The above description fit me perfectly.

Yes, me… perfectly.

Marie came to live with us at the age of 6.  She had been picked up off the street at 4 in the morning, barefoot, in her underwear, looking for food.  We took her in as an emergency foster placement because I knew American Sign Language and Marie was deaf. She looked like a wild animal…disheveled, matted hair, flaming eyes of distrust, so filthy everywhere that even an hour in the tub did not wash off all the grime.  Her teeth were dingy yellow, and her body was emaciated.  Being the “good” middle class mother that I was, I cleaned her as best I could and then I took her to buy some clothes.

In the store, she immediately disappeared.  I impulsively called her name, (as though she could hear me.)  When I finally found her, she was in the candy aisle, shoving candy bars into the pocket of her pants.  I screamed,  “No! No! No!”  She looked at me and ran in the other direction.  I finally tracked her down in the pet aisle, just as she was about to open the cage to the hamsters.  I screeched and said “No! No! No!”, and proceeded to grab her, pick her up, empty the candy bars in her pocket, and tote her back to the car without buying anything. If I thought this would teach her a lesson, it did not.  She was not used to buying anything, so she could not appreciate something she never had.

We ate out for lunch at McDonald’s.  Marie ate her sandwich and drank her milk and threw the wrapper and container on the floor.  No! No! No!


The next day I gave her a stern talking to (“signing to?)  and told her that we were going shopping for clothes and that she needed to stay with me. As though THAT was going to work!  As soon as we got into the mall, a place she obviously had never seen before, she skirted UP the DOWN escalator, laughing with glee.  Mortified, I screamed and said No! No! No!  and then watched in horror as she slid down the banister of the escalator.  Big scream! No! No! No!  Home we went. 

Once at home, she got an orange to eat.  She grabbed the butcher knife to cut it and I screamed and caught her hand just as it was about to demolish the orange. No! No! No!

The next day we were going to take a walk to the library.  She broke free from the grip I had on her hand, and ran across 4 lanes of traffic. Scream! No! No! No!

Later in the evening, while watching television, Marie climbed onto my husband’s lap, where she attempted to rub his “private parts” and kiss him.  SUPER BIG SCREECH!  No!  No! No! Oh!  This child was so “bad”!  WHAT was I going to do with her?

At the end of the week, I went to Marie’s school where she was part of a dance performance.  I was glad to be able to be there, as her birth mother had never been seen at the school before.  I watched with pride as she danced and twirled, often sneaking a peak at me to see if I was looking.  When the dance was over, I saw her talking (signing) with another student who commented that Marie had a new mom, and how did she like her? Marie looked over at me for a minute and crumpled her nose, telling her that all I ever do is scream and say No! No! No! I was shocked.  I had never thought of it before, but she was right!  I was so busy chasing and correcting her that it would seem like all I did was scold her.  And what was I scolding her for?  For what I, as a middle class mother, think is wrong.  I had never taken into account that Marie had been raised to do all of those things…to steal food, to take what she wanted from stores, to litter, to be sexually promiscuous (at the age of SIX!) and to have no worries about safety, thinking she was invincible.  This young child, who had lived on the streets and managed to survive without any parental care, just parental abuse…WAS invincible! She did what she needed to survive.

I was so embarrassed. Embarrassed because I was judging her by my standards and not stopping to think of what her standards were.  I vowed never to scream No! No! No! again, but to explain things in a loving manner to her.

We do not steal.  If you want something, I can probably buy it for you.

We do not run into streets with cars, use butcher knives, or slide down escalators.  It is not safe.

We do not just throw garbage on the ground, but in our family we pick it up and put it in a garbage can.

And, most of all, there is no need to make money by being “friendly to men”.   We have plenty of money so you don’t have to do that.  And it is not fair that you had to do that instead of just being a little girl. And you never have to do that again.

Marie did not change overnight, but each time she would fall back onto old habits such as stealing or being unsafe, I would lovingly explain why she no longer had to do that.  She had a family that loved her and it was our job to keep her safe.

Then there was the time when, walking in the mall with a soft drink in her hand, she unwrapped the straw and threw the paper on the ground. My eyes widened, and she laughed when she saw my reaction.  “I was just teasing you” she signed.  “I know I don’t litter in this family….” 

No more screaming from me…



Link to my book  The Apple Tree: Raising 5 Kids With Disabilities and Remaining Sane

Link to the Readers Digest review of my book:






Comments on: "“All she does is screech and say No! No! No!”" (268)

  1. What a wonderful, heartwarming story. I admire you for taking Marie in and teaching her what love is. You are truly a gift from God to her.

  2. I love this! As a parent, I empathized with your journey of realizing how to be a better parent to her, and your story puts things in perspective in terms of “bad behaviors” of my own children. Marie is very lucky to have you, and it seems you are very lucky to have her. What a life-long lesson parenting is…

  3. Thank you for this amazing real deal telling! Patience, love, and openness to what is actually occurring in the moment are Powerful Forces – the long journey of true parenting expressed through you leaves me in humbled and quiet this morning!

  4. Thank you for beautifully illustrating that a ‘soft answer turneth away wrath.”

    • WOW — it’s so shocking what children are forced to endure…Thank you for taking care of this little girl. You are inspirational!

  5. This is beautiful. My heart breaks when kids so young have been socialized in the most wrenching ways, yet this is becoming more common. It’s what we observe in schools. I’m thankful this little one has a home to learn love.

