RSS Feed

“I’m not talking about your pie in the sky that you good boys and girls get in the by and by, but rather the strength that we could find if you’ve got the guts to try, and this is why a man as holy as He had to die alone on Calvary, cause it was the only way we could ever see the heaven in His eyes…”

Throughout my life, I’ve faced “Friday” times. These are times when either my sin or just living in a sinful world causes me pain and grief, and it reminds me of this Friday. I think back to His friends and family watching Him be nailed to the cross, hearing Him speak words of love over those who hurt Him. I think about Mary, her mama heart about to beat out of her chest as she fought back her desire to hurt those who touched her son. And in my dark days, I think “this is happening because Friday…”

But Sunday happened.  And without Sunday, Friday is just darkness, injustice, malice and greed. Sunday redeems Friday with a mother’s gasp, running feet, and tender greetings. Sunday is when He did what He said He would, and where He made it right.

We live in Friday here but Sunday happened. This changes everything.

To the friend who will wander into church this week, hoping to find a friendly face, hoping that there is something more than just living hours and hours of Fridays….Sunday happened.

To the mom who cried this week because she felt like a failure…Sunday happened.

To the man who was just served divorce papers…Sunday happened.

To the child who thinks they are worth nothing, that no one could ever love or like them, who tries to please others just to get some acknowledgment…Sunday happened.

To the person who stole this week…Sunday happened.

To the woman who thought her child was just a group of cells, and decided that abortion was the answer…Sunday happened.

To the person who attended another wedding last weekend and cried out of loneliness…Sunday happened.

To the woman who avoids church this week because seeing children just reminds her of her infertility…Sunday happened.

To the pastor who has worked hard on his sermon this week, and spent the rest of the week looking at porn…Sunday happened.

To the man who was fired…Sunday happened.

To the man who was told he was no longer in a family because he is gay…Sunday happened.

To the couple who will smile this week and dress in their sunday best, but live lives of quiet desperation and emotional divorce…Sunday happened.

To the man getting high right now…Sunday happened.

To the child moving to a new foster home…Sunday happened.

To the woman lying in a hospital bed after disease has changed her normal…Sunday happened.

To the single mom wondering how she is going to pay those medical bills…Sunday happened.

To the person who is so angry at God right now, who wants to scream at Him…Sunday happened.

To the person who thought about suicide tonight…Sunday happened.

 

We live in Friday…but Sunday happened. And unbelievably, that day isn’t the end of the story. Because of Sunday, we are invited to live in a relationship with Jesus. Not a religion, not a ritual, not a rulebook. An intimate relationship with Him. We are invited to follow Him, walk with Him, and He promises to change us. Why do I believe in Sunday when I live in Friday? Because He’s changed ME.

And so I live in Friday, and I remember that Sunday happened…and there is coming another day, a day when faith is made sight and I will see His face. All will be made right, and there will be no Friday.

How can I pray for you in your own Friday?

tomb3

 

Email me at brandy.followingbutterflies@yahoo.com

Follow me on Twitter @brandyb77

And everything in time and under heaven finally falls asleep, wrapped in blankets white all creation shivers underneath, and still I notice you when branches crack and in my breath on frosted glass, even now in death, You open doors for life to enter, You are winter…

A little over a month ago, I attended the Storyline conference in San Diego. After I returned, I was invited for coffee with my sweet friend, Kay Wyma. She and another friend and I spend some time discussing the conference and what my impression of it had been. Kay was so encouraging to me in talking about writing, and I left feeling encouraged, loved, spurred on, determined, and ready for whatever road the Lord has for me. I was excited about writing- and I’ll be honest, it’s been a little while since I have felt passionate about writing. She wrote me the kindest email after our coffee, with encouragement and offers of help. That was about five weeks ago.

Five weeks ago, I developed a kidney stone that took about two weeks to fully resolve.

Three weeks ago, I got food poisoning and spent the night and most of the next day throwing up.

Two weeks ago, I got strep throat and the flu.

One week ago, I was diagnosed with pneumonia.

