Foster prep course :( - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
Old 07-10-2010, 02:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
Sienna-forever's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 614
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Hi,

We were due to start our foster prep course today, but it was not what we expected at all and i'm feeling so disappointed and fed up now.
We got there this morning for a 10am start, the first thing they had us do was all right out a sticky label with our names on.
We all had to wait in the reception until everyone had arrived, there must have been 30 of us!

We were all then ushered into this tiny room, where the chairs were all around the edge of the room forming a circle. There were so many of us that all the doors were blocked with chairs (very claustraphobic)

The social worker said a very short introduction and then made us all go round the group introducing ourselves, and stating how many children we want to foster?!? What sort of question is that? Surely it would depend on individual sibling groups/how much space we have at that time, how can we answer that question.

Dh and I felt very uncomfortable and under pressure, that we spoke to the social worker and said we didn't want to stay for the day (course was 10-4) and that I'll phone him to talk it through.

Basically, I feel so let down by the way the course was organised, the way they expected us all to feel comfortable talking about our own personal reasons for fostering etc.
Surely just because we're quiet when in large groups, that doesn't mean that we wouldn't make good foster carers. We're fine in smaller groups, but don't do well having to 'open up' in front of large groups. This has really knocked my confidence

One of the private agencies we had considered fostering with, were going to do our prep course at home, i'm wondering whether contacting them, and going through them would be better.

Me and hubby, plus ds 6, angel dd, little mc angels and finally our little rainbow baby, 30 weeker miracle.
Sienna-forever is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 07-10-2010, 02:51 PM
 
Tigerchild's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Seattle Eastside
Posts: 4,737
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Sounds like a fairly typical thing.

I think the reason why they asked how many kids was just as an icebreaker. If you're with a group of people who want to foster, I think it's natural to ask what brought you there as a natural icebreaker. (Kind of like asking what's your major in college.) If you ever attend any kind of foster parent group, people are likely going to ask what got you interested in FPing.

Foster parenting requires a lot of stepping outside of your comfort zone. I'm frankly not sure it's all that healthy for there to be an expectation that you could do your training at home without ever having to even meet other people who are also fostering. Though I would think a mixed company (experienced and newbies) would be most valuable--if you are all just prospectives I guess they don't have much alternative.

With all the budget cuts going on everywhere, I would bet that larger group sessions happen to save costs. You might suggest to the trainer that they do more small group trainings during that big session (though if you left early, perhaps that did happen).

I doubt that the organizers expected you to be totally comfortable and unchallenged during the orientation/training. You're not going to be totally comfortable and unchallenged during foster care either, most likely--even if you get the dream situation with a newborn baby. And especially not if you want to foster older kids!

I think it's normal to freak out a bit. I hope you have a good conversation with the worker. I wouldn't change agencies solely based on whether or not you can avoid group sessions--but if you have other concerns then maybe you should investigate further.
Tigerchild is offline  
Old 07-10-2010, 03:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
Sienna-forever's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 614
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
The agency was going to do our 'training' at home, but they do provide opportunities to meet existing foster carers to talk things through, and other days where new and old foster carers can get together, so I think that will suit us better. Its not that we don't want to meet other foster carers, its just the way today went, it was just so intimidating.

I know foster caring will throw up challenges, I just throught this part would be more about hearing existing foster carers experiences etc. I just felt a bit like they threw us in at the deep end, and I couldn't handle it!

I'm frustrated with myself for the way I felt, but I was really anxious and uncomfortable.
I wouldn't mind talking to smaller groups about our reasons for fostering etc and you're right they probably did/will do that during the rest of the course. We lost a baby girl when she was 5 months old, I'm wondering whether I panicked because of the thought of discussing that? When talking to the couple next to us, DH said 'we have one child, a 3 year old boy' but we have TWO children, although I understand why he didn't mention our loss, its so difficult.
I need to let it sink in, and see where I want to go from here

Me and hubby, plus ds 6, angel dd, little mc angels and finally our little rainbow baby, 30 weeker miracle.
Sienna-forever is offline  
Old 07-10-2010, 05:55 PM
 
HeatherAtHome's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 1,077
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I can imagine feeling the same way in the same situation.

Blogging about renovations in our first home
HeatherAtHome is offline  
Old 07-10-2010, 08:31 PM
 
zombie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 155
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Sounds better than my foster class which totally sucked. The totally incompetent white social worker was nasty to us because we were white, which really confused me until all the other white people dropped out of the training. We stuck with it, and it got somewhat better. The social worker eventually chilled when she saw we weren't dropping out, and about half the class did drop out, so the crowded room was suddenly spacious.

