Posted on

Chapter 16 – Solving the Puzzle of Our Kids – Parent Discussion

chapter16-parent-discussion-harry-potter-adoption

Chapter 16 of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is all about breaking the enchantments protecting the sorcerer’s stone. Dangerous spells are guarding the stone from falling into the wrong hands, but Harry and his friends have come to realize that it is going to happen if they don’t do something since none of the adults are listening to them. (That’s another blog in and of itself!) They have to use not only the touted characteristics of Gryffindor—friendship and bravery—but also the more Ravenclaw-esque qualities of book smarts and cleverness, and all their talents down to how to play a good game of chess.

“As a result of trauma, children in foster care, kinship care, institutions, or adoptive homes have become complicated puzzles, a series of enchantments or spells, if you will, needing to be broken.”

Looking at our kids, they look like “typical,” “normal” kids, but not much about their childhood has been very “normal.” As a result of trauma, children in foster care, kinship care, institutions, or adoptive homes have become complicated puzzles, a series of enchantments or spells, if you will, needing to be broken. A child may be chronologically 10 years old, physically 6, academically 5, developmentally 4, emotionally 3, and experientially 25. The goal is to take their lives and create one piece—one age—that is the child, to bring up the areas that are lagging behind their chronological age and to reign in the ones that have gotten too far ahead.

The only way to do this is to look at the whole child, to use all your skills and knowledge and that of every professional you know, to continue researching and learning more, and to apply all that you learn in any way possible to solve the puzzle of the child in your care, to get the help they and you need. You have to become puzzle solvers like Harry, Ron, and Hermione and determine what calms “Fluffy,” how to defeat the “Devil’s Snare;” which key will unlock a door; how to play your way across the chess board; which potion will advance you, which will send you backwards and which will kill you; what to see in the mirror; and how to protect something precious and valuable.

“There is no magical answer here. It’s a daunting and overwhelming task, and it never ends.”

There is no magical answer here. It’s a daunting and overwhelming task, and it never ends. It can take years to find the correct diagnoses, or therapies, or nutrition, or activities, or relationships, or doctors, or medications (…You get the picture) to get a breakthrough in an area. Halting their experiential age often means putting rules into place that “normal” families don’t have. We have had to enforce rules that neighborhood friends think odd and don’t always want to abide by, such as no sharing blankets, no children allowed in Mom and Dad’s room, members of the opposite sex are not allowed in bedrooms, and bedroom doors stay open when anyone else is in them aside from the child who lives in that room.

Catching up a child’s emotional age may involve doing activities with them that they are “too old” for. This is one area of the puzzle we probably struggle with the most. I, in particular, have had a hard time with this, especially after six years of parenting our kiddos and not seeing progress in some areas. I have a hard time looking at a teenager or tween and not expecting age appropriate responses and behaviors. Also, in preparation for foster care and adoption, professionals may tell you to rock a teenager in a rocking chair to help “unlock” developmental progress which may have stalled when a child didn’t receive the physical affection needed at important developmental stages. Taking in an older male child who wants to snuggle into an adult’s chest can be awkward for moms to say the least.

“As difficult as solving these puzzles in our children’s lives can be, it is also one of the most rewarding accomplishments you will EVER experience…”

As difficult as solving these puzzles in our children’s lives can be, it is also one of the most rewarding accomplishments you will EVER experience, and it must be done to achieve healing, to break cycles, and to help these little humans be all they can and fulfill the purpose of their lives.

Your Turn:

  1. Take a moment to reflect on each child in your care. What is their chronological age? Emotional? Physical? Academic? Experiential? Developmental?
  2. Which areas need to catch up and which need to be halted?
  3. What steps will you take to solve the puzzle of your child?
  4. Comment below with ways you have found breakthroughs with your child to help others.

chapter16-parent-discussion-social-media

Parents’ Discussions:

Ch. 01 | Ch. 02 | Ch. 03 | Ch. 04 | Ch. 05 | Ch. 06 | Ch. 07 | Ch. 08 | Ch. 09 | Ch. 10 | Ch. 11 | Ch. 12 | Ch. 13 | Ch. 14 | Ch. 15 | Ch. 16 | Ch. 17

Kids’ Discussions:
Ch. 01
| Ch. 02Ch. 03 | Ch. 04 | Ch. 05 | Ch. 06 | Ch. 07 | Ch. 08 | Ch. 09 | Ch. 10 | Ch. 11 | Ch. 12 | Ch. 13 | Ch. 14 | Ch. 15 | Ch. 16 | Ch. 17

Posted on

Chapter 15 – Caring Despite the Consequences- Parent Discussion

TA-chapter-15-parent-discussion

Chapter 15 is all about the consequences of disobedience for a group of students, and originally I thought I’d write about that. However, after looking at the chapter again, I decided we will tackle that subject in another book and hit a different issue: what I’m calling the consequences of caring.

The first consequences we see in this chapter are that of caring for peers. Neville is the ultimate picture of a friend caring for their peers and reaping the repercussions. The poor guy just wants to keep his classmates out of trouble and ends up right in it with them. This happens often in life, but I want to focus on a different type of caring for this parent discussion.

