How Parenting Children From Hard Places Can Be Blessings In Disguise.

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Holidays are wonderful family times, but holidays can also be are hard - especially for families with kids from "hard places." The pressure of special events, increased anxiety, and disruption of schedules due to school vacations, can sometimes bring about true crisis.

*Editor’s Note- This is a guest post by our good friend Lisa Qualls. She is a writer, speaker, mom of 12, and the creator of Thankful Moms, where she writes about motherhood, adoption, faith, and grief. Lisa is a mom by birth and adoption. Along with her husband Russ, their adoption journey has been marked by joy as well as challenges of trauma and attachment. You can visit her blog here, and connect with her on Facebook here

Four years ago, I wrote a post to my readers on Christmas Eve. It was early in the morning; my family was sleeping and snow was falling outside the windows in the pre-dawn hour. I’d been silent, unable to write for several days as I tried to make sense of the crisis we found ourselves in.

A few nights earlier, we’d reached a point where we couldn’t keep our daughter safe. For years our therapist had told us to call 911 if certain lines were crossed, but we couldn’t bring ourselves to do it.

We were afraid.

As Christmas break approached, and our daughter’s ability to regulate declined, my husband, Russ, and I set our own limits. We made a safety plan and promised each other we would follow through.

Friday was the last day of school followed by a fun Christmas party that evening for the family. By 10:00 pm, we were in the emergency room with our daughter for a psychiatric evaluation and they were looking for a bed on a pediatric inpatient unit.

Today, four years later, as I write, snow is once again falling outside my windows, and the memories are so powerful, my stomach hurts and I have tears in my eyes.

We sought help that Friday night and God met our need. Our daughter was safe, our other children were safe, but the events leading up to the ER visit were traumatic for every member of our family.

Our daughter was admitted to the inpatient unit 90 miles away that night. While her need for safety was met, this also meant she was not with us for Christmas, which brought up many hard emotions in our family. The hospitalization added new people to our team. We asked God to open doors, help us clearly see them, and give us the grace to walk through.

God was (and still is) writing a story with our lives. Every good story has a conflict or problem to solve; without it, the story has no significance. That night was a turning point in the conflict of our story. We didn’t know what was going to happen next, but we knew the author and we trusted him to write a good story with our lives.

I wrote these words that Christmas Eve morning,

I believe with all my heart that there is a good ending coming. One day, Kalkidan will be whole and she will be healed. I don’t know if it will be in one year, or even in this life, but I know it will happen because she is a precious and loved child of God.

I firmly believe there is nothing outside of God’s control, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead was at work in our family and in Kalkidan’s life. She needed to be healed – we all need to be healed. We’re all, every one of us, broken in some way.

Our daughter’s story began before we knew her; there was suffering and pain beyond what most of us can imagine. God wove her into our family knowing the harm done to her would not instantly heal. We sought many answers, and I don’t regret a single path we took on that journey.

The hospitalization led to residential treatment, which was a journey of its own. God used that program, those people, those months, to open Kalkidan’s heart to the possibility of love, and to the knowledge that family was safe and could be trusted. She found healing we hardly dared hope for.

Christmas 2014 was a time of healing, laughter, and joy. Kalkidan was a miracle in our midst and we gave thanks to God – we were amazed at the changes and the joy we felt.

We didn’t know it then, but Kalkidan’s race was a sprint and not a marathon. Her life ended in a tragic car accident only two days after that sweet Christmas of 2014. She was healed, in part, this side of heaven, and fully healed when she ran straight into the arms of Jesus.

Christmas is nearly here once again and our family yearns for Emmanuel – God with us . We are deeply thankful he doesn’t leave us to journey through this life of brokenness alone. We cling to him and to one another.

Are you parenting children from hard places? Share your story with us in the comment section below.

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Mike and Kristin Berry are the Co-Founders of The Honestly Adoption Company and have been parents for nearly two decades. They are the authors of six books, and the host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.

Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is the executive assistant to Mike and Kristin Berry. And she is the best in the land. In addition to providing a warm and friendly response to the many emails our company receives on a weekly basis, she also manages Mike and Kristin’s speaking and meeting schedules, and makes sure that team events go off without a hitch.

Nicole Goerges

Nicole Goerges is a Content Contributor & Special Consultant for The Honestly Adoption Company. She works with Mike and Kristin as a recurring co-host for the Honestly Adoption Podcast, and co-host of Kitchen Table Talks, exclusive video content for Oasis Community, along with Kristin. She is a fellow adoptive mom, and former foster parent.

Matt McCarrick

Matt McCarrick is the Content Production Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. If you’ve loved listening to our podcast, or enjoyed any of the videos trainings we’ve published, you have Matt to thank. He oversees all of our content production, from video edits, to making sure the tags are correct on YouTube, to uploading new videos to Oasis, to hitting publish on a podcast episode, he’s a content wonder!

Karen Anderson

Karen Anderson is the Community Engagement Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends the bulk of her time interacting with, and helping, people through our various social media channels, as well as providing support for Oasis Community members through chat support or Zoom calls. In the same spirit as Beaver, Karen is also passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and supported. Karen is also an FASD trainer and travels often, equipping and encouraging parents.

Beaver Trumble

Beaver Trumble is the Customer Care Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. Chances are, if you have been in need of technical support, or forgotten your password to one of our courses, you have interacted with Beaver. He is an absolute pro at customer care. In fact, he single-handedly revolutionized our customer care department last year. Beaver is passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and encouraged.

Kristin Berry

Kristin Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Content Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends most of her time researching and connecting with guests for our podcast, as well as direction, designing and publishing a lot of the content for our social media channels, blog and podcast. She loves to connect with fellow parents around the world, and share the message of hope with them.

Mike Berry

Mike Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Marketing Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. He spends the bulk of his time and energy designing and building many of the resources you see within our company, as well as social media and email campaigns. His goal is to use media as a means to encourage and equip parents around the world. He is also the co-host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.