The Affect Fostering has on my Bio Kids

The Affect Fostering Has on my Bio Kids - Becoming a Foster Care Family - Care Providers

When I entered the world of Fostering, I knew it would impact my bio kids, I wasn’t naive. But they were. I tried to prepare them the best I could, but they still had fantasies of new friends sleeping over every night; they thought it was going to be fun.

Now, they don’t think it’s fun.

 

It has been two months since our first placements — a 7 year old boy and a now 6 year old girl — came into our home. My children have realized it wasn’t what they thought it would be. Here is a list of some of the things we have learned through our first placements. I will admit, most of it is negative. That is their current view and we are still working on the adjustment to our “new life” as my son calls it. We are a work in progress as a foster family. It may be the ages of the children, or just personality mixes. I’m not sure, and I know this won’t be true for all foster families with bio kids. I am sure some adjust much better than my kiddos are!

It isn’t like a sleepover

I think my two bio kids honestly thought it would be like having a sleepover with friends. A fun get together with playing and staying up late talking to each other from their bunk beds. The ‘not sleeping well’ part of a sleepover scenario may be true… but that is about it.

One of the children has been diagnosed with a few things that make getting to sleep hard, and sometimes loud. After a month of battles and everyone not being able to sleep, our placement was prescribed medication to help.

However, my son is a light sleeper, so it has been a bit rough with how this affects his sleep. I am now looking into renovating my basement to add more bedrooms and a playroom (In our area bio kids can have basement bedrooms as long as it is to code, but the foster children have to be on the same floor as me).

Sharing with a foster sibling is different than sharing with a friend

I was surprised at this one, but when I think about it, really should not have been.  The kids that came into care did not bring much more than a bag of clothes. They didn’t have toys or books from their house. They came with a pack that all the kids in Care receive which included some markers, a colouring book, toothbrushes, etc. Similar to the package I made up for them.

We had discussed this as a family before taking placements, this was an easy one to talk about (or so I thought). They understood the kids were coming with nothing and that they would need to share and we would purchase more toys along the way, but I wasn’t going to buy “separate” toys for the foster children to play with. All the toys were for everyone in the house.

That lasted a couple weeks until a toy accidentally got broken (total fluke, wasn’t on purpose). Then the fights began about who could play with what. My son became very protective of his toys, creating a “do not play with” section on his shelf of toys that were “so special” to him that he didn’t want to be touched.  His space was being invaded and he needed to take control… that is what I take out of it.  Things have quieted down in this area and it is getting better over time. Also, the kids have picked up some of their toys from home when they went for visits, so that helped as well.

You’re not going to be friends with everyone

My two bio kids get a long very well. They aren’t the typical siblings who fight. They just click and play really well together and are friends. So, it was easy for them to assume it would be like that for other kids that came into the house. It isn’t. It isn’t ANYTHING like that. The boys don’t get a long and the girls have nothing in common. It has been a challenge to try to find common ground to help them form bonds. I continue to look for new ways to have them create things, or play together in a way that doesn’t result in a breakdown or tears. It’s definitely been interesting… and challenging.

You’re going to want to give up

Hard days are really hard. Exhausting, want to quit, hard. For me and for the kids. My bio kids have vented to me and broken down and admitted they are not enjoying fostering. I try to take that as an opportunity to teach them there are going to be things in life that make you want to quit; make you want to go the easy route, but we can’t just give up because of a hard day. Not every day it hard and there is a reason behind what we are doing. There have been many late night talks (well, late for them… around 8pm after the foster kiddos are asleep) about what they are feeling, and what we can do to make things better. Sometimes there isn’t something that is easily fixed, sometimes it is just showing them I am there to support them and they can vent to me whenever they want about how they are feeling. That is how the idea of finishing my basement came about. One night my son was telling me the house was too small and he couldn’t get away for quiet time because everyone followed him.  I am lucky to work for a great company that is in the construction industry, so I have many people to help me plan renovations and find the best (and cheapest) solutions on that end. I am looking into adding 1 or 2 bedrooms and a playroom down there, so hopefully that will work out and be ready by the time our next placements come.

