At Mamas Well we talk about the gifts and the gaps of foster care and adoption. The gaps are the challenges that we face, and in this line of work, there are many. In today’s blog and podcast we’re focusing in on three major challenges facing the foster community. While the first two are, and always will be, two of the most consistent challenges of foster care, the third, based on current events has magnified those challenges tremendously over the last 18 months.
The first gap that we face parenting kids from hard places is the trauma that brought them into our homes. Their level of trauma can vary based on individual circumstances, time in care, and other factors, but the bottom line is that there are no children in foster care that have not experienced trauma. The good news is that there have never been more resources, information, and training available to us in the realm of trauma. Science continues to evolve and provide more guidance not only on how the brain and body are affected by trauma, but how we can heal from trauma as well. And guess what?!? There’s a huge gift for us as parents in the trauma gap. The information we’re using to help our children can be instrumental in helping us identify our own patterns of negative behavior resulting from our own life experiences. And as we heal those parts of ourselves, along with our children, we are able to connect as more whole and healthy individuals.
Another huge potential gap for foster and adoptive parents deals with establishing community. Raising kids from trauma presents a variety of challenges that can leave a parent more depleted, lonely, isolated, and tired than they’ve ever felt before. Authentic connection and helping hands are vital to the sustainability of any foster / adoptive situation. It’s important to begin locating support groups, foster care and adoption communities and identifying key resources in your area like Amber Knowles of Fostering Family. Amber joins me this week on the Mamas Well podcast to help identify some critical steps towards developing local connections. Do not fall into the trap that tells you there’s not a place for your family to fit in. Many are answering the foster/adopt call and they are looking to connect too!!!
The final gap facing us today is the COVID 19 Pandemic and the fuel it has poured on the already substantial challenges that we face as foster adoptive parents. Kids being out of school has increased the number of children in traumatic situations resulting in heightened levels of trauma and more kids in care. It has made face-to-face connection with community limited, or non-existent for both children and parents. While many states are reporting better numbers, there is no indication that we are out of the woods, yet… For most, that will continue to mean forms of remote learning, limited social activity and having to get really creative on ways to entertain ourselves and our children.
DEEPER DOWN THE WELL
Be sure to listen to this weeks episode of the podcast to hear Amber Knowles thoughts on these challenges along with more ideas of how to meet them.