 

Right after I came back from San Diego, I sat in my friend’s kitchen with my four closest girlfriends and tears came as I described to them how I had been feeling. I confessed to them that I was experiencing some level of “depression.” I put depression in quotes because I have experienced clinical depression before, and that is not what I was feeling- this was more of a low-level melancholy. (I specify this because I want to be sensitive to my friends who are experiencing true clinical depression- that is not something you can always pull yourself out of) I know myself and my tendency to be melancholy enough to know the small things to do to feel better- don’t isolate, make sure I am reading His word, get outside, exercise, make sure I am eating, get enough sleep, find a creative outlet, choose to be thankful. But I told them that part of my struggle was admitting that I AM feeling down, and not just pretending that I am okay. I wasn’t doing those little things because I didn’t want to admit to myself that I was feeling down. I’ve got a bit of Scarlett O’Hara in me that likes to say “I’ll think about that tomorrow”, and my inner Scarlett has been trying to push through.

But you can’t fix what you don’t acknowledge.

So here I am, telling you that I am struggling. I feel like I returned from this conference and was ready to fly, and then got systemically knocked down by germ laced arrows. With every fever and cough, I felt myself lose a little bit of hope too. Hope that I would ever feel better, hope that I would get back on track, hope that I wouldn’t wake up and feel sad. If you’ve ever experienced anything like depression, you know that one of the worst parts is how it lies to you, and can convince you that nothing will ever change.

Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes in the morning”- Psalm 30:5

I know “this too shall pass.” I know joy will come. The problem has been that I am ignoring that there is weeping.

Would you pray for me?

Pray for this pneumonia to heal quickly and for energy and health to return.

Pray that I will rely on Him in the difficult and easy times.

Pray for my family as they too battle not feeling 100% and deal with mommy being in bed.

Pray that I will remember that He has something to teach me in the sadness, and that I won’t try to rush past it to avoid feeling bad.

Now for some positive and exciting news…I am praying about writing a book. I have been praying about it for a while, but the Storyline conference and my conversation with Kay helped propel me more in that direction. I have a few ideas, but would love to hear from you- if I wrote a book, what would YOU want to read about?

This is me NOT googling Peruvian brain rickets. Because that's not a thing. I checked.

This is me NOT googling Peruvian brain rickets. Because that’s not a thing. I checked.

Email me at brandy.followingbutterflies@yahoo.com

Follow me on Twitter @brandyb77

Let’s be Facebook friends!

I pin stuff.

“”I’m thirteen now and don’t know how my friends could be so mean, I come home cryin’ and you hold me tight and grab the keys, and we drive and drive until we found a town far enough away, and we talk and window shop until I’ve forgotten all their names…”

Precious girl,

You came home last week, sadness and dejection written on your usually sunny face. You began to tell me about being bullied by a group of girls at school. It’s almost cliché -a group of girls who do everything together, and for some reason, they have targeted you to make fun of. I asked you what they were mocking, and you told me “they said I like dumb baby things and I talk too much and my hair isn’t pretty and I’m just like, whatever.”  Someday you will understand the astonishment you can feel that anyone would dislike your baby and the riptide of protective rage that can sweep you out before you can even blink.

I was neither wildly popular nor relentlessly bullied in school. I did experience some teasing- the boys who stole my charm bracelet when I was six, a girl in the fourth grade who thought I sang too loud in school (she was probably right), and a classic group of “mean girls” in the sixth grade. In high school, there were a few less than friendly encounters and a boy who cruelly played with my emotions (but that’s another post!) but most of the bullying I experienced then came from a teacher.