You never know what is going to happen next

Our first week was interesting. It was a constant “what next” feeling in our house. From me having the flu our first day with placements, to head lice (my children have never had lice, so it was a brand new experience for me!), to one of the children eating an ice pack, we just didn’t know what to expect next.  Luckily it has calmed down a bit, but we are now in the “what next” phase of wondering what is next for these children. Will they go home as predicted in the 6-8 month period (probably not), or will they be placed with kin (up in the air right now), or will they stay here much longer than originally thought (a chance). Who knows.


For the other foster families with older bio kids, what have you found to help them adjust to the “new life”?

~Meesh

 

 

 

Update – My First Placements

My First Foster Placements - Becoming a Foster Parent - Canada

I had started this blog to just record the process of becoming a foster parent and had no plans to continue once I took on placements, but I wanted to give an update about my first placement since that ‘officially’ made me a foster parent in my mind.

After I met my worker on November 3, I was put “on the board” to officially accept placements. Then, I waited. And waited. And waited. On January 30th (almost 3 full months of waiting for a call), I received an email from my worker saying she had a potential placement for me, and to call her the next day when she’d be in the office.

When I called her the next day she went over what she knew. The kids were still with their mother, had been in care before, but they had a court date on that Thursday to determine if the kids would be coming back into care. The kids. Two. Not one.. .two kids.

So, did I whip out my placement call list of questions and start rattling them off? Nope. I completely forgot about it to be honest! I listened. She gave me the info she had, which really wasn’t much and then asked my thoughts. The kids both fell in my age range. There was one boy and one girl, so I had the beds available. I said yes.

Then, I had to wait again. This time, for the judge to decide if the kids would be placed in foster care. Thursday afternoon came and I hadn’t heard anything so I sent my worker a quick email (we email a lot, since I work full time outside the home, it is the easiest way for us to send quick messages). She hadn’t heard anything either so she said she would see what she could find out.

The case had been put off until the next week. I had to wait a whole week again to find out if I would be caring for these children. It was a long, hard week. I didn’t know what to expect, would it be put off again? Am I sure I want to accept two children as my first placement? Am I sure I want to accept any children at all still? I starting having doubts, I starting rethinking everything.

Then Thursday came.

The kids were ordered into care and I received the call. The kids would be at my house at 6pm.  On February 16, I welcomed a sibling set of two into my home. Right now it is estimated at a 6-8 month stay, but you just never know. Their Mom has been great though and I am 100% confident there will be reunification. We talk on the phone every night before the kids go to bed.

Some days are hard. Like, really hard. But others are wonderful. I feel like I was definitely meant to have more than two children and this is part of my path…however, my children are sure they do not want anymore foster children to come into our home. Adjustment is hard.

~Meesh

 

Quick Update

Since being approved I have been contacted by my Resource Worker. We have set up a meeting for November 3. During that meeting she will meet me and we can go over me, my children and our placement preferences, etc.

From there, I am available for placement!

I am still hoping for our first placement by Christmas.

We are Approved!

foster-parent-approval_foster-care-blog_momma-meesh

Today I received my approval to become a foster parent! 

I am still in a state of shock… even though it has been over a year since I started the process, it is still an “is this really happening” moment! I can’t wait to share the news with my children!

So now, let me back up a couple days. Earlier this week my Home Study worker emailed me a couple questions. The questions she sent me were previously asked in my Home Study, but she wanted to add to the response she had written down.

Then today, she emailed me to say her Supervisor had one question about how I would introduce a new partner into the mix if I date or am in a relationship when I have foster children. I had thought about this before since I have to worry about that with my own children. Although I feel I am years away from that happening, I answered the best I could.

