Welcome back to my blog post series about Key Connections For Adoptive and Foster
Parents. Parenting children with trauma histories is an arduous journey which at times
can feel isolating. That’s why it’s vital for us to make connections with other adoptive
and foster parents.
Why Common Connections?
Our kids have trauma histories and probably a capital letter disorder—the alphabet soup
of ADHD, ADD, FASD, SPD, ODD, PTSD, etc. Trauma, special needs, and learning
challenges often present as difficult behaviors which make it hard for us to enjoy
fellowship with other families. Families not like ours.
Our parenting techniques are different as well or should be (see blog for Key #4). We
don’t need advice from well intentioned friends, relatives, or leader of the homeschool
co-op about how to discipline our kids. We need friends who are in the trauma-trenches
with us. Parents who get our kids and understand how hard it is.
In the early days of parenting my oldest adopted child, I wasn’t trauma informed. The
traditional parenting techniques I used with our biological kids were not successful with
our daughter. And I tried all the suggestions made by well meaning friends of neuro-
typical kids. None of them worked either. Time-out, spanking, early bedtime, removal of
privileges and other consequences never worked and only hindered the parent-child
After bringing home our sibling group of four through international adoption, I knew our
family had embarked on a much different journey than most of my friends. While I have
maintained some of those earlier friendships, I’ve had to expand my circle. Now, those I
pour my heart out to and seek advice from are fellow adoptive and foster moms.
Though we don’t live near each other (some not even in the same state) we make it a
point to connect. We learn from each other, and support and encourage one another.
These connections have been instrumental in spurring me on along my parenting
Ways to Connect
In person connections are food for the soul. Even if you know just one other adoptive or
foster parent—intentionally connect with them. Meet for coffee, take a walk together, go
to lunch, or meet for dessert after the kids are in bed.
Set up a group text with other adoptive and foster parents. Mom to mom or dad to
dad—it’s a great way to request prayer, seek advice, and share struggles and victories.
Facebook groups exist for everything: Adoption, foster care, FASD, homeschooling,
even FASD homeschooling. Find a group that fits your need and join the conversation.
Many churches, ministries and agencies have adoptive and foster parent support
groups. Seek out one near you for in-person or online fellowship and support.
Podcasts are a great way to feel connected. I have discovered a world of
encouragement and support through weekly episodes hosted by and featuring parents
in the trauma trenches. Some of my favorites include:
The Empowered Parent Podcast
FASD Family Life
The Adoption Connection
Orphans No More (mine)
If you are not connecting regularly with other adoptive and foster parents, whether in
person, virtually, or via podcast, I urge you to explore opportunities that fit your needs
and plug in. These life-giving connections will breathe life into you and better equip you
for the parenting journey.