We have Naomi Quick from Living Out 127 here, sharing her best tips for healing trauma naturally in adopted children. She and her husband have six children, two of whom have been adopted from the foster system.
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The following is a guest post from Living Out 127. To see more from Naomi, visit her blog.
Research indicates trauma not only affects a person’s memories and emotions, but can also alter the physical state of their brain. Every child that has been adopted has experienced trauma. Even infants, who leave the hospital in the arms of their adoptive parents, experience trauma through the loss of their biological family.
Acknowledging this trauma and loss is essential to helping your child walk through healing. As we know, healing happens in layers. We have the honor, privilege, and responsibility of focusing on our child as a whole person, and helping them find healing spiritually, physically, emotionally, and psychologically.
My husband and I have adopted twice from the foster care system. Our sons have very different histories. Biological, medical, and environmental contributors are all wildly different. However, they both experienced the trauma of being separated from their birth family, in addition to other personal stressors.
Before I continue, I have to say: I am a mom. I am not a medical expert. Please do not take the following as medical advice. It is not for diagnostic purposes. Please speak to your child’s primary care provider before implementing new methods of healing. This is especially important if your child has any preexisting medical conditions and/or is on any medication!
Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, I want to share three natural ways we have supported healing in our sons!
For the sake of this post, I’m simply going to share what we use, how we use it, and the benefits we have seen! We use DoTerra oils because we’ve found them to be high quality, effective, and reasonably priced. Other companies have the same single oils and similar blends. We do not give our children oils orally, but use them topically, in a diffuser, and around the house.
One of our favorite ways to use oils is to allow the kids to pick a scent for a hand massage. During this 3 minute massage, I use my words to affirm the child, telling them things I love about them, while gently but firmly rubbing their hand. This connection between parent and child promotes attachment and healing.
Below are some of the oils we use, and how we use them!
This is one of our favorites! We use it diluted to rub on upset bellies. One of our sons was born at 25 weeks and has had 2 surgeries on his bowel. He came home with food allergies and sensitivities. Peppermint oil has often relieved trapped gas and discomfort!
This blend is wonderful for neutralizing odors. We have, unfortunately, experienced feces smearing. This is not uncommon in adoptive households. If you have not experienced this, I apologize for the awkwardness of having just read the words ‘feces smearing!’ But if you, like me, are a momma who has donned gloves to scrub walls, furniture, and the floor – bless you. Several drops of purify in a small bottle of water sprayed on soft surfaces helps neutralize the lingering… odor!
We use this one diluted with fractionated coconut oil to treat fungal infections and as an antiseptic. It is gentle but effective!
This blend is earthy and sweet. We use it behind the ears, at the base of the skull, or for hand massages! It is a ‘grounding’ oil – which simply means it helps a person settle their mind and emotions. It isn’t supernatural or new-agey. The combination of scents is just commonly known to help diffuse restlessness. We’ve found this to be especially helpful while completing our homeschool classes, or when there is a time of transition.
We use lemon in combination with peppermint in the diffuser and in a roller bottle with 10 drops lemon, 10 drops lavender, 5 drops peppermint, and filled with fractionated coconut oil. We roll the bottle on the neck and sinus glands to relieve allergy and upper respiratory symptoms. We also use it for contact allergy reactions.
This blend, I absolutely love. Truthfully, I use it more frequently than the kids! It is wonderful for moments of overwhelm. The comforting combination includes Frankincense Resin, Patchouli Leaf, Ylang Ylang Flower, Labdanum Stem/Twig, Amyris Bark, Sandalwood Wood, Rose Flower, and Osmanthus Flower. The effect? Less anxiety, more calm. What adoptive momma isn’t looking for that?!
This calming blend is used for hand massages, and as a pillow spray! It helps calm down my very active boys, and leaves a pleasant scent behind!
This stuff is gold. We use it to fend off viral and bacterial infections – especially during cold and flu season! We use it in the diffuser, in a roller bottle with 15 drops of OnGuard and filled with FCO (rolled on the neck, chest, or behind ears), and on the bottom of feet before bedtime!
These are a trending topic – and for good reason. Many of our hormones are produced in our gut, and for kiddos who have experienced chronic stress, this is critical! Probiotics aid in our bodies ability to absorb nutrients, help assist with hormone stabilization, and assist our immune system.
