To The Parent Ready To Give Up: “I See You!”

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This is a guest post by Jennie Owens. Jennie and her husband, Lynn, have parented over 100 children and worked with thousands of families. Together, they founded Forever Homes, a non-profit organization that seeks to support, encourage, and empower foster and adoptive families. Jennie has an MA in Education and extensive training in trauma-informed care and therapeutic parenting. She provides trainings at conferences, schools, retreats, and workshops.

This journey is hard at times. We fight for our children, but often feel alone, wondering if there’s anyone who understands the needs our children have. As we step into this New Year, we want you to know….you are not alone!

You started out this journey into foster care and adoption full of hope and determination. Now you’re not even sure you can make it to the next day.

I’ve been there. I see you. You are not alone.

I see you when you hide in the bathroom and cry. After all, that’s about the only place you can be alone, even if it’s just for a few minutes. You splash cold water on your face to hide your puffy eyes and walk out, trying to put on a brave face, even though you don’t feel brave anymore.

You used to feel like your love could conquer any issue your child might have. But now you wonder if you have what it takes to do this.

I see when you sit in the car for a minute before turning on the ignition. Will it even help to drive your child to see another specialist? You have given up hope that anyone will understand and be able to help. But giving up is unthinkable, so you force yourself to start the car.

I see you when it’s time to go back home after you’ve had a short break. I feel that sense of dread rising up in your belly. Life is hard, and you’re tired of the battle. You want to drive in the opposite direction and never return, but you head home and gear up for another day of fighting on your child’s behalf.

I see you standing there, listening to one more person offering unsolicited and clueless advice. You know they’re trying to help, but it hurts to be misunderstood. You’ve tried it all, and they’ve raised children who’ve never experienced trauma. So you smile and nod, knowing there’s no way they could possibly get it. But you feel so alone.

I see you, afraid to share how you feel with anyone. You stay in isolation, wondering if anyone can handle your real, raw emotions. So you keep them in. You try to push them down, but they come bubbling up when you least expect it. After one more call from the principal. After once again you’re cleaning feces or urine from the carpets or air vents. After you’ve dealt with one too many temper tantrums in the middle of Walmart, with onlookers shooting you looks of disdain.

You’re tired of your pain, exhaustion, and frustration being misjudged. It feels like no one understands.

When I was on the journey with my older children who were adopted from foster care, I felt utterly alone. I didn’t know that others experienced the same emotions.

In my work with other parents through one-on-one coaching, leading workshops, and organizing retreats, I have learned that other people share similar experiences while parenting kids from tough places. It’s just that few have a safe place to be honest and share those raw emotions. In fact, that realization compelled me to write a book, called Dancing with a Porcupine. I wanted to provide others with that safe place. I wanted them to know that they weren’t alone and that what they were feeling was normal. It also motivated me to begin Rejuvenate Retreats, where we provide moms a safe place to connect, relax, and recharge.

As we look into the new year, I hope that you will offer yourself a little bit of grace and love. No one is perfect. None of us has this whole parenting thing figured out. But, we can support and love each other through it.

While it’s easy to heap criticism on ourselves for what we aren’t doing well, I hope you are giving yourself credit for showing up, despite the difficulty. I also hope that you are going easy on yourself. This IS hard. Compassion Fatigue, PTSD, and Secondary Trauma are all realities for those of us on this journey. You can’t dive into deep waters of pain with another person without (at times) being overwhelmed with negative emotions and wanting to give up. That’s normal.

I see you, and you are doing a good job.

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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.