30 minutes


Why does 30 minutes affect our lives exponentially around here and in so many strange ways? Can you relate?


Here are some examples of time and its constant crazy mind games it plays on me these days:

Some fast forward scenarios: “Yay, I have 30 minutes!” is a joke, because it can go by like 5 minutes of time, if I somehow manage to be home alone. I find myself thinking of the 100 things I want to get done before the sweet sounds from my boys and chaos arrive. How do I decide on what to do? …go to the gym, organize, plan ahead, catch up, write, read, connect on Instagram, laundry, dishes, walk, run, even the decision wastes my quiet time! =)

“Load up, we have to go now!” Oftentimes, if we don’t leave with at least 30 minutes ahead of time, to travel 7 miles, we will be late during the sports and afterschool appointment hour in our crazy little suburb.

In the world of teaching, 30 minutes can seem like less than 10 when teaching a new concept or engaging students in hands-on activities.

30 minutes of exercise is waaaayy too short, when I’m relying on it for stress relief.


Slow-mo scenarios: “How has it only been 5 minutes?” 30 minutes of make-believe play (super heroes vs. bad guys) with my littles has always felt like double-time to me.

Sometimes I get excited, “yay, we have 30 minutes!” Brian and I can make a pretty healthy, delicious dinner together in 30 minutes.

30 minutes can also make the flood of tears, screaming, and trying to help my child regain control feel like an eternity.


After a *little man fit last month, *C$ intervened. It worked. It felt like a punch in the gut, and made me so excited and proud at the same time. It was past the 30 minute buffer for afterschool activity travel time. *Little man couldn’t find one of his little kid lacrosse game sticks that he wanted to bring and play with while big brothers were practicing. I was rushing to get round 1 of dinner for the big boys, pack *little man’s dinner, water bottles, and change out of work clothes. *Little man wanted me to help him look for his toy, but I suggested he grab another toy since we were almost out of time. Right before “go time” I suggested again he get another toy, he refused with tears; so, I suggested he bring the one stick and ball he found. I quickly pushed shoes on his feet, and he became louder with his cries. After we got in the car, he was in full blown tantrum. I looked back at him, very agitated and distracted, I sternly said, “no sir, you may not scream in the car,” while reversing up the driveway. I promptly had to slam on the breaks because a car was coming quickly up the hill past our driveway. I scolded him that crying loudly in the car was dangerous, explained the wreck that almost just happened and again said, “you need to stop so I can drive, safety.” He escalated. I put the car in park and brought him to the porch so he could have the rest of his fit, which consisted of stomping, screaming, and throwing shoes in my direction.

C$ noticed I was flustered, ignoring little brothers cries, and must have thought that if he didn’t try, we would be late to his practice. As soon as he reached to touch *little man’s back, and ask him if he wanted to borrow his real lacrosse equipment, the screaming stopped. He was able to nurture when I was feeling beat up. He could have chosen to be angry about being late, or that he was just screamed at, but he chose to nurture. ♡

The next fit came later that week, Brian was traveling, and C$ said, “mom, can I talk to him?”

You guys, this is huge.  I wish I could freeze time and remember exactly the way our big boy acted in these tense moments.

Kids of trauma can often have “terrible twos” tantrums due to stunted brain development in one of the five areas. Our fits have always started with two factors. He is tired and doesn’t get his way, or he is corrected and hungry. It starts with crying, we usually try to move him or the big boys away from each other. If we engage, he escalates. If we ignore, he escalates. We are trying different strategies with each fit, and documenting each one. We now have an official plan in place and accommodations for school. We are learning to trust and he is learning that his “caveman” brain fits have consequences. We have realized that very natural and relational consequences do work the best thus far. He has had so many transitions in life that he is not “attached” to things, but he is attached to people. He does not want to be alone, or go without attention. Our parenting class with @andystanley and @sandrastanley couldn’t have taken place at a more perfect time. Though relational consequences are exhausting, and we desire to take more away (more tangible items), we have focused consequences directly related to the crime of the relationship he hurt. Big brother relationships are what he cares about most, so we are able to use the fact that, “they won’t want to play with you when you act like ______.”

We are becoming very intentional with our time. Sometimes we don’t agree on the way to prioritize it, but we are recognizing this tough mind game that time is playing, and trying to decide how we want to and need to spend the time we have left with our kids before they leave our home.

