This week on Beauty is Rising, Kelli speaks with Melissa Smallwood.
Melissa is a foster/adoption advocate, wife to Mike, mom to seven children, five of whom have been part of their family through adoption or foster care.
Using her professional experience, time in foster care as a child and over 20 years of being an adoptive parent, Melissa offers support and encouragement to foster and adoptive moms through an online support group and coaching services.
She likes to instill in fellow foster and adoptive parents the belief that it is not our job to fix our child, nor look at them as a project. Rather, our job is to love our child the way they deserve to be loved, no matter what is going on.
[Melissa 22:34] “…this is probably one of the toughest gigs on the planet. And, you know, I have definitely not done everything perfectly. But at the end of the day, another thing that’s really valuable to these kids is someone coming back and saying, I didn’t handle that well. And I’m really sorry. Can we start over? Because that’s also something they probably haven’t experienced much of, in their life.”
On the differences in the way we “discipline” our adopted children compared to how our biological children grew up.
[Melissa 33:30] “A lot of my coaching clients are already in counseling or their child is already in counseling. And coaching is different from counseling and that it’s focusing on where you want to go versus what’s happened to you. I like to say that counseling might look at the rearview mirror perspective and coaching is kind of looking through the windshield.”
Melissa on determining which between counseling and coaching is more apt for the client.
[Melissa 39:45] “One of the important things to do when you’re raising a child from a hard place is to always present a united front. Whether you’re united or not. I can’t stress how crucial that is. If you allow your child to triangulate you with your spouse, you and your spouse are going to have a conflict, and that is not helping anybody.”
[Melissa 41:23] “I encourage parents to utilize universities and colleges, students that are studying special education, psychology, things like that. We have experienced and are very open to, you know, the regular babysitting date on the calendar and utilizing it as an educational opportunity.
Melissa offering a viable solution after acknowledging how difficult it can be to find child care for a child from a hard place.
[Melissa 47:15] “So I like to instill in other foster adoptive moms is it is not your job to fix your child. It is your job to love your child. And when we look at them as a project or something or take responsibility for the outcome. We can begin to get really bogged down, really discouraged, really defeated. But when we focus day by day on loving them the way they deserve to be loved, no matter what’s going on, then we have been successful.”