Anchored Joy

Joyfully bringing healing and wholeness to our adopted kids

Reading List 2018 *Free Printable!*

Tracee WagnonComment

I promised to post my New Year goals today, however I'm still working on making them realistic and attainable.

In the meantime, one of my goals is to read more and binge watch Netflix less!  As I mentioned in my Reflections on 2017 one major focus of 2018 is therapeutic parenting.  Reading and re-reading books on trauma parenting is a priority for many parents whose children have been through trauma and are from hard places.  This year I have some specific books I'd like to focus on reading not only for therapeutic parenting but also for personal growth.  

I decided to create a cute printable to help me keep my reading goals organized and decided to share it with you!  You may use this printable to plan your books for the year or keep track of the books you have read.  Please do not remove my watermark or share without permission.

 2018 Reading List

2018 Reading List

New Year Goals: Reflections on 2017

Tracee WagnonComment

The week between Christmas and New Year's Day seems like the natural time to think about and set goals for the upcoming months and year (or make resolutions, if that's your thing).  This year I'm attempting to be a little more systematic and intentional in my goal setting and what I would like our year to look like.  

 Photo by  Dustin Lee  on  Unsplash

Photo by Dustin Lee on Unsplash

Before I look forward to the year ahead, I think it's necessary to look back at what worked and what did not work in 2017.  Heading into 2017 I did not give much forethought into what I wanted the year to look like, which was somewhat good since everything took a turn when I quit my job in April and we began homeschooling in June.  However, the year felt disjointed without a real focus and I often felt like instead of a set course for our family we were often drifting without real purpose.  Constantly reacting to variables around us, rather than finding a real direction.  

While I want our family to be flexible and able to adjust course if needed, I think it's important to at least have an idea of the end goal. Even without that, 2017 wasn't a loss.  We had plenty of wins and growth opportunities.

Some areas we excelled in - 

  • We made the tough decision to pull the girls home and homeschool.  This can be such a controversial decision, I feel like not allowing others opinions sway us and doing what we know is right for our family is a huge win!
  • Our oldest graduated from high school and is doing well in college.  Plus, he's happy and healthy, well adjusted, and a responsible young man.  While our work as parents isn't ever really done, I feel like this is a huge win - 18 years in the making!
  • My tea business is up and running.  I am making more than I'm spending on tea, which is the goal!
  • We had many great experiences together as a family.  We traveled to Mammoth, Las Vegas, Ventura, and plenty of Disneyland trips.  While not all of us went on every trip, we did have a lot of great experiences and many wonderful memories made.  We love to stop a lot of places on our drives and check out interesting places.  We visited the Seven Magic Mountains art exhibit on the way to Las Vegas, the railroad museum and village in Lawn, the San Buenaventura Mission in Ventura.  We played in the Pacific Ocean and hiked in Devil's Punchbowl.

We had plenty of areas that need improvement as well.  It's easy to call them failures, however if we learn from things that don't go right, is it really a failure?  Here are the areas we have growth opportunities - 

  • Therapeutic Parenting - we parent a child who went through trauma as an infant.  This kind of parenting is drastically different than traditional parenting.  We've spent many years studying trauma and how to parent out daughter the way she needs.  The trouble is that it can become exhausting and it's very hard to keep up with what needs to be done because it's not how people "naturally" parent.  In order to therapeutic parent, you really need to constantly be learning and reminding yourself through books and courses, plus support from other parents walking this road is crucial (because it's HARD.  Yes, all parenting is hard, but this is just so much more.)  This year we did attend one conference on therapeutic parenting but overall we didn't take the time to learn or implement the things we did learn.  This causes a lot of regression in our daughter.  With kids who come from hard places, there's no standing still.  There's forward or backward only.  One of our long term goals is to become therapeutic parent trainers ourselves, so it's not only important for our daughter that we continue to do our best to learn for her, but also for our long term goal.  This will be an area of great focus in 2018.
  • Budgeting - let's just say this is always a struggle... we will be focusing on this much more this year in hopes to overcome our pitfalls in this area once and for all.
  • Spiritual - Since moving in 2015 we have yet to find a church home.  We've tried out quite a few in our small town but have not found a good fit.  There are so many personal reasons we want to find a church and attend regularly.  It's something we talked of often in 2017 but unfortunately allowed other things to take priority over.  
  • Sewing/Crafting business - with the start of homeschooling and my tea business, I haven't sewn or sold any items since May.  I had hoped to have two sources of income to help offset what I was making when working at the local foster agency.  That just didn't happen though.  

While we had many more wins and growth opportunities, this is a good start!  

Share your wins (and growth opportunities if you'd like!) in the comments below and come back tomorrow to read some of our goals for 2018.

Thoughts on Birthdays and Adoption

AdoptionTracee WagnonComment

Every year on their birthdays I desperately try to remember what I was doing... I wake up and think, "Shouldn't my heart have known that my child, from my womb or not, was born today?"  It seems impossible to me that a day that changed my life forever could be lost to me forever.  

Did I wake up and have my morning coffee?  Did I have a good day?  I am inclined to think I did. Somehow I know that God must have whispered something into my heart the day both girls were born... I like to think that I spent those days being hopeful instead of heartbroken.

Later during the day, my mind always turns to their birth mothers.  And I always come around to the realization that the fact that I can't remember their birthdays, but their first mother's can, is just right.  (I'm speaking just for our family, not for anyone else's.  I am definitely not generalizing for all adoptive families.  Everyone's journey is different.)

The days my daughters were born were between them and their birth mothers.  I've come around to being thankful that they had that day together.  I know despite the outcome, their birth mother's loved them that day, and still do.  I imagine they held them on that day, just the way I held my children that came from my own body on the days they were born.  We have learned so much about how hard it is on our girls hearts that they did not get to grow up with their original families.  I can't help but be thankful that they got this day with them, a day full of that joy and discovery between a mom and child.  We know from research that though they may not cognitively remember that day, their body remembers.

While part of my heart will always wish I was able to birth all my children or be there the moment they entered this world... I've come around to accepting the actual events of those days.  I've come around to knowing that their stories, our stories, have played out just as God intended.  I've come around to being thankful for their birth mothers, who chose life for my girls.  It definitely didn't come naturally, it was something that I worked at - for my daughters' sake.

Today, on my daughter's 9th birthday, I think of her birth mother and I pray that she is ok.  I pray that she cherishes the moments she had with our little girl.  I hope she knows that her daughter is loved and well cared for. That she's part of a family.  She's a big sister and a little sister.  I wonder if our daughter got her natural talent for anything sporty from her birth mother, because she so did not get it from anyone else in this house!  I hope her heart doesn't ache too much, but I imagine that it does.  I hope she knows we tell our daughter that her birth mother did the best she knew how, and that no matter the outcome - she loved her then and loves her still now.

I may not have gotten the first day, but I get so many amazing days.  It's a privilege I try, like every mother, not to take for granted.