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June 2021 – North Dakota Post Adopt Network
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Monthly Archives

June 2021

Food Insecurity

By | Parenting

Imagine going into your child’s bedroom and finding candy wrappers and scraps of food. Garbage is hidden under their bed, behind their dresser, in their closet, or any other hiding place. Or recently stocking up on groceries to later find snacks missing from the pantry. Your child may also struggle with eating too quickly or get easily upset surrounding food. You may start to feel frustration as this continues to happen.

Unfortunately, your child may have past trauma surrounding food. For example, in their early childhood food may have been withheld, or they may have lived in an environment where food was scarce. Knowing how to respond to food insecurity behaviors can be beneficial to help your child develop a healthy relationship with food.

I have provided some different ideas and suggestions on how to help your child with their food insecurity. I want to note that it is very important to not blame your child for their food insecurity behaviors, as it is their way of survival. It will take time to help your child feel safe with food.

  1. Put together a “yes basket” or a “food basket” filled with healthy snacks that children can grab whenever they may feel hungry, or just need to be able to see food. Providing your child with a food basket can help them understand that food will always be available. You can also create a food basket in the refrigerator for cold foods. It is essential to understand that the basket you create, you cannot say no to. Pick items that you feel good about giving your children at all hours of the day – morning, afternoon, night, or even right before supper.
  2. Eat meals together. Eating meals together can help children develop a better relationship and attachment with food. This can also help model appropriate eating skills, such as slowing down or using utensils. Another benefit of eating meals together is that it may strengthen their bond and attachment with you as their caregiver.
  3. Work with a trained therapist. Working with a therapist can help with addressing the underlying cause of the food insecurity, whether that may be trauma or a major life change.

This blog post was written by Post Adopt Coordinator, Jaclyn Stroehl, LBSW

Loss and Grief as a Parent

By | Parenting

I recently attended the Insight Conference, where I learned from a variety of parents and professionals on various topics relating to foster care and adoption.  Each of the speakers offered so much information, education, and encouragement.  The portion of this conference that stood out to me the most was Jeff Noble’s, “Navigating Grief & Loss as a Caregiver.”  This breakout session focused specifically on caregivers!  I wanted to share some of the items from this piece to help provide some awareness and encouragement.

When entering the world of fostering and adoption, parents may have a few hopes, dreams, and expectations of what is to come.  Some common themes include excitement, happiness, and joy.  Parents may have a strong desire to welcome a child into their home to share their favorite traditions from their childhood.  Parents may expect gratitude from their children and days filled with family fun activities and other days filled with quietness.  Some parents may have had a basic understanding that parenting could be hard at times, but would be easy overall.

Continuing in this journey, the reality of what can be experienced in parenting children from trauma sets in.  Some parents shared that parenting was more difficult than anticipated, not expecting the good and difficult times to be such a rollercoaster.  Parents have expressed they experience sadness that turns into anger, stress, resentment, and frustration.  Parents expressed there were feelings of rejection.  Parents also expressed humbling experiences intertwined with these tough situations involved in the daily life of parenting.  It’s important to recognize that there may be a plethora of emotion experienced in parenting, and that there may be grief that accompanies this journey.

This grief may stem from a sense of loss for things you might not have even noticed you had longed for when starting the journey.  Some parents have shared loss can include hopes and dreams they had for their family, their future, and the child’s future.  There may be a sense of loss from meeting milestones later than expected or even meeting these milestones differently compared to other families.  Parents may experience a loss of self-esteem or feel as though they are incompetent as a parent, and lose stability as a family unit.  Some parents expressed a loss of supports, including support from a spouse and/or immediate family members.

These emotions and desires parents hold for their family are normal.  So is the grief that may also accompany.  This journey can feel like a roller coaster and can seem lonely at times.  Find connection, whether through a support group or a friend who may on a similar journey.  Call your Post Adopt Coordinator for assistance, or a listening ear!  This journey doesn’t have to be walked alone!

This blog post was written by Post Adopt Coordinator, Darcy Solem, LBSW

Summer Fun!

By | Parenting

With the kids out of school and the weather warming up fast, it’s time to start planning summer activities.  As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to alter daily life, many families will find themselves staying closer to home than they usually would during the active summer months. Fortunately, there’s lots of summer joy to be had right in your backyard—or on your balcony, in your living room, and around the neighborhood. Summer activities are fun to anticipate together as a family. Still the change from a structured school year to a less structured summer break may be overwhelming for some adopted or guardianship kids who may have been ill-treated or unloved.

To survive the summer, you will want to acknowledge that change may be hard for many kids.  Therefore, you will want to be intentional with setting up a new summer routine for them.  It may be a more laid-back schedule, but this will provide a sense of security and boundaries for your youth. Ask them to help you make the new schedule. Introduce them to your family’s current tradition, ask them about their traditions and create a few new summer traditions.  Here are a few creative suggestions for summer activities:

  • Backyard camping. Your kids may be too small to go camping at a campsite or park, but why not start in the backyard?
  • Plant flowers or vegetables. Use the summer to teach your kids how to plant! Plant flowers or vegetables in your flower bed or in a pot by your home. They can water it every day and watch them bloom!
  • Go to the farmer’s market. You don’t have to travel far to open up your kids’ worlds. Going to your local farmer’s market can be a fun outing as well as a way for showing them all of the different and colorful foods!
  • Berry picking. Now is the time to indulge in the season! From strawberries, blueberries, raspberries to blackberries, there are places in our state that will let you pick them for free or for a small entrance fee. Top of Form
  • Go to a flea market or garage sale. See if the kids are better negotiators than you!
  • Go to a local carnival or county fair. Eat cotton candy, elephant ears, or something unhealthy at least once this summer.
  • Collect rocks and paint them. Then, turn them into pet rocks, garden ornaments, or gifts for family members.
  • Make good use of nearby parks. Go to your local park’s website, and print the schedule of activities and hang it on your refrigerator.
  • Play croquet on the lawn, and try boccie too.
  • Play outside in the rain. Smell the rain on the pavement; splash in puddles; make mud pies.
  • Make fresh lemonade or sun tea. Enjoy it on the front porch with some homemade cookies, or sell it at a lemonade stand.
  • Make ice cream. Turn it into ice cream sandwiches or enjoy it on its own.

Whether you turn this list into your summer bucket list or pick a few of your favorites, you will make great memories. The key is to slow down and enjoy the summer months with your family. Having a plan will help you survive together and it can help you thrive together. Don’t let your kids have all the fun—many of these activities are fun for the whole family to share. So join in!

This blog post was written by Post Adopt Coordinator, Kim Waswick, LBSW