Book Club Monday: 20 Things...chapters 16-18

(For more info on the book we are reading, click HERE. All passages that are quoted are from Sherrie Eldridge's book, 20 Things Adoptive Parents Need to Succeed. Here are links to our previous discussions: Chapter 1; Chapters 2 & 3; Chapters 4 & 5, Chapters 6-9, Chapters 10-12, Chapters 13-15.)

Yay! Nearing the end of this book! Before I go any further, let's talk about the next book club. I've been reading this awesome book that looks at some shocking statistics that disprove many classic parenting techniques. It's titled NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children. Seriously, it has blown my mind. The first chapter includes some jaw dropping information about---wait for it---how it's actually damaging to tell your child that they are smart! Check out this story on ABC NEWS to get a glimpse about the supportive data on this theory. There are also chapters on teaching children about race, how lack of sleep has been linked to obesity and ADHD in children, and why children lie.

This will be the next book we review on Book Club Monday. I think it will appeal to any parent, not just adoptive parents. It's written in a way that makes sense (no boring science report here!). So check it out, and be ready to discuss the entire book in one month. We'll be chatting about it on Oct. 24!


Chapter 16: Dealing with perfectionism
Well, if you follow this blog at all, you know I'm a die-hard perfectionist. I've long thought about my need to do things letter-perfect. I'm not sure where it stems from, but I do know that it has often served me well in the past (career wise). However, it also gets in the way of creating forgiving relationships. I am highly sensitive to my failures and weaknesses, and hold myself to a very high standard. And The Man is held to an equally high standard, which is where things get a little sticky.

When you have such a rigid view, you don't allow for the imperfections that are part of human nature. I know this...and yet I get completely nuts when things aren't done exactly as they should be. One one hand, I know that I have over-the-top expectations and can reason that it's really not a big deal that the tupperware be put away just so. I know that I will likely struggle with this where LM is concerned as well.

This chapter brought up a good point--many adoptees struggle with perfectionism as well. They worry that if they aren't perfect, they might disappoint the adoptive parents, or worse, "be sent back". Thinking that I could actually exacerbate a fear like that for LM is certainly a motivation for change.

Chapter 17: Stress
Yep. Lots of stress involved with being a parent. And parents should really try to take care of themselves. Nothing earth shattering in that message.

Chapter 18: Establish a support system
Sometimes I think being an adoptive family is like being on a cruise. (For the record, I've never actually been on a cruise, but this is how I imagine it.)

You are experiencing this amazing thing! The cruise is magnificent. And all the other people on the cruise know exactly what you are experiencing. They understand the beauty of it, the rituals, and the challenges (sea sickness, limited time on shore, frustrations at being herded around like cows.)

When you return to land, you try to describe the journey to others, but they never *really* get it. They nod their head, listening to your stories and trying to understand. They get a general idea about what you experience, but because they weren't there, they can't completely internalize the emotions and memories that you have. It's one of those 'you had to be there' kind of things.

That's what it's like for me on this adoption journey so far. Don't get me wrong---we have had so much support from family and friends while we waited to bring LM home, and definitely afterwards as we struggled with parenting challenges. We are incredibly thankful for that!

But the part where we are trying to understand specific adoption stuff, that's where only people who have been on the cruise really understand. Thank goodness we have made the connections and found support in our adoption community. Through our Families Through Korean Adoption group, Facebook adoption groups, bloggers and message boards, we have been encouraged, given advice, and have shared in triumphs together. And cried together through the tough times. There will be more trials and triumphs as we continue, and I value the input and knowledge of those families who have "been there and done that".

Absolutely, it's imperative to create a support system. Eldridge gives great specifics on how to create a support group in your community. I was pleased to see her give such directed information, since one complaint of this book it that she rarely tells how to accomplish something.

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