I have been reticent until recent years to share some things that I consider privacy sensitive. Our perspectives on where the boundaries are can change over time.
It is a topic in adoption related groups that the balance is difficult to determine. There are adoptive parents who upon meeting you will immediately share with you that their children are adopted and have trauma histories. Realize you only just met and they don’t really know you or you them. That is considered in poor taste now within our modern society.
An enlightened adoptive parent may wish to be aware of not owning their adopted child. The adoptive parent may take care not to ignore the original family. At the same time, the adoptive parent may be concerned that they don’t stigmatize their child by making an issue of the child’s adoption.
One balance can be to remain open to discussing adoption while not initiating the conversation. The context in which it comes up matters.
It appears that oversharing is often related to wanting to be acknowledged for doing a “good deed”. Saving a child’s life – is often NOT the truth – no matter how much the adoptive parent would like to believe that. Adoptive parents have often not accepted their role in separating a mother and child.
Adoptive Parents in some groups want to be quick to point out that the behavior they’re asking for help managing is NOT A RESULT OF THEIR PARENTING. Some Pro-Life adoptive parents overshare to burnish their credentials – I saved this child from abortion by convincing her mother to give her up to me instead. You get the idea . . .
Before you overshare, ask yourself – Why does anyone need to know ? There may be times. Just be selective and consider whether sharing will eventually cause some kind of problem in the future.
In a private group I belong to, this story was shared –
“I’m at a loss. We have a Foster Son age 2 and a Foster Son age 5. The 5 year old will not listen at all. We ask him to do something and he acts out or does the opposite. We have had them for a week and I have cried every night I am so stressed. I have thought of everything. I reward him for being good and it doesn’t help. I need help please.”
~ desperate Foster Parent
One of the responses was this – Seriously? You’ve had them a week and you’re upset that they are having a hard time adjusting? If you don’t have the decency to understand that these kids go through absolute hell when they are removed and placed into your home you shouldn’t be allowed to foster. Who certifies these people/trains them? Who ever it is needs to be fired.
Did you know that there are hundreds of thousands of children in the US foster care system? Some recent data indicates that 690,548 children spent time in the foster care system during 2017. Many children in the foster system demonstrate post-traumatic stress like symptoms. This affects their development, coping skills, emotional regulation, relationships and attachments.
When the child has had some time to process the situation, learning meditation, relaxation and breathing techniques may be a method of learning to calm their own self, under their own control. A lack of control over their circumstances is one aspect of their acting out behavior.
Learning to replace negative thoughts with more positive ones can help the child develop a more healthy sense of self. These children need a safe play area and a nurturing environment. Over time, the children will need to learn to recognize triggers in order to gain control over their emotional states. Foster parents need discernment to ignore minor behaviors. By improving this parent-child relationship, the child may feel more supported in their everyday life.
Nothing a foster parent can do beyond patience, love, acceptance and an attempt to understand from the child’s perspective will work miracles overnight. The trauma suffered will be deep and unfortunately, to some degree, last a lifetime.