  6. I am shocked and amazed at your courage and patience. And for the wonderful work you are doing with these precious children. Thank you for lifting my day!

  7. Reblogged this on both sides of the wall and commented:
    This is what we need to remember when dealing with people: they all have their different “normals” and how they grew up surviving… We have to look at it with different eyes if we are to see the true potential behind and within each and every being. Without necessarily saying the words, this is a good example of “Trauma-informed” parenting.

    • Thanks for sharing it. It took me a little while to figure out the problem…I was overwhelmed with her behaviors and even thought we could not parent her. Looking at things from her point of view was a real eye opener, and, fortunately, I was able to change my parenting style. I am so lucky I did because she is a wonderful, loving, talented girl and I would have missed out on all of that if I had given up hope.

  8. Thank you for sharing this! It is just the shot in the arm I needed 🙂

  9. You have the biggest heart-it takes a very special person to be able to have such patience and love! She is such a lucky girl to have found such a wonderful home. 🙂

  10. Thank you for sharing your journey. this made me laugh and weep all at the same time. I imagine you’ve had a few of those moments yourself.

  11. I absolutely loved this!

  12. Thank you for the reminder! I was laughing out loud as I read.

    My son came to me at age 10 speaking no English from a Russian orphanage where he fended for himself and his younger brother. I went through similar experiences with him as we worked through his issues with Oppositional-Defiance Disorder, Reactive-Attachment Disorder, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This “disordered” kid is now 21 and a loving, compassionate adult. He’s been everything I hoped for in a child but there were plenty of moments in those first couple years that I wasn’t sure either of us would survive it! One child was enough but FIVE?! You must have generations of patience driving you. Oh and a sense of humor. That helps immensely ! LOL

    • I have such empathy for you and your son. It is so hard trying to be a good parent and not getting any love in return. Fortunately for you and for me, time has helped to heal the wounds.

  13. I love your honesty and appreciate it. I agree too, sometimes it’s really easy to slip into ‘shouting’ mode without thinking. Sadly I do it more often than I’d like.

  14. This story was so hard to read, although obviously you’re a wonderful writer. But hard to read in an emotional sense. Hugs to you.

  15. Beautifully… Now, want to give me some parenting lessons? You did amazing. In writing and sharing, and in the most impressive way of being a wonderful understanding person who has empathy and the ability to see things that many of us cannot.

  16. restingintheword said:

    Wow, what a beautiful piece of your life in writing. I’m so moved by this and can identify with you and the child on many levels. Xx God Bless U

  17. Reblogged this on Don't We Look Alike? and commented:
    This story is a “must read.” It’s about a little girl who never knew anything positive until she came to this foster home.

  18. Reblogged this on Mrs. Talk Your Ears Off Now Has a New Blog! and commented:
    What a heart-warming story! I encourage you to read this! I can’t even imagine, but what I love most is that this once homeless, amazing 6 year old has a chance at a better life!

  19. This is amazing! Thank you for sharing! I am so happy there are people like you in the world who are doing amazing things for children who need a family! I reblogged this!

  20. Thank you for this! You are an amazing woman – many Blessing to you and your fantastic family ~
    with Love,

  21. Thanks for sharing the heart rending story. The bigger story is you found the strength to continue loving Marie and she responded over the years. Thank God we are not defined by what we struggle with. 🙂

  22. A heart-warming story. Parenting is difficult with the best of circumstances, but I can’t imagine the patience you would need to overcome problems such as these. Your “lessons” could be applied to any child, special needs or not. Thank you for the honesty your brought to your writing.

  23. Oh my goodness, what a wonderful story. I’ve got a little girl in the terrible 2’s and it would NEVER compare to this. Brings the ‘my situation isn’t so bad, shut up!’ thought to my head. Thank you for sharing this, and I wish there were more people like you in this world.

  24. You are a fantastic person, especially hand picked from God to help that little girl. I commend you for helping to undo what her birth mom had done to her innocent childhood.

  25. I cried. This is beyond beautiful. My past isn’t as bad as hers but I definitely understand having to do almost anything to get by. She’s so blessed to have you.

  26. Reblogged this on Ponder beyonder and commented:
    Wonderful family 🙂

  27. Wow. I am stunned at how real this is for so many children out there. What a terrible situation she lived in, but how amazing is it that kids are so versatile and can learn to feel safe, and loved, and live with boundaries. Your patience shines through this post.

  28. What a brilliant story. Well done!

  29. divinerush ღ said:

    Reblogged this on Dívíne Rush and commented:
    A beautiful story, from an amazing women with a fantastic life. Check her out & have your life forever changed.

  30. Awesome story for a therapist to read. Absolutely heart-warming. A child like this is not only a “project” but also something to study and understand at a much deeper level than the natural eye. I’m of the firm belief that these children are the one’s who need the most love and understanding in this world, things not everyone can give to such a child. It takes great patience, unconditional love, and understanding to open your heart to a child in this condition. For me, I’ve always seen these children as the most loving and the people who understand them, as special.

    Somehow these children, those who have been severely abused and neglected, teach us how to love and love correctly. I hope to share this in one of my blogs.

    All the best to you 🙂

    • I love to get this story out to professionals in the field. I’ve worked with wonderful people, but they have not always understood the underlying difficulties that my children have had. My son, Angel, has DID. Try explaining that to a classroom teacher!
      Thank you for visiting!