About an hour later she emailed me back congratulating me on being approved and sent me a copy of my report to review.  Once I reviewed it (I had no changes), I sent it back. Her administrative assistant will now format it and then send it off to be assigned a Resource Worker.

Yay!  I am approved! I am getting so close!

Next step:  Wait for the Resource Worker assigned to me to contact me (estimated to be next week or early the following week). Once they contact me, we set up a time to meet within 30 days. From there, I am open to placements!

I am hoping to have our first placement(s) by Christmas!

Thank you for following in my journey! I have now completed the process to become a Foster Parent!

Waiting on Approval… Continued

Waiting on Approval - Foster Adoption Process - Momma Meesh Blog

My two week wait turned into a two month wait… and is now looking closer to a two year wait by the time I will get my first placement.

I talked to my Home Study worker today as I wanted more information about future adoption (I plan to Foster first, but my five year plan includes being open to adoption). She informed me she has not started my write up yet about my Home Study for her Supervisor to approve. She is going on vacation for two weeks and said she will not be starting my write up until mid to late September. Due to vacations in her department, and kinship and child specific Home Studies she has had to complete, she had to push back my write up.

My heart broke.

Mid to late September?? That is four months after my final Home Study appointment!

I am blessed to have two bio children who I can focus on while I wait, so I will focus on that. My heart breaks for the others who are also waiting along me for such a long time who are waiting for their first child to come home!

New timeline:

  • Mid to Late September – Home Study Worker prepares Home Study Report
    • She will send the report to me to review and comment/mark up
    • Once I approve her write up (to be sure everything is correct) she sends it to her Supervisor to review
    • Depending on her Supervisor’s workload it could take days to weeks to receive final approval (although my worker has stated it is usually pretty quick…)
  • Mid to Late October – Final Approval Received (hopefully)
  • Within 7 Days of Approval a Social Worker will be assigned to me (end of October?)
  • Within 30 days, my Social Worker must set up a meeting with me (could bring me to late November?)
  • December?… open to placement calls.

Based on the new information I think it is more likely that I will be waiting until January for my first placement calls, but am praying things run smoother come Fall when there are less people on vacation.


 

Waiting on Approval (Still)

Waiting on Approvals - Foster Care - Becoming a Foster Parent - MommaMeesh Blog

I am still in the waiting process. It has been almost two months, which was the estimated time line for my approval, however I have not even received my Home Study report to review yet.

I touched base quick with my Home Study worker last week and she hadn’t got to my report yet due to a backlog of people ahead of me. She is swamped with Home Studies, which is great, but also frustrating.

I am hoping within the next week or so I will receive my report to review. It then goes back and gets approval from her supervisor.

The next waiting game will be when I am assigned a Worker. After my official approval they have 7 days to assign a worker to me. From there, she has 30 days to come meet me. I am really hoping that is a large time frame and it is actually much sooner… but the way things are going, I am expecting it to be the full estimated time.

My hope is still to receive a placement in August, however, each day I don’t receive my report, I am losing hope for that.

I will update as soon as I get approval 🙂

 

Placement Calls – Questions to Ask

Foster Care Placement Call Question List - Becoming a Foster Parent blog

I am currently brainstorming questions for when I receive my first placement calls. I would love input from people who have gone through the blur and excitement of the first calls.

My Home Study worker suggested I create a list of questions to keep with me for when I receive a call. I am drafting it right now and plan to have her review it at my final home study appointment coming up next week.

Have a look at the PDF (Foster Care Placement Call Questions (PDF)) and let me know your thoughts. Is there information missing or are there too many questions for the first call?

I should add these questions are for school aged children, age range of 4 to 7. I don’t have baby-related or teen-related questions.

Edited to add:  A Commenter gave some great question ideas which can also be found here: No Bohns About It

I am sure there are lots of lists similar to this one out there. If you would like me to add your list, please let me know and I will add it to this post 🙂 

 


 

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