Maintaining Relationships When Adopting or Fostering

We don’t just bring kids into our homes; we bring them into our marriage and relationships. Marriages and relationships can be particularly challenged when parenting kids who have been exposed to trauma. We talk with Amy Garber, MSW and LICSW, the Manager of the Post Adoption Program with Wide Horizons for Children, a child welfare organization. We also talk with Anne Meijers, a licensed clinical social worker, specializing in adult and couples therapy.

In this episode, we cover:

  • Our goal should be for our marriage or relationships to be around long after the kids leave home. This takes being proactive because if we’re not careful our relationship becomes all about parenting or fostering. Managing relationships when adopting or fostering is important.
  • How can kids enhance a marriage or relationship? 
  • We know that kids who’ve experience trauma can be challenging to parent and can test a marriage or a relationship.
  • Why are children adopted or fostered past infancy, children with prenatal exposure, and kids who have experienced trauma often harder to parent? 
  • Creating a Family has many courses on Trauma Informed Parenting.
  • What are some of the stresses that relationships may face when fostering or adopting kids who’ve been exposed to trauma? 
  • Feeling isolated
  • One parent wanting to adopt or foster more than the other 
  • Blame from the outside or between the parents
  • Grief- that parenting is harder or less fun than you anticipated, etc.
  • What are some situations that children who’ve experienced trauma can bring to the family and be particularly difficult for the marriage?
  • Disagreement on how to handle behaviors
  • Triangulation
  • What are some signs that you are neglecting your marriage?
  • How can trauma or neglect in the parent’s background impact the marriage once children arrive?
  • How to handle extended family members (grandparents, etc.) that are negatively impacting your relationship?
  • Tips for strengthening relationships when adopting or fostering while parenting kids who’ve been exposed to trauma, including prenatal exposure.
  • Special issues for single parents.
    • We encourage single parents to establish a support network. How can challenging kids test this network?
    •  How can single parents find support?
    • Tips for singles to strengthen their support network and relationships.

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Music Credit: Michael Ashworth