Monday, April 11, 2011



We are back from the EMPOWERED TO CONNECT adoption convention in Denver, CO!  WOW.  Not sure where to even BEGIN to summarize the weekend.  It was so FULL of amazing wisdom!  

As you know, Jeff and I are SO EXCITED to start this journey of parenthood!  But as we wait for those chapters to begin in the story of our life, we want to educate ourselves as much as possible so that we can parent to the very best of our abilities.  This weekend was a HUGE step in the right direction!

Dr. Karyn Purvis, and Amy and Michael Monroe taught us how to connect with, and parent, all of our children ~ whether from a hard place or not!  Personally, we feel that this parenting technique will be awesome for every single one of our kiddos, regardless of how their life began (stressor or no stressor)!
Jeff, me, Dr. Karyn Purvis, Amy and Michael Monroe

There I sat.  With my overflowing passion for children and my God-given desire to be a momma.  Along with my Bachelors in Psychology, a Masters in Exercise Science, and a Masters in Physical Therapy.   Jeff and I could not believe how this conference incorporated of my passions simultaneously!!  And Jeff......WOW.  His heart and passion for children has EXPLODED!  He told me on our plane ride home, "I believe I've found my calling."

We are both so excited to continue to learn more about how to help our children feel empowered and connected, while also providing appropriate correction.  The balance between structure and a nurturing environment in this theory is incredible!  AND SUCCESSFUL!!!  There has been so much research on this that continues to show IT WORKS!!!!

Those of you who ARE parents already, can likely recall times when a parenting technique worked well with one biological child, but did NOT work with the next biological kiddo.  Am I right!?!?  That was because each child is their own person ~ with their own genetic make-up, personality, as well as their own pre and post-natal environment.

Well, the SAME.IS.TRUE with our adopted children!

At-risk children (adopted children are one example of an at-risk child) have their own genetic make-up, but this genetic make-up is often disrupted by a variety of stressors.  Below you see six categories that Dr Karyn Purvis provided that comprise children who "come from hard places" and are considered "at risk":
1.  Difficult/Stressful Pregnancy (ex, maternal worry of giving up child, depression, physical issues)
2.  Difficult Labor/Delivery
3.  Early Hospitalization (longer hospitalizations place the child at higher risk)
4.  Abuse
5.  Neglect (emotional, nutritional, mental, physical)
6.  Trauma
[Notice the "stress" is not exclusive to adoption............and can be in varying degrees]

We learned that at-risk children WILL require different parenting than any of the strategies you relied on for your non at-risk kiddos!  In fact, Dr. Purvis states that ALL children coming from a "hard place," will require unique understanding and parenting strategies.  But if provided, it will help HEAL your child, while also providing new healthy strategies s/he will use the rest of his or her life!

The result of having to endure some form of these stressors is that children develop a different brain chemistry than children who did not undergo such stressors.  That is, their neurotransmitter (brain chemical) levels are imbalanced.  Because of this imbalance, they easily respond to a simple daily stress with a flight, fight or freeze response.

All three of these responses based on fear.  The child may not even know that he is fearful.  The response is automatic and engrained ~ a result of being forced to learn self-survival over and over, time and time again.  Examples of such responses include:  a) flight response ~ running around uncontrollably; (b) fight response ~ hitting, biting, tantrums; and (c) freeze response ~ standing still in a "daze," withdrawal, shutting down.

These responses are often misinterpreted by parents as "bad behavior," for which they often discipline their child for.  This form of discipline only exacerbates the neurotransmitter imbalance, throwing the child further into their automatic flight, fight or freeze response.  What does this do?

You guessed it!  It further increases the automatic response perceived by the parent as "bad."  If we take the time, as parents, to learn that this behavior is based on fear and an unmet need, we will not only view the behavior differently, we will learn how to handle it differently, and obtain more positive results ~ connection with our child while decreasing the frequency of the behavior.

Furthermore, as we learn how to empower, connect and correct our child, we will also be helping to change the neurochemistry of their child's brain!  AMAZNG!  We can help HEAL our child!

Dr Purvis clarified that a child exposed to a high degree of stress for a long time may have a severe degree of neurochemical imbalance; whereas a child exposed to a mild stress for a short period of time may still have the imbalance, but to a lesser degree.  Doesn't matter.  This strategy helps ALL degrees of neurochemical imbalances AND provides life skills for the higher risk child!  Isn't that exciting!?!?!?

I LOVED how Dr. Purvis said that for every stress a child endured, for every need unmet, THERE IS AN ANSWER!!!!   Are we, the parents, willing to seek it out.........for the sake of our child!?!?!?!?!?

{more on the conference next post.......thanks for reading this one to the end!}


Jodes and Boz said...

I am at the edge of my seat waiting for your next post! I am so glad (and slightly jealous) you and Jeff were able to go to this conference!! Loving that this is the perfect mix of your passion and background too ~ almost like someone knew that... :-) *HUGS* Praying TODAY is YOUR day.

Kelly said...

Very insightful. Thanks for passing on all the information you gathered. (I feel like I was at the conference! :)

Kelly said...

So glad that you BOTH got to hear them! I heard them at T4A and was so encouraged and things finally "clicked" with why certain things weren't working! :)Glad that you are getting all of this info. BEFORE the little
one(s) enter into your home, you will have the foundtion already waiting.

Post a Comment

We Love Your Kind Thoughts!