That's why LoveMoves.Us exists.
Family Gatherings provide you with community, encouragement, and support. They offer shared experience, and provide guidance and tools to help you with your parenting.
But there is one critical aspect that tends to get overlooked. Family Gatherings aren’t just for you.
They’re not just for when you are in crisis.
They’re not just for when you need help.
They’re not just for finding community.
Don’t underestimate the impact of Family Gatherings on your children's well-being.
I recently spoke with a transracial adoptee who received her doctorate in anthropology and has used her experience and voice to help other parents and organizations understand the adoptee perspective. She offers insight and consults on how we can be better parents to adoptees.
She told me that Family Gatherings are vital for children who have been in foster care or were adopted. Here's why:
- Attachment and Trust: Changes in caregivers and environments can disrupt a child's ability to form secure attachments. This is true for many children who were adopted at birth also. This can lead to difficulties in trusting others, forming healthy relationships, and regulating emotions. Family Gatherings offer a safe community that teaches parents how to form attachment with their children to build trust, and teaches children how to regulate their emotions.
- Identity and Self-Esteem: Growing up in a non-traditional family, many children wrestle with their identity impacting their self-esteem. At Family Gatherings, children find friends, see families like theirs, other kids of the same ethnicity, and others who are adopted or in foster care, assuring them they are not the only ones. When they are able to build a strong sense of identity, it builds their self-esteem.
- Emotional Support and Behavioral Struggles: The trauma of being removed from their biological families and experiencing struggles with identity, loss, and trauma can lead to emotional and behavioral challenges. Children might exhibit anger, anxiety, depression, or exhibit acting-out behaviors because they haven’t learned how to get their needs met in healthy, positive ways. Getting the right tools as a parent, normalizing your child’s experience, and teaching them ways to regulate their emotions helps to ease behavioral issues. When they learn that a safe adult will meet their needs, behaviors start to lessen.
- Loss and Grief: Children who are adopted or in foster care often feel a strong sense of loss, not only of their biological families but also of relationships, familiar surroundings, and routines. This ongoing sense of loss and grief can impact their emotional well-being. Finding a community of others who experience these things normalizes their experience. This becomes increasingly important as the child gets older - particularly around ages 11-14.
- Normalization and Belonging: Growing up in non-traditional family settings, many children question their identity and sense of belonging. By attending Family Gatherings, you contribute to creating a sense of normalcy for your children. As you gain insights into strategies that work, children witness the unity and strength within the community, which reassures them that they are not alone on this journey.
Being a part of Family Gatherings is a strong support for parents. But Family Gatherings help children foster a strong sense of identity, normalize their experience, and help them cope with grief and loss in healthy ways.
By participating in Family Gatherings, you demonstrate your commitment to the holistic well-being of your families…and you just might encourage or help another family even when you don’t feel like you need the support.
Your journey of foster and adoptive parenting is one that requires trauma-informed, attachment-based, patient, empathetic, almost-therapeutic parenting; and being a part of a community that encourages you in this helps you and your children all the more.
If you haven't been a part of LoveMoves.Us Family Gatherings, I encourage you to check one out, or start one in your area. Your active involvement will undoubtedly play a vital role in shaping brighter futures for our children.
Advocating for our children,