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#61 of 80 Old 01-19-2011, 09:25 PM
 
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 At the end of the day, we're ALL making our best guess about future outcomes and following our hearts when we decide how/when/if to create an adoptive family. 



I have been reading this thread, but haven't posted yet.  This part of your last post is what this all boils down to for me - a lot of the guess work is actually taken out of it for you if you listen, truly listen with an open mind and heart.  You don't have to guess that it is more comfortable for kids when all of the adults involved can follow the lead of the child in how they refer to their birthparents - which may involve calling them mom and dad.  

 

There are moms on here who have already adopted - who are currently parenting adopted children.  At least two of those moms said they originally had a similar view point as you - that sharing the title of mom would be hard or undesirable, but that their perspective has changed and that their children responded well to it.  There was a response from one adopted person about her experience on this topic.  And, from all that I have read and researched, she isn't alone in her perspective.  There are many people willing to share their story, their feelings and their perspective. I think that in adoption (in life in general, really), it is soooo important to take in other people's stories, even when they challenge what we think is right and may be uncomfortable to us.  And after reading other's experiences, what is left to guess?  Many older kids coming from foster care are going to be deeply loyal to their parents and may refer to them as mom and dad.  Are you going to venture a guess that the kid placed in your home is going to be so different form all the others and actually be OK with their new mom not being willing to acknowledge the place their first parents had in their life?  So often in parenting, I stop and remind myself to pick my battles - and this just really doesn't seem like a battle to pick.  Why risk doing any damage to your brand new relationship with a your new son by not calling his birthparents what he calls them over the sake of preserving the title "mom" for yourself?    

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#62 of 80 Old 01-20-2011, 05:36 AM
 
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"Smithie, how involved are you, IRL, with families who have adopted from the foster care system? Or adopted out of birth order?"

 

I thought I'd cheer this thread up and announce that I'm soon to be very much so! The other Jewish family in town who is in the process of foster/adopt has just been selected for a four year old boy! joy.gif They have a second grader and a 3 y.o. in the home right now. 

 

This so such encouraging news for us. When we met with the SW last month for our foster homestudy, she said "It's too bad the licensing process has been so delayed for you guys, you would be a great family for D. His case plan has been changed to adoption and his current family is straight-foster, and his worker would love to get him in his new home by Christmas."

 

Well, it didn't happen by Christmas, but now D is going home! (It must be the same kid, it's the same very distinctive name and same age). I am so stoked for my friend and her DH - and so stoked for my future kid, who isn't going to be the first or only Black kid in the community if we happen to get a transracial placement. 

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#63 of 80 Old 01-20-2011, 09:12 AM
 
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Smithie, i cant remember...how old are your current kids and what ages are you considering for the child you adopt?


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#64 of 80 Old 01-20-2011, 10:21 AM
 
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(Sorry for the massive thread drift, OP, hope things are going well with your DFS and the court proceedings and please update when you know more...)

 

My kids are almost-7, almost-5 and almost-2. We are much more concerned with personality and behaviors than age, but I think the range we have on file is 2-8. 

 

Still on cloud 9 over here about my friend. I think I'm going to call the adoption services caseworker and congratulate her. They'd been waiting even longer than us. triadadopt.jpg

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#65 of 80 Old 01-21-2011, 09:38 AM
 
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Smithie - I guess my question earlier was actually to you - what do you call your kids' friends parents? 

 

And I have another question - If something terrible happened - you had a bad car accident and ended up addicted to pain killers right now and you neglected your kids and they ended up in CPS, do you think they would consider you mom?  How do you think they would feel about someone else being unwilling to recognize that role in your life? 

 

I think if you really consider how it might be from their perspective you might be more open to what other moms on here are sharing.

 

It really seems to me that you are a very practical person - a bit like my DH.  Practical and straightforward is very good in a lot of situations.  You get things done.  You know what you want.  You are good at figuring things out.  Sometimes with very emotional issues it is important to shift a bit and be more empathetic - more willing to just support and be more of a mirror - reflecting back what someone is feeling so they can interpret it for themselves.