Baby girl, as your mama, I can’t imagine anyone not liking you. You are sweet and kind and generous and funny and inclusive and there aren’t enough words to describe how amazing I think you are. But you will face those who see you as an easy target for pain and rage. This heart and flesh that has cared for you from the beginning cries out for justice and even revenge at times, but I want you to know these things…
In order to lash out, there has to be something being held in. Find out what that is. 
I wish I had the wisdom as a child and teenager to see past the name calling and cruel laughter to see, really see the girl who later displayed a severe eating disorder.  I wish I had not been so self protective to realize she never ate lunch. I wish I would have invited her to a sleepover. I wish I had seen her as a person, and not a caricature.  I wish I had the courage to gently confront the teacher who drove me to tears on a weekly basis. To remove the armor I faithfully put on to protect myself, and instead asked him how I could pray for him. I wish I had found my worth and identity in my Father who numbered the hairs on my head instead of projecting my bully’s voice onto my picture of Jesus. I wish I had told him how his words would echo around in an insecure and bruised heart for years.
Be brave enough to be bullied.
You can’t control if someone makes fun of your clothes or hair or voice. But have courage my girl, and choose to be bullied for loving others. Stand up for the girl being teased. Invite the boy to your party, the one who never gets invited. Smile and offer to show the new kid around. Run slower than the kid who is always last, and encourage them to keep trying. Choose one kid who gets teased and make it your goal to befriend them every month.  Take the brunt. Look for the misfit.
Embrace the suffering.
At some point you might read this and roll your eyes. These words might even sting. I know that in the moment of being chosen as the one to be hurt, the idea of doing anything but protecting yourself seems, well, crazy. Know that you can crawl into my lap at any time and I will cry with you, and we will likely share some Rocky Road and I’ll tell you about the time a girl told me every day for a year that I only made a certain choir because the teacher felt sorry for me. But when the tears have subsided and your heart is soft, I will encourage you to lean into the pain, not cower away from it. I’ll remind you that Jesus is real and experienced pain and hurt when persecuted by others. He was abandoned by friends and bullied in a way that led to death and yet even in that moment of agony, He offered forgiveness to those holding the swords. Empathy and kindness grow, and suffering is the water that encourage the roots to reach deep.

“We can rejoice too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love.” Romans 5:3-6

Love,

Mama

“You take a deep breath and you walk through the doors, It’s the morning of your very first day, You say “Hi” to your friends you ain’t seen in a while, Try and stay out of everybody’s way…”

I attended elementary and middle school in the same district, but my mom and I moved into a new area for high school. It wasn’t lost on me that this meant that I didn’t know anyone at my new high school and that every single other student would already have spent precious bonding time with everyone else, forming unbreakable BFF statuses. They had all probably been in preschool together, maybe even were born in the same hospital. I bet they all spent weekends together, having sleepovers and making vows to NEVER welcome a new friend into their group. I was convinced that I would be eating lunch with the janitor, and spending my weekends reading Sweet Valley High books, because surely no one would have room for a newbie like myself. I remember walking through the crowded halls, and seeing a couple making out in the hallway. I was fascinated because 1. she had parts that I sooo did not have, and 2. he had a mustache. A MUSTACHE, people. They were like, real live grown ups, and I felt like a baby in my acid washed jeans and no brand name shirt. I’m going to admit something that I am not sure anyone knows- I ate lunch for the first two weeks in the library. I decided who needs friends when you have Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield?

Eventually, I got over myself and realized that not everyone had been friends from the womb, and began to meet other equally insecure people. By the time I graduated, I had a good group of friends and I knew many of the people attending my college, so that transition was easier. It would be nice to be able to laugh at my scared self back then and talk to you about how I don’t struggle with insecurity now, and how that was a season in my life that I am so over because I am totes mature.

But you guys, I’m going to a conference and I am thinking about eating lunch in the library.

Next week, I am going to the Storyline Conference. (http://storylineblog.com/conferences/sandiego2014/)  It is a gift from my sweet husband, and I am very excited about having a few days away from the everyday responsibilities of life. Donald Miller is one of my favorite authors, and I am pumped about getting to hear him speak, as well as Jon Acuff and Anne Lamott. But even as excited as I am, I have come up with a hundred reasons why I should cancel. I’ve been trying to understand what is happening in my heart and why I feel like that fourteen year old girl again and here is what it comes down to…

Am I a writer?

I don’t know. Does getting paid make you a writer? Being published? Is it like the difference between being technically able to sing and being a singer? I don’t know, but I DO know that I have convinced myself that I will be walking into a room full of accomplished and insanely talented writers, all of whom know each other already and have private jokes that I won’t get. Is this an absolutely irrational fear- yeah. Has it still made me consider canceling the trip- yes, yes it has.

