PARENTS & CAREGIVERS:
Reach Out and Ask for Help, Even When You Are Not Sure if You Really Need It
By Madonna M. Green, LICSW Program Manager & Therapist
Take a few minutes and read this article.
As a professional who works with and supports adoptive and guardianship families, reading true stories about failed adoptions always makes me pause, think and reflect. The title, “It takes more than love” is, for lack of a better way to say it, true for many parents and caregivers. As a social worker, I had to learn about children who are separated from their birth parents and how that impacts them from day one. I had to learn, over and over and over again, that abuse and neglect – even only a “little bit” – impacts young ones (18 and under) in deep, profound, confusing and counter-intuitive ways. To keep my focus, I regularly imagine what it is like to be the full-time parent to a child who is so hurt and traumatized that every day, sometimes every moment, is a struggle for the child or teen to do his best, or comply with typical expectations of the parent-child relationship.
I know parents embark on the adoption journey with high hopes, great expectations, and the very best of intentions. At the beginning of the adoption or foster care process, parents are bombarded with so much information, some wonderful and exciting….and some scary. Even with a solid foundation and armed with a lot of information, it is easy for parents to forget or ignore the bad stuff because you want to parent a child who needs one. When the reality of parenting a hurt and traumatized child hits (and the honeymoon is over), many parents find themselves feeling frustrated, hurt, overwhelmed and alone.
My message to parents involved in the adoption or guardianship process, whether you are adopting an infant, a young child, tween or teen – Do not wait. ASK FOR HELP! Even when you think to yourself, “I can handle this” or “It has to get better”, reach out for help. Adoptions Together recognizes that parents and caregivers deserve support when choosing to adopt children that can be a significant challenge to parent successfully. The children in your lives deserve support that honors their experiences. Parents who choose to parent children with loss, trauma and attachment issues are good people who want to enrich the life of a child and create a loving and stable home. Yes, parents, you deserve support and empathy too.
Whether you are struggling or simply want to enhance your parenting skills, Adoptions Together offers education, counseling support, and ongoing guidance to help you be the best parent you can be to children in need of forever families. Just need to talk to someone, someone who will listen and understand? Adoptions Together offers phone coaching for parents, as well as in-person therapy services. You may also want to check out our online parent workshops or attend an in-person training session where you can meet other parents and connect to Adoptions Together. Remember that you are not alone and that there is help available. Reach out and connect!