Special Edition: Navigating Birth Parent Relationships

By July 15, 2019September 9th, 2019Podcast

“You are not going to do this perfectly. Give yourself grace.”

As foster or adoptive parents, we often feel at a loss of how to help our kids process the complexity of emotions surrounding their birthparents. In today’s special edition episode, you will hear a message that our host, Jami Kaebgave to a group of foster and adoptive parents this past Spring at CAFO 2019 Summit. Listen in as Jami focuses on 3 areas: helping your child process their feelings about their birth parents, caring for and pursuing a relationship with your child’s birth parent, and creating and maintaining healthy boundaries.

TAKEAWAYS FROM TODAY’S SHOW

1. Help your child process their feelings about their birth parents.

Each child’s story is unique, and how they process their feelings about their birth parents will look unique too. Some children know very little about their birth parents, and some are in regular contact. In any case, perhaps the most important way you can help your child process their feelings is by telling them and showing them over and over that no matter what they feel, it is okay. 
Don’t try to brush their feelings off, rationalize them away, or allow their sadness to threaten their love for you. They need you to ask, to show them empathy, and to continue to be there for them. 

2. Show love and when possible, pursue a relationship with your child’s birth parent.

Just as you seek to understand your child, get to know your child’s birth parent as well. Your child’s birth parent is not your enemy. They, too, have a story. When you build a relationship, you have an opportunity to share your source of peace and hope, Jesus. 
When a relationship is not possible, continue to speak kindly of your child’s birth parent. Pray for them. Open the door to conversation with your children about them. Don’t make them feel like they have to choose between you and their birth family. 

3. Create boundaries in your relationshipswith birth parents.

Healthy relationships are beautiful, but relationships can also get complicated and become messy, so we must set healthy boundaries for us and our children when it comes to birth parents. Your season of life, emotional margin, and particular situation will all impact the boundaries you create. Also, know that there are times where you may need to re-examine your boundaries, and it’s okay to make adjustments based upon what will be best for you and your children. 
Give yourself grace as you navigate this relationship. The good news is: there is no perfect way to do this. In fact, you are not going to do this perfectly. We must rely on the One who is always perfect, Jesus.

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We hope this episode has helped you wherever you are on your foster care journey. That’s the goal! If so, will you tell others?

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Meet Our Guest

Adoption, foster care, and advocacy were not part of Jami’s dreams for her life, but God changed her heart when He made her aware, and she is passionate about helping others become aware too! She and her husband Clint are parents to their seven children (five through adoption).

Foster Parents, check with your agency to see if listening to this podcast will count toward your foster care training hours!

Special thanks to Resonate Recordings for their knock-it-out-of-the-park podcast production services! If you have a podcast or want to start one, reach out to our friends at Resonate!

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