For our son who had extreme gut issues, this was a game changer. The introduction of a daily probiotic resulted in regular bowel movements, less bloating, reduction in food sensitivities, and relief from daily discomfort. He no longer requires Miralax (which, for the record, contains ingredients found in antifreeze!)
Many children’s vitamins contain artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, and preservatives. It is important to eliminate as much of that as possible from our diets! (As I’ll discuss further in the next section!) Vitamins should not be an exception to the rule.
The addition of a quality, absorbable vitamin resulted in a five pound gain for our son. This may seem insignificant, without the back story. He had not gained an ounce in the 18 months he had been home. His medical team was concerned, and so were we. We were looking at additional medical supports if he did not begin gaining soon. Within eight weeks of beginning his vitamin, he had gained five pounds AND blown two developmental milestones out of the water!
So good for brain health and development! For kiddos who have had a hard start – whether medically, or because of neglect – omegas can play a huge role in helping children’s brains reconnect.
Our family uses Plexus XFactor Kids – a plant based, nonGMO, chewable multivitamin and probiotic. The kids love the taste, and we love the fact that it’s free of artificial ingredients! It is also methylated – which means even those with the MTHFR gene mutation can absorb the b-vitamins! These vitamins are also sweetened with natural, ethically sourced stevia, making them sugar free, but still delish!
We are also introducing MegaX, which is a plant based omegas supplement. It doesn’t have the fishy-taste, and is highly potent. We are looking forward to seeing how it benefits our sons!
Clean eating is absolutely imperative to healing! By providing a balanced diet, children’s bodies are able to recover. Food issues can be a challenge with children who have been adopted. And I am in no way condemning those who choose not to embrace that battle right away! However, we saw immediate improvement in a number of areas once we switched our sons’ diets.
Whatever it is – color, flavor, preservative – get it out of your house! Numerous research studies show the impact of food dyes on the brain. Many countries have banned the very ingredients found in most American shelf-stable foods. Why? Because research indicates it is detrimental to the human body.
Limiting sugar to special occasions may seem challenging at first, but I assure you, it is worth the effort. Sugar contributes to glucose spikes, mood disturbance, and immune system depression. When using it, avoid anything that has been bleached or processed with chemicals.
This one is huge. What many people don’t realize is that white flour essentially breaks down to sugar in the body. Wheat has beneficial qualities, but the way white flour is processed in the United States is hazardous. Consider the use of harsh chemicals in the harvesting, bleach used in processing, and additives meant to replace the nutrients stripped during processing. If you use wheat flour, make sure it is organic and processed without chemicals.
While our society places a great focus on lean meats, it is more important to ensure meat is free from hormones and antibiotics. Continuous exposure to antibiotics contributes to gut disturbance and can compromise the body’s response to antibiotics when medically necessary. Hormones can contribute to hormone dysregulation and overproduction. Grass fed, free range meats are a wonderful source of protein, and the fats from these animals can be beneficial to the body!
Fruits and Veggies
Offer often and in various forms! We have these with every meal, and as often as possible for snacks. In our house, fruit is free game for snacking any time of day. One of our sons had food issues when he came home – the result of not being fed often enough. By making healthy snacks readily available, it alleviated the anxiety of being hungry.
As parents, we pray our children will find complete wholeness. As parents, we are committed to helping them not only survive, but thrive! Much of this journey is learning as we go! But, hopefully, you have found information here that can help you implement natural ways to support healing in your child!
Are you anywhere on the journey of adoption: thinking about it, waiting on a baby, seeking out the right agency, or anywhere in between? For more information and encouragement on adoption, enter to win a copy of Naomi’s book below!
What natural living tips would you offer other adoptive parents? Do you have questions regarding natural healing methods? Where are you on your adoption adventure?
About The Author:
Naomi loves Jesus. She is married to her best friend, John. They have six amazing, beautiful kids, two of whom have been adopted from the foster care system. Naomi homeschools their tribe of world changers. She is a type-A, list-making, change-fearing girl living an adventure that demands flexibility, spontaneity, and constant change! Through her words, she prays you’ll find something that points your heart to the Dream Giver and the Author of each of our stories – Jesus.
Naomi is the author of Don’t Waste Your Wait: Embracing the Journey of Bringing Your Child Home. She writes over at her site, Living Out 127, and has done a number of speaking engagements and trainings for prospective and current adoptive and foster families.