Foster and Adoptive Parents, are you feeling overwhelmed? You’re not alone my friend…
Parenting children who have experienced trauma, who have come to us from chaotic backgrounds is tough… there are gaps that need to be filled… attachments that have been broken. All too often there has been abuse and neglect. Trauma can make parenting challenging…and on top of that, we are often unaware of our own unresolved childhood trauma that can wreak havoc on our ability to parent the children we love. Awareness of these gaps, in both parent and child, can guide us to the gift of wholeness and healing.
Parenting is hard work and parenting children who have experienced trauma, who have come to us through foster care and adoption, can leave us overwhelmed and depleted. Healing from childhood trauma is a lifelong process, and parenting these children takes strength, endurance, compassion, and understanding.
A friend of ours once described his relationship with his father as one that was full of “gaps”. His father was a prison warden and emotional connection was not something he was well equipped to give his sons. He went on to say that while it was difficult at times to not get what he needed or wanted from his father emotionally, he was eventually able to find healing and strength to fill those gaps, so that he in turn, was able to offer more emotional support to his own family. He said that his search to fill those childhood gaps lead him to beautiful gifts in his life. His analogy resonated with me, not only as a child, longing for emotional connection from her parents, but as a parent, who often finds herself at a loss for how to connect with her children.
Most of our childhoods leave us with some gaps… trauma…emotional disconnection, divorce, separation, illness, death, addiction, abuse, neglect, and unfortunately, our parents are not always equipped to help us process all that trauma. Often they themselves are completely unaware of the gaps in their own childhood and how those gaps influence their parenting…Most of us step into parenting with a suitcase full of our own unfinished business. It is a vicious cycle, but a cycle that can be broken with awareness.
It’s through awareness of my own trauma, and the gifts that my trauma has given me, that I am learning to parent my children with compassion and understanding….and hope. And that’s important because as my battle cry says… “You can’t give what you don’t have”.
Click here to watch the very first episode of The Mama’s Well Podcast and for further resources visit MamasWell.com Let’s do this journey together,,,, because when Mama’s Well, all is Well.