I am not certain how many children have started school again but I am guessing that many of your children have or will within the next week. School is such a great time. I have always enjoyed learning and assume that my children do as well. It always breaks my heart to hear a child say that they hate school. Yet, a lot of foster children are in this predicament. The lack of stability in their lives has left large gaps in their ability to learn and they have lost hope in themselves. Foster parents see this every day. The children that come in their homes are plagued with poor school performance. They do not seem to have the capacity to handle the… [more]
It is almost time to begin thinking about school again. The shelves of the local stores are filling up with crayons, paper and pencils. The parental itch to have the routine of the fall and winter months is starting to move. I see the look in people's eyes when they are shopping. The suiting up is about to start. I have to be honest, I love school. I love to read. My favorite thing to do is shop for dictionaries. So imagine how difficult it was for me when my foster children came and didn't have the same love that I possessed. In fact, many of them hated school and all that it involved. I have found that many children struggle in… [more]
One of the hardest things to decide in life is whether to foster a child. It is such a difficult decision because of the huge change it makes on the existing family dynamic. The family relationship is such a precious thing and so very fragile. When children are added to that- things change. These changes are not always good. The children that are coming into your home often have baggage that follows. This coupled with the other children (and your own) baggage can make for hard times. I believe that some of these hard times can be avoided. In order to successfully maneuver fostering a healthy dose of reality must exist. The reality is that you (as a parent) are not going to… [more]
I am sitting in the dark blogging while the rain falls outside. This is my favorite way to unwind after a long day. That and we sure need the rain (this coming from a farmer's wife.) I love to sit with my little family and revel in the warmth of my beautiful comfortable home- I am blessed. My dream is that every child can experience lazy, rainy, comfortable nights. There is something about snuggling with a daddy on the sofa that makes life okay. The safety and stability that comes from the intimate family moments is the reason that foster care is successful in rebuilding a child's life. I have seen children who have learned how to love again by the power of a… [more]
There is a lot of difficulty for children in the area of competition. This is obvious by the way that bullying is on the rise. It is intrinsic to people to want to win or be the chosen one. Foster children are the leaders of the pack in this arena. They struggle with feelings of inadequacy and inferiority. They need to control their situations and the easiest way is by winning or being on top. This, of course, can not always be and is difficult for parents to deal with because with the loss comes anger. That anger is often misdirected at the parents of the home and chaos erupts. What is a foster parent's role when dealing with a child that is… [more]
Sometimes it is hard to keep my focus amidst all of the things that I must do in a day. I have to constantly remind myself to stay on task and finish what I start before I move on to the next pressing matter. I am sure that many of you have felt that way. The constant need to keep all of the people in your family cared for- the desire to meet needs for everyone under your 'watch.' Taking care of your family has to start with taking care of yourself. I do not do well in this area. I voluntarily work while everyone else is sitting or resting. I use that time to catch up on things that I have neglected… [more]
Have you ever tried "growing" as an attachment exercise? For some reason, when we help something grow, it helps us grow together. Let's start with bean growing. This is a great activity to do with foster kids, even ones very new to your home. Beans sprout and grow rapidly so they are as close to instant gratification as you can get with a plant.
- Put 3 dry beans (per person) in a cup. Kidney, lima, pinto and navy beans work great.
- Fill the cup with hot water and allow to soak overnight
- "Stick" the beans to the inside of a jar about halfway up.
- Pour an inch of water in the jar
- Place a damp paper towel around the inside of jar, touching the water in the
The most frequently heard question around these parts is, "How do you do it? How can you let them go?" I realize most people are "wondering aloud." They don't really want to know how I do it, they are wondering if they could do it. However, if you get asked a question frequently enough, you start thinking through the answer. Just as we have plans in place to ease a child's entry into our home, we have plans for "letting go." Sometimes the kids leave abruptly and without a lot (or any) notice, in that case, we all just have to do the best we can. When we do have advance notice, though, we can go about it in a way… [more]
Recently I've been using a visual schedule with my "littles." A visual schedule is just that; simple pictures, photographs or drawings show a child what is happening now and what is coming up next. A web search of "visual schedule" will give you some great examples. It is a fairly common tool for kids with autism. We began the schedule as an attachment tool for our 3 and 4 year olds but I have realized how helpful it would be for pre-reading-aged foster kids as well. When new children come to the family, we always take care to let them know the routine, what's coming next, etc. I think them being able to see and manipulate it for themselves would be a tremendous… [more]
One of the hardest things about having children is the lack of time that the parents have to procure a solid relationship. This is especially true of couples who are involved in foster care. It seems as though the constant demands of the family coupled with the normal everyday life issues often strain a relationship. This is a difficult issue because there is not necessarily anything wrong being done. It is simply that the pressing needs of the moment must be met and the needs of the adults must take a back seat. This causes a disruption in the natural family base. That disruption is actually quite a big deal when it comes to raising children who are in a foster care… [more]