Because of October chaos, I am behind posting a few drafts. So, I have to end with this update: please, knock on wood or say thankful prayers for healing and stability, this month, *little man has only had one fit at school and no fits at home.

Adoption day

***The non-social media filtered version (as my hubs calls it):

(or as @AndyStanley refers to, the following story is the stuff we don’t put on our “bookshelf” for everyone to see.)  But, anyway, here it goes:

Our day prior to announcing our new son:

*Little man could not wait for early check out at school today; in his teacher’s words, “climbing out of his skin with excitement.” He screeched last night when he found the outfit he wanted to wear to court.  (We were only at the outlets to look for a shirt for the big boys to match *little man’s already planned outfit.)  He wanted to look really handsome.

The big boys couldn’t wait to check out of school either, but their excitement of their fancy clothes quickly melted away.  Photo shoot pictures were as pictures usually are with kids…  “stop touching each other, put your arms down, smile, stand up, if you look at the camera – we can be done,” etc.  Our amazing neighbor friend somehow made them look perfect in our world of kid chaos. 🙂

A puppy walked past our photo shoot and *little man was obsessed, trying to convince us we need one (he LOVES dogs)- Brian tries and I consistently deny.

Done with pics- grumps:


Waiting again:


The events as I remember: (but I may miss a few due to complete emotional overwhelm – ha!) We drove 1 1/2 hours to arrive early, get a snack, and then find out that the hearing may not happen. One piece of paperwork was not complete with the appropriate person’s signature on it. The judge’s clerk quickly helped get everything squared away and we finally entered the court room with both sets of grandparents, a set of great-grand parents, our lawyer, caseworker, and our handsome boys who were already tired of waiting.

Brian, *little man, and I sit at the table across from the judge, while *C$ and *minion take a seat at the table to the right, family behind all of us. Our lawyer begins talking and making introductions, and then the judge speaks to *little man, asking who all the people behind him were. Once she did this, it’s like it gave *little man approval to make this his show. 🙂 She told him she had been checking on him and he loudly stated, “you’ve been spying on me?!” She told him that she had not been spying but again stated that she had been checking in. She asked about school, in which he kept avoiding the question, by trying to give her a high-five, each time she asked the question. So, three or four high-fives later, he said, “ask her…” and pointed to me. (He was afraid since she had been “spying,” that maybe she knew about his unreasonable meltdowns, or 5’s on the 5- point scale, as we call them at home.)

Then she asked, “who are you pointing at?” And he replied, “weird.” That would be us, his new parents- weird!  Then she said, “well, I bet you don’t call them ‘weird,’ what do you call them?” He loudly and proudly stated, “Daddy!”

Judge asked about his new name, and he didn’t want to say it because it was his “trouble” name as we jokingly call it at home. We had not used his middle name, ever, but he was subtly obsessing over having a middle name like big bros. Judge then asked, who’s trouble name was used the most at home, and all three pretty much jumped out of their seats to let her know that it was *minion.

*Little man made noise or talked the entire hearing.

*Minion grabbed the defense mic, turned it on, and said, “I’m guilty.”  And Judge quickly told him that he should not practice saying that in a court room.  He then proceeded to be the first person to “Floss” in the judge’s bench.

(These pictures are on Facebook, if you haven’t seen them yet, they are pretty funny.)

They all got to sit in Judge’s bench, hit the gavel and reluctantly took more pictures.

We made it through dinner with one hangry *minion, and finished a way too scary Redbox movie on the car ride home.

Difficult questions at bedtime about birth mom, foster family, and “real” mom, followed by tears, because ‘something was in his eye’ and he was ‘thirsty.’  I reassured him that it was okay to have sad feelings, but that he needed to go to sleep because we had a long, very special day.

*I am beyond shocked at the amazingly kind words you guys have posted on social media, but want you to know: we are just a normal family with our ups and downs, tears, and exhaustion. I am forever grateful for my husband, family, and friends who are in it with us! ♡ you all and am looking forward to the next months and years.

bonding therapy

I am hoping this type of counseling will continue to grow and be offered in more cities for foster, adoptive, and even blended families.  We drive almost two hours total, to spend about an hour, but it is worth it.  As a busy family, who would normally only see a pediatrician once per year, our kiddos’ doctors may be the biggest influence
(other than teachers, who are not generally trained in this area- which I am working on).  I am hoping doctors will begin to make this referral!  Let’s be proactive instead of reactive; mental health is just as important as physical.

