Saturday, February 21, 2015

And Two Years Later...

Much has changed in 2 years since I last wrote.  We had another couple of placements, they left and we quit being foster parents.

In October of 2012, I felt I was still in need of a break, but got a call and accepted a teenage boy.  I figured he could take care of himself pretty well by this point, but knew it would change the dynamics in the house.  It certainly did.

Then a week later, a fellow foster parent desperately needed 2 young boys out of her house whom she had had for 6 months, due to having several other children, working full time and a husband that got deployed via the National Guard.  I had babysat (done respite) for these boys a couple of times, and she wanted me to take them.  I said yes, and it was approved, so went from having my son to having 4 sons.  The little ones were 5 years old and 20 months old when they arrived.

I was suffering from some health issues, and the stress of these children didn't help.  Ten months later, they did leave - the teen aged out, stayed another 6 weeks then moved out on his own; the boys went to their dad in a different state.  It was a poor ending for reasons I won't discuss here, but I admit it was a relief.  I grieved for the loss, yet treasured the silence in the evenings.  I missed them all and tried to maintain contact.  As usual, that was short lived due to circumstances beyond my control.

For the past 6 months, so about a year after they left, I have felt almost back to my real self again.  I find myself longing to have more children in our home, but refuse to foster for my county anymore, even if it were an option.  If we ever take more children into the home, it will be adoption only, or foster-to-adopt through a private agency.

I have used this time to focus on my own son, getting him the therapy he needs, and homeschooling him.  I have renewed my focus on healthy eating, and am getting proper rest.  My husband and I have renewed commitment to each other, and time to talk, even time for dates!  Dates were nearly impossible for more than a year, and that did take its toll on the marriage, and our individual health.

I don't regret fostering, even the last 3, because I learned a lot about myself and what I can and cannot handle.  I learned more about the foster system, and why it isn't a good fit for us anymore.  I learned the dangers of letting teenage boys live in your house, and won't be making that mistake again, unless they are my own.

There is much more I could say about those months, but its a chapter I need to leave behind and rehashing it here isn't likely to help anyone, or give them a good view of foster care.  I don't want that, because those kids need homes.  Good, loving homes, where at least one parent can pour herself into them, caring for them as her own.  If you think it might be for you, contact your local child welfare office (Department of Community Based Services or some such name) and ask for information.  Or search the web for non-profits in your area that work with DCBS to place children in qualified homes.  If nothing else, find a couple of foster families, and be their friend.  They need friendship and support more than anyone!

I don't know that I'll post on this blog anymore, but do check out my homeschooling blog at Windy Hill Homeschool!

Sunday, March 31, 2013


Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Now that Google reader is going away in July, you can click that link to follow me there. :) However, if you already follow via Google reader, you can use BlogLovin (or Feedler, Feedly, etc.) and it will import everything for you!

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Foster Parent Mentor Match

I did my mentor training in February of 2011.  I finally was matched with a new foster family in September of 2012, and officially became a mentor on October 1st.  Yes, the state works *that* slowly!!

Not only was I matched with 1 family, but within a week I was matched with a second.  Each foster parent mentor is only supposed to handle 2 'mentees', so as to keep the load light, since we are also actively parenting other people's children.  Knowing this, I was surprised to get a call  in November adding a third family  to my list.  Then again, there is always a shortage of foster families in this area, and even fewer willing to be a mentor on top of fostering, so once the state office started approving homes, I'm not surprised I was called.  My own mentor, from 2 years ago, was also assigned several families at this time, so we knew that wherever the paperwork bottleneck was, it had been opened!

So, I pulled my mentoring bag and notebook out of the closet and got my first information packet in the mail and spent some time looking over everything the day I got the first call, trying to refresh my memory of what exactly is required of me.  I was nervous to make first contact (I am not a fan of telephones, especially cold-calling).  I prepared the best way I could, and made the calls to set up our face-to-face appointments.  The state wants us to have at least one face-to-face meeting, usually in the first month, so that the match feels more comfortable in contacting their mentor.

