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3 reasons why I became a Wellbeing Coach supporting adoptive parents.

Updated: Jul 8, 2023

Katy Smith in her kitchen working
Katy Smith Coaching

  1. I’m an adoptive parent

In my mid 30’s, my husband and I adopted our eldest son as a baby. We adopted again 3 years later and our second son joined our family.

In our early thirties, we had 3 unsuccessful IVF attempts and knew we wouldn’t put ourselves and our bodies through this invasive procedure anymore. After a period of processing that we wouldn't have our own biological child, we realised that adoption was the natural next step for us. Relatives had adopted so we were aware of the process after speaking to them and several other people we knew.

When our eldest was placed with us, we'd been on a 7-year journey to create our family. 7 years of putting life on hold, just in case we fell pregnant naturally, just in case IVF worked, working through the adoption process - the toll emotionally of this alone meant we couldn’t concentrate on anything else.

Sole focus

Going through the adoption process and waiting to be placed with a child is the major focus in your life at the time!

Shortly after our youngest was placed and approaching 40, I knew it was time to reassess my life and where it was heading!

Don’t get me wrong, family life can mean juggling and putting your family's needs at the forefront but after putting my life on hold for10 years, it was time to work out what I really wanted to do, following my calling if you will!

Mid-life is also a time when you begin to realise that you have a lot of working years behind you and possibly less in front of you. It’s also a time when you want to do something that means you can have that balance for your family and yourself. This is what I set out to do!

2. Achieving essential Life balance

Life Balance graphic of a person in a meditation pose
Life Balance graphic

I’ve had many conversations with adoptive parents when their children are first placed, especially when they are young like ours were. After the adoption process, we all want to get on with normal family life.

Like us, you may chat with other adopters and go to adoption support groups. You may hear stories of other adopters' children struggling, as early years trauma is playing out in their behaviour.

If your family life is going well, like ours was, you might feel like a fraud for going to support groups and events, as others are going through quite tough times. I've heard adoptive parents say ‘I don't feel like a proper adoptive parent because I'm not going through any challenges’ - mad thinking when you think about it and not logical but there you are!

Then there may come a time when you see changes in behaviour and you wonder if it’s adoption-related or developmental and this is hard to unpick. Should I seek help yet from adoption support? Who can I speak to who might get it? These are all questions that may go around your head as they did ours.

Seeking support takes time

With seeking support, you realise there are lots of interventions that may help you and your child but knowing what to ask for can be a minefield.

By the time you seek support, you might already be in tears, because you don't feel like yourself and you don't know what help you need. Most adopter's agree that they should probably have sought help sooner. As the wait list can be quite long to get the interventions you may need.

You realise that meetings with social workers, school, and health appointments are all taking up a fair bit of your time and this is where getting life balance right is vital.

Family life has always been a priority for me and my work has evolved around this. From going to flexible part-time hours after we adopted our eldest to setting up my own Coaching business ( that I'm passionate about) and working around school holidays and appointments for the children.

Keeping your tank full

A woman looking tired and stressed out sat at her desk
A woman looking tired and stressed out

When we’re depleted or tired just for one day it can show up in how we react to simple questions or behaviours we are seeing. Imagine if this is ongoing, we are soon going to have an empty tank and that’s why building resilience is key to being able to support our children and get the right support for them and us if necessary.

Parenting therapeutically ( learnt through a 10-week course for 2 hours each week after the initial pre-adoption training) also takes more conscious effort and energy, it’s probably not how you were parented. Regulating our children first is something that didn’t come naturally as this wasn’t how I was parented. It’s more familiar now and I can see the benefits big time! More information on therapeutic parenting from Adoption UK can be found here.

When we’re tired though we may still snap and forget about parenting therapeutically and that’s okay - we’re all human!

Understanding what fills up our tank is essential, it's about doing those things we enjoy, be it going for a walk, taking a bath, watching a film, whatever it is for you. It's about making that time a non-negotiable!

3. Following my niggle to do something different with my life

I knew that I wanted to support and help others when the opportunity for redundancy came up in 2020 after 15 years of working for the same organisation. I faced the fear of the unknown, knowing if I didn't make a change now then when. I didn’t want to let another 15 years go by and regret not following my instincts to do something different with my life.

I now coach and support adoptive parents who have been on the rollercoaster journey to parenthood and it’s their time to put themselves first. It’s not always easy as an adoptive parent as your children will need a lot of support at times. This is where I support parents to find the right life balance for them, so they can be there for their family but also doing something they enjoy.

How I've helped parents

I’ve supported parents to build flexible portfolio careers, playing to their interests, skills, and talents. I’ve helped parents reduce their hours to suit their other commitments. and I've also helped parents to build virtual businesses.

The first step may just be to get some time for yourself as you just don’t have the headspace to think about the future just yet and I offer support here too.

I’ve supported parents who are struggling to find any time for themselves; suffering from anxiety and overwhelm most days. I’ve helped them to put themselves first and change how they view themselves, their day, and how they view life!

The support I offer

  • My signature 6-month L.I.F.E Coaching programme takes you from where you are now, helping you reconnect to who you truly are, which may have gotten lost over the years, to where you’d love to be. You’ll have a direction for the next chapter of your life, that has your wellbeing at the core, is unique to you and fits with family life.

  • If you’re struggling with anxiety, tiredness, and overwhelm, my 'Unravel' one month coaching programme will help you take back control of your week, with positive mindset tools and exercises to capture those negative spiralling thoughts before they take over you, your family and your day!

  • My online Wellbeing & Connection Circle meet every week and is a safe, nurturing, non judgemental space to support you in putting your wellbeing first, through relaxing meditations, journaling prompts, guest speakers and more. There is the opportunity to connect and chat to other adoptive parents, share advice, tips and support.

For information on the support I offer please visit:


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