Periodically, we survey our online community, and we asked foster parents about what surprised them about fostering?
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Dawn Davenport 0:00
Welcome back everyone to weekend wisdom by creating a family. This is our short, shorter segment of our podcast where we answer your questions. It's brought to you by the nonprofit creating a family. And if you're interested in sending in a question that you'd like us to answer, do so by sending it to info at creating a family.org. Just put question for weekend wisdom or question for the show, somehow, it will find its way to me. Today's weekend wisdom is actually a little less than a it's not really a question as much as it's some information I thought that you would be interested in. And that is what surprises new foster parents the most about fostering, I thought this would be interesting. As some of you may know, we have a very large online audience. And by the way, if you didn't know, I wanted to tell you about it. It is a Facebook support group for foster adoptive and kinship parents. And you can find it at facebook.com/groups/creating a family or you can just search for creating a family and Facebook. And this is a wonderful, supportive and great place. And periodically we survey those people and just ask them questions, because honestly, we could learn a lot from them. And we asked for foster parents, what surprised them about fostering and in particular, we wanted it for new foster parents. So I thought you'd be interested in in the things that they said, the first surprise. So I guess surprise number one is a good team makes all the difference. We heard from several foster parents about the value of good relationships with the foster child care team. And that team can include, of course, the foster parents, but also the birth parents, the caseworker, the therapist, The Guardian Ad Litem, if that's what you use, or if in your state they use causes either one and other professional service providers that are involved with the child and the child's case, when everybody on that team communicates well, and works together the common goal and and shared purposes and unite you and it's it is just such a positive experience. And conversely, when these relationships aren't strong, or when communication is that foster parents feel unsupported. In fact, in different surveys we've done about problems that foster parents face, the number one problem that we see is poor communication with the team. And that was the number one complaint of foster parents. All right now surprise number two for new foster parents things they didn't expect. You know, some may make you snicker, but it's actually a problem. And that is, folks really do ask the nosiest questions. You know, many foster families are conspicuous when they move about, you know, their daily life doing whatever they're doing. It may be just because of the numbers, or the fact that their faces keep changing, the faces of the children keep changing. Like if this week you show up at a baseball game with three kids and next week, you've got five in tow. So in other words, you're going to draw questions, and it's going to spark some interest, shall we say? Our foster parents were surprised by the questions they heard and the frustration they felt when trying not to answer the inquiries, but also to not be rude. I'm going to give you a quote one foster mom said, I was surprised by how many friends and family wanted to know specifics about the case, trying to navigate their questions without giving too much information was challenging. Also, people feel free to share their opinions on what's best for the child when people are not even aware of the details in the case. So therefore, their opinion may seem helpful to them, but they don't know enough to be giving an opinion. So it's really not helpful. Alright, surprise. Number three, you have to be willing to fight for this child. Foster parents were told in their training that the child is placed with them and needs a safe nurturing place to land and he or she needs an advocate. That's the word that's often used. But many foster folks are still surprised just how hard they have to force they're forced to fight for this child's best interest, or for his family unit to be reunified. Some examples of advocacy that we heard about were needing to advocate in the schools for proper supports. Medically, often they had the concern that the child was over medicated and they had to be a real advocate to have the medication list evaluated, and even advocacy to what the child's caseworker with the child's caseworker to get a visitation or a counseling scheduled. We would hear from parents saying this child needs therapy but we're not getting anywhere right now with the caseworker. All right, so that's surprise number three. So now let's turn to surprise number four, your eyes will be opened. Of course a number of foster parents pointed out that they were surprised by the sadness of the situation's these children face. And that is so true, but also a couple of the foster parents pointed out that they learned so much more about, quote the system once said that she was humbled by the challenges she faced navigating WIC, the program that was for supplying food resources, she says, and I quote, it helped me see past the stigma and statistics and to be blunt helped me to get over myself pride wise, and it made me realize how this feels for everyone who has to rely on WIC benefits. Another foster parent said she was forced to face the, quote, politics of poverty. She said it was eye opening. And overall, she said it was a good thing in my life to be surprised by this to learn about this. Alright, surprise. Number five, you might just inspire others to become a foster parent. The reality is people in our lives are surprisingly ignorant about our foster care system. And most have heard a lot of false information about foster kids. And to be honest, foster parents, you are in the position to be an example. One foster mom said so many people literally had no idea. If I had a quarter for every time I heard, do you get to keep her. But since then, we have had several friends call us for information because they are now considering fostering themselves. Here's another one, quote A few of my friends and neighbors had ever met a foster parent. It's like I'm some kind of mirage or aberration. Some things you read about in the newspaper but never really thought actually exist. Just the looks I get are so funny. I will always hope I will normalize it, and perhaps one of them will do it too. So thank you for tuning in to our weekend wisdom. Before you go I want to let you know about some free courses we have. These courses come to you through the support of the jockey being Family Foundation, and they truly believe in supporting families post adoption, that is the reason they exist. You could check out these courses at Bitly slash J B F support. There are 12 courses there on topics that you could lease find one or two courses that is directly relevant to your interest. If you are somebody who needs a certificate of completion, you will get that as well. So check it out at Bitly slash J B F support bi T dot L y slash JP F support
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