ETA: You said that you felt "so let down by the way the course was organised, the way they expected us all to feel comfortable talking about our own personal reasons for fostering etc." This is a good introduction to working with social services. You can expect a lot more of the same. Poor organization and social workers who frequently don't know what they are doing (not usually their fault either: high turnover and too large caseloads).
zombie is offline  
Old 07-10-2010, 11:13 PM
 
Polliwog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 3,999
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 22 Post(s)
You start with 30 people and for various reasons, people start dropping out. And yes, you do talk about all kinds of personal stuff. But, you get to decide what to say. Say whatever you're comfortable saying. Over the next week or two (depending on the length of the class, mine was 30 hours) you'll become close to the people in your group and start to form a sort of support system. One that's different than meeting people in support groups.

I'd MUCH rather train in the group situation than at home. You have to talk (and share) less in the group. I'd hate to have to be "on" the whole time.
Polliwog is offline  
Old 07-11-2010, 03:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
Sienna-forever's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 614
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Thanks for the replies, I honestly don't know what happened. I'd thought that I'd be fine. I think I'd imagined there would only be maybe 3 or 4 other couples!
The course is set over 6 days, so yes, by the end of that i'm sure we'll have become close to the other people.

I think i'm just one of these people that needs more time to get to know people before I feel comfortable to talk in front of large groups, although to be honest I don't think even if I knew them all, I'd be that comfortable, i'm just shy in large groups! Wish I wasn't though

I don't think I'd mind talking and sharing a lot at home, with the social workers, in that environment I could talk all day! I'm not shy at all in smaller groups. But when i'm 1 of 30+ people I just clam right up.

I feel so silly about all of this, I've been preparing myself for this course for months, reading, joining forums and then I panic at the thought of talking and doing role plays in front of everyone!

Thanks for the hugs, I needed them

Me and hubby, plus ds 6, angel dd, little mc angels and finally our little rainbow baby, 30 weeker miracle.
Sienna-forever is offline  
Old 07-11-2010, 02:37 PM
 
Tigerchild's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Seattle Eastside
Posts: 4,737
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Sienna, don't feel silly or beat yourself up. It just wasn't what you expected and came as a bit of a shock. That happens sometimes! Now you know what to expect and it won't be a shock.

I would just tell your worker what was going on. I am pretty sure you would not be the first people who were totally overwhelmed and surprised! I think what is going to count is you getting back in the saddle though.

Do you think being prepared for the beginning part will help?
Tigerchild is offline  
Old 07-11-2010, 04:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
Sienna-forever's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 614
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Thanks

I think being more prepared would help definitely. The thing is, our social worker has been to our house for a few visits to talk about fostering etc. but didn't mention how the course would be run. With hindsight I wish I'd thought to ask, so at least I'd have known what to expect!
Feeling much better today, just think it caught me unawares and stirred up quite a bit of emotion for me.
This journey has taught me so much about myself which is definitely a positive, i'm learning what makes me tick, and who I am, so if I can at least take that from this experience then thats great.

Me and hubby, plus ds 6, angel dd, little mc angels and finally our little rainbow baby, 30 weeker miracle.
Sienna-forever is offline  
Old 07-11-2010, 09:43 PM
 
Missinnyc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 681
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
I just felt a bit like they threw us in at the deep end, and I couldn't handle it!
I don't understand what felt like "the deep end." They just asked you how many kids you wanted to foster, if I understand right. That's not such a personal question, is it? I mean, you can just say 2, and then always reevaluate.

IME, the FC system sucks, both the state system and the agencies. About 95% of our hassle and frustration has been because of the sytem, not our FKs.

Mom to 5 wonderful kids (9, 6, 4, 2 and 0), 1 adopted through foster care.

Missinnyc is offline  
Old 07-12-2010, 04:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
Sienna-forever's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 614
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Asking us how many children we wanted to foster wasn't 'the deep end' it was the large group and having to talk one by one in front of the rest of the group, and later do role plays etc. that I felt was the deep end, i'm not great at public speaking!

It was also partly due to the feelings that came up around the loss of my daughter. I know that when we come to do the home study we will need to talk about her, and about our loss etc, I just panicked about it in the large group. I know I didn't 'have' to talk about her in the group, but she is part of the reason for us wanting to foster. I'm having a hard time at the moment with the grief side of things anyway, as her anniversary is coming up in september, so I think i'm just struggling a bit.