Though I was resistant to send *little man, he has his own therapist (and for other reasons), I ultimately didn’t have a choice.  The therapist and agency drug their feet for months on approving us (they wanted to just approve *little man, while I wanted the big boys to get support and learn how to be patient and lovingly accept their new brother).  Finally, they said they would see the three boys individually and work with them altogether during some sessions.  Though things didn’t originally go as I requested, it seems like it will continue to be a great experience for all.

The therapist is working on getting the big boys used to the fact that they can share hard feelings independently, and she started working on communication with all three.  They have learned through playing games, they have to share feelings, communicate, and pay attention to tone of voice.  It has also brought up the fact that *little man becomes agitated, flustered, and does not listen when he is frustrated.  It presents itself as ADD, but is his response to anxiety.  This is a great heads up for our upcoming Kindergarten school year.  Last week, she took a teachable moment and ran with it.   She explained to *little man that he could have done a better job building and would not have been as frustrated during the game, if he would have asked questions.


This type of communication training is quickly becoming my passion as an educator and a mom, due to the fact: the recent school-aged generations have increasing difficulty with verbal communication.  It seems like we are living in a world where negative feelings are shunned and envy is on the rise.

In rereading The Connected Child for my parent coaching classes, I am finding “new” tidbits that are a great communication reminder in our busy world:

— eye contact (as the author describes, driving our kids around to all their events and activities does not count as bonding because they look are looking at the back of our head)

— stay close even during time-outs (adult body language is interpreted easily by kids)

—  avoid open-ended questions (build trust and stay in control)

—  give simple choices (love this example: “would you like an apple or banana with your chicken soup for lunch today?”   NOT: “what do you feel like having for lunch today?”)

— clear instructions (it seems that my boys need eye contact for this as well 🙂

Other updates: No word on final adoption.  *Little man will be registered for Kindergarten at my school.  Staying asleep is an issue; he is making up false reasons for being scared, then ultimately admitting he just doesn’t want to be alone.  Bio family vs. foster family talks are hard.  Family trip #3 is coming up, so consider this a picture overload warning.  And—anyone willing/able to come give C$ a puberty talk?  #notready


I love my family; but, we are in the midst of hard.  Thank goodness for summer!  I love taking pictures, so don’t let it fool you.  We are learning, crying, not sleeping, getting annoyed, but loving, communicating and growing.



Hey parents of 3 (or more), I need some tips.  How does going from 2-3 kids seem like it triples the laundry, dirt on the hardwood, toothpaste in the sink, and urine on the back of the toilet?  Brian and I are outnumbered.  We can not just split anymore, taking each child to their sport, school function, or playdate; sacrifices will be made and commitments may not be 100%.  We already have to be intentional, on a rotating basis, for fairness.  I have to say, we have an amazing village though: parents, siblings, and friends have already been our heroes, as well as our kids biggest supporters!

Going from 2-3 kiddos has also brought our awareness to and seems to triple the little things:  awareness of kindness, support, and patience.  It has tripled the sensitivity of our worrier


*little man insisting on doing homework with his big bro


and tripled the leadership of our free-spirited child.

We are in the midst of state testing for *C$, travel for dad, and all things play-date, sports, and friends for our busy *minion.  We are thankful for coaches and teachers.  It truly does take a village.  I am reminded that we are all busy, do something for someone even if you don’t have time for it, accept help from someone, and “bother people. brave it.” ~@jennieallen- Instagram

“it’s not what we have in life, but who we have in our life that matters”

*Little man is taking it all in.  He is adjusting, loving, and learning.  He is so happy and he puts life into perspective.

Please leave a comment if you have a parenting tip for being #outnumbered.

staffing meeting

Brian and I met with several important “decision makers” on Wednesday, which was awkward, just as I thought it would be.  We had to go over everything we felt we already knew, plus: medical history, family history, routines, school, and foster care.  I know DFCS workers must hear and deal with the unimaginable, and am thankful for those that care about their cases.  I appreciate that they cared what *little man’s foster parents had to say, and am so thankful that he is in a loving home, and that they also attended the meeting.  I feel as though they really are part of The Moore family.


We also already have a transition plan!  We are shocked and excited to announce that *little man’s transition begins next weekend!  This is our last weekend as a family of 4.  We brought *Minion and *C$ to get ice cream and tell them the exciting news that they will have another permanent playmate and brother.  Their reaction was sweet.