Lest you think I am exaggerating, I wrote down an internal dialogue I have been having for the last month about what to bring to the conference….

Let’s see, I am going to need a bag for my computer…I wonder if everyone there has a Mac…it’s in California, of COURSE everyone will have a Mac…it’s probably a law…but maybe I will be like the rebel hipster that doesn’t have a mac because everyone has a mac so I have an old school Dell…but I don’t have glasses so that’s not gonna work…ugh, what am I going to wear…heels? Flip flops? Flip flop heels?? I want to look cute, but be comfortable…let’s look at Pinterest…okay, so no one has made a Storyline Conference clothes board…maybe boyfriend jeans, that seems trendy…can I wear boyfriend jeans at 36? Are husband jeans a thing? I could make husband jeans a thing…they’d have grass stains and a note stuck in the pocket that says don’t leave chickfila in the van…hmmm, leggings are comfortable…I have my space cat leggings…be serious Brandy, you can’t wear space cat leggings to a grown up conference…well, maybe I can…do cats in space say take my writing seriously or perhaps I need psychotropic medication? They are artistic cats, maybe they say I am a quirky artsy person who may or may not be kind of geniusy…or maybe they say I am definitely eating lunch by myself in the library…

What a mess. But when I dig, I know it comes down to this- I don’t know what the future holds for me in writing. I have felt stuck these last few months, alternating between feeling like I have nothing to offer and feeling like I am scared to put anything out there. And the ugliness of that is that it’s all about ME. My feelings, my insecurity, my attempts to wrap my worth around acknowledgment…

So, I’m going to The Storyline Conference and I am going to ask Him to remind me that anything I have is about Him. And then I am going to find the person who looks as nervous as I am and ask them to eat lunch with me. The space cat question is still up for debate.

regina george

Are YOU going to the Storyline Conference?

Email me at brandy.followingbutterflies@yahoo.com

Follow me on Twitter @brandyb77

Follow me on Instagram @brandybutler77

Let’s be Facebook friends!  https://www.facebook.com/brandy.novakbutler

“What’s love got to do, got to do with it…”

I’m taking a stand. I’m drawing a line in the pink and red sand and humming “We’re not Gonna Take it” under my breath. It’s time for us to join together and rise up against the machine of Valentine’s Day gifts for our children’s classmates. It all begins with you and me- won’t you join me?

When I was a kid, we used to go and buy valentines with cartoon characters on them. We would write our classmate’s name on the top and the next day, we would hand them out. We would have a party with chocolate cupcakes with red sprinkles and cheetos. We had cups of water, or if we were fancy, cups of red punch. One year, I decided to hand out little boxes of those candy hearts, the ones that taste like chalk dipped in powdered sugar. There was a boy- a quiet boy, but a boy who haunted my fifth grade dreams. He was a loner, my first foray into “bad boys”, and he didn’t play baseball like the rest of the boys, he just loitered around the field, looking all Dylan McKayish. He didn’t ever raise his hand in class. His voice had already changed, probably when he was four. He NEVER wore a helmet on his bike. I was enthralled. I dumped out all the chalk hearts and separated them into colors because one time I heard him tell someone that the yellow ones were his favorite (of course, he said this with disdain, as though he was scoffing at the whole candy chalk heart industry). Yellow ones are also MY favorite, which clearly meant that we were soul mates. You can’t fake a connection like that. I put all the yellow ones in his box. I waited all day, watching him to see when he would open them. I watched as he opened the box, Debbie Gibson’s “Shake your Love” playing in my head, waiting for the moment he would look up, and we would join hands and plan our yellow candy chalk heart themed wedding as we rode off, sans helmets, into the sunset.

What actually happened is that I saw him TRADE MY BOX OF LOVE to another kid for JOLLY FREAKING RANCHERS AS THOUGH THOSE WOULD EVER FILL HIS HEART. Heartbroken. Debbie abruptly stopped singing and was replaced by the mournful wailing of Whitney Houston’s “Didn’t we almost have it all”

I’ve never forgotten that. So Raymond Martinez, if you are out there, just know that every time I eat a yellow candy heart, I push down a tiny bit of bitterness.

