Thursday, November 26, 2015
FAQ: Foster Care
I watched this movie about 18 months ago when it first came out. It was so raw that first time through. We watched it again in our training and Mark & both feel it is a powerful representation of foster care. There is a wonderful part 2 to it as well HERE.
...Surprise! We were too! The more we have pursued this path, the more clear it has become that it's the right one for our family. Here are the most common questions we have been encountering. There probably are others, so feel free to ask! We have had a 180 the more we have learned about foster care. We would love to answer your questions. Foster care is often wrapped in stereotypes and we would love to dispel myths or concerns.
Utah is one of the best states for children in the foster care system. Mark and I have spent the past 2 months completing about 70 hours of training between the two of us. The training is centered around what is called "trauma informed parenting." I will write more about what we have been learning in a separate post. Even if for whatever reason we didn't go on to foster care, our time has well been worth it already. We have gained valuable insight and knowledge to bring home to our own children.
Can we choose the ages?
Yes. We can be as general or specific as we want/need to be. We can limit gender, race, number of children, medical or mental health...you name it. We can look through the file before we accept a placement. Just because we say no to one offer for a placement, doesn't mean we go on a "do not call" list. We will weigh the details case by case.
Won't this mess your own children up?
There will be a negative impact on our children and family. It's unavoidable. To what extent...we will need to wait and see. We hope that the positive experiences will outweigh the negative. We recognize that we can either do foster care with our children or to our children. We are confident that we have formed a sturdy foundation with our children that they know they can come to us with any concern or question and they will be validated and safe. This will be a living and flexible process for our family. We know the open relationships we have with our children will be an asset to us all. We know we cannot just absorb the experiences and we will reach out as needed.
Are we going to adopt?
We have no idea. We are definitely open to the possibility, but will wait and see what happens. Foster care is about reunification. It's about being a soft place for these kids to land while their biological family is getting their lives in order. As backwards as it may seem for some, the best place is always with the bio family. We look forward to supporting families through this process. We will take it as it comes, knowing we may have many children come in and out of our home. We know we will adopt a little black girl at some point, in some way. Foster care may be key to that or it may be part of our journey. Either way, we are seeking to stay open-minded through the coming adventures as to what our family will look like in the future.
How long does foster care last?
The usual average is around 12 months (give or take). The shortest being around 6 months, the longest 18 months.
When will this happen for us?
We are about 2 months in to what is usually a 4-6 month process to license. We are chipping away at it one step at a time. We don't feel rushed to get it all done at once, but will continue to go at a forward pace.
What can we share about our foster children?
Our confidentiality to the child and situation is critical. We won't be able to share details about how they came into foster care or the progress of their case.
Sometimes it can be painful to consider that difficult situations are happening to precious and tender children. If we tried to close our eyes to it, it would still be there. We are humbled for the opportunity to work on an individual basis towards peace.