      • Absolutely. Mental health is very difficult, especially for parents who need to convey that their children are suffering to a teacher. Having worked in a school setting, I know exactly what you mean. That is why I am entering the realm of advocacy with more force. My “fight” with public policy and social stigma is difficult as a therapist advocating for families, much less a mother of 5 children. But I applaud you. Hang in there…All the best

      • Hi Linda:
        Would you be open to me “interviewing” on my counseling site regarding your story? As a child and adolescent therapist, I am always looking for families to share their touching stories. I can explain how I would interview you. Your responses (and book) would be posted at
        If you’re open to it, just send me your email at: and I’ll give you the details.


  31. Thanks for sharing this, it’s such a great picture of how we tend to view things from our own perspective instead of how they really are.

  32. Celia Anne Heartwood said:

    Children, especially children from abusive homes, require so much patience, love, understanding, and empathy. They have experiencd things that you can’t imagine, and it is hard for them to learn adn grow without adapting your teaching to their lifestyle and teaching them to adapt to yours. Congratulations on learning this lesson 🙂 I am glad it has changed you for the better.

  33. Wow – you are amazing!

  34. Wow. Both unbelievably heart breaking and so life confirming at the same time! G-d bless you both.

  35. Oh my gosh, I am undone by your blog. Again. I cannot get over the lobe and kindness God has given you for your kids. And I’m convicted as a parent with my own “regular” kids (by that I mean not through abuse like Marie’s), and how many times I scream no no no. Oh my broken heart! Sigh. Thank you for your beautiful stories.

  36. Thank you SO much for sharing. Beautiful! 🙂

  37. noordinaryjoy61 said:

    That is such a wonderful, honest, transparent, heartwarming story. Your daughter is blessed to be part of your family. Thank you so much for sharing.

  38. wowbanger said:

    When I found your blog title I could not believe that there was someone who has done something very similar to what me and my wife have done. It seems so long ago now but we took on foster care in the 1990’s. The five children we raised were to the same parents. They are now ranging in ages from 15 to 22. It has been a long haul. The teenage years are tough when there is mental health,intellectual disdability and autism you think you are the one who is crazy yourself. You discover who is important to you and sadly only a few people have the strength to still be your friend after a journey like this.i have been asked by the two older children to write our(their ) story. They really want me to do it. There are so many stages you go throughy in this care of people who hav all of these challenges . There is a lot to write about nd it is daunting. I cannot believe the coincidence of five people with disabilities. The exact same number.

  39. Such an incredibly beautiful and inspiring piece. It’s with heroes such as yourself that our future can truly be changed, one loving word or gesture at a time. Thank you so much for sharing and keep doing the wonderful things that you do!

  40. I love reading your blog. You are a gifted woman, not just with your writing, but that you have the enormous heart to do all that you do. Thank you for sharing.

  41. Oh my goodness! What a buzz to have discovered your blog. I have a brother who is deaf, so I know (or I did, years ago), Auslan, the Australian version of sign language.

    This story was SO uplifting. How WE can learn lessons from the children and the disadvantaged, in our lives.

  42. HI. this was a great post. It really made me stop and think about how I react to situations.

  43. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing this. What a learning experience. I love it that she threw the wrapper on the ground to tease you.

  44. […] Linda at Raising 5 Kids With Disabilities […]

  45. You always touch my heart. What a lovely post.

  46. colourmeballoon said:

    You’ve got a big heart

  47. Awesome post! Looking at things from the right view point always changes the picture!

  48. What a Beautiful story! I think Marie is very lucky to have a Mom that realized that adjustments had to be made based on this little girl’s past. Good Job!

  49. Your blog is incredibly eye opening. I love reading it. Thanks for sharing your experiences with the world.

  50. registeredrunaway said:

    I love this post. Marie reminds me of a few wonderful people I work with. Thank you for sharing!

  51. I think you are a super woman and super Mom! Thank you for telling with all honesty how hard but also how rewarding your position is. You are doing so much for readers, but of course, most importantly for your children. We do tend to put our middle class morals, values and opinions on things. I am glad you pointed that out. I learned so much in this story.

  52. What a lovely lesson in patience, understanding, and love!

  53. Very nice story; thank you.
    Kids do see us in ways we often do not think about. I think it’s very important for us to be careful how we speak to kids. It’s great when they teach us those lessons huh? It can be embarrassing or humbling, but important reminders none the less. I’ve had my fair share of lessons. We say a lot even in the way we speak and not just the words we use.

  54. You have so delicately narrated the event. Absolutely loved it!

    On a lighter note, Reminds me of NO, David! by David Shannon. The truth is at the end of the day after all NOOOOOOOOOOs we love our kids and that is what matters !

  55. Inspirational. Thank you!

  56. Oh, that we could all learn to see others in the context of their life experience, not our own.
    Hooray for you.

  57. Can I just say I cried after reading this, I don’t know why but maybe for you, Marie or me! Thanks for sharing! X

  58. Inspiring story. I am not sure of the exact title of the book, But it is something like How to talk so kids will listen. I read that book with my first child who was diagnosed with sensory integration disfunction. It sounds like Marie found a loving and caring family who accepts her for who she is and set boundaries that allow her to grow while keeping her safe!!

  59. I so can relate to this! I look forward to following your story with all its joys and issues.

  60. Powerful & thought provoking.

  61. cateberlin said:

    This would be a great picture book. It could be edited and illustrated in a way that would help other parents and children. Keep writing.

