Monday, October 25, 2021

Your Adopted Children are Your Children

 Question: What do I say when someone says my adopted children are really my grandchildren, not my children?

     Dear Friend:  I've received a similar question before. Several years ago, I led a small group of adoptive parents at Assembly, an international, Christian women's meeting. Some were former grandparents, some were not.

As those who know me and my husband, you know we adopted two of our grandchildren many years ago. Does that still make us their grandparents? No. The birthparents' rights were terminated before the adoption. Then the adoption paperwork was completed. If we are not their parents, they have no parents.

There are some people who, for reasons of their own, need to diminish your parenthood. Without labeling them, we will let them wrestle with the reasons for their behavior. They obviously have limited knowledge and understanding of adoption. Their ignorance does not make them correct. It reveals that they are uninformed or choose to attempt to lift themselves up by putting others down. Of course, that only makes them look bad.

You owe no one an explanation. If you signed the adoption papers, you are their parent. Refer to yourself as Mommy or Daddy, Mom or Dad when talking to the child. Don't argue with those who don't understand the adoption laws. 

In today's society, many young people are waiting to marry. They may also postpone starting a family. Your age is not much different than theirs. 

God has blessed you with the opportunity to rear a family late in life. Or, like my husband and me, we reared a second family. Isn't it wonderful how the norms of today include all kinds of families? Hug your children. You know who they are and your parenthood of them. You owe no one else an explanation. God bless you and your family.

Doris Gaines Rapp

Friday, October 22, 2021

How to Speak When It's Important to be Heard.


          Everyone is talking about how much involvement parents should have with their children's education. Come on - they are your children. You know you are responsible. You hire others to teach them, with the help of funds from the community called the taxes you pay. 

You are also responsible for how you speak to your children's educators. No one can hear you if you are rude. They don't hear words; they hear rudeness. No one can hear you if you are loud. They hear noise. No one can hear your words if you are threatening. They hear threats. No one can hear suggestions if they do not hear positives first. No one can hear you if you use vulgar language. They hear an uneducated person with a limited vocabulary.

Smile an honest smile. In your heart, lift them up to Christ. Pray that they will receive all the good things God has for them. If they are blessed, your children will be blessed.

Many Blessings to you,

Josie Davis Gaines 

Sunday, October 10, 2021

When to Speak, When Not

Question:     My best friend since fifth grade, Grace, just told me she and her husband, Nick, want to take in her sister's children. Her sister and brother-in-law are going out of the country for five or six months for work. Their high school kids need to be in boarding school or, Grace could let them live with her and her family. There are four children, freshmen twins, a junior, and a senior. The thing is, Grace and Nick have three kids of their own in a three-bedroom house. I told her what I thought, and she got mad at me. Now it's my fault if things go wrong. I'm going to have to stop talking to her unless you can help me. What did I do? What can I do?

Dear Friend,     The first and second questions go together. You can't do anything. It is Grace and Nick's home, their life, and their decision. But I do know, if you stop talking to her, you cannot provide support or offer suggestions of any kind. Remember, you wouldn't be talking. My cousin once said, if your adult kids (or a friend) want to share something with you, (1) listen without talking. (2) When they say something important, you respond, "Ah." (3) When they finish talking, say, "Keep me posted." 
Regarding the first question, they didn't ask for your permission so, don't tell them what to do. Grace was telling you about a decision they had already made. Be happy for them. Encourage her. Tell Grace you will keep her and her family in your prayers. Then, remember to do so.

Doris Gaines Rapp

Friday, October 8, 2021

Talk is Good for What Bothers You

     This new blog is your opportunity to ask a question about a topic that has bothered you. We will screen questions when they are emailed. Let us hear from you.

 My blog,, has been offering supplementary ideas for the classroom and home for over two years. In addition to activities, as a psychologist, people also ask many questions about parenting, grandparenting, and a variety of relationship issues. Though I have closed my practice, the questions still come. Josie Davis Gaines is also following her joy of writing and will answer some questions. 

Talk is Good for What Bothers You is an opportunity to ask a neutral friend a question. Click on the Follow button to receive a notification when there is a new post. Then, email your question to (Copy and paste the address into your mail server.) Josie or I will post your abbreviated question on the blog, omitting identifying information, then offer a brief response.

This blog cannot answer all your questions. And there will be no email response. Talk to a psychologist, counselor, minister, or trusted friend to continue discussing your issue. This is not a counseling session. It is an opportunity to begin to talk about things that are on your mind. 



How do I tell a friend I understand what s/he is talking about without seeming to take over their conversation?


Dear Friend,    I understand. No one wants to tell someone about their health problem or share a family issue with a “friend” and have it boomerang in their face. “You think that’s bad, let me tell you about my back, or my sassy child, or my boss. Try not to let “I” intrude.

Jesus taught in parables. He told stories about other people that politely gave the listener the space to see if the story applied to them. As an example, a friend might say, “I worked at the office all day, then until 9 pm at home. I’m exhausted.”

A response that indicates no empathy might be, “I know just how you feel. I had to get up at five in the morning, then didn’t get to bed until after 1 AM.”

                An indication you heard them and want to help could be, “I have a co-worker who works long hours like you do. It’s hard. She feels guilty about not spending time with her mother. So, on especially long days, she calls and checks in on her mom, then tells her she won’t be available for the rest of the evening. Last, she turns off her cell’s ring tone for the evening.

                If Mom doesn’t understand how busy she is, no amount of explaining will help. Know what you need and follow through.


Doris Gaines Rapp

Josie Davis Gaines

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