Friday, February 22, 2013

the travel question

Do you travel with your foster children? Do you want to?

Do you have a trusted respite provider?

How often do you use respite care?

Have you ever been denied traveling with your foster child? If so, how did you handle this?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The lowest lows

As a foster care case is on the up swing and things are going well everyone gets along and likes each other. You may even begin to believe that you are a GREAT foster parent, you maintain a respectful and friendly relationship with your foster child's parents. You bring birthday presents, Christmas presents, Valentines day gifts along with regular envelopes full of photos of your darling foster baby to his parents at visits. You are able to travel when ever you need to because your foster child's parents are eager for him to remain in your care and don't want him to have to go to respite care with strangers. You plan your travels so visits are not missed whenever possible. You actually look forward to seeing and visiting briefly with you foster child's parents. This can go on for months even years.

Suddenly after one bad day in court EVERYTHING changes.  Gone are the friendly visits, gone is ALL of the mutual respect. In fact it is as if you are invisible at visits, with the possible exception of coming into quick focus as a target for complaints and harsh words. Worse than that may be the new negative way in which your foster child is treated by his parents. This child is not meeting his parent's expectations and this must be because there is something wrong with the child and that must be your fault as the foster parent.

It is at this time that you might begin feel like a failure of a foster parent, and your first instinct may be to fight fire with FIRE. Taking the high road is an awfully steep climb and doesn't seem worth it as the instances of yelling and threatening alternate with staring straight through you like you don't exist, continue visit after visit. You lose sleep at night trying to come to terms with this sudden earth quake that has shaken you to your core.

On top of all this you may be asked to excuse and over look violently disrespectful behavior, to keep your fears to yourself and to try and be more understanding.

It sucks but the high road is the only road in this situation. You continue to make hand and foot print presents and hand over envelopes of photos. You smile and say hello each and every time even if you receive zero response to you greetings. You listen straight faced to insult after insult. You cry on the drive home after witnessing your foster child being shouted at then ignored by his parents because he can't bring himself to be happy during visits.

The good news is that all of this has NOTHING to do with you. You are the same as you ever were.

The bad news is that all of this hurts worse than a hundred bee stings.

If it weren't for that one little boy who lights up your days, you'd be running for the hills.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

My teens are really getting under my skin. This is nothing out of the ordinary, it has happened with every one of my teenagers. 

But when all of them are up in arms and agitating at the the same time it feels a bit overwhelming. Shake in a little foster care drama and...well? YOU know!

Anywho, I have decided to institute a new routine in our house:

Twice a month I will meet with each of my teens, individually, and will ask them to list two things I'm doing well to support them, make their life better, etc.. And then, and this really scares me a bit, I will ask them to share with me two things I could improve on. In return I will share with them two things I feel that they are doing well and also one thing that could use some improvement along with how I can support them in this area of their life.

I'm hoping this will help all of us have more positive communications.

In the past I had thought that doing foster care when my kids were younger would be more difficult than starting foster care when my children were older. I will never know for sure what the difference would have been for my children, but I'm quite surprised by how difficult foster care has been for my teens.