  62. Such a great telling of Marie, your relationship with her, and you. Thank you!

  63. You must be a angel! I love that you’re so honest. I don’t have children with disabilities but I think any mom can learn from your stories. Thank you SO much for being honest enough to share such personal stories:-)

  64. Hip, hip, horray….great title and front picture- perfect.. I am just beginning to gather poste to edit and rewrite for a book.. you will be my guide

  65. Its almost unbelievable how this kid was brought up – or not brought up. I cried when you mentioned her fondling your husband’s private parts. One cannot imagine what “tricks” this poor kid was taught to do. So nice to read a story with a happy ending for one little girl.

  66. Poor kid. She is lucky to have you though. It’s hard when you realise that you are telling them off all the time without really meaning to. My son had only his ‘tricky’ brain wiring to account for similar behaviour (not the sexual stuff though). He was taught all those middle class social rules from birth, and always looked after and hugged and kept safe and fed and clothed. Despite that I had to adopt the same method as you with lovingly explaining over and over again! There was a fair bit of ‘NO! NO! NO!” before I figured that out though!

  67. I must share your story to my adopted mother what Marie and you went through just exactly what I went through, enough to send my mother cry every night, just being frustrated and not knowing what to do with me when I was little. No communication and lack of discipline from my birth parents who were best at sparring at each other AND 3 years in the orphanage home, can imagine what Marie was going through. Thanks for sharing it with me. Off to send your story to my mother now! My mother would smile and think about us, she’s great and I’m doing good.

  68. Very nice. I think it’s so pleasantly wonderful to see someone be able to see from a victim-survivor point of view. I think that quality trait is missing in a general sense –especially to older victim-survivors (some people don’t unlearn their old habits until much much later, and I think it leads others to judge them because they are supposed to be adults and know, but from my first-hand experience, some really don’t! and can’t with their grown-into mental blocks! until they learn of course).

    I am new to this site and have started my own blog and found yours among the first I explored. I really enjoy your posts and think you have a very great attitude about your kids and their lifestyle. I love the work! I look forward to reading more.

    I also linked you on my “Blog for Mental Health 2013” post, since I don’t have many followers that I know too well yet hah! But it would be cool if my followers (even if there aren’t many) could see yours too 🙂

    • I agree completely with you about adult survivors. Marie’s still has serious problems with PTSD, as does my son, Angel. As teens, people do judge them…that they should be doing “better” by now. From my limited experience, PTSD can be a lifetime disability, and very very difficult for others to understand.

      Thank you for the link to your blog for Mental Health..

  69. I really admire that you were able to learn from her, rather than simply assuming you knew what was best. Good parents, I believe, aren’t the ones who don’t make mistakes, because we all do, but are the ones who learn from their mistakes. This little girl was blessed to have you come into her life when you did, and I’d imagine you’d say the reverse was true, as well.

  70. Beautiful story…beautiful ending 🙂

  71. rjrugroden said:

    Great story.

  72. This is my first time at your blog and WOW, what a story to start with! You are an amazing woman and have done more for these children then they could have ever imagined. It is stories like these, though they could be scary to some, that make me want to be a foster/adoptive parent. You are wonderful!

    • Thank you so much for the compliment. It’s funny…I never thought of myself as brave because I never thought to be scared. You are right, though, others might be scared to see such things.

      • If you never see yourself as scared, then I can see why you would never see yourself as brave. But for some these situations could be scary and overwhelming. It’s wonderful what you have done. I also plan to purchase your book soon and am SO excited to read it. It is nice to be able to read stories about kids with disabilities and know that I am not alone in some of the things that my son may go through. Also, thank you for checking out my blog.

  73. Wow, humbling. Thank you.

  74. Reblogged this on minootka and commented:
    The perfect and beautiful example of how Love is a dialog of understanding; how Love means not only What – a right intention, but also How – a language that makes the other person understand our intention, make them join.

  75. I appreciate your humility in being willing to see your own failure and change, and then your willingness to tell others that we might learn from it. I remember times when I, too, found myself saying “No, no, no,” and later having to ask forgiveness of my child. Thanks.

  76. Patti Wade Zint said:

    Bless you! I can so identify with this and I love your perspective. It is terribly hard to foster kids who have no idea of what is acceptable “normal” behavior for themselves and the adults in their lives. Thanks for not giving up on this child!

  77. oh that has made me cry…. a beautiful story to share and act as a reminder, thankyou x

  78. Oh what a happy story. What incredibly good work you do. You have positively impacted the life a child. A child who has experienced and lived in a way that is incomprehensible to many. Thank you for being and giving me hope! 🙂

    • I would just like to say that I decided to award you Very Inspiring Blog 🙂 You are a very inspiring person. if you decide to accept the award, then please link back to my blog; put the award on your site; name 7 things we don’t yet know about you; and please also pass on the award as appropriate.

  79. travels with mary said:

    this is an incredible story and made me tear up! I hope to be half the mom you are when we start our family!

  80. This hits home with me. I don’t take in any foster kids and my kids do not have any special needs but I still find myself spending so much of each day correcting them. I can only imagine what they would say if someone asked them about their mom. Well if they could talk lol. Thank you for sharing this it has encouraged me to try harder to be loving and calm when dealing with my kids.

  81. I am going away from your blog super blessed. This entry touched my heart. It reminded me of a precious little girl on the other side of the ocean. I saw her do almost all of those things in one form or another. There are so many little ones with so many needs. Thank you for sharing what you have learned from them!

