I have been reading several blogs lately written by foster parents. It gives me the ummmph to want to do it again even though I swore that would never happen. We have an empty bedroom and plenty of love for children and their struggling families. So my hesitance comes down to the system.
The system I am speaking of is the state, the department, the case workers, the red tape, the horrible communication, the lack of respect, the court system, the worthless and burned out attorneys, the suppose to be child advocates, the bullshit goes on and on. And I am just not sure that I am willing to dive back into that or not. The one and only reason we were able to adopt Lydia was by the grace of the God, and I mean that literally! If the case workers and majority of "the system" would have had it their way, that would have never happened. Not because reunification wasn't an option, but b/c they hated us so. They hated us b/c we advocated for Lydia. We also advocated for Christina when we felt no else was. We learned very quickly this was a no no, but that didn't stop us. THIS was the reason we became foster parents.
You see, if you become a foster parent you will attend the state training that is required in order to do so. In this training you will be told over and over again that your role is to advocate for your foster child. You will be told that reunification is always the goal and to support and facilitate that goal. You will be drilled about the importance of developing relations within the family when appropriate. You will be told, and might even be lucky enough, to watch a video or two, on how horrible the children who enter your home will be. You will be warned of all of the "likely" terrible behaviors and mood disorders you will have to deal with from the children and their families.
That sounds like a challenge right? After hearing all of that, any SANE person would RUN away, and run away FAR! Except, that didn't scare us at all. In fact, we knew all that stuff. I am a Social Worker. I have even worked in foster care. They weren't telling us anything we didn't know. We were ready as ever. BRING IT...
Haaaaaa. What they didn't tell us at all, and what I NEVER experienced in my private agency FC profession, was that you BETTER NOT advocate for your foster child if you're caseworker (who rarely shows up) doesn't agree with you. Encouraging the runaway teenage mom when she is doing well is also not looked on kindly. The bottom line is...What they should have told us in training..."Keep your damn mouths shut and take care of these kids silently, OR ELSE." And i am here to tell you, the "or else" isn't nice.
Because, God forbid you build a relationship with the bio-mom or anyone else. I will never forget one of the many drop offs for a visit with Christina. It was shortly after she had been picked up the first time. She jumped out of the car, excited to see Lydia. I gave her a hug and asked her how she was doing in school. We talked about her grades and school a lot while she was living with us. She looked so proud and told me she was making all A's and B's. I was so proud of her. I gave her another hug and told her how PROUD I was. She is such a smart girl, and it always killed me to watch her waste her educational opportunities away. GET THIS- Later I was told by our caseworker that I was inappropriate b/c Christina wasn't used to be encouraged and praised and I should never do that again. - YES... I am SERIOUS... That is what she said to me.
The list of examples goes on for miles. I wish this was one of the worst, but it's not. My point (to myself) is...Am I really ready to deal with all of this again? B/C the truth is, I am NOT going to be quiet. And I WILL advocate for the children placed in my home! And never, ever would I ever NOT encourage someone who is doing well, whether they were used to it or not! I haven't changed, and neither has the system.
I know, I know... we had a REALLY bad experience. We actually had a few other foster placements go well, but they were private agency and respite placements. I would be willing to accept that it may be better if we were dealing with our county, rather than metro (in Lydia's case). But, I work in our county school system, and I am a Social Worker, so unfortunately, I know that the potential is more than likely not there.
So. What's a foster family to do? It's in our hearts. We know we have been called to do this again. But there are so many buts...We worry how it will/could effect Lydi and Zac. They are our NUMBER ONE. Seth worries about his travels. He worries he isn't even here enough for OUR kids. I know he worries leaving me here with foster kids and our own. He's thoughtful like that. He is the perfect Daddy and Husband. That is not my worry at all. I do have lots though...So WHY am I feeling SOOOOO compelled right now?
I suppose we will sort through this. I hope and pray and know we will. In HIS time, I suppose. ((SIGH)) I don't always like you're time!!!
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