 

Tjej

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#66 of 80 Old 01-21-2011, 04:26 PM
 
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My kids are almost-7, almost-5 and almost-2. We are much more concerned with personality and behaviors than age, but I think the range we have on file is 2-8. 

 

 

i'm curious how a preference for personality plays out with regard to foster placements? do you get to meet potential placements beforehand to figure out if they will be the kind of personality you are looking for or does your agency have some kind of description or list to go by when considering a child for placement in your home?


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#67 of 80 Old 01-21-2011, 06:23 PM
 
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Um, OK. Here's more than probably anyone wants to know about fostering and adoption in my state. blush.gif

 

There's a detailed interview with a lot of questions about what we're like and what we hope our child will be like, and for foster-adoptive placements there is a transition period of visitation while child continues to reside in their current home.

 

In any situation in my state where the case plan has been changed to adoption, the child "switches units" and there is a panel convened to select a family and give them complete case file presentation. They can then say "yes" and start the transition visitation. Even if there's no TPR yet in place, the HOPE is for the placement to work out on both ends (parents and child) so that adoption is the universally desired outcome when that gavel goes bang for TPR. I know that this varies widely state-to-state. I think that my state, being very poor, has many, many straight-foster families in the non-infant demographic who use the subsidy to make ends meet, but are not interested in adoption. So when he case plan changes, the social workers move the kid to an adoptive home and free up the straight-foster spots for new kids coming into care. They also hate the idea of adoption disruption (and who doesn't?), so there is a mandatory 6-month cohabitation period before a family is even allowed to petition the court to adopt. 

 

(We are actually somewhat open to a pre-TPR placement that we'd agree to without getting to meet the kid, but that kind of placement wouldn't involve a commitment to providing a permanent home. We'd be going in as "regular" foster parents. And in that situation, we'd have to to use the Mom and Dad verbiage (if he does) and do the emotional and practical work to prepare for RU (self-soothing, how to make a sandwich, precociously independent hygiene etc.). Initially, that didn't seem like something I could do, but the more I learn about it the more I feel like I can live with it, and even have it be a happy thing for our family if we facilitated a kinship adoption or a good RU. It's definitely in the list of possibilities, particularly for a kid who is the third or forth in a line of biomom TPRs, but has relatives who might adopt. The aforementioned "D" who is being placed with my friend is the 3rd TPR for the mom. One older sibling has a kinship placement with grandma, and one has been in care with a foster family for two years and is being adopted by that family. You'd think that a grandma would want to adopt all her grandchildren - but nope, only the white one. So, case in point - D's biomom has a biomom, but D apparently doesn't have a grandma. Except now, he'll have two very adoring ones, plus mom, dad and siblings he actually gets to live with. Someday he'll hear about biomom's biomom, but I sure hope that it's not until he's a grown man with years of love and healthy self-concept under his belt.) 

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#68 of 80 Old 01-21-2011, 07:38 PM
 
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so are you working with your agency strictly as an adoptive family? or are you now a waiting foster home? 


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#69 of 80 Old 01-22-2011, 08:28 AM
 
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Our agency allows you to be on the list for both programs at the same time. Since what is most important to us is ending up with mutually-desired permanency at the end of this journey, and since we've become willing to facilitate an attempted RU or kinship placement under certain circumstances, we decided to make our home available to both programs simultaneously. Fire inspection has just been scheduled for us, and my friend is meeting D at the zoo later this week! If it goes well they'll plan a weekend sleepover! 

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#70 of 80 Old 01-22-2011, 02:37 PM
 
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 since we've become willing to facilitate an attempted RU or kinship placement under certain circumstances, 

 

does this mean that you would not be willing to attempt RU or kinship placement in some circumstances? have you taken the foster parenting classes yet? i know that in our area a foster parent is required to facilitate RU if that is the plan for the foster child(ren) in their care. i assumed that was universal.


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#71 of 80 Old 01-22-2011, 02:51 PM
 
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Of course I've taken foster parenting classes. My state happens to have an entire "limbo" stage where the case plan has been changed to adoption and an soption plan is made and a hopefully-permanent home selected, but the child is still in foster care and there is not TPR in place for both parents (often the case plan switches after the first TPR is secured). I assumed THAT was universal, but maybe I am wrong? The idea here is that the adults involved take the risk, so that the child can have permanency as early as possible. While it's hard and scary, I think it's a better approach than leaving kids placed for another year with families that don't want to adopt them.  