  82. What a great blog. I have a daughter who is almost 22 – she has autism, cognitive impairment, and completely hearing impaired. How great that you inspire others with your words. Keep going!

  83. What a truly touching story!

  84. what humbling stories you have to tell! Wishing you so many good things in life you amazing woman you!

  85. Very thought provoking. Thank you for sharing!

  86. hahaha, had to laugh first coz of your reaction to what sh did n how she described you to her friend…’s amazing what you did to her, helped her, moulded her to become a better person….i admire your strength n courage….may u help more around you

  87. I am glad I came upon your blog. Very thoght provoking indeed.

  88. This is a wonderful post. Thank you for sharing this story.

  89. By providing a warm home to an abused child you definitely are contributing to good karma 🙂 thanks for sharing your wisdom .

  90. Gillian Howell said:

    I loved this post 5kids, you write so vividly of your experiences and of Marie, making sense of the crazy world she found herself in. A real survivor indeed. In my work with newly-arrived children (refugees and immigrants), the most effective thing has been to leave a little bit of space (metaphorical or otherwise) for them to step into, when they are ready, in terms of adapting to the new environment and figuring out how the new cultural ‘rules’ work. A safe, consistent, gentle environment makes all the difference. Love your blog.

    • Working with immigrants, who not only have their own traumatic experiences, but then have to transfer those fears to a new land, must take a great deal of patience and understanding. I am sure that you are great at it because you know what to do. thank you

  91. Like you said – invincible. Thanks for reading.

  92. Wow! How heartbreaking what so many children go through. God bless you for what you are doing!

  93. What an amazing person you are! Wonderful post.

  94. What a wonderful post! You’ve touched my heart as I have been thinking of doing foster care for a while now. Thank you for being candidly honest, as parenting is not an easy job all the time, especially when you are taking in children who have had some unfortunate experiences. Kudos to you and your family for opening your hearts and home.

  95. Wow. Your story is amazing. So are you.

  96. This breaks my heart to hear that a 6 year old had already been taught to “be nice” to men to get things she needed. Marie, as well as your other children, are so lucky to have you.

  97. I think I’ve gotten addicted to your blog. It’s truly amazing and inspiring. You inspire me to extents that you will never understand. Thank you for sharing your life that is truly remarkable. I think you have become my new role-model!

    • I am thrilled to think that what I write is inspiring others! By writing, I try to bring hope, optimism and a smile on a few faces. Raising children, especially children with disabilities, can be stressful and difficult. I choose to put aside the problems and focus on the solutions. If I have succeeded at that, my post was a success!
      Thank you so much!!

  98. What a lovely story and a reminder to all us parents to scream less, explain more. Thanks.

  99. Well you made me cry, hope you’re happy. 🙂
    Of course you’re wonderful, a heroine etc etc. all the thinks the lovely people before me wrote about. That’s the given. But what would you like from your readers? Like me. Someone so alien (I assume) from your life. Just curious.

    • Thank you so much for thinking of me and what you could do for me! I am weepy with appreciation!
      I would very much like it if readers would buy my book. A book agent once told me to terminate my blog because why should readers buy my book if I give it away for free? (Kind of like the cow and the milk analogy!) I could not eliminate my blog because I write for selfish reasons…to curb my stress and to share my stories, giving some validity to the way I do things and keeping me sane.
      If everyone who reads my posts were to buy my book, The Apple Tree: Raising 5 Kids with Disabilities and Remaining Sane, especially through I-Tunes (Apple Books,) which gives me double the percentage of sales, I would be rich, (or at least able to afford to go out to dinner once in a while!) Or, if readers have bought my book, it would be great if they would go back on the purchase site and write a good review.

      • Happiness for Thought said:

        Thank you for being so true to yourself. No one is perfect in this world, I am even more selfish, I can’t even do 1/5 of what you have done. Please keep writing =)

      • If I don’t write, I would go insane…keeping everything inside. Letting it spill out is what allows me to allow more crazy stuff inside. It’s like a revolving door.

  100. Gosh, every time I read one of your stories I tear up. I’m so happy to know there are people on this earth with such clarity when it comes to caregiving. I struggle daily hoping I’m doing a good enough job and not messing my kids up in some way. Thank you for reminding me about such basic, to the heart prinipals. It helps me gain perspective 🙂

  101. Great work. We’ll pray for you often. I am so pleased that there are people like you that see this great work of mercy & follow through. Sadly, I can’t convince my sister that this is what we need to do, instead she would choose abortion and think that these children should never have been born.

  102. Excellent observations. Its good to know we can be taught even from our children. Teachability spings from the well of love and patient persistence say “You and our relationship is too important to ever walk away from. Isn’ t that what Jesus meant when He said from the cross “Father forgive them because they don’t know what they are doing.”?

  103. […] All she does is screech and say No! No! No! by Linda Petersen […]

  104. You’re doing a huge job. Thank you.

  105. a truly inspiring story.. I hope other people (especially tose who can afford) will b encourage to do good things for those kids who are homeless and no one to go to.. You just didn’t gave marie a house you gave her a home.. I am so touched by this story

    • Thank you for your kinds words. I don’t necessarily suggest other people do what I have done, because it is very difficult. I do suggest that people treat one another with respect, even if that person is different than themselves. Wouldn’t the world be a better place?

  106. You’re very kind. Some people are really the most terrible parents – so it’s very lucky there are people like you to make things a little better, for some kids.

