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]
One of the most traumatic things for a child to experience is the loss of a parent whether through divorce or death. This is magnified for the foster child who has a history of this type in their past. Yet, life happens. Sometimes marriages break up and people get hurt. Sometimes loved ones are lost. How does a foster parent keep going after that loss has occurred? Should they even try? I do not think that there is an easy answer to this question because there are so many factors to consider. First, how long has the child been with your family? Are you headed for adoption? Can you handle the emotional stress that is occurring and continue to offer a proper and… [more]
We have lost our sunshine. All of those posts about how beautiful it was outside and how happy I was that summer had come early this year- we are supposed to get snow by the end of the week. I had to laugh at myself for how downhearted that made me feel. I should expect this type of weather but somehow every year it sideswipes me and leaves me feeling as though someone took away my birthday. Perhaps that general feeling of desperation comes from the fact that when it is cold, the kids are inside more. I know that sounds terrible but it is so true. When they are outside, they make their messes out there. They work and play outside… [more]
There are times that I get so tired and wonder why in the world I am investing so much of myself and my family into children that are 'not mine.' It seems that a large portion of my days are spent picking up the pieces of shattered lives that I did not shatter. Do you ever feel that way? One of the hardest parts of being a foster care parent is the constant need and emotional issues. This can reek havoc on even the strongest of person. Emotional battles are so often fought within and take a lot of work to pinpoint. Then when they are pinpointed, an attempt can be made to deal with them. I use the word attempt because emotional… [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
I love the word "adios." Amongst my Spanish speaking friends, it really just means good-bye but the literal translation is more like "to God." It seems like the perfect term to send off our latest little charge. “La pequeña muchacha" has gone home. She was both funny and sweet and we really enjoyed her stay. Her last day went quite smoothly; she woke up full of smiles and greetings. She ate heartily, she played hard. Around noon, the social worker called me to say that she would probably arrive in late afternoon to take her home. After a little debate, I decided to put her down for nap around 1:30 when my kids went to rest time. She was tired and cranky by then. … [more]
I am snuggled up on the sofa with two of my favorite people. It is just that kind of day- the snow is falling and wind blowing. It is cold. So the family is reading, blogging, watching, puzzling and cooking. Everyone is at their respective 'favorite' activity. I can't think of a better way to spend a long and lazy Sunday. It's the lazy days that get me thinking about how lucky I am to be where I am. My kids are not actually all my own, I have some on loan at this point. I am trying to work at capturing these moments in my heart because I know that some of my kids will not always be here. That is one of… [more]
Having an exchange student in my home has given me another perspective on life. Things in America are definitely different from in other countries. The things that we take for granted are not often not true in other parts of the world. One of the biggest differences is the Foster Care System. Those of you involved know that a lot of legalities go into the protection of children- sometimes it can feel as though there are too many hoops to jump through. If a child falls into an unsafe situation in America, the foster care system gets involved and tries to do what is best for the family. I know that this does not always seem to occur but it is the stated goal. In… [more]