutes, all guards were dropped, moms who barely knew each other shared and understood because we spoke the same language, we lived the same lives. Our daughters collectively exhaled, smiled wide into new friendships with other girls who “got” what they are going through.

 

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Four hours of sunshine and tubing later, we drove away, physically exhausted but emotionally replenished. My daughter asked “Are we going to do that again?”

“Please, God, yes,” I replied.

I heard a report on NPR recently about a new study that reveals that moms of teens need support groups just as much as new moms.

You can join me in the collective, “Duh!”

I would argue that moms of adopted teens need twice the support, for our challenges are two-fold: adolescence and adoption. In fact, I need multiple ripples of support to parent my girls. The up-close ripples of a coffee date or text exchange with a close friend or a private walk with my husband. I also need larger ripples–the next ripple out–time spent filled with families like us. Face it, playdates with our toddlers are a thing of our past, and opportunities like this are harder to come by. But they’re there and we need to grasp them when they come. Let’s not let the business of our lives stop us from being in community with these families. Better yet, let’s initiate some of these events ourselves.

And then there’s a third ripple for me, found in the online world of blogs and Facebook groups of other adoptive families. It may not have the intimacy of a table for two, but it does offer a venue for sharing, venting, asking, encouraging, and just knowing that I’m not in this alone.

And so, dear Reader, it is my deepest desire, and I believe my calling, that this blog offers a ripple of support for you. Something that breathes truth and life into you in order to shore up your efforts towards the teenagers God has placed into your hands and that you love so desperately. My intent is to post regularly and at the same time I know you’ll give me grace when–like recently, ahem– it’s been a few days since you’ve heard from me. You get it.

What do your ripples of support look like? Who keeps your head above water in your parenting journey?

Who else do you know that could use some ripples as they raise their teens—whether adopted or not? Please invite them into our conversation. Use the buttons below to forward this link to them. Invite them into our Facebook group. (Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter are coming soon.) Let’s grow together and learn from each other.

Let’s keep each other afloat.

By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend, you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.  Ecclesiastes 4:12 (MSG)

Up next: Redirecting our Mama Focus onto Ourselves: Why Self-Care isn’t Selfish, Sinful, or Just for the Wealthy