  107. What a wonderful story. You are an angel to take in these children in need.

  108. Thank you for being brave and confident to share your story.
    I am glad that you did take her in and i know your happy for it.
    You gave a heartwarming overview and lesson and that is what people will hopefully take away.

  109. What a wonderful mother you are! This little girl was so lucky you had the patience and understanding to consider her previous world and deal with it. This story is a perfect example of the communication theory I studied in college: “Reality is socially constructed.” You not only gave her a new home; you gave her a new world. Bless you.

  110. God bless you!

  111. Wow! I love how you wrote this. It’s beautiful.


  112. I am new to blogging and had no idea how I came about following your blog. Anyway, I am glad that I get to read your blog and get inspired by your stories. 🙂

  113. Realizing that you made a mistake is such a huge step in the right direction. And it is so hard to do and stick too, especially when emotions are high. Kudos to you for caring about this lost little girl.

  114. fantastic the article.

  115. I clicked over to your page because I received an email that you had liked mine. I had no idea I was in for such a treat. I love your humor and happy outlook on life. Loving others, especially those sometimes more difficult to love, helping make things better and laughing is exactly why I think we are here on earth. Yours is one of the few blogs I will eagerly tune in to follow, funny lady. Great stories, wonderful family.

  116. What a wonderful article! I don’t have half the challenges you have with Marie, but I was convicted all the same. I have 3 wonderfully healthy children that I have raised, yet I find I have non no no days, much to my chagrin. Thank you for reminding me that there is a better way. God bless you for what you are doing in Marie’s life.

  117. Yours is a great story and uplifting.

  118. What an amazing story! I admire you.

  119. Well done in telling this story and for giving Marie a second chance at life. I admire your courage. Taking a different perspective can make a huge difference to how we react. I love the way you summed up the response to Marie in simple, and meaningful language! Thank you.

  120. What an excellent post! I too often find myself screeching “No! NO! No!” and have to catch myself in order to take a step back and approach it differently. You are an excellent mom! 🙂

  121. The Skeptical Woman said:

    Thank you for sharing this story. It is truly amazing.

  122. That storu brought a tear to my eyes. You where lucky to find each other, without the life you ate teaching her who knows where she would be. GREAT POST

  123. Heartwarming story, and very relatable. I’m wondering how you have time to write, but I suspect it may be an outlet for you. There is humor in the story, but as someone who uses humor to get through the rough stuff, I also suspect you might be a little like that, too.
    You are a courageous woman… My hat is off to you.

  124. Wonderful!
    We recently adopted a 2-month-old puppy and all we say is ‘NO! NO! NO!’ to her, too. 😦

  125. VictoriaJoDean said:

    It’s very brave and strong of you to open up your heart to share the difficulties you face and what you’re learning on the journey you travel – God bless you with grace and strength to carry on and find the joy amid the pain.

  126. It was this post that made me start reading your posts, and eventually, buy your book. I think it’s amazing what you’re doing, and I’m touched every time I read something of yours. I nominated you for the Beautiful Blogger Award.

  127. I’ve been reading your posts and have been alternately laughing and wiping tears. I love your sense of adventure. I used to work with abused children and have a daughter who is blind, so I know how rewarding and challenging life can be. Keep up the good work!

  128. My parents took in foster children and it was always so heartbreaking. I give you tons of credit for the courage it takes to open your home. My husband and I are thinking of adopting once our own 5 kids get a little older. Thanks for the inspiration!

  129. What a touching account! I think people like you make this world worth living.

  130. I am in awe of your blog….
    Nancy Leport

  131. I think you’re an earth angel, I really do. I love this post as I’ve loved everything you write. I’m off to bed now because it’s nearly midnight here…but tomorrow I’m going to get a hold of your book. You can add me to your fan list. 🙂 Mel

  132. Wow. You really have to dig deep for patience like this–at least in my book. I have nothing but admiration for you–not sure I’m equipped.

  133. really liked reading this post 🙂

  134. solitarydreamer said:

    i could so relate to this. i have to stop myself from screaming NOOOO at my boy & to take time explaining things to him. because they’re like aliens in this world. exploring. discovering. not knowing whats wrong and right. and its up to us to teach them… and learn the world together with them 🙂

  135. This is great . . . you sound like a great parent.

  136. This was so touching to read! I hope I can be consistent in disciplining lovingly with my daughter and future children! I just started reading your blog but I also am beginning to develop a heart for adoption, especially children with high needs.

    • Adopting special needs children is not for the faint of heart. I make it sound light and airy, but it is also very scary and heartbreaking. If you want to know more, read my book “The Apple Tree: Raising 5 Kids with Disabilities and Remaining Sane”. The stories there are also pretty light, but you can infer a lot of the drama that goes on.

  137. Thanks for another splendid lesson learned. You’re a wonder as are your special family. Best, Charmaine

  138. Love this and can’t wait to read your blog! I have 4 children and No is used a lot!!

  139. Thanks for the job you’re doing with a sense of humor.

  140. I was the mother of a profoundly retarded angel for 25 years. We also taught many foster kids going through this transition. Than you for being a hero. We often found foster parents as bad as the birth ones and it was tough to watch. You sound loving and amazing. Keep up the great work!

  141. Your blog seems very interesting

  142. Loved this. As a parent of a son with autism….and just 6 kids with their own personalities, I can relate. Even if a child doesn’t have a disability, we as parents need to try and see them as individuals. Words of wisdom here for every parent.
    Thanks for sharing!