But now that I am an adult (legally, anyway), I have a new issue with Valentine’s Day. I’m looking at you, Pinterest. You and your homemade crocheted hearts and cards made out of recycled pallet wood and individualized Baked Alaska’s and vegetables cut into hearts and arrows and dressing your kid up in a diaper and bow and arrow and the teachers gifts, DEAR LORD THE TEACHERS GIFT.  I tried your melt broken crayons into heart-shaped crayons project. Lord knows I have enough broken crayons, as my kids are convinced this will be the next Olympic sport and they are VERY dedicated to training for the gold. You know what I got? Heart shaped crayons that had melted into the color of “wet dog rolling in a pile of garbage” which is very difficult to fit onto the label. I also had the added bonus of my kitchen smelling like a spork factory. Nothing says I love you like the smell of melted sporks.

It doesn’t stop there. It’s not enough to send cupcakes or cookies anyone to class parties. Now we have to send marshmallow people holding carrot hearts, or cheese cherubs or cookies painted with Robert Frost poetry.

I can’t do it. I won’t do it. This is my stand.

Join me mamas, in taking back the Valentine’s Day of yore. Paint half your face blue and stand with me, and we will battle together against this one upmanship, for we know if we continue down this path, it will lead to our sons taking out loans for gifts that their girlfriends will expect because we taught them in third grade that a flower isn’t enough. Because they may take our yellow candy chalk hearts, but they will never take OUR FREEDOM!!!!!!

Oh Dylan. I can tell from your furrowed eyebrows that you regret throwing my love candy away. I forgive you.

Oh Dylan. I can tell from your furrowed eyebrows that you regret throwing my love candy away. I forgive you.

 

 

This post originally appeared in Feb 2013…

 Email me at brandy.followingbutterflies@yahoo.com

Follow me on Twitter @brandyb77

“Oh baby, you know I may be a fool, I’m wastin’ my time by goin’ to school, The way you got me holdin’ your door, I can’t do my homework anymore…”

It’s almost February, and the days are long. And the hours from 3:00-7:00 are even longer. I’ve hit that time of year when I can’t get warm no matter what I wear and Wes is not happy about me setting the thermostat to 75. I’m tired of making soups and chili. Give me flip-flops or give me death.

There is something that I feel I need to confess. A friend was being very sweet and said this to me- “I don’t know how you keep up with three kids!”  We were talking about school projects and paperwork, and I laughed really hard and ruined her image of me.

I don’t.

I mean, I try. I have a system, y’all! Several systems. Multiple systems for when my systems don’t work. And a few back up systems. But I’m not going to lie and tell you that I didn’t find a paper this morning that I was supposed to have signed. In November.  But even keeping up with forms is not as hard as this other thorn in my side.  Homework.

It’s called homework because it makes your house feel like those old factories from the 1920s where you ate a crust of bread for lunch and lost fingers in machines and wore pinafores. I don’t really know what a pinafore is, but it sounds dreadful. It wasn’t supposed to be this way…

The mom in my head is one who greets her children at the door with a smile and hug. They have a snack waiting on the table for them, something with protein and carbs to bless their little bodies with energy and strength. Then all three sit at the table while she rotates, helping each one achieve academic greatness with their homework. When it’s done, she kisses them on their cherubic heads and papers are neatly filed into folders, placed back into backpacks and backpacks are gently placed into their own special cubby, ready to be used on the morrow. The children, their minds sharp from learning and their bodies nourished from the snack she lovingly prepared, go outside to ride their bikes and spread cheer to the neighbors.

But I have to, HAVE TO, be honest with you. I have my strengths as a mother and wife, but this is typically how after school goes…

Kids fly in through the door and I am in the kitchen, trying to get prep work done on dinner…

Malachi- “FJGKIHDSSDKLGHHDKHGSU;RIOHGSKKDJKDGKSHFGKSJLJFISHGIFNK!”

