I started this blog because I could not find any real life experience blogs about foster care families in my area. I wanted get an inside look at what happens in the beginning and long term happenings. NOTHING. I am here, I will document my journey and give you a heads up for when you are beginning your own journey. Also, my very first piece of advice is to give it a chance. Things that you will be told are worse case scenerios and its NOT always the case. In addition; don’t forget that YOU choose your criteria of children coming into your home.
A little background on me… I’m 32 years old. I have 4 biological children, they are all 3 years apart. My oldest is 9 and my youngest is 10 months old. My husband is a local business owner and we have been married less than a year. We have one biological child together, my other three came from a previous marriage. I have experience in the social and behavioral field (I worked with mentally ill children and adults in group homes and I am very familiar with foster care.) I plan to adopt via foster care. I’m okay with just fostering but ultimately I want another child (or two) to have a forever home with us.
Seeing as I am familiar with programs in my area I decided to go with Arizona’s Children’s Association to get licensed, a previous coworker suggested association as they truly care about the children. Be picky; a lot of these licensing agencies could care less about you or the children… the licensing agents get paid for every person who successfully finishes and becomes a foster parent. Technically you are in charge and don’t get bullied into thinking you only have once choice because you have MANY. Pick someone who makes you feel comfortable, they’re going to be with you during every step of your journey.
My husband and I started our PSMAPP classes four weeks ago; we are so lucky to have a great social worker, La. She is down to earth, she doesn’t use many clinical terms and when she does she breaks it down. It makes her more of a friend than a scary, authority, type person. I like that. Even though I am familiar with all of the terms and acronyms, it really helps me knowing that if I do have a question and I’m not fully understanding that she can explain it without being condescending. Don’t get me wrong, La is professional and informative. She is a magnificent fit for my family.
During the first three classes we were presented with several case studies, about children and why they were placed in foster care. The cases were real but the names and pictures had been changed to protect their identity. Some of the things were horrific to me, I could not imagine why anyone would do these things to a child; it hurt my heart. We had to decide if we could take these children onto our home… because I was emotionally charged I said yes to every child. That is wrong. My family and I had discussed what we could handle and our criteria is limited to say the least. No one older than 9, no sexual behaviors, no mental retardation/medically fragile, no this, no that. I was starting to feel as if I weren’t cut out for this foster care thing.
In the PSMAPP classes they try to scare you off by hitting you with all the terrible things that could happen, before tucking your tail and running off I strongly encourage you to think about your own life first. Has everything been easy in your life? Have you had struggles? Did you overcome them? Did you learn from them? Are YOU generally okay? Stop being a chicken, power through the scary stuff… it is real and you need to know the extreme cases because no matter what YOUR house is way better than what the children have been exposed to. Obviously you’ve decided to take this route because you have a big heart and what to help give a child a good start and to model positive behaviors. In conclusion; suck it up and don’t run off.