Friday, October 16, 2009

Celebrating Five

How did she go from this

to this?

Five years sounds like a long time . . . . but it doesn't seem like such a long time when you're busy living it.

We've had five years of snuggles and hugs, exuberant joyfulness, boundless curiousity. Five years of knowing Ashley in all her complexity and intensity. Five years of gratitude to her birthmother who honored us with the opportunity to parent her.

And I have to admit there are moments of budding maturity -- like when she offers to help out around the house or when she tries to teach her brother something new. The night before her birthday, she got up afer everyone was in bed and went looking for her birthday presents. She found them, but resisted the temptation to open any of them early (something I know wouldn't have happened a year ago). She's learning to control her temper a bit better. She's learning to negotiate. She is growing up.

We're celebrating five this week . . . .

. . . . .  and wondering what the next five years will bring.

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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

My Little Helpers

No, I didn't make them wash the dishes . . . Ashley volunteered . . . and Luke decided to join her

What do you think the chances are that they'll do this when they're older and it's actually an assigned chore?
(Yea, I'm not holding my breath for that either! LOL)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

An Inspiring Group of Moms

I don't often get to talk about my job. After all, part of being a mental health counselor is respecting the confidentiality of information clients share. But today, I want to share a bit about an amazing group of women I work with.

I'm the therapist for a program that works with young mothers (in their teens and early 20s) to help them develop the skills and resources they need to provide for themselves and their children. The program provides education (both for high school diplomas or GEDs and for college or technical training programs), job training, group and individual therapy, parenting education, workshops in life skills and wellness topics, and lots of support to help these women overcome the barriers they face.

Most of the participants in our program live in poverty -- and most of them come from generations of poverty. Many, many of them have experienced some type of abuse or neglect or were exposed to domestic violence or parental substance use as children. Some of them struggle with their own substance abuse issues, and others have themselves been victims of domestic violence.

In short, they have many challenges and many barriers as they work to become self sufficient young women and competent, confident parents -- as if being a parent (especially a young one) isn't challenging enough on its own.

They come to our program looking for tools to help them change the future for themselves and their children. They are often inspired by their children, and their desire to give their children a different life than the one they have known. I'm inspired as I watch how hard they work, and I'm often humbled by their courage in confronting the barriers in their lives.

I share all of this because we have started a blog in the program. You'll find it at, and I hope you'll click over and visit -- and come back often. The participants are just getting into the swing of blogging, and I know they'd love to have some followers and commenters.

I think you'll find their journey over the course of the next few months truly inspiring.

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