Anna Braasch, Connected Families Executive Director, has brought a much-needed perspective on parenting adopted kids to our team. Formulaic parenting sounds good, but as Anna discovered, it didn’t work with her kids.
We adopted our first child from Ethiopia when he was 4 months old. It was pure love.
When he was just over two, we adopted again. This time a sweet little 9-month-old girl. We didn’t realize our son’s attachment to us was so fragile. As the arrival of another family member rocked his world, he began fighting for his life and his place in our family.
For several years we continued to implement many traditional parenting and discipline techniques. We like formulas. You follow the steps — one, two, three — and you get the desired result. Many of these formulas promised if we followed these certain steps, we would have a transformed child and a transformed family.
They didn’t work. In fact, they backfired.
In our desperation and heartache, we earnestly began seeking different parenting advice. We needed an approach that would honor the uniqueness and intensity of our growing family, and the conventional “best seller” approaches weren’t cutting it. One resource that resonated deeply with us was the Connected Families books and blogs and the frequent reminders through Facebook. We connected with the teachings to work for changed hearts – in both ourselves and our kids – rather than simply changed behavior.
This has made all the difference in our family. True behavior change can only come after heart change. There is no cookie-cutter approach that can make that happen — only taking the time daily to connect throughout the messiness of life.
I was so struck by the work that Connected Families was doing that I reached out to them during a job transition period in the spring of 2012 to see if my professional skills and expertise could assist in any way. A position wasn’t available at that time. But a year and a half later, Jim asked if I was still interested, and I joined the team fall of 2013.
It is a true blessing to be doing work that I am personally passionate about.
Anna has done a great job of expanding the Connected Families’ vision of “turning the hearts of parents to their children and the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous” (Luke 1:17).
Anna and her family live in Edina, MN, and are involved with Edina sports and schools, their church (Christ Presbyterian), and the Ethiopian adoption community. You can read more about Anna and the rest of the Connected Families team on our Ministry Team page.