Mary & Jeremy: Adoptive Parents of a Child with Special NeedsOctober 28, 2019
Adoption after Adoption – From the Perspective of an Adoptive MomJune 17, 2020
People used to believe that babies are born as a “blank sheet of paper” and therefore can be molded and shaped in the environment outside of the womb. But over time, we’ve learned that children are influenced long before taking their first out-of-the womb breath.
Whether you’re adopting a newborn, toddler, or teenager, they’ll all come with different forms of trauma. That could be physical trauma (like an FASD from alcohol exposure in their mother’s womb), or emotional trauma (like sensing the stress their mother felt during an unplanned pregnancy), or both.
In this post, we’ll explain what it means to be a trauma-informed parent who can help your adopted child process their feelings and what they’ve been through.
Trauma-informed parents recognize the life-changing influences of trauma.
Traumatic experiences can alter a child to the center of who they are, and parents who are working toward healing know this. Hurt children can move from brokenness to wholeness with healing parents who walk alongside them in that brokenness.
Trauma-informed parents can put themselves in their wounded child’s shoes.
When a child has experienced trauma, their perspective is tainted in how they view the world around them, the adults in their circle, and even themselves. Their lens can be tarnished, and they may view situations, people, or the world as unsafe. They may see themselves as damaged or unlovable. But a healing parent walks in their child’s shoes to understand what their child sees.
Trauma-informed parents toss aside the preconceived notions they had on how to care for their child.
It’s easy to form an idea of how to parent based on your experience with other children, advice from others, self-help books, or watching parents around you. But adoption requires new ways of thinking, parenting skills, and methods or styles. A healing, trauma-informed parent has a teachable mind and a willing heart to learn new ways of relating to your child.
Trauma-informed parents are willing to learn how to manage their own emotional responses.
Parenting in general is a challenge. Mix in trauma, and a parent will face even more challenges. As an adoptive parent, you’ll grow to manage your emotional responses to your child’s behaviors.
Some parents may find that by walking alongside their child in healing, they will unveil some of their own past issues or unresolved pains. Adoptive parents must practice self-awareness and mindfulness when responding to their child.
Trauma-informed parents should also remember to not take things personally when/if their child reacts negatively toward them. A healing parent realizes that their child’s acting out may come from a deeper broken place. Over time, you’ll learn to respond with connection, love, and a fostering heart.
Trauma-informed parents aren’t afraid to seek out help.
You have limits, no matter how much you want to be the savior your child needs. You can’t pull your child out of the deep waters if you yourself are drowning.
A healing, trauma-informed parent is willing to be vulnerable and open with others. Ask for help when you need it, and recognize that no matter how much you prepare, you won’t know all the answers. And that’s okay.
We can help you navigate the joys, challenges, and emotions that come with adoption.
Gifts of Grace Adoption Support Center has worked with expecting moms, adoptive families, and children in the Lafayette, Indiana community since 2013. We believe that quality, affordable, Christ-centered adoption services empower pregnant moms and dads, create thriving adoptive families, and help all children be placed in a loving home.