Artwork for podcast Belly of the Beast Life Stories & Beyond with David All
Three Children with Special Needs with Laura Hernandez
Episode 321st April 2020 • Belly of the Beast Life Stories & Beyond with David All • Mount Ethos LLC
00:00:00 00:44:04

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Now a mama to 10 kiddos, Laura Hernandez faced and met the overwhelming challenges when her family added three adopted children that would all eventually be diagnosed with intellectual delay (mental retardation) and fetal alcohol syndrome.

After consulting friends and books and still not having the answers she needed, Laura created her own systems to manage the chaos and bring peace to her household.

Laura realized a need for other mother’s facing similar challenges and started MamaSystems.net, a suite of coaching services, systems and tools to help families bring peace to their home.

EPISODE SUMMARY

  • Our story begins with Laura first learning that all three of the children that her family had adopted would ultimately be diagnosed with intellectual delay (formerly known as mental retardation) and fetal alcohol syndrome
  • Laura and her husband adopted Andrew (4), Matthew (2 ½) and Hannah (18 mos.) after a long trial of first fostering Andrew, developing a relationship with the biological mother and her partner, and ultimately adopting all three siblings into their large family (5 biological children at the time)
  • The overwhelm of adding three new “buddies” into the family was stressful, increasing the chaos and noise but also deeply relieving knowing that the kids were all safe and being taking care of
  • “Ok Laura, you can do this,” was how most daily pep talks started
  • For a long time there was distance, a feeling like the three adopted kiddos were strangers
  • Special care and attention had to be given to the biological kids so their needs were met
  • Tony, Laura’s husband, was able to work from home
  • Faith has played a huge role in Laura’s decision to adopt (many signs from God) and carries her through difficult times
  • The kiddos do feel attached now
  • Part II opens back up with the diagnosis as both a moment of realizing the children would be dependent on them for the rest of their lives but also relief in finding out what was wrong
  • This pattern of importance of the ‘diagnosis’ continues to emerge in our stories of a parent with children with special needs
  • After reading book after book and still not having answers, Laura created systems to manage the chaos and bring peace to her household
  • She founded Mama Systems, a coaching practice for mama’s and families in similarly overwhelming situations
  • Laura has never regretted it -- it’s an obedience and commitment thing for her

 

QUOTABLES

“I would just lay in bed at night wondering if they were safe, if they're being taken care of, if they had eaten that day. And now I knew that they were safe, and that they had been fed and had full bellies, and they were loved on, and nothing was going to happen in that room, like it was in my power. Nothing was gonna happen to them. They were gonna be safe in there.”

 “And I think even today, when we have really hard days, that's what gets me through, because they can be really, really hard kids. And it can feel hard to love them, and it can feel hard to just keep going and being their Mama. But I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this is what we were called to do.”

 “And no book I read could fit all of our things in a nutshell, which was really frustrating at the time, because I'd read a book, and I'd be like I really like this, but you're acting like we're at home all day and don't have people coming in and out every five minutes. So it was just very tricky to find something that fit for our family. So I finally just kind of stopped reading everything, stopped listening to everything. And I said, ‘You know what? I just need to prioritize what's important to us and schedule our lives so that it works for us.’”

 “‘OK, we can do this, we can thrive as a family. We've got this.’ And feeling confident in that and feeling confident as a Mama to all these people. And then shifting into not only that, but I think that I could help other people. I feel like that's that's the moment where you're like, ‘OK, I've arrived.’

 “I started Mama Systems about a year and a half ago and I've been able to help over a hundred families with systems in their home. And it's been so life-giving to me to be able to help them, and to hear the life that comes back from them, and the peace that they feel in their homes because of these systems.”

 “And so I continually go back to: it's an obedience thing, it's a commitment thing. It's not about how I'm feeling or whether I'm enjoying parenting them or not. That has nothing to do with it. It's all about my obedience to the Lord and my commitment I made to Him and to these children. So I just I stand in that whenever we have really hard days.”

 “I wouldn't say that we're different, like, as in a ‘we're better than other families,’ by any stretch of the imagination; I would say that we're different in that we have been changed by this experience. I'm just realizing how much I can't do it on my own. It's been very humbling, and also very... it's created this vulnerable experience where I'm able to now freely say that, and not have fear of you judging me for not being a good Mom, or other people looking at us like we're crazy.”

 “But now, having these really hard kids, and feeling that overwhelm, and feeling the, ‘I just want to cry, if we can get to the end of the day, that would be amazing,’ like having that state of, ‘we've just got to survive. We've just got to get to the end of the day,’ has really given me a lot of grace and compassion for Mamas, and to be able to understand that overwhelm and meet them in that space, and give them helpful tools to get out of that, has just been a beautiful gift.”

 

Learn more about Laura Hernandez

 

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Thank you for listening.

Warmly,

David All

Creator, Storyteller, Producer

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