  143. You are an inspirational woman, keep up your good work x

  144. What a terrific and inspirational story. In my job I have come to learn that the kids that are most difficult to manage and even like, are th ones who often need the most understanding and support. This girl is lucky to have you in her life 🙂

  145. This is excellent. Thank you.

  146. Godspeed, friend. And thank you for your continued support of my blog!

  147. You blog is so inspiring. Thank you for sharing your story. Your blog is an encouragement to other parents. Blessings.

  148. katiewritesagain said:

    You are incredibly patient, but you also have the ability, almost nonexistent in our society, to LISTEN. Your mind is open to change, to listening, to hearing from another person’s point of view. Because of this strength, and it takes strength to hear and accept when we may not always be right, you can give these children what they need. You’re amazing. Your husband and chidlren are very, very lucky.

  149. This is beautiful.

  150. Wise words. Every so often, I have some sort of out-of-body experience and actually hear myself, and sadly/happily I’m horrified. Oddly, the solution is to listen to myself more.

  151. I can relate a lot from this as I am a neurotic mom myself! 😀

  152. I have no idea where you found the time to stop by my blog but I am grateful to you, for who you are, and allowing God to use you. You are truly inspiring. MJ

  153. I am raising a child who has trauma issues and the big thing I learned–which I also see in your blog–is that sometimes our reactions & thoughts are not even close to what the child is thinking! Sometimes you do have to take a step back, and see from the child’s eyes..and work them on their own level. When a child has trauma issues it can happen that they get triggered or reminded of the past or hurtful events…our good intentions can mean something totally different.. You have to be really flexible and creative to work with these children, to reach them in a way that makes sense, and gently guide them to understand you..
    Another great post! I learn so much from you

    • You are so right. I know a lot of Marie’s behaviors seem not socially appropriate, like being stand offish and not wanting to be touched. But when you look at it from her point of view, it is perfectly acceptable. It is a great lesson for all of us not to judge a book by its cover because you don’t know what kind of wear and tear that book has been through!

  154. clarksapoet said:

    good stuff. I enjoy seeing how love plays out in lots of different circumstances. Thanks for sharing.

  155. said:

    Speechless! Great story. Thank you for sharing.

  156. I have worked extensively with children who have suffered abuse and neglect. I see SO MANY foster parents who have taken in children like Marie and think all it will take is to “love” her and she’ll magically respond with “love” and gratitude. I was so amazed, reading your story, that you took the time to understand the world from Marie’s point of view. THAT is real love!! The other piece is…you didn’t do it with the expectation that she would thank you for what you’re doing. You are truly an amazing mom. Wishing you many blessings!!

    • Thank you so much for your kind words. I have such empathy for foster parents who get more than they bargained for with foster children. My youngest three were unbelievably difficult, and I can understand why foster parents throw in the towel. They are idealistic and mean well, but these kids have come from an environment that only exists in their nightmares. I think the BEST solution is to educate the foster parents COMPLETELY on what to expect, including false accusations of abuse from their foster kiddos. That happened to me more than once from kiddos who knew the system and did not want to be in a structured family setting. It was horrific for our family. Foster parent education needs to include all of these issues so they can go into it with open eyes. (I fear if they knew all of the pitfalls, no one would do foster car!)

      By the way, I’m available to come to speak to any foster parent group, or any other group for that matter, in the New England area. I’ve “been there, done that”.

      Thank you so much for your very difficult work in this extremely important area. I am sure that you have bettered the lives of many children.

  157. eehbahmum said:

    I read this post a while ago and wanted to pop back and let you know that I have found myself thinking about what you have written quite a lot. Good writing can infect you like that. You are obviously an amazing mum but you’re also a great writer too.

    • Thank you so much for your kind words. My writing is often not grammatically correct, but I write the way I think…like I am just sitting down chatting with a friend. Thank you for returning!

  158. Reblogged this on Postcards from the HOB (House of Boys) and commented:
    Puts life into perspective. Good for you. Great read, too. Thanks.

  159. godanalytics said:

    I adopted 3 girls from Africa, a sibling group. Had I known then, what I know now. Wow. Thanks for sharing your story. I have had my share of days when all I could do was say “no” with NO energy to say anything but.

  160. Oh the memories this brings back. I was a single foster parent for 7 years and adopted my four oldest children from the foster system. My kids all have some level of special needs and although they are now adults each day still brings the unknown. Good luck and God bless.

    • OH!!!!!! A kindred soul! I think most people who do foster care do it because we love kids, so it is natural to want them to stay. I know what you mean about adulthood. Kiddos with special needs, especially emotional ones due to abuse, are often not so successful as adults. It can be very trying and I have much empathy for you.

  161. WOW!!! What an amazing story. You are truly blessed to see the grace of God in Marie. Thank you for your post 🙂

  162. She sounds absolutely delightful. The only time I became a little terrified was when she sat on your husband’s lap. A six year whose instinct was to do that?? I cannot imagine what she must have experienced in those first few years of her life.

    Earlier today, i read a book written by a young woman who had been sold into the sex trade by some friends she befriended at the mall. I thought I was going to start crying right there at the book store.For years i was worried about my own safety. Now i worry about the safety of my child and all the children I meet. then i wonder about why those friends this girl met at the mall, thought it was okay to have her brutally raped and sold. what made them the way they were. this doesn’t start from one incident. it is generations of conditioning. which is why it was comforting and most of all inspiring to read your post. wish you, marie and your family all the very very best, lots of love and happiness.

