How facing ACEs makes us happier, healthier and more hopeful

Knowing and understanding your Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) score can get you to happy and healthier. Take the 10-question quiz!

ACEs Too High

Ahappy

Won’t it depress people?

Isn’t it triggering?

Aren’t the topics troubling?

Won’t it make people sad or upset?

Fear is what I often fight when talking about ACEs — adverse childhood experiences. It’s not my fear though. It’s the fear others have about all things ACEs. Adversity. Abuse. Addiction. Abandonment. Neglect. Dsyfunction.

I don’t think this fear actually belongs to those of us who have lived with ACEs, who have lived through ACEs, who live with the aftermath of ACEs as adults.

When I found out about ACEs I was overwhelmed with joy. I felt radical relief. What I experienced was a profound sense of validation. It was epic.

I also felt rage because the CDC-Kaiser Permanente Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study and related science hadn’t been shared with me. Not my doctors, therapists, shrinks, teachers, social workers or anyone while I got ready to become a parent.

Why?

This one study…

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Thankful for 20 Years

Important reflections from an adoptive dad who has been transformed on the journey–and is thankful. Welcome, Donald Craig Peterson.

ADOPTING FAITH: A Father's Unconditional Love

It’s that time of year – to reflect and be thankful. As the 20th year of my parenting journey begins, here are 20 things I have learned.

  1. Like nearly all parents, I know my children best – even when not using fancy words or technical jargon.
  1. I care deeply about my children – as I have seen in countless moms, dads, grandparents, step-parents and other caregivers.three-boys-in-a-tub
  1. I’m not a perfect parent. Yet I’ve grown stronger from my mistakes.
  1. Eventually, I learned to be on own worst critic – because I could become a better parent by listening. First to my children and then to others. While my children are unique, their challenges are strikingly similar to thousands of other children.
  1. Adoption is trauma. My children had a life before they came to me. So many unanswered questions for them. How easily people forget!
  1. Triggers are real. They can easily…

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On Radical Acceptance (& Not Fixing Your Kid)

Take a few moments and breathe in this stunning tale of Radical Acceptance by Heather Kirnlanier. I needed to hear this. Maybe you do too.

Star In Her Eye

There’s a small town in Belgium named Geel (pronounced hale with a throaty, Germanic H). By 1930, a quarter of its residents were mentally ill. If you know about Geel, you know this was not because something lurked in the water or food supply. It was because for 700 years families in Geel accepted mentally ill patients, or “boarders,” to live with them in their own homes. The town got a nickname: “Paradise for the Insane.”

I’ve never been to Geel, but I recently heard about it on NPR’s Invisibilia podcast. In the episode, reporter Lulu Miller interviews Ellen Baxter, a researcher who earned a grant to live in Geel for a year. Prior to this trip, Baxter had faked her way into a mental institution, wanting to find out about the therapeutic practices used. She saw virtually none. What she did see: people watching television, looking out the…

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7 ways childhood adversity changes a child’s brain

“The number of adverse childhood experiences an individual had predicted the amount of medical care she’d require as an adult with surprising accuracy…” –Donna Jackson Nakazawa (ACES Too High News)

ACEs Too High

anakazawa

If you’ve ever wondered why you’ve been struggling a little too hard for a little too long with chronic emotional and physical health conditions that just won’t abate, or feeling as if you’ve been swimming against some invisible current that never ceases, a new field of scientific research may offer hope, answers, and healing insights.
In 1995, physicians Vincent Felitti and Robert Anda launched a large-scale epidemiological study that probed the child and adolescent histories of 17,000 people, comparing their childhood experiences to their later adult health records. The results were shocking: Nearly two-thirds of individuals had encountered one or more adverse childhood experiences (ACEs)—a term Felitti and Anda coined to encompass the chronic, unpredictable, and stress-inducing events that many children face.
These included growing up with a depressed or alcoholic parent; losing a parent to divorce or other causes; or enduring chronic humiliation, emotional neglect, or sexual or physical abuse. These…

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The New Safe

I thought this was worthy of sharing. Our homes must be SAFE homes or we fail at offering the healing our children desperately need. If not to offer safety for healing, why do we bring the trauma child into our homes?

Strength & Humility.com

You guys. Epic news. EPIC.

This is mind blowing stuff.

Like if you’d told me this would happen 9 months ago, I’d have been like “you’re kind of crazy, and that means you’re my people.” But I would have laughed at you, and reminded you of all we’d been through, and how healing is a LONG process.

But it happened.

Last night.

Let me back up. (I know you are excited too! Wait for it! It’s really that good!!!)

In The Beginning

I’ve never ever been a rock-you-to-sleep mama. If you fell asleep nursing, that’s good news. Or if your name was Taba, then you just got help 24/7. But of the children born of my womb, you best figure out how to get yourself to sleep.

Cry that crap out. Suck your thumb. Use your blankie. Suck on a paci. Whatever you need to do. But at 8pm, I…

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A YA book (in English) that could be a good read for teens

My thanks to the Mandarin Immersion Parents Council for sharing news of The Blu Phenomenon with their students, parents, and instructors! Just in time for the Olympics!

Mandarin Immersion Parents Council

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I got an email a bit ago from a writer who’s also the adoptive mother of a Chinese son. She’s got a young adult novel out that might be of interest to Mandarin immersion students.
From the book blurb:
Thirteen-year-old Chinese adoptee Cal Vandiver resides in California with his adoptive parents, plagued with an ever-present fear of being “taken,” exacerbated by his uncharacteristic blue eyes and extraordinary athleticism. Cal and his band of friends discover someone really is watching him. What happens next thrusts his under-the-radar existence into the spotlight, forcing him to a place that’s anything but safe as he trains for the 2020 Olympic Games.
The Blu Phenomenon was read and studied this school year in a South Carolina school (Honors Program) and the author visited the class and lead discussion. A guest visit could also be available to classrooms via Skype.
The book’s a suspenseful read, even as it covers…

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