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By Juliette Oase, retired API Leader from Portland, Oregon, USA

brokenheartMy adoptive dad spent years regretting that they had me call them “Mom” and “Dad.” He always said they should have just stayed “Uncle” and “Aunt.” He felt it would have made it easier.

I recently explained to my dad that I feel that was something that saved me. I always felt complete having a mom and a dad. I didn’t grow up feeling like an orphan, but like someone being raised by family. I had a mom and a dad. That was priceless for me.

When my birth mother died, she died. Memories of her are vague, but they stay in my heart. I still cry when I think of her, and I am crying as I write this.

I can’t imagine her last thoughts as she died, concerned for me. No doubt. She is gone, and I had to go on with my life. I was 2 years old.

I needed a mommy, and so my birth mother — with no other choice — chose my aunt to be my mom. It may be hard to swallow, as a mom yourself, reading that and thinking about your own child. But what is best for the child? Do we ever really know?

My mom never, ever took away from my birth mother. She always kept pictures of my birth mother around, and we always talked about her.

I know for years my mom may have felt she lived in my birth mother’s shadow, never living up to a memory.

My mom was only 25 when she took me in. A brave lady, who just desperately wanted to be a mom and knew she would never conceive. I don’t know if she would have done things differently. But as an adult going back to that brave lady at 25, I would ask her not to change a thing.

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Choosing a Preschool

by Kelly Shealer on September 19, 2014

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kelly shealerThe thought of sending my first child to preschool always had me worried.

Not because I didn’t feel like I’d be ready to part with him, but because I didn’t know how preschool would fit in with Attachment Parenting and the positive discipline that he was used to. Would he be put in time-out? Would I have to leave him there when he was crying and screaming for me to stay?

Change is not easy for my son, and he’s never been apart from me unless he’s been with other close family members, so this was a real concern. I’d heard stories from a fellow API Leader whose daughter struggled at the start of preschool. She had stayed to comfort her crying daughter to the point where she felt that the teachers were thinking, “Just leave her already!” I didn’t want that experience for my son or for myself.

We were very lucky that early in our search for a preschool, we found a place that fits so perfectly with my beliefs and my son’s needs. I was pretty much sold on the school when I first learned that parents are allowed and encouraged to stay as long as children need them to.

If I wanted and he needed, I could stay all day every day.

I was also so impressed by the teacher during our parent orientation. She talked about how when one child hurts another, he then takes on the role of doctor or helper — turning him into a hero rather than the “bad kid.” She explained how she takes the time to help children figure out a solution that works for everyone when they have an argument. I felt like I learned so many positive discipline techniques in that hour!

I was so comfortable with our decision to send my son to this school that when the first day came, I wasn’t nervous at all. I was only excited for him.

I stayed for his whole first day, because I felt like he needed that. That night, when I told him that I would stay for a little while the next day and then leave, he cried.

I thought about my reasons for leaving. Did I really need to leave? What if he really needed me with him?

I remembered my husband telling me about his first day of school and how he had cried and cried when his mother left him. I didn’t want my son to have that same memory so clear in his mind decades from now. I knew that I needed to stay with him if he needed me, just like I stay with him at night until he falls asleep because it’s scary for him to be alone — because he needs me then.

The next morning, on his second day of school, I talked with his teacher about it. She stressed that I had to make up my mind whether I was leaving and not let him make the decision for me. She suggested that I leave for a short time, maybe just to the bathroom, and then return so he’d see that I’d always come back.

When I told him I was going to leave, he didn’t cry. He was too busy having fun. He was excited when I came back and wanted to tell me about what I’d missed, but he’d been fine the whole time I was out of the room.

Each day since then, I’ve stretched my time away from the classroom out longer and longer, and now I just stay for the beginning of class.

But I love that I always have the option to stay. Even if a month from now, he decides that he needs me again, I can be there for him.

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Mothering: An interview with Peggy O’Mara

September 18, 2014
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Editor’s note: This interview with Peggy O’Mara was originally published on March 7, 2014. The longtime owner and editor of Mothering magazine, this woman helped to inspire so many Attachment Parenting families. And now there’s an opportunity for you to meet her and she her speak at Attachment Parenting International’s 2014 “Cherishing Families, Flourishing Children” […]

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Editor’s Pick: Astrid Lindgren on “Never Violence”

September 17, 2014
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“When I was about 20 years old, I met an old pastor’s wife who told me that when she was young and had her first child, she didn’t believe in striking children, although spanking kids with a switch pulled from a tree was standard punishment at the time. But one day when her son was […]

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No Quick Fix

September 16, 2014
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By Barbara Nicholson, cofounder of Attachment Parenting International and coauthor of Attached at the Heart If there was ever a true maxim in parenting, this is one to remember: There is no such thing as a quick fix! Now, that may sound sad or daunting to parents who want some simple tools to raise their […]

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Mindful Parenting

September 15, 2014
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The Chinese idiogram for “mindfulness” pictured here is made up of two different elements: the top part meaning “presence” over the bottom part meaning “heart.” This makes  for a wonderful translation of the word, “mindfulness,” into “presence of heart.” I chose this translation as this introduction to mindful parenting, because I feel it is a […]

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An Adoptive Father’s Epiphany

September 14, 2014
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Editor’s note: Today’s post is by John Brooks of Marin County, California, USA, author of The Girl Behind the Door, a memoir of his parenting journey with an adopted daughter whose attachment wounds went unnoticed by the professional community until it was too late. Prior to his daughter’s death, John was a senior financial executive […]

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Being Compassionate with Yourself

September 13, 2014
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Yesterday evening, my family got together with another family for dinner. While my own kids are now 9 and 6, the kids in the other family are 4 and 2. Dining with a 2 year old, especially, was a walk down memory lane for me and my husband. While my kids are still working on […]

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