Friday, 5 November 2010

Adoption survival tips

Being an adoptive parent isn’t always easy. Adoption Champion and mum of three, Fiona Strachan, shares some tips on how you can keep your self well during even the most challenging times.

Being a parent through adoption presents its own set of unique challenges and you can get so caught up in trying to meet everyone else’s needs that you forget to look after yourself. But, like that cliché of the safety routine, where parents are asked to put their oxygen masks on before looking after others, you too need to take care of yourself so that you can take care of others in the family.

So here’s a few reminders of things we know we should be doing but sometimes forget to...

Sleep – anyone who knows me will laugh at this one. As the children have got older and bedtime a bit later, I go to bed later because I want a bit of time in front of the tv or computer with them safely tucked up in bed. So I get less sleep but when I do take a sensible turn, and get to bed earlier, I feel so much better and more able to deal with things.
Eat – often if we’re stressed we don’t nourish ourselves properly. We might spend so much time thinking of nutrition for our children but end up eating on the run or skipping meals. Even if things are busy try to make time for regular meals and stock up on healthy snacks if you are pushed for time.
Time out – before you panic, I mean for you not your children! Even if it’s just to go into another room/sit down for a cup of tea/read a magazine, a short break can re-energise you...
• Think about the family routine – is there anything you can do to make some of the stressful times less stressful?
Talk to someone who understands
Ask for help – another thing that we can be bad at, especially if things are difficult.
Have fun – often we get so caught up in dealing with the hard stuff, we forget to have fun – it can take the pressure off and helps everyone to see each other in a different way. Keep it simple and don’t expect everyone to show that they’re having fun!!
• Remind yourself of the positives and the progress you’re making as a family – if things are difficult it’s easy to forget what has gone or is going well

There’s loads more that you can do – exercise, get outside, play some music etc. The important thing is to pay attention to your needs as well as everyone else.

Do you have any top tips you’d like to share?

Fiona runs AdoptResources and has recently launched an ebook Boosting Self Esteem in Adoption, with Naomi Richards, The Kid’s Coach. The ebook is free to download during National Adoption Week from

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