My first match was with an older couple outside of my county, 45 minutes away.  It was actually a nice excuse for a trip, since I don't usually get out much lately!  They are a sweet couple, interesting in adopting an older teen, due to their own ages.  They still haven't had an actual placement, but did provide respite for a teen over Christmas break, and really enjoyed it.  They have now decided to look more at fostering instead of trying to adopt from out-of-state. 

My second match was within my own county, another very sweet couple, with a son mine's age, who also home educates.  There were other similarities as well, so we hit it off right away.  They are fostering younger children in hopes of adopting, and now have a small sibling group.

The third match was again out of county, and a single mother.  Her boys have grown up and left home, and she wanted some teen girls. Two were assigned to her before I even talked to her, and they are still with her.  This will be her first and last placement, so other than helping her out with current questions, there's not a lot of education for me to provide for her.

I have so far enjoyed mentoring.  I love helping people, and this is a way to not only share what I've learned, but make fostering a better experience for others so that they will stick with it longer and be able to help more children. 

If you are interested in being a foster parent, or in helping in some other way, please do!  Donate time or money to foster/adoptive charities, or babysitting services to resource families in your area. 

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Shortest Stay So Far

We recently had three foster children come and stay with us for exactly one week.  It was the most unusual circumstance that I've seen so far, as the kids didn't seem to have been in any danger at all, but thankfully the judge did the right thing and sent them right back home...or as fast as it could be done considering it was Labor Day weekend and no one worked Fri through Tuesday.  

These were pretty good kids and we had no major issues.  They were all 3 older than my son, which is only the second time that's happened.  They are 9, 11 and 15 and were in 3 different schools.  Thankfully, school was only in session 3 of the 7 days they were with us!  We enjoyed the long weekend with them, getting to know them, playing games and other normal things.

The big excitement was that it was our county's fair week.  I had already taken DS, and worked my share at the Lions Club's booth when we got these three.  But they hadn't had the chance to go yet, so Friday night, we all went together.  It was a good time for all of them.

The other excitement was that we had water damage and the repair guys showed up on Labor Day to look at things and started tearing walls down on Tuesday.  Look at the mold in this picture!!  Ugh.

Utility room/hallway without walls - icky mold
Thankfully, they got it killed off and the walls are rebuilt now, as well as some other improvements while we were tearing things up :)

Below is the 9 year old's efforts at the day of the week her last morning here, my correct spelling, then her good-bye that afternoon when we found out they were leaving.  Bye-bye!

Monday, August 06, 2012

Making Foster/Adoptive Connections

We have extended our break from foster parenting, and may make it longer due to some other things we have going on and the time and money taking in more kids requires.  In the meantime, we continue being part of our new (reinstated) local foster/adoptive group, the G.C. Foster Care Association. 

If you have a local support group, go to the meetings if at all possible.  If you don't have a local group, consider starting one or traveling to the one closest to your home.  The emotional and other supports your will get (and give) are well worth the effort!  Fostering is a hard road and it often feels like you are walking it alone.  I'm lucky to have a couple of other foster families in my church, and that helps a lot.

 If local or regional groups just aren't an option at all, you can go online for support.  I blogged about my favorite foster/adoptive blogs to go a few months ago.  I have also mentioned a foster care forum when I talked about what every foster parent should know.  Reading and getting to know other foster parents online is a good substitution for real-life support.  You just have to be even more careful not to use real names or identifying information about anyone involved in the situation, especially the children themselves.

Another place that I've been surprised to find some kindred souls is on Pinterest.  I have my own foster/adoptive info & blogs board, and am following several others in that category.  Here are a few of my favorites!

The Dave Thomas Foundation

Then there's Facebook.  Most of the people who use Pinterest or have blogs also have Facebook pages, some even have interactive groups.  I'm not members of these, but here are some I found.