Whew! What a whirlwind season. So much has happened since my last post. I’d love to reconnect and share an update with you.
Speaking of reconnecting, I’ve had the privilege of doing just that with my oldest adopted daughter. If you’ve read my book, then you know how rocky our relationship was from the beginning.
Missy joined our family as a kinship placement in 1999. Back then we knew nothing about the impact of childhood trauma. Over the years, as we added four more children through adoption, we became trauma and FASD informed. But our first adopted daughter suffered from our ignorance.
If you’re familiar with the late Dr. Karen Purvis’s parenting model Trust Based Relational Intervention (TBRI), then you know how important connection is. But in those early days, I spent more time correcting and issuing consequences than I did connecting—with disastrous results.
I’ve heard it said that when we know better, we do better. It’s true. And it’s also true that it’s never too late to connect with our kids—no matter how old they are.
Over the past eight months, I’ve had the privilege of building connections and rebuilding my relationship with my daughter. She’s now thirty-two, married, and a first-time mom. But it’s still not too late.
The Power of Yes
Our journey to rebuilding through connection began in 2020 as Missy and her fiancé Corey were planning their wedding. My husband and I were thrilled and committed to being as supportive and involved as they wanted us to be.
During this time the Lord reminded me about one of the principles of TBRI—building connection by giving yes’s. So, when the couple announced their October 31st wedding date and a "Nightmare Before Christmas," themed wedding, I smiled, swallowed hard, and said, “How fun!”
The wedding was not only fun—it was a blast! The couple did a spectacular job with decorations and details. When the venue doors opened, my husband walked Missy down the aisle to Christmas/Sarajevo by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Our friends and family reported it was one of the best weddings they’d ever attended.
That yes was like money in the love bank with my daughter. In fact, when she was expecting her first baby in June 2022, Missy and Corey invited me to Wyoming for the birth. This Mimi ecstatically accepted the invitation!
As it turned out, a routine ultrasound a month before he was due, revealed our baby boy had a heart defect. As a precaution, an induction was scheduled at Rocky Mountain Children’s Hospital in Denver.
Killian John was born on June 17, 2022, and Mimi was there to welcome him. His first open-heart surgery was a week later.
He was discharged from the hospital on July 15th, my daughter’s birthday.
Unfortunately, a routine cardiology follow-up in October revealed another procedure was imminent and they were sent back to Denver. On October 31st, the kids’ second wedding anniversary, Killian had his second surgery. Three months and a third open heart surgery later, Killian and his parents finally returned home to Wyoming.
Though these past 8 months have been a roller coaster ride for our family, Killian is now thriving and so is my relationship with Missy. I’ve been to Denver three times to be with them and now we enjoy FaceTime calls almost daily. Missy and Corey plan to come home to New York to celebrate Killian’s first birthday with our extended family and friends.
During the first twenty-three years of being Missy’s mom I made tons of mistakes—often causing more damage than healing. But God (and Missy) gave me the opportunity for a major do-over and it all started with stepping out of my comfort zone and giving that first yes.
Do-overs, yes’s, and being present really do build connection—no matter how old our kids are. Friend, it’s never too late to start connecting.