 

There are many, many circumstances in which we would not sign up to facilitate RU with a bioparent. BUT, we would be open to taking a foster placement that had some possibility of RU, based on what we could find out about the case. We are not anti-RU, and most definitely not anti-kinship adoption. If part of our adoption journey is doing good service as a foster family, and teaching the skills necessary to survive/thrive with an adult who struggles to provide care, then we have come to a place where we are glad of that opportunity. 

 

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#72 of 80 Old 01-22-2011, 05:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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?


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#73 of 80 Old 01-22-2011, 06:17 PM
 
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You don't have to have any contact to support reunification. It's nice when it can happen but it's not a requirement in most places. Shared parenting is a form of supporting RU but that usually only happens when it's a safe, and appropriate, option.  Supporting reunification can be as simple as talking respectfully about the child's parents or sending pictures (or even a digital camera) to visits, encouraging the child to draw pictures for his parents, etc.

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#74 of 80 Old 01-22-2011, 06:51 PM
 
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I would also argue that supporting RU includes teaching survival skills - finding food in the kitchen, independent bathing, going into your room to cry so that the noise doesn't trigger a violent response from the adults in the house, etc. That may be my "practical" side coming out full force. But those are the things I will work on intensely with a child who I think might be going back into an unstable situation.

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#75 of 80 Old 01-22-2011, 06:57 PM
 
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I would also argue that supporting RU includes teaching survival skills - finding food in the kitchen, independent bathing, going into your room to cry so that the noise doesn't trigger a violent response from the adults in the house, etc. That may be my "practical" side coming out full force. But those are the things I will work on intensely with a child who I think might be going back into an unstable situation.
 


I was with you until I read that part that I bolded. I'm not sure how I feel about that. I'd probably run that by your licensing social worker and the child's social worker before actually doing that.

 

But, of course, independent life skills like getting yourself a snack and learning to take a bath independently (if age appropriate) are the kinds of things that are modeled/taught in the foster family as part of daily life.

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#76 of 80 Old 01-23-2011, 02:26 AM
 
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If it were necessary, I'd hope we could model not pitching a fit right in the middle of the living room, without singling any particular kid out. I'm sure it would do my current kids some good to work on that behavior, despite the inherent stability of their living situation. It's just not been a huge priority of mine to date, and I could definitely see that changing depending on whether it emerges as a behavioral issue in a child who might not stay in my care. 

 

It's weird - you hear a lot from workers, experienced foster moms, etc. about helping a fostered infant learn how to self-soothe, but not so much about the equivalent tactic for older kids...

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#77 of 80 Old 01-23-2011, 05:07 AM
 
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Moderator here. I want to step in and note how amazing all of you are for being able to pursue this intense conversation without melting down. And, at the same time, want to remind you to continue to do so, and to make sure things are not getting 'personal' against one member or another. This was a thread topic related to 'what to call' biological parents in fostering. It's possible to start other threads discussing other aspects of care.


 
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#78 of 80 Old 01-23-2011, 05:36 AM
 
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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. 
 

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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.


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#79 of 80 Old 01-23-2011, 11:09 AM
 
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It's weird - you hear a lot from workers, experienced foster moms, etc. about helping a fostered infant learn how to self-soothe, but not so much about the equivalent tactic for older kids...



Actually that's a lot of what we do.  I can't speak to the policy's and actions of other agency's around the country, but in my area and not just the agency that I work for, this is absolutely a focus.

 

Of course, we don't call it self-soothing, we call it coping skills, and we focus as much as possible on the development of safe and appropriate skills that help with yes, self-soothing, among other things.

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#80 of 80 Old 01-26-2011, 07:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
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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.

I hear you, Heather. It's a kind of Zen practice, this fostering business. Thanks for your story and encouragement to stay on the right path.

 


Mama to Ru cutie (a. age 3, fall 2006) and foster to adopt  wonder-child (arrived a. 3,  2010) 

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