Loss and feelings are a massive subject that every parent needs to understand before embarking on their foster care and adoption journeys. Yes there are good feelings, but even those ones can be quite complicated.
In Arizona, foster parents need to complete 12 hours of training every year in order to keep their license open. Chris and I managed to get 9 in, and had to take 3 hours online. And when I say we did ‘3 hours’, the trainings we picked gave us ‘3 hours’, but it took us less than 1 hour to read through a long article, take a 20 question multiple choice test, and we were done. And by the way – Chris and I both got 100% on our tests. That’s a not so humble brag right there!
If you are in need of training hours, you can google it for the state you live in. But your best bet is to ask your licensing worker from your agency, and they should have a list of trainings you can take in person, or online. Chris and I went through fosterparents.com/training. We were issued certificates once we were done, and then we emailed those to our case worker. It’s very simple, and though the website is ugly, the trainings offered are pretty good!
Chris did his training on Feelings, and I did mine on Loss. They were very intermingled, so it worked well for us to do a podcast episode on them!
Some important things to remember about Feelings:
– Let your children talk openly about all of them. Do not bring shame, condemnation, annoyance, and other of your own negative feelings to the table when your child is trying to share with you! Don’t say things like ‘Boys don’t cry’ or ‘go to your room and calm down’
– The ‘go to your room and calm down’ phrase is all too common in many parents’ vocabularies. But it tells your kids that they need to deal with their feelings in isolation, and that you don’t care to work out their problems with them
– Do not let ‘I Don’t Know’ be the answer to questions. This is a simple way that we all choose not to engage with others, and we want to engage with our children, friends, humans. So only say it if you mean it. And teach your children to use this sparingly as well.
– Alexithymia is the feeling that no one else understands what you are saying or feeling. It is a heavy burden for kids to deal with, and we need to help our kids find the vocabulary for their feelings. Professional help is strongly advised for anyone who has Alexithymia.
– Children in foster care and adoptive homes deal with so many layers of loss. It’s one thing to have your parents pass away. It’s another thing to know your parents are alive and in some cases – living with some of your siblings, but not you. So many hard emotions and thoughts to grapple with.
– There is expected loss, which is still difficult, but at least some time to prepare for. And then there is sudden loss, which is much harder to deal with. And this is always the case for kids in care.
The losses that everyone in care is dealing with, is manifold.
For the foster children: their families, homes, toys and clothes, schools, teachers, friends, etc
For foster families: normalcy, a degree of ease and comfort, probably having to share rooms/toys/parents/attention with more kids, etc
Everyone is sacrificing, and dealing with so much. Which is why we need more grace and compassion for everyone. We have to remember to let children feel their pain, and help them to walk through it. Sometimes we need to ask for professional help as well. Check out episodes 97 & 98 to hear from a licensed clinical psychologist. Find out more about Dr. Branton’s practice at their website.
Some not important things we mentioned:
Adopting a desert tortoise through the Arizona Game and Fish organization. We got one, and our kids, and Chris, are SO HAPPY.
The Good Word of the Day
“Blessed are those who mourn,Matthew 5:4
for they will be comforted.”
In this life – we will have trouble. God knows this. And we know this. Fortunately, we can find comfort. Through the Lord. And through those around us. Let’s not suffer along. Let’s not let kids mourn and struggle alone either.
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