I am wondering whether it is too early for us to be fostering, maybe I need more time to grieve. I have given it so much thought, and 'felt' ready, but then I have a bad day where the grief feels stronger and it makes me doubt myself. All of this will come up in the home study anyway, our social worker knows about our loss. I know I am more sensitive than ever at the moment, so maybe this is my sign that its a little too soon.

Me and hubby, plus ds 6, angel dd, little mc angels and finally our little rainbow baby, 30 weeker miracle.
Sienna-forever is offline  
Old 07-12-2010, 09:43 AM
 
Polliwog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 3,999
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 22 Post(s)
Does the series of classes have a name? If it's MAPP, I can help you know what to expect from the role playing activities coming up. I took the classes years ago but a good friend of mine is a MAPP trainer.
Polliwog is offline  
Old 07-12-2010, 04:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
Sienna-forever's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 614
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
If you could let me know what to expect from the role playing side of things that would be great thanks.

Me and hubby, plus ds 6, angel dd, little mc angels and finally our little rainbow baby, 30 weeker miracle.
Sienna-forever is offline  
Old 07-12-2010, 04:28 PM
 
Kirsten's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Washington state
Posts: 5,362
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'm so sorry for your loss. You didn't mention how long ago that happened. I agree with you that you may not be ready to move into fostering at this point. I haven't fostered but have friends who have. It is important work - but hard. Very emotionally hard. The kids who come have been in bad situations. You pour out your heart and soul then they leave, sometimes to situations you don't think are best. From what you've posted, I think it is too soon to foster. If the stresses of a meeting/class were enough to make you wave the white flag and go home, the stresses of fostering are 100% harder. I'd wait.
Kirsten is offline  
Old 07-12-2010, 04:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
Sienna-forever's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 614
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
We lost her two years ago in September, after 5 months of Nicu
We've always been interested in fostering, even before having our two biological children, I was fostered when I was a baby, and have always felt in my heart that I'd like to foster. We did 'think' we were ready, the information evening, the initial visits by the social worker etc. was fine, but then it just hit us so hard at the class. That night I cried so much, out of anger, frustration, I was so shocked at my own reaction to something that looking back was nowhere near as bad as it felt at the time IYKWIM? I just think it brought the grief right back to the surface again, which I know I needed to let out.

I still like to think when the time is right we'll be good foster carers, but I do think we'll be taking some time out to heal ourselves first. DH is only 26 and I'll be 25 next month, our bio son is 3. We don't know if we can/will have anymore bio children, but I know in my heart we'll add to our family at some point (whether biological, adoption, foster), DH has pointed out that we do have time, and that we don't have to do everything right now. x

Me and hubby, plus ds 6, angel dd, little mc angels and finally our little rainbow baby, 30 weeker miracle.
Sienna-forever is offline  
Old 07-12-2010, 09:52 PM
 
Polarbearfish's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Northern California
Posts: 14
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I don't have any advice as I'm in the very beginning of the process myself. I just wanted to say how sorry I am for your loss.
Polarbearfish is offline  
Old 07-13-2010, 12:52 AM
 
Smithie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 4,422
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
I've got no history of loss, I love role-playing, and I have a partner who is A-number-1 in group situations, knowing exactly what to say to make us sound like awesome well-adjusted people.

But I still thought the foster-adopt training sucked. Seriously, it is not the business of these 15 other couples why we want to adopt, how we resolve conflict, how we feel about children masturbating etc etc. It was hard to do. But now it's a faint memory, and we're happily awaiting our homestudy. Sometimes you just need to grit your teeth and get through stuff.

Smithie is offline  
Old 07-13-2010, 01:38 PM
 
Missinnyc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 681
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Honestly, if you decide to do the training, you can BS your reasons. No one in our classes cared, it wasn't like the homestudy, where the SW will ask you deep personal stuff. In the classes you can just say something like, "I'm Jane from ____ and we'd love to foster 1-2 kids and we really just have a lot of love to share with kids, and we've always dreamed of fostering..." or something equally vague. It's not the strangers' business.

I am so sorry about your loss.

Mom to 5 wonderful kids (9, 6, 4, 2 and 0), 1 adopted through foster care.

Missinnyc is offline  
 
User Tag List

Thread Tools


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off