Selah- “KJDKLSGSKLRIUSHVURN;IEJIONCRNGJBRJKJEWIOJIEOHGIODNSOEMKJDF!!!!!”

Josiah- “-Some sentences about who did what wrong on the way home-”

Me- “Guys, hold- hold on. Guys. I can’t. Guys. Guys. GUYS.” (while dodging the flurry of papers that they are throwing at me)

Malachi- “Can I have a snack?”

Me- “yep. In a minute”

Selah- “Did you write me any letters today?”

Me- “Nope. Do you all have homework?”

Chorus of yes and various complaints of the overwhelming responsibility of being in school…

Me- “okay, well…Josiah, why don’t you go up to your room and Malachi, you sit here near me and Selah…Selah…SELAH. WHERE ARE YOU?”

Selah emerges from the playroom wearing a wedding dress and clown wig.

Me- “Selah. It’s not dress up time yet. You have to do homework first. You sit on that side of the table.”

Selah- “but that’s not my side.”

Malachi- “it doesn’t matter Selah. Don’t make a foolish argument”

Selah- “BUT THAT’S NOT MY SIDE.”

Josiah- “it doesn’t matter. You didn’t even buy this table. You don’t have a side.”

Selah- “oh I have a side and IT IS INCREDIBLY SPECIAL TO ME AND MY ACADEMIC CAREER IS SOLELY BASED ON THIS SIDE OF THE TABLE” (paraphrase)

Me- “guys. It doesn’t matter. Selah, just sit and get your homework out. Boys, you too.”

I hate homework. I hate it like a fat kid hates gluten-free cake. Hate it more than Uggs with shorts. I hate it more than Rainbow Doom Loom, which is saying a lot. I mean, I could just try to blame my kids and say that they are too rowdy, but the truth is, I am just terrible at helping them. I have no patience. I want it to be oooooooover. And Lord help us if the directions aren’t clear. It takes me approximately 4 seconds of staring at something I don’t understand to say “Uh…I think you are supposed to uh…write some numbers or stuff”

Sitting with the kids at the table while they get out their homework…

Child –  “I don’t know what to do”

Me- “it says write a sentence with the word “have” in it.”

Child- “What do you mean?”

Me(Oh Lord…what do you mean, what do I mean?? A sentence. With have.)- “A sentence. What is something you could talk about, using the word have?”

Child- “What does “have” mean?”

Me- (Oh. My. Word.  I HAVE a pencil that I will perhaps shove in my eye.)- “Have is…like…you are in possession…I mean…it belongs to you”

Child- “what belongs to me?”

Me- (shoot me. Just write a sentence. ANY SENTENCE WILL DO.) “Nothing. Just use it in a sentence”

Child very sloooooooooowly writes the word H-A-V-E

Me-(I. can. not.)- “honey (gritting teeth), that’s not a sentence. Okay, let me give you a hint. I blank a favorite book.”

Child- “Why are you putting your book in a blanket?”

Me- (I am going to actually perish right now) “No, not blanket. I (hum) a favorite book. Fill in with the woooooooord?” (Come on. You can do this. Say have)

Child- “pizza”

Child 2- “Can you help? Jennifer has eight flowers and John gives her four flowers and she gives three flowers to Chris, how many flowers does Jennifer have?”

Me- (please. ask me anything but a word problem. Ask me how babies are made. Ask me about periods. Please don’t ask me about Jennifer and her ever-loving flowers) “Well, how many does she start off with?”

Child 2- “Are they boyfriend and girlfriend?”

Me- “that’s not important to the problem”

Child 2- “but why is he giving her flowers?”

Me- (deep breaths, Brandy. Be thankful for curiosity)- “I don’t know honey. Maybe it was her birthday”

Child 2- “Why is she giving away the flowers? That’s not nice.”

Me- (I don’t know. Jennifer sounds sketch)- “Sweetie, it’s not real. We just need to figure out the problem”

Child 2- “What kind of flowers are they?”

Me- (I hate Jennifer and her whole family and everything she stands for.)

