Today on the podcast, we are talking about a special kind of care in the foster care community called kinship care. Kinship care is when children are cared for by grandparents, extended family members, or unrelated adults with whom they have a close family-like relationship.
Caregivers providing kinship care often face unique challenges and abrupt changes to their life plans. In addition to dealing with the circumstances leading to the need for kinship care, their lives are overhauled with the unexpected introduction of the child now in their care.
Sharing her experience with us is Rachel Mahnke, a Certified Wellness Coach, Trauma Informed Parent, Life Coach, Therapeutic Art Facilitator, author, and adoptive parent of her biological grandchildren. When life took an unexpected turn, Rachel went from a soon-to-be empty nester to providing kinship care to her two little grandchildren.
This episode holds so much wisdom and honesty, and I am eager to share it with you!
TAKEAWAYS FROM TODAY’S CONVERSATION:
1. It’s normal to mourn the future you lost.
In the case of kinship care, you aren’t just dealing with the new reality of caring for these children; you are also mourning the loss of the life path you thought you were on. Your entire future has changed and you are now adapting to a whole new reality. It is okay to mourn that loss and feel disappointment.
“This is not the life I expected to choose. But this is the path I now choose.”
2. Kinship care is unique.
While there are similarities between others in the foster care community, it is also very different. Foster parents have chosen this path generally, but this comes as a surprise for grand-families and kinship care cases. Give yourself space to navigate and be honest about the challenges that this journey holds.
“Every adoption begins with a breaking away and rebuilding.”
3. Kinship care families need special support.
In many of these cases, caregivers are playing catch up trying to learn the system all while dealing with their own feelings and trying to parent a new child. They need special support as they became unexpected parents overnight. Even just a caring phone call or being a listening ear can go a long way in providing support and encouragement.
“We just want someone to listen. It meant the world to me that somebody knew that I am here. It just felt like life support.”
- Join Team 3:10
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- Grandfamilies Today Website
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- [BOOK] Grandmothers Raising Their Grandchildren: From Broken Pieces to Peace and Purpose; One Family’s Journey of Addiction to Adoption
- [BOOK] Growing up in a “Grandfamily”: A Kitten’s Tale of Being Adopted Into a “Grandfamily” By Her Grandparents
Meet Our Guest
Rachel Mahnke is a Certified Wellness Coach, Trauma Informed Parent, Life Coach, Therapeutic Art Facilitator, author, and adoptive parent of her biological grandchildren. When life took an unexpected turn, Rachel went from a soon-to-be empty nester to providing kinship care to her two little grandchildren. In a sense, she was starting the parenting journey all over again. Rachel’s passion is to spread the word about “grand-families” and how others can love and support this unique form of foster care. Rachel and her husband, Lee, live in Missouri where they run a historic AirBnB. They have 10 biological children, 3 stepchildren, and 12 grandchildren.
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