*Little man will be at our house the next two weekends and part of Spring Break.  He will move in on April 6th.  We will be intentional about our time together.  We will be slow to introduce him.  He needs to understand who his people are, and we are so thankful for our people, which will become his people.  He will be grieving the loss of an amazing foster family, whom he calls mom and dad at times.

We have an amazing network and are so thankful.  He has 3 sets of parents that love him, and we plan to include these family members in his near future.  I don’t even know how many loving grandparents, aunts, and uncles this sweet boys has.  What a lucky kid.  I just hope we can help him see how lucky he is.  We are lucky to have him!  Happy Lucky Day!  (or St. Patty’s as most call it).

respite care

We just spent a week together as approved respite care for *little man. I’m trying to find an easy way to answer the question, ‘how was your week?’

Our week was amazing,


Our week was exhausting,


Our week was joyful,


Our week was trying to understand,


Our week was bonding,


Our week was a success!

There is no way to easily answer this question. Thanks again for your sweetness and perfectly subtle and silent support!


There will be many firsts ahead. We won’t be able to document the first word, first steps, first other baby stuff. We will have to do some research to understand those milestones. But we do get to document that today marks the first time either county we are dealing with has reached out to us! We have a caseworker assigned to us from our county! They contacted us!

Now, the next step will be for our caseworker to touch base with *little man’s caseworker. We will be meeting our point of contact next week. She will be walking through the house quarterly, talking to our boys. And my favorite part, she will be able to answer questions.


Thank you Dr. King; I am taking advantage of this day off of work to add some more information to our blog.  Leaving this right here:


Wow!  I can’t believe the information out there.  This information and years of research is so important for my career, let alone adding another child who has been through trauma to our family.  I am lucky to have a friend who has been through adoption, to get me started on this quest for understanding.  She suggested I start with The Connected Childhttp://empoweredtoconnect.org/book/ and Wounded Children Healing Homeshttps://binged.it/2Ddcgtj Both have great information for ANYONE who works with children. I have come away with things I would love to share with other teachers, and I am sure Brian and I will use these as a resource when questions arise in our home, in the future.  I have analyzed these books, along with some information from our IMPACT training course and a podcast by Confessions of an Adoptive Parent.

The four most important take-aways I have found thus far:

4.  understanding the effects on the brain (I could go on for days and will be continuing my studies)- Trauma can stop or slow brain development across any of the 5 areas:

  • Cognitive, emotional, social, moral, physical
  • Though a child may seem to be growing/maturing just fine, despite their past, there may be one (or more) area(s) that he/she is not able to perform at the level of peers.
  • There may be specific areas of executive functioning that a child struggles with and will need all the support and understanding that he/she may not be able to function like peers in the categories of attention, working memory, self-monitoring, time and planning, and cause and effect.

3.   flexibility- Though we want our children to be successful academically (I’m such a teacher), but flexibility is key.  Before our kiddos can perform academically, there may be some character traits to work on, some life skills to teach.  Children of trauma are not able to just learn the standards.

2.  consequences-  These go hand-in-hand with #3.  Life lessons and life skills need to be learned first.  Wouldn’t it be great to have a checklist for all these and to check them off as you “teach” them and be done with it. 😉  No child functions that way and that is where patience and repetition come into play.  It seems as though kids of trauma can digress without these, no matter how much push back they give.  They need to know we adults are in charge.  Here is my list of seemingly common sense tips, but not an option for kids of trauma.

*Natural/logical consequences

  • reinforcement- immediately and frequently
  • don’t overreact
  • private praise
  • be consistent, repetitive, and predictable
  • zero-tolerance for violence (verbal and non-verbal)
  • shame and judgement = not an option
  • limit the “no’s” – The more a child hears “no,” the more they withdrawal from my #1…see below

#1.  relationships- Be present.   I am hoping to share with my teacher friends that they may not realize how much of an impact they have on a child of trauma.  Our kids are with teachers more than they are with us.  We are choosing adoption as parents, but are hoping to have the support of our “village.”  Here are what the experts say; again, they seem like common sense, but not an option for a child of trauma.  This is our job; village, we will need your help with this after we have built trust and a bond with our child:

  1. Eye to eye contact- regulates the brain
  2. attach words to emotions
  3. believe, validate, and discuss negative emotions
  4. safety and self-worth
  5. spend time with him/her, listen carefully
  6. proximity

the world of COMPLEX KIDS…I’ve been in this “world” for 15 years.  I am so happy to have some information and research that brings some understanding to what I have been noticing in the classroom over and over again.  Understanding how trauma effects children will help all adults avoid the false assumption that a child is simply unmotivated or not interested in being successful.