And I am just going to be honest and tell you that the other child doesn’t like help with his homework and that does not make me sad. So there you go- this is my confession. I’m so sorry, teachers. I am that parent that you wonder if they ever look at the folder. I do look at the folder. Most of the time.

Maria Homework

Email me at brandy.followingbutterflies@yahoo.com

Follow me on Twitter @brandyb77

Let’s be Facebook friends! https://www.facebook.com/brandy.novakbutler

I pin stuff- http://www.pinterest.com/brandybutler/

Dear Adoptive/Foster parent…

In medicine, we face new situations every day.  No two patients and families are the same.

The 3 children I saw with ear infections this morning all had different symptoms: one was fussy, the other had fever and the last cough and runny nose.  Patients and families not only have different medical stories, they have different personal stories.  Just this week, I’ve seen babies with mom and dad, mom and mom, grand-ma, foster mom and adoptive mom.  One of these situations is particularly close to my heart: adoption.  I’m sure I have said some stupid stuff to families in the past but the important thing is that I’ve learned some things along the way and I will continue to learn going forward.

Just like any other “type” of family, I’ve dealt with adoptive families that are really easy and really difficult, fun and hard.  There are some characteristics of those that make my job easier.  Here are some things I’ve noticed that you can do to help me take care of your child better.

Be honest…

There’s no reason to keep something from me.  It’s my job to take whatever is going on, apply my filter as a doctor to the situation and come out the other side non-judgmental and as an advocate for you and your child.   Whether it’s something difficult about your child’s past or something particularly tricky that is going on in your house, I need to know about it so I can help you in the best way possible.  I’ve particularly seen foster families try to paint a rosy picture because they constantly feel threatened on all sides (bio-families and their agency).  All the while, their child is struggling with ADHD, learning or other behavioral issues that I could have helped them address had they only asked.

“But wait,” you say, “you don’t know my doctor.  I’m afraid they’ll turn me in for (x, y and z).”

There are 2 answers, you’re either doing something wrong that deserves to be reported or you need to find a new doctor.

Be direct…

If there’s something that you think your child needs ask directly for it.  This strategy is useful for any child but, I think particularly important for adoptive children.  I think this is best addressed with a particular example.  If an adoptive family comes in with a new child who is delayed in some way (especially speech), I commonly take the approach to wait a little bit and see what happens.  I’ve seen it happen so often that with a new environment, the child takes off and ends up catching right up.  This, however, is completely a matter of style and I don’t believe that there is a right and wrong answer about what to do.  So, if asked directly, I’ll certainly any request and either comply with the request or discuss and explain why I think a particular intervention (medication, therapy or otherwise) is unnecessary until you understand.

“But wait,” you say, “you don’t know my doctor.  They’ll get mad at me and think I’m demanding.”

There are 2 answers, you’re either asking for something ridiculous or you need to find a new doctor.

Be gracious…

All people say and do dumb things sometimes.  Medical professionals are people too.  There are certain things that might be unforgivable.  There are certain statements and situations that are so hurtful you can’t go back to see someone again.  I’m pretty sensitive to parents and children but I know I make off-handed statements that are unintentionally hurtful.  My goal is that I’ve provided great care to you before and/or I’ve shown you enough of my heart that you realize I didn’t mean to be hurtful and I do love your child.  Extending some grace when you are able provides a great opportunity to teach people some of the insight you have about how an adoptive family thinks to someone who has never considered it.  Maybe they won’t say the same thing again to someone else.  Maybe they’ll explore a hidden prejudice that they didn’t know they had.  Maybe they’ll just blow you off but you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you tried.

“But wait,” you say, “you don’t know my doctor.  They’ll get mad at me and think I’m complaining and oversensitive.”

There are 2 answers, you’re either complaining or oversensitive or you need to find a new doctor.

You can find information about Dr. Smith’s practice here- (he is accepting new patient appointments to begin in March)   http://www.cookchildrens.org/Lewisville/hebronparkway/Pages/default.aspx

Follow Dr. Smith on Twitter! @TheDocSmitty

Follow his page on Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/TheDocSmitty

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 80 other followers

%d bloggers like this: