Inward Bound: A safe haven to explore the impact of adoption and compassionate support for adoptive parents so that their children can find the way home.
We pray for the children who sneak popsicles before supper, who erase holes in math workbooks, who can never find their shoes. And we pray for those who stare at photographers from behind barbed wire, who can’t bound down the street in a new pair of sneakers, who never “counted potatoes,” who are born in places we wouldn’t be caught dead, who never go to the circus, who live in an x-rated world. We pray for the children who bring sticky kisses and fistfuls of dandelions, who hug us in a hurry and forget their lunch money. And we pray for those who never got dessert, who have no safe blanket to drag behind them, who watch their parents watch them die, who can’t find any bread to steal, who don’t have any rooms to clean up, whose pictures aren’t on anyone’s dresser, whose monsters are real. We pray for the children who spend all of their allowance before Tuesday, who throw tantrums at the grocery store and pick at their food, who like ghost stories, who shove dirty clothes under the bed, who never rinse out the tub, who never get visits from the Tooth Fairy, who don’t like to get kissed in front of the carpool, who squirm in church and scream in the phone, whose tears we sometimes laugh at and whose smiles can make us cry. And we pray for those whose nightmares come in the daytime, who will eat anything, who have never seen a dentist, who aren’t spoiled by anybody, who go to bed hungry and cry themselves to sleep, who live and move, but have no being. We pray for the children who want to be carried and for those who must be, those who never give up, and for those who don’t get a second chance. We pray for those we mother and… for those who will grab the hand of anyone kind enough to offer it.
- Author Unknown
To provide the experience of being “seen” deeply understood to all people experiencing pain associated with adoption and related challenges.
To encourage adoptees to find a voice for relational wounds so that they are better equipped to effectively advocate for what is needed to support their healing.
To educate parents about the unique lens required for parenting a child with adoption as part of his/her history.
“When we save our children, we save ourselves.”
MARGARET MEADE| ANTHROPOLOGIST
It all started when...
A bird-watcher told me a story once. (I realize this isn’t the most amazing hook ever. Hang in with me!)
She talked about the unexpected heart-in-your-throat moment that occurred for her after watching a hummingbird feed following the first leg of its migration north. Not being much into birds, I wasn’t all that interested.
But as she continued to share her experience, I learned a few things. It’s about a 4000-mile journey across the Gulf of Mexico from Central America. These tiny jewels in flight make this non-stop trek in around twenty hours (through the darkness of night!), depending on the winds and weather. It’s an exhausting and arduous journey. Many birds don’t survive it. Most shocking? Hummingbirds don’t travel in flocks, but alone. ALONE… their tenacious wings carry their itty-bitty bodies for 4000 miles… over the ocean… at night.
The bird-watcher described being moved by the exhaustion she witnessed in these tiny, feathered creatures, with their recent arrival on the Texas coastline. She felt a part of their sweet victory, and choked up watching those little survivors pull long on the newly available nectar, beginning to recover from the overnight flight.
Around this time, for reasons entirely unrelated to the bird-watcher’s story, I developed a deep affection for hummingbirds. My friend, Laurel, who loved her daughters, columbines, and hummingbirds, died in an accident. Because she loved hummingbirds, and because she was gone, I started to feel like I wanted to be connected to what she loved to remain connected to her.
I started poking around some of the things she loved, and decided I'd try to call hummers to my yard during their southern migration. I remembered the bird-watcher’s story, and when I considered how very far they travel during annual migrations, I was astounded to learn that each year, hummingbirds return to territories that have been good to them in their migration pattern. Birds who’ve been the subjects of band studies have even been found to return not only to the same area year after year, but even to the same feeder! Now, when I see “my birds” at the feeders hanging from shepherd’s hooks in my garden, I have my own heart-in-my-throat moments. I think about that bird, flying alone over black waters through the night, making its way to my feeder in Littleton, Colorado, simply because it was there as a reliable source of nourishment the year before. And I feel like I’m seeing a miracle.
What’s this got to do with Inward Bound and its history? Well, for one thing, there’s a metaphor there. “My kids” and their parents often feel very lonely in their travels. They have daunting emotional journeys to make, and are often afraid their hearts won’t survive.
And second: Inward Bound was named years ago on a porch swing. While I watched my Godson and his sister play tag on a summer night with the neighbors, grass between their toes, the trees' shadows growing long in the yard, I explained to their mother that I needed a name for the practice that would represent the sacred work happening between adoptees and their parents.
“Outward bound,” is a nautical term to describe the transition for leaving the safety of harbor. For this work, I wanted an inversion of “outward bound” and leaving safe harbor behind. With our specialization in attachment work, one of our first priorities is to create a safe haven for our children, and for their parents. So, it was Inward Bound: turning inward for the purpose of understanding oneself; giving in to the adventure that is intimate relationship; and nestling in to belonging to someone.
Inward Bound has always offered specialized services to adoptees and their parents to address adoption issues, challenged attachments, and the effects of early trauma on a child’s development. Over time, services have expanded outside the Denver metro area, and we began offering phone consultation and coaching services to families from California to New York and Minnesota to Texas. Our little community of Inward Bounders spread far and wide!
While the intricate, intimate, and sacred work continues with the families Inward Bound serves, over the years, there has been a larger reach. The practitioners at Inward Bound have provided keynote addresses, authored articles in adoption magazines and chapters for EMK Press’ “Toolbox” series, offered training for parents and professionals in West Virginia, Indiana, Nevada, California, and Colorado, and developed of several audio training workshops and webinars. And we are not done yet!
If you are in need of a safe haven, it is our sincere hope that you will find one with us. Welcome. Blessings on your journey Inward!