    • I agree with you about what kind of person would DO that!!!! As you may have noted, Marie’s birth mother also used her to “make money” in that fashion. She herself was raised by a mother who was a prostitute, so that was what she learned. Unbelievable! But if that was how she was raised, that seemed natural to her. She wasn’t crazy. She had just learned a different way of life….UNBELIEVABLE!!!

  163. OMGosh… I am crying. What a beautiful account of a mother’s (unconditional) love for a child. I loved the part where you said that little Marie was “sneaking a peek” to see if her new Mama was watching her during the dance recital. Heartbreaking in a happy way. And the part where she threw the wrapper on the ground to “tease you”…. priceless!! Thanks for sharing!!! ❤

  164. Great story. You are brave and kind soul.

  165. Wow, what a heart-warming story (yet heartbreaking at the same time to know that children come from such backgrounds – and many are there as we speak). You do an amazing job and it must be so rewarding to see that you turn children’s lives around like that and really make a difference. I would love love to be a foster mum at some point.

  166. It takes a special kind of person to admit they were wrong and find another way to do something. I am sure you and your daughter have shared so much love and will continue to do so. Thank you so much for sharing this amazing story with us.

  167. Glad you liked “raising children.” Thank you and best to you and yours.

  168. Thank you. We can all learn from this. The power of real stories. Blessings, as you have blessed me this morning.

  169. Thank you for visiting my blog today. I appreciate the time you took to stop by. May your day be filled with joy and peace.

  170. Raising any 5 kids or 4 or 3 or 2 or 1…is a hard task!
    Your story inspiring, may God give you strength and courage to continue on your great
    service to life and humanity – your beloved Family.

  171. I really love this story. It is so common to forget that kids are still learning and we want to measure them by our grown-up standards and expectations. Your patience is beautiful and your kids are beyond lucky to have you.

  172. OMG! She sounds adorable my heart melted on the last part about the straw! That lil 6 year old is still in there 🙂 I’m so glad she found someone who could love her the way you do.

  173. Wow – what can I say. This almost made me cry. I’m so sorry for what Marie had to go through before you took her in, and thank you for giving her a better life.

  174. reutersramblings said:

    This is beautiful!! Thanks for sharing.

  175. JC Fredlund (aka JC Eberhart, Past Pen Name) said:

    I really enjoyed your post!
    ~JC Fredlund

  176. Such a nice story. And what a task you have taken on. I work with a lot of children with attachment disorders, and I know what a struggle it can be for the foster parents. It sounds like you are doing a great job!

  177. You have a huge heart!! Very inspirational!

  178. You have such a big heart. So inspirational!!

  179. This really touched me and hit home. I feel often like I am the mother screaming “NO NO NO” all too often with my two children, ages 5 and 1 1/2. I need to stop, breath, and try to explain things better.

  180. Reblogged this on We Are at a Zero and commented:
    A reminder about how dangerous it is to forget seeing our children for who they are. We just may begin to try to muscle them into a mold they are resistent to fit. Also, let’s just agree that we need to stop just yelling at children.

  181. I am so enjoying your blog! It is challenging enough to raise kids without disabilities. It is a special gift you possess to have such a big heart for these precious children! Thanks for stopping by my blog and for the like on my post “A Make-Believe Video in a Real World”.

  182. You are a real special individual. You will be blessed greatly.

  183. Reblogged this on Sister Sewing Love's Blog and commented:
    This makes the tiny issues I have with my kids really sad. Yahweh has blessed our wombs with Gifts, not burdens and hardships. Praise go to those who help the widows and orphans.

  184. […] you somebody liked your post and recommending some of theirs?  That’s how I came across this story.  I knew I wanted to share it with you; it really does pull at the heartstrings.  I was blown away […]

  185. How is Marie now? God bless.

  186. What a great story to read and kick off my day. What a blessing you are.

  187. You are amazing. I look forward to “hearing” more from you.

  188. You sound like a saint. I work with special needs children at my farm. I also can “speak” sign language and I still talk to them. Keep up the great work.

    ” If you do for one of the least of these, you do it for me” Jesus said.

    • Thanks for your kind words, and for working with kiddos with disabilities on your farm. My kids LOVE farms…they are so…sensory…

      • I know they do!! I see it everyday. My dogs, Great Pyrenees, even sit on the children when they are feeling stressed or in need of more sensory input. I did not even teach them that, they just do it.
        So like God, to give us exactly what we need.

  189. I loved reading your blog. My children are perfectly healthy. Thier only hinderence is the fact that thier Mama was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 30. We lost a daughter when I was 29 who was an infant and then I got the diagnosis and the ADHD meds are unsafe during pregnancy. I often think about adopting two brothers out of foster care who are close to the ages of my other two daughters 8 and 10. Thanks for the beautiful blog and the profound inspiration. I don’t know you but I’m proud of who you are.

  190. Amazing….you’re amazing….as a teacher, I have had MANY foster children in my class…and you are an amazing group of people…God Bless You..

  191. I love this post. I’m so glad I’m following your blog!

  192. Great post! Our children teach us so much if we listen. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  193. […] of her many serious challenges.  When she came to us, she was street smart at the age of seven.(See post “All She did Was Scream and Say No! No! No!) She had no thought of danger and no social skills.  Although this may sound silly, one of my […]

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