*Again, none of these are my words, please reference the links above.  I am simply putting the information together from what I have researched thus far…so I don’t forget.


I chuckle at the name of this post because my best friend growing up, and I used this word through middle school and high school over and over in numerous phrases; but, “I love your face,” has so much meaning in our life right now.

“What made you decide?”

I have tried to answer the question numerous times, but there is no “short version” (as my Dad would call it, when we were growing up) so here goes the long version:

I am excited and baffled at how many people, in these 7 short months of waiting, have told me, we have thought about “that,” we have discussed “that.”  And “that” is why my friends have not taken steps to go anywhere after their discussion to foster or adopt.

I understand there are so many unknowns with kids of trauma (hence my next post- “research”).  Once you put a face to the word “that,” heartstrings are pulled even harder.

Several faces that led us to answering the above question:  Brian and I would have started our family with adoption due to a little face that I fell in love with through tutoring.  She had missed 50+ days of kindergarten and was removed from her home for obvious reasons and more.  Brian was ready to move forward with me, though never met her.  I knew then that the idea to foster or adopt was not stopping with this little face.  Brian has a heart of gold.  He is not intimidated by the hard stuff or baggage that kids of trauma carry with them, causing many people to stop their discussion of “that.”

Other faces: I’ll never forget balling my eyes out on the shoulder of a dear friend when my first student was removed from his family, and taken from my classroom by DFCS at school.  She said to me, “Lori, he is safe now.  This is not his worst day, but the beginning of his road to a better life.”  I could see his little face (and the faces of his siblings whom I had never met) in my dreams, nightmares, and lying in bed awake, thinking about what they had gone through, in the weeks after saying goodbye to him.  There would be a several students follow him into or out of the care of DFCS, during my years teaching.  Their faces will randomly pop into my head and I wonder how they are, or if their roads of life are any easier.

Last year, our boys were old enough to understand what foster care meant so we decided to volunteer at an amazing place Goshen Valley.  We knew a boy who lived there and decided to continue volunteering and visiting him so that he could have a connection outside of the ranch.  This “face” (relationship) pushed Brian and I to attend the informational meeting held at our county last March (2016) to gather information on becoming foster parents.  We made numerous excuses as to why the upcoming IMPACT trainings, through our county DFCS, did not fit into our schedule.  Then, another face…

We have known another little friend in care for over 2 years.  He has crossed our path several times, call it fate, call it God’s plan.  We know his face, his strong, playful personality.  We know he has similar interests to our biological children, we know he wouldn’t disrupt our birth order, we know we already feel connected, and we know his little face is in desperate need of a forever family.  We have requested for this sweet boy to be transferred to our home.  We are ready to love him, understand him, and keep him…forever.

***We interrupt this blog post for a soapbox moment:  There are NO open foster homes in our county.  “Our kids” are being sent as far as South Georgia to find placement.  I do not think every family has the tools…yet…to become a foster family or adopt a child of trauma, but every family can volunteer or donate to children who are in need.  According to the U.S. department of health and human services, there are over 430,000 children in foster care.  Visit this link to find out more information on how your family can help: https://www.hhs.gov/blog/2017/05/09/empowering-caregivers-strengthening-families.html  Find a face, program, or non-profit to connect with, or due to busy schedules donate your resources.  I get it…there is always the “we have discussed ‘that’,” but once you see their little faces, you will see how much need the children in our communities have. ***End soapbox moment.***


We are “all-in.”  Training course- check, homestudy- check, approval- check, waiting- check.  I wait all year for summer…for many reasons, but one of the top reasons is because of my front porch view of the sunset.

I sit and wait every night we are home to reflect.  sunset

The kind of waiting we are doing now is different.  It isn’t just excitement, awe, beauty, and wonder.  It is the kind of waiting that stirs many questions.  Questions about the process, questions about the match, questions from our boys, and questions from family and friends. We have realized very quickly that we have to have patience with the process, patience that the “right” match will happen, and patience for our forever family.

I am a wife to my high school sweetheart, Brian, mom of two biological boys, and an elementary school teacher.  I have landed my words on this blog so I don’t forget.  My hope is to be able to document, learn, educate, tell our story and connect.