“Take care of yourself!” – Self-care for adoptive and foster parents (Part 2) . . .
In my previous post I began the discussion on how important it is for adoptive and foster parents to keep our lives “in balance” amidst all of the demands of our unique family settings. We can get so busy trying to keep our kids’ lives in balance (school, doctor/therapist/specialist appointments, crisis management, etc.) that we forget to take care of ourselves properly. We’ve all been there, and we all realize how easy it is to “get there”! Here are more helpful hints from those seven parents I mentioned previously who have a combined nearly 100 years of adoptive and foster parenting:
* ”When you are short on patience (which is a matter of when not if) check yourself that you need to take a step back and regroup--When you are just surviving, you are not thriving.”
* “In 35 years of fostering, we have learned to say ‘no.’ Not every child referred to you is a [good] fit.“
* “My husband and I take turns taking 2-3 hours to ourselves while the other takes care of our daughter. I may go shopping by myself, or just take a walk.”
* “Give yourself permission to ask for help—this is not a sign of weakness!’
* “I do yard work, read good books and interact with other foster parents.”
* “Exercise daily even if it means walking with your child in a stroller.”
* “If you are a foster parent, meet each child where they are with no expectations. DO NOT expect your friends and family to view your foster journey as you do.” (I would add that the same applies if you are an adoptive parent—M.A.)
* “Keep copies of all documentation” (emphasis mine). Document every email, text, letter and visit with case workers and social workers. Take notes on doctor’s appointments. If you are a foster parent, and in doubt about something (i.e. a policy or procedure, etc.), ask the agencies’ permission to avoid asking for forgiveness later.”
Parents, I hope these words of wisdom have been helpful for you. Again, I’d love to hear your feedback on what self-care strategies and habits have worked for you. Thanks for reading!