Emergency Care for a Child in Danger

While serving his punishment in the woods, Harry encounters very real danger and could have been facing imminent death, but Firenze swoops in to the rescue and takes Harry into his care. He takes him to safety and lets him know he’ll be safe now. This immediately made me think of what foster parents do, even more so when I read the reactions of Firenze’s peers. By caring for Harry, he pitted himself against the other centaurs. They were repulsed by his actions for they did not mingle in the affairs of humans. The words Bane spoke to Firenze angered Firenze, but I wonder if they also made him second guess himself later. Ronan says, “I’m sure Firenze thought he was acting for the best,” to which Bane replies,  “For the best! What is that to do with us?” His questions and attitude brought to mind so many questions foster and adoptive parents hear:

  • Don’t you want kids of your own?
  • Why don’t you try in vitro?

While in process of getting our foster parent license, we told a family friend about our endeavors. His reaction surprised us but you might be able to relate:

“But… You’re the ideal couple. Why would you do something like this?”

He went on to tell us about horror stories he had heard from other people adopting. Tales of biting, incarceration and physical brutality.

We have other stories that you might be able to relate to. Our family has experienced the beginning stages of forming a friendship with another family. However, when people discover that our kids have been through the foster system, we don’t get asked to go to BBQs anymore and our invites go unanswered.

Now, I do want to make it clear that we do have some great and supportive people in our lives. We have also joined a fantastic support group for foster and adoptive families through Harmony. However, there is still the feeling of having the public verbally praising you for your “heroic” efforts but keeping their distance like you have the plague.

Now It’s Your Turn:

  1. Why do you think Firenze chose to help Harry?
  2. Why do you continue to foster?
    (We’ve asked this before but it helps to revisit this question multiple times and solidify your thoughts and motivations.)
  3. Do you feel like an outsider since you have begun your adoptive/foster journey? When? How?

TA-chapter-15-parent-discussion-social-media

 

 

Parents’ Discussions:

Ch. 01 | Ch. 02 | Ch. 03 | Ch. 04 | Ch. 05 | Ch. 06 | Ch. 07 | Ch. 08 | Ch. 09 | Ch. 10 | Ch. 11 | Ch. 12 | Ch. 13 | Ch. 14 | Ch. 15 | Ch. 16 | Ch. 17

Kids’ Discussions:
Ch. 01
| Ch. 02Ch. 03 | Ch. 04 | Ch. 05 | Ch. 06 | Ch. 07 | Ch. 08 | Ch. 09 | Ch. 10 | Ch. 11 | Ch. 12 | Ch. 13 | Ch. 14 | Ch. 15 | Ch. 16 | Ch. 17

Posted on

Epilogue – What would you tell John? – Kid Discussion

TA-epilogue-tell-john-foster-care

Thinking Past Chapter 17

In Chapter 17 Harry Potter has to comes to terms with the fact that he will be spending the Summer holiday with his aunt and uncle again.

“If I had to go back and live with the Dursleys, I would be like ‘AHHHH!'” exclaims our daughter with hands waving frantically in the air and her eyes wide open with fear.

Harry found out through this year that he was a special person and is now being made to return to the home that mistreated him.

silly-faces-adoption-foster-care-hogwarts-fun

The Kid from the Last Kids’ Discussion

At the end of the Chapter 17 we asked a question in the Kids’ Discussion about a friend that wanted to runaway to live with their biological mom. Let’s call this friend John and talk about him more today with the Fink kids.

John is your friend at school and you know that he is a foster child. He has been talking about school a lot lately about how he does NOT like his foster parents. John is especially mad at his foster parents because they grounded him for the weekend for not cleaning his room. You know that John never cleans his room and you know that John’s foster parents seem really nice. At lunch time at school John tells you that he is going to runaway from home and go back to live with his biological mom. John says that his life would be better with her. However, John has told you several times in the past that when he lived with his biological mom, she hit him a lot. In fact he had to go to the hospital quite a few times because of her hitting.

What do you tell John? Talk about this with your family before reading what the Fink kids thought about John’s situation.

icon  
icon

Advice from Foster Turned Adopted Kids

Immediately when I shared this story, my eight year old said:

“Don’t! You’ll get hit. hit. hit. hospital. hit,” declared our eight year old.”

Our older kids had this advice for John:

“It’s okay to want to go back but you’re biological parents can’t take care of you right. It might even be dangerous. They (biological parents) can’t make it so you’re a good [independent and functioning] adult like your foster parents.”
“Being grounded isn’t a big deal. Everyone gets in trouble and your [foster] parents love you and stuff.”
“You know your [foster] parents love you. They just want you to learn to be a better adult and take care of your things. If you don’t learn to clean your room you’ll become a hoarder and end up on [the reality TV show] Hoarders.”

Did you agree with any of these thoughts? Why or why not?

cats-sleep-adopted-foster-care-finks-tips

It’s Your Turn:

  1. Harry had to go back to the Dursley’s house but John doesn’t have to go back to his biological mom’s house. Why would John want to go back there?
  2. Will running away help John’s situation with his foster parents? Why?
  3. Is it okay for John to be mad with his foster parents? Why or why not?
  4. Is it okay for John to want to go back home? Why or why not?
  5. If you were John, how would you fix this situation so that you didn’t felt better?

TA-epilogue-tell-john-foster-care-social-media