An interesting article from the Chronicle of Social Change – Foster and adoptive mom Carrie Dahlin shares thoughts on navigating food challenges she faces with the children in her home.
Read on here:
When my husband and I got married, we had to learn how to combine our ideas of meals and grocery shopping. We both grew up with different types of food and as you would expect when a newly married couple come together, grocery shopping was tricky to navigate. While it was a fun adventure to shape our household, it brought many opportunities for compromise.
My husband grew up having butter in the house and I grew up with margarine. We each had specific brands and tastes that we were used to such as which cheese or bread we wanted or how we made pizza crust. I remember compromising on many items in those first few years, but if you came over, you would probably see that we still had two different brands of toothpaste or two different types of other small favorites. Over the years we have shaped the food culture with our own kids and have new family favorites.
I often think of this scenario with new foster kiddos who come into our care. Only I try to consider the child’s point of view, who was removed from their home, put in the care of people they didn’t yet love, in an environment they never knew with strange smells, new foods and a different routine. I remind myself that they will not want to compromise on every area, let alone understand why their peanut butter and jelly looks different or why pizza has thin crust instead of thick crust.
Food is often an area where the kids in our care can struggle because the food we all eat as a child is part of our culture. Many meals can bring a sense of comfort, or even trigger memories. Often times, food and nutrition can be a sense of stress for a child, if they have a history of neglect, which causes intense emotions. I have had many children who didn’t even want to sit at the table, or felt overwhelmed eating at family gatherings. I have also raised kids who don’t know how to regulate when they are full, so food is something they constantly seek. We don’t think about how much food culture can impact a child or how much we will have to focus on getting through obstacles regarding food while they are in our home.