Foster Care Wishlist Pt. Deux

Now that we have been Fostering school aged children for over 7 months, and have been foster parents for over a year, we felt it was time to add provide an update to our list of necessary and/or helpful items for foster parents. Our first Foster Care Wishlist was one of our most popular posts to date, and we have heard from many of our readers, including perspective, new, and veteran parents and foster parents, that it has been very helpful for them.  When we wrote our first Foster Care Wishlist, it was based on our experience as new foster parents, and geared more towards babies and toddlers, since for the most part those were the kiddos in our home. This list is an update, and is influenced by our experience with school age children, developmentally disabled kiddos, and behaviorally challenging kiddos.

Continue reading “Foster Care Wishlist Pt. Deux”

You Get Paid For This, Right?

When you are a foster parent, you get asked a lot of questions by people who are curious.  Some of the questions are awkward or personal, but we like to think of ourselves as an open book for people to learn about the foster care journey. One question that seems to come up repeatedly is about compensation for being a foster parent. Depending on the company, this question usually comes up one of two ways.  The first scenario is as follows:

“So forgive me for asking, and please, don’t feel like you need to tell me, and definitely let me know if this is too personal…but, you get paid to do this, right?”

The second scenario that often occurs is:

“Wow, that sounds crazy and like a lot of work, how much do they pay you to do this?”

Continue reading “You Get Paid For This, Right?”

Why I Chose Foster Care – Jewell

Helping children and families has always been something I care deeply about. When I was young I decided that if I were to become a mom I wanted to try adoption. I have always had a hard time understanding why we have so many orphans in the world when there are so many people in the world who want kids. As I have gotten older I see both sides of this issue.

I have always had a hard time understanding why we have so many orphans in the world when there are so many people in the world who want kids.

Continue reading “Why I Chose Foster Care – Jewell”

ReMoved

Honestly, we are exhausted. We are recovering from the excitement of the holidays, adjusting to going back to school, dealing with the everyday craziness of parenting, and coupling all of this with what feels like an endless barrage of appointments for our kiddos and dealing with DHS.  Every night, we are wondering how we are going to make it through the next day.

It feels like every day, Trevor and Ariel find new ways to push our buttons, test our limits, and stretch our patience.  In our minds, we know that this is normal behavior for kiddos in foster care, especially those who have experienced trauma, and who feel safe in their foster home, but in the moment, it can be difficult to maintain perspective. They are processing their emotions and trauma, while trying to find the extent of our love and support for them.  Luckily for them, our love and support is endless… although Jewell and I often wonder how long we can keep this pace up. Continue reading “ReMoved”

The Week from Hell Pt. 3

This is the third part of a three part series detailing a day by day account of what we very quickly deemed “The Week from Hell”.  If you haven’t had a chance to read the first two posts, they can be found HERE and HERE.

Wednesday:

On this day, we just had Ava at our house, because Sabrina was still on her overnight visit. Sabrina had a decent number of overnight visits during this time, since she was actually transitioning towards reunification with her mom, not just being spontaneously reunited.  Overall, it was a good day with Ava.  The only damper on this day was an e-mail from Ava’s CW stating that “all legal parties have agreed” that reunification can occur on Saturday.  Foster Parents are not legal parties, despite the fact that we see the kids, and the parents in this case, more often than DHS, the child’s lawyer, the parent’s lawyer, or anyone else involved in the case. Continue reading “The Week from Hell Pt. 3”

The Week from Hell Pt. 2

The second part of our 3-part series detailing our most difficult week as foster parents.

This is the second part of a three part series, detailing a day by day account of what we very quickly deemed “The Week from Hell”.  If you haven’t had a chance to read the first part of the week, it can be found HERE.

Sunday:

We woke up with so much uncertainty. Would DHS be knocking at our door to take Ava for reunification with her mom? Should we start packing up her things? Would Sabrina continue to intentionally hurt herself today?

Continue reading “The Week from Hell Pt. 2”

The Week from Hell Pt. 1

Part 1 of a 3-Part retelling of our most trying week as foster parents.

This is the first of a 3-part post providing a day by day account of what we very quickly deemed “The Week from Hell”.  When it was occurring, it was hands down the most difficult week of foster care we had experienced. Every day, we were pushed to our limits and there were times that we very seriously consider quitting. The events discussed each day are solely related to our trials through fostering, and do not take into account the every day stressors related to work, or life in general.

The week in question occurred a few weeks after we were informed that reunification for Ava could possibly occur any moment. DHS submitted an application for her Bio-Mom to receive housing at a facility that requires the mother to have custody of her child when she moves in.  We had previously voiced our concern about this approach to DHS, and Ava’s lawyer. When we felt that our concerns and the best interest of Ava were not being taken into consideration, we began the process of requesting a CASA for Ava. Upon hearing DHS’s reunification approach, we honestly felt that they were just trying to reduce their caseload and increase their statistics.  As you read through our week from hell, know that the daily issues are compounded with our frustration with the proposed reunification plan. Continue reading “The Week from Hell Pt. 1”

Organizations We Love

How to Support Foster Children and Parents on #GivingTuesday

We are well aware that not everybody has the ability or desire to be a foster parent.  It definitely is not easy, it is not for everyone, and that is perfectly alright. If foster care is not something your family is equipped to do however, there are still many ways you can help.  Here is a list of organizations that go above and beyond to help foster kids and their families, both bio and foster.  Please consider donating or volunteering with these groups for #GivingTuesday November, 29th. Continue reading “Organizations We Love”

Who’s Your Daddy?

That awkward moment when you call yourself “Dad” in front of the bio-parents

It is one thing for the kiddo to call you “mama” or “dada”, because their vocabulary is limited. It felt like a completely different thing when we referred to ourselves as “Mom” or “Dad” to the kiddo… in front of the bio-parent.

We know better. We know how awkward and potentially hurtful that could feel to the bio-parents.  It can be interpreted a number of different ways, like maybe we think we are her parents, or maybe we are planning on adopting their child, or have little faith that they will get their child back. And in actuality, we are only referring to ourselves this way to the kiddo, because that is how they refer to us. Continue reading “Who’s Your Daddy?”

Are You My Mother?

That awkward moment when your kid calls you “Mom” in front of the Bio-Mom

During the Foundation Training Classes, there are discussions about how to talk to your Foster Children about what their parents are doing, and how these children “fit” into your family.  There are discussions about not introducing your child as “my Foster Child” at social events, and to give the children options on how they refer to you.  According to the classes, some children may feel comfortable referring to you as “Mom” or “Dad” eventually, but that this should not be expected initially, and it may never happen.  It all made sense to us during the classes. We would introduce ourselves as Aaron and Jewell, and let the kiddos know that we love them and are going to take care of them while their Mom or Dad do some grown-up things and get some help so they can be with them shortly.

This all sounds well and good in the classroom and on paper, but our first long term placements have been infants and toddlers.
Continue reading “Are You My Mother?”