Practicing Self-Care as a Foster or Adoptive Parent
Doctor’s appointments, school meetings, service team meetings, case manager check-ins, and more are all a part of the ongoing schedule of life when someone becomes a licensed foster or adoptive parent. Considering how full these can make the calendar, there is little time left for new or even long-time, parents to consistently tend to their basic needs, let alone their feelings or wants. The “yes” foster and adoptive parents commit to includes a combination of joy, big and small victories, laughs, and memories that last a lifetime…as well as grief, longings, misunderstandings, and the winding journey to healing that comes after trauma.
Imagine a flight attendant spending time before take-off to explain that putting on your oxygen mask first before you begin to help anyone else in case of emergency is vital. What could seem selfish assures that the person ready to help has a clear mind and good strength to do so! It is so important to understand the value of taking time to renew and refresh yourself as a caregiver.
This information can be valuable if you are thinking of becoming a foster or adoptive parent or if you support or know a foster or adoptive family. Knowing what a foster or adoptive parent might be struggling with or striving for will allow you to be a better supporter. If you know a foster or adoptive family, check in with the parents and make sure they are able to take care of themselves as well.
What might hold someone back from taking time to care for themselves?
- It’s easier said than done
- It could feel wrong, especially if kids have special needs you are responsible for tending to
- Feeling guilty about receiving someone’s attention or assistance, when that’s normally your role to give
- The fine line between being servant-hearted and realizing you’re serving everyone but yourself
- Being overwhelmed by not knowing what would help when others ask how they can step-in
- Believing that because you chose this road, the challenges are yours to bear and not to share
Finding Value in Self-Care:
- Come to understand why it’s worth it, and then believe that you are worth taking care of
- Give yourself permission to “need” and begin to recognize and voice your needs
- Shift your daily or weekly routine around to fit self-care into it
Ideas for Self-Care
Our hope would be that this list encourages you to not just survive in this season of your life in parenting and caring for babies, kids, or teens, but that you feel worthy of enjoying life and finding a rhythm that helps you thrive! Remember that it’s not selfish or counter-productive to take time away, but it will help you to be a better parent. Your intention when you began this journey was to create a safe haven from the world for the ones that you planned to welcome into it. In the process of creating that refuge for them, you might have begun neglecting time or a space like that for you. As mentioned above, it’s easier said than done to pursue a lifestyle that allows for this, but TBHC is here to encourage you as you try. Every ounce of effort you give to find and implement what works for you and your family is going to serve you all well!
Written by Bethany Westbrook