My name is Linda Pouliot and I am the co-author of Grieving Forward: Death Happened, Now What? A Practical Guide for Healing & Understanding the Grief Process.
I am also a former Foster Parent and the founder of Adoption Does Work. My first husband, Donald, and I were licensed for Foster Care in Livingston Co. MI. We fostered teenage girls for many years. However, the very first foster child to arrive at our house, two weeks after we were licensed, was the little girl who completed our family, Jessica. She was four years old and our biological son, Andy, was seven years old at that time. Her adoption was finalized two years later. We maintain an open adoption with her Birth Mother. Both of my children are now grown with families of their own. I am very proud of both of my kiddo’s and what they have accomplished.
As a mom I faced many challenges. Jessica was a strong willed first born and she had challenges related to her past experiences. Andy was a strong willed first born. Two extremely strong willed first born children… When their dad died unexpectedly, both Andy and Jessica took turns acting out in their grief. I was exhausted for the first ten years after their father’s death from helping each of them to navigate their individual grieving and healing journey. And, from trying to stay one step ahead of normal teenage trouble and young adult adventures. Fortunately, they took turns acting out. The good news is we all made it, and we still love each other.
My heart mission is to share what I’ve learned so that I can help others–maybe even you. Let’ begin with more information about Grieving Forward: Death Happened Now What? and conclude with more bio information about Adoption Does Work.
Grieving Forward: Death Happened, Now What? I was 45 years old when my husband, Donald, died unexpectedly of a heart-attack in November of 1999. We had just celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. Both of our children were teenagers at the time. My family spent the first few months after his death in shock and numb. What I realized during this time was that I couldn’t even define the word grief. Additionally, I couldn’t figure out what was happening to us either. All I knew was the pain was unbearable. And I wondered, how on earth, was I going to be able to lead my family back to place of normal functioning and wholeness? So, I began the process of researching both the grief process and the healing process.
What I discovered is that when you understand the grief process, which is what is normal for grief, it’s possible and easier to successfully navigate your personal healing journey. Additionally, I was able use this same information to help my children in their individual grieving and healing journeys. My children are now grown. We did the hard work of grief. Healing took time, but it did happen for all three of us. I want the same for you and your family. And, it’s important to know that healing does not mean forgetting your loved one.
The content of the book and my educational workshops are based on my personal experience, what I have learned from others over the years, and my on-going research. There is always something new to learn about both the grieving and healing process. Check out the Now What? Blog and the Grieving Forward Death Happened, Now What? Facebook page.
Adoption Does Work
Adopted children are born into our families with an already existing personal life history and family history–even when we get them as infants. This history will always be a part of who they are and who they become. Sometimes this history is filled with neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, one or both parents using drugs or alcohol… Even when we get them as infants and the mother is healthy, many times, the child will still suffer from abandonment issues. Additionally, these children grieve the loss of their parents–even when the abuse has been terrible and they are feeling relieved because they have been removed from the situation. If they have been shuffled from one foster home to the next or lived in a horrible foster home–more has been added to the list of things that they need to grieve, work through and resolve.
The challenge for us as parents is figuring out how to help them to heal from any past wounding, how to teach them to function in a healthy way at home and at school, to be able to learn at school, how to bond with them in a healthy way–and also find time to play and to experience times of fun and joy–and to find contentment in stillness. Sometimes we have to help them navigate the fact that their skin color is not the same as our skin color or that they don’t look like us because they are from a different part of the world. Our children work very, very hard. Parenting is hard work, too. But the pay off is a healthy, happy, child on the way to becoming a healthy functioning adult. The starting point is being honest about what we are dealing with so that we can take them from where they are to where they need to be.
I know that some of you are dealing with a lot. This is why I started the Adoption Does Work Blog and the Adoption Does Work Facebook page. Both are places where we share experiences, stories, what is working, what is not working, and information. It’s a place to share the good stuff, too! A place with information that will support you in getting your children from where they are to where they need to be. Additionally, I am in the process of writing the story of our adoption and what I learned along the way. Jessica, Andy and Jessica’s Birth Mother have input in this project. The title of this next book is Adoption Does Work.
Thank you for spending this time with me. Check in with me on the blog or Facebook page.
Linda is a nationally recognized grief support facilitator and a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist in The Grief Recovery Method by The Grief Recovery Institute. From February of 2002 – March of 2013 she volunteered at New Hope Center for Grief Support located in Northville, Michigan where she co-facilitated grief support groups and was a workshop speaker. Linda is a former Foster Parent (Livingston County, Michigan) and a former member of Insights Toastmasters, Brighton, Mi. In 2004 Linda graduated from Ann Arbor Institute of Massage Therapy, Ann Arbor, Michigan. When time allows, she attends Siena Heights University.
Linda lives in Fort Gratiot, MI with her husband Randy.