Can we get real for a second my fellow burnt-out foster and adoptive parents?
If I were a fly on the wall in your home, I might find:
You tip-toeing on eggshells around your child and their power struggles, fearful of the next outburst or meltdown.
Receiving high-fives and near saint-hood from people because “you’ve saved these children” through foster care or adoption, but inside you are buried with shame at how often you lose your patience with kids who have already endured so much.
You know you need help but barely survive each day of therapy, appointments, visitation, calls from the school, and behaviors before you crash into a chocolate/ice cream/carb/wine/Netflix coma at night, and you simply don’t have the energy for ONE more thing.
It’s not like you set out on this journey wanting to end up like this.
You took all the agency’s required classes and truly felt prepared. But I’m here to tell you, it’s not your fault.
What you may be experiencing is called Secondary Trauma. Your nervous system has started to respond to your children with the same cortisol levels as a combat veteran. Your child’s trauma and the way it effects them is not their fault, but it’s still hard for their caregivers and that’s not your fault either.
Adoptive mom to 3 kids under 4
Parenthood was a hard-fought road for me. After a couple of harrowing diagnoses, my dreams of becoming a mom began to unravel.
Now as a mom to three beautiful adopted kiddos (all under four!), I am using what I’m learning in my quiet times to gain wisdom in this crazy season of parenthood. I am hands down a more patient, loving parent when I meet with Jesus that morning. Not that my circumstances magically get easier, but I have someone to walk with me and his truth resounding in my mind and heart every step of the way.
YOU NEED MORE THAN JUST A BUBBLE BATH AND A LONG WALK. You need simple, effective, research based steps to recover from
and caregiver burnout so you can show up for your child.
Parenting Through Valleys gives you 6 simple steps to overcome burnout as a foster + adoptive parent. It is founded on brain-based strategies to help you recover in just 20 minutes per day.
6 lessons are included with 6 weeks of optional journal activities.
Every lesson is infused with the transforming power of the Bible and includes burnout recovery stories from fellow foster and adoptive moms and dads, and adoptees who have been there and used these brain-based tools for profound change.
You can’t keep going like this. I’ve been there, so desperate, triggered, and alone I was ready to rehome some of my adoptive children. It’s time for a change.
"Our kids were never meant to fulfill in us what only Christ can. We are not guaranteed their happiness, health, salvation, or aiming properly for the toilet."
"Accepting ourselves as broken human beings raising broken human beings, is the fertile ground we need to heal."
Take a peek inside . . .
First and foremost, you can't get through this book without a serious encounter with the word of God and his love and grace over you. Even if you are not a person of faith, you will still receive incredible support and timeless wisdom from the Bible. People of all beliefs are welcome, but if you don't prefer Christian subjects, this may not be right for you.
Secondly, you'll hear directly from other foster and adoptive parents, including myself, and adoptees about the unique challenges they have faced, and how they used the tools in Parenting Through Valleys to find healing. You will walk away from this book feeling that you are not alone in this journey.
Third, you will go through 6 modules:
Module 1 wellness assessment and nervous system recovery including sleep, gratitude and movement.
Module 2 covers the basics of why you feel so bad and how to uncover problem thoughts.
Module 3 includes a powerful CBT tool for getting past pain points and a parent example vignette.
Module 4 includes practical tasks to simplify your life and clutter, and manage your tasks in a season of crisis.
Module 5 covers the topics of parenting shame, pain, fear, and emotions with practical tools for overcoming them.
Module 6 covers expectations, forgiveness, people pleasing, building community and having fun.
Lastly, each module contains 5 daily corresponding journals using the principles of the Bible, gratitude, and cognitive behavioral therapy as their base. These can easily be done in 20 minutes per day. They are optional but I strongly suggest you complete at least one from each module so you really cement and put into practice what you're learning.
Loss is part of their stories, and no matter how desperately we want to love it away, we don’t have the power to rewrite the past. The pain of accepting the broken parts of our kids, is part of accepting the whole of who they are. I would give everything I had if I could heal my daughter’s wounds, but instead Jesus is asking me to walk with them in their brokenness. Isn’t that the same as what he does for us? -pg109
"The very best gift you can give your spouse and children, is the gift of your own wholeness and happiness. It’s not your family’s job to make you happy or to watch out for your needs." -pg 84
"The problem with people pleasing, is it seems kind and altruistic on the surface, but at the core is manipulation. We change who we are, say yes when we don’t want to, and pander for the approval of others. If you’re not letting someone down at some point, you’re probably not doing it right. God has already approved of what you do, and that’s all that matters." -pg136
Dad to 5, including 3 older adopted special needs kids
At our lowest, I was so focused on my wife and how I perceived her to be the root of all our problems, that I walked away from our marriage for a short time. I allowed Satan to drive a wedge between us and take away what should have been the time when we stood arm in arm together. Instead, I caused us both to be swimming upstream alone, without a paddle.
God didn’t give up on me or my family though. He knew what we needed to be reminded of, that He would fight our battles. Through much prayer, getting back into God’s Word, and counseling, I worked on not checking out when life got hard.
Frequently asked questions . . .
How will I receive my copy of Parenting Through Valleys?
You can order below and receive an instant PDF copy of the complete 160 page book Parenting Through Valleys sent directly to your inbox for $32
Can I receive training hours for the book?
That depends on your agency's requirements, but in many cases, yes you can. Simply email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with a request for a training certificate, and a summary of what you learned from the book, and I will email you a certificate for 4 hours of continued education.
Mom of 5, two who were internationally adopted as older kids
I stuffed down the loneliness of trying to bond with two girls who resisted my efforts and ended up with chronic headaches for six months. I gained thirty pounds and struggled with debilitating upper back pain. I sold my gym and slowed down long enough to listen to my thoughts and allow myself to feel everything I had been pushing away. I knew if the one who formed the heavens, earth, sky, waters, animals, and stars rested, so should I. While there were many other things I did to process my emotions, I started with sleep, rest, and abiding in Christ. When I could think straight, I was able to feel again. God did amazing things with my story as I began to unpack the emotions buried deep.
Adoptee, and adoptive mom
Before we adopted, we took several months of comprehensive classes that taught us about most adoption issues; or so we thought. Being adopted myself, I felt prepared and sensitive to the challenges they would face. However, nothing could have prepared us for the dynamic changes to come in our social connections and family supports.
Some have even chosen to distance themselves from us because they are not capable of dealing with the daily behaviors or routines. We finally came to understand that we are not alone and that it truly does require a village to succeed in raising these children. Through our numerous newly found contacts, we were given insight to alternative therapies, testing, and out of the box advice for the unique situations we faced.
"The savior persona we are assigned by the world looking into our lives as foster and adoptive parents, is ultimately cancer to our souls. We can never live up to it. We are utterly and entirely unable to be the savior of our children. When we expect perfection of ourselves, we place ourselves on the throne of God, and the result is shame at ourselves, and anger at our kids. What if B- parenting was good enough?" -pg105
You and your kids can't keep going like this any longer!