No sooner does the mod commend us for staying on track when I'm about to go off-track--but only to respond to what's been said/asked!
Smithie--I guess many of us don't directly refer to helping an older child learn to self-sooth because it's not as controversial or "in question" so-to-speak as with infants. When and older child can't self-soothe, it often manifests in things that aren't usually acceptable behavior--like lashing out, tantrums, etc. Same as a non-infant. So there's a lot of talk about it with infants as a means of preventing those issues with the older kids.
Obviously this isn't something your going to pursue hot and heavy with a new placement, too. And hopefully (like Polliwog noted) a lot of it is modeled through your day to day life.
Originally Posted by alwayslearning66
Our state sounds like your state and sounds like a state in which a friend adopted from before moving to my state. (Anyone follow that?) The piece I''m struggling with is whether I''m capable of giving a birth parent the right tools during RU attempts. Our situation is simultaneous foster to adopt and RU tracks since that is pretty much how all cases are here if a family hopes to adopt from the foster system. The hard core kids (multipe handicaps, requires serious medical support, etc.) are pretty much the only kids that are placed with a foster family for adoption. Back to our situation, which many of you may share. How can I convince myself to support the birth mom if and when it is necessary? Our dfs was already pulled from her as an infant and the foster family who cared for him during those 12 months provided intensive support to this birth mom. She called them in the middle of the night and they gave of themselves because they thought it would make her feel easier about relinquishing him. RU happened and they were devastated, I heard. This info came from dfs caseworker. Other pieces of info Ive gathered in court, and what I see is an individual with major cognitive challenges who demands that the systerm provide for her in absolutely every way possible and then some. She's burned out her family (Ive spoken to two sets of relatives) as well. IF TPR is not granted (we find out this week- yikes), I'm seriously worried about my ability to support RU efforts. I can go through the paces and hope for birth mom to screw up- a terrible feeling - or??? He was placed with us under the assumption that she would not succeed in RU efforts, according to the GAL. I'd be interested in hearing from others who've wanted to adopt and figured out how to support RU without denying their own beliefs in the situation. So far Ive simply followed what the state says which has been very easy since no visits have been required due to birth mom's incarceration and a secondary charge (all unrelated directly to child). I want to say I entered all of this with a deep seated belief in people's ability to learn from their mistakes, but I'm unwillikng to support such work if the victim is a child. Thoughts?
I'm not sure you could possibly know how much I identify with your situation. Seriously. I have SO been in EXACTLY that case minus the incarceration part (which would've made the case a lot easier :/). And I think there are people who never learn from their mistakes. I have also learned that the most seemingly "never going to learn" cases sometimes wind up with a parent that happens to learn during your time on a case. Nobody ever knows. This is my major problem with concurrent planning (simultaneous case goals of fost-adopt & RU) is that sometimes the foster parents are told "there's no way this child is going back" or "the case plan is really just a formality in this case" when they couldn't possibly know. They don't have a crystal ball. But I digress... sorry.
First, there is a difference between "supporting" and "enabling". It's a HARD LINE TO FIND sometimes! Phone calls, yes--supporting. Phone calls in the middle of the night, above and beyond. I think that when people foster when they really want to adopt, they do things they normally wouldn't do in the hopes it will somehow change the fate of the situation in their favor for adopting... like this childs former fps. I know plenty of fps who have done this with the same, heartbreaking results. Thankfully, I knew them BEFORE I was in the situation you describe and I didn't do that stuff. When my ffc left, I sent what I had plus 3 bottles when RU happened. Could I have sent more bottles? Yes, I could've. But the mother knew the child was coming home and had money for cute curtains. I told her what kind of bottles were needed (and she should've known from visits) but that would've been more than supporting. If I no longer had a use for the bottles, maybe. But this is what I mean. During the foster situation, I provided updates via e-mail and near the end I was available by cell phone during the baby's visits and only in the middle of the night during the pre-RU overnights while mom was still learning and the baby was still technically in my care but just visiting.
Supporting RU doesn't mean putting yourself completely out or bending over backwards to help a birthparent. In fact, I had a caseworker that really hated that because the state needed to see the parent being capable without help. It was a big deal. Knowing that really helped me keep firm about not going overboard. So, I did what was necessary to keep the parent connected to the child through a letter with every visit, a picture with as many visits as I could get them to without putting my family on hold to do so, availability via e-mail, and availability by phone when there were visits. I sent a diaper bag on visits (all of them--even overnights) because the state asked me to (I specifically asked if I should send one or if mom had to provide--and I asked again as we got closer to RU). I was considered "very supportive" for all of that, and I can honestly say I didn't feel put out or taken advantage at the end of all of it. I felt I would've done the same things that I would've done for any foster child.
And I think the process of fostering brings you to a belief that when your time comes to have another child to keep, then your time just comes. I found a lot of my beliefs about how life works through fostering... and not in a bad way.