One of the most vital aspects of being a caregiver of any kind is carving out time to care for yourself. We liken it to being on an airplane that’s going down. Adults must put their masks on first before helping children or others who are not capable of getting their masks on. We can only care for others for so long before we run out of oxygen and have nothing left to give.
When you combine caring for yourself and being in an environment where you are with others in your same life situation, some major renewal and healing can take place. A few months ago I had the privilege of being in just such an environment at Harmony Family Center’s Camp Montvale (see my Mudder’s Day Madness blog for more on this amazing location). Camp Montvale is a beautiful location in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains that houses Harmony Family Center’s equine therapy program and their adoptive family camps, both of which our family has participated in and loved!
“This Man Can”
I attended Harmony’s very first adoptive mom’s retreat, the theme for which was “This Mom Can.” Two things we’ve found to be true of all camps and retreats held by Harmony Family Center at Camp Montvale are they feed and serve you well, and they balance structured time with fun and down time. The retreat was about 24 hours long and consisted of two structured parent group times, two yoga sessions (one restorative and one morning yoga), s’mores by the fire, a pajama party, me time (either a guided nature walk, relaxation and self-regulation techniques, equine experience, or free time), pampering time (resting with new friends, therapeutic art, or manicure station), and lots of good food and fun.
The overwhelming consensus seemed to be that all of the moms had a blast and wanted to enjoy another retreat like it as soon as possible. I so enjoyed connecting with moms I knew previously and getting to know them better and making new friends. I met moms who were walking some of the extremely difficult, heart-wrenching parts of the foster care adoption journey that we were living through. The sense of connection and validation was so refreshing.
Retreats such as this one provide a very targeted way for foster and adoptive parents to get some much needed self care. I highly recommend caregivers find and take advantage of a retreat especially for adoptive or foster parents. Check out my video to see some of the retreat up close!