Now you might be wondering about me, since my last post was about getting therapy for yourself…but I still believe, regardless of our need for help as parents, we can still be all in on our kids. To be the mom or dad who is all in on their kid… I never realized that’s what I wanted to be, or that it was anything other than what most people were doing. I thought, up to this point, that I was simply doing what any mom would do, but that might not be the case.
Recently I was talking with a friend who was seeking some advice on how to help a student in her classroom. This friend had worked with my son when he was much younger (about the same age of her preschool class room students) and she asked me for some ideas on what to do to help him. I gave her a couple suggestions and then asked why she came to me…she knows lots of preschool teachers who have plenty of “tricks and tips”…why ask me? And she said “I know you can help me because you are all-in on your son.”
And those words struck me.
I mean, I felt like I was all in, but I feel like I’m all in on all three of my boys. But what was most surprising was that anyone noticed…because I try to be a generally positive person and think the best of people…and believe that most of us are “all in” on our kids, so how am I any different? But as I step back and consider that, it might be more that I am SEEMINGLY more so all in on him because he has needed me to be. His biological family couldn’t, or wouldn’t, and so when he was a tiny little medically fragile infant, he needed an advocate, he needed an ally, he needed a fierce mama who was going to go to bat for him, no matter what.
And so, even though you might not have a severely medical child in your care, you most-likely have a child who needs a fierce mama or papa to be all in for them. So, how do you do that? I would just encourage you to pay close attention to the signs you’re seeing, don’t be afraid to advocate for them with the medical professionals (I mean, they know a lot, but they don’t know it all…tell them what you see and ask for testing, education, information, medication, etc.), make the effort to connect with them, and read ALL the things you can about trauma. Do everything you can so they can achieve the very best version of themselves.
If you’re still stuck on this idea, maybe consider this: if any child in your care was diagnosed with a condition about which you knew nothing, what would you do? How would you respond? You’d read all the books, you’d join the support groups, you’d find your people and seek answers and figure out what life looks like now with this new diagnosis. It’s the same with kids from hard places. Granted, there might be other diagnoses at play as well, but you can also become informed on them too.
Now, per my post previously about not being afraid to get help when needed; I know it’s hard to be the all-in parent. I know it’s costly, and heartbreaking and really all consuming. I find that I think about my kids a lot and how I can help them. But especially I think about my youngest. “What’s going on, what can I do, how can I help, what might be triggering him, what is working well, what should we change, what should we keep the same?” It goes on, and on, and on about all the things. And also, in spite of all of our efforts, there’s still a lot of work for him to do to be able to grow and mature into a functional (and…fingers-crossed) productive member of society. So, we will continue to be all in for him, because honestly, it’s what we signed up for. We wouldn’t, and I know you foster parents out there wouldn’t, have it any other way.