Always be ready for Change
We recently experienced a change in our home. We had a couple of foster girls that we were told would be in our home until they were 18. We were told that there were no plans for permanency because of their ties to their Native American tribe. We had them for about 3 months. I know that’s not a long period of time, but it was long enough to get attached. We really try hard to treat all of our foster kids like they’re our own. We take them with us when we go on vacations and when we go play together as a family. With these two girls we had spent part of the summer at our local water park. We had gone to the movies together. They had become friends with our own young children. So, what can you do to always be ready for change, without “checking out early”?
Go all in.
I know that this sounds like it would make you too attached to your foster kids. You might even think that it would only make change harder. Well, in our experience it actually makes it easier when foster kids get moved to a new placement or returned home. When you go all in, you are not left with any regrets. You know that you have given them 100%, and the foster kids know how much you really care, and they’ll understand that even though they are moving on, they will always have your support. Losing foster kids is not easy, but giving 100% helps you be ready for the change. The friendship and bond that you forge will be a comfort to you even though you feel the pain of the change to your family.
Understand; There’s no certainty in foster care.
We have heard it all. We have committed to adopting some of our foster kids and been told that everything would go through, only to be told that they were going to be adopted by someone else. The longer we have done foster care, the more we have come to realize that there is no certainty. There are too many players in the game to count on any one person. A caseworker may want one things for your foster child, while their therapist wants something else. There’s judges, parents and guardians, guardians ad litem, not to mention yourself, and a handful of others, all who want something completely different for your foster kids. Understanding these dynamics helps you be ready for potential change. You never know who has the most sway, or what the end outcome might be. Don’t get frustrated or mad, and don’t be surprised when something you’ve been planning on is replaced by something out of the blue. It’s just they way things happen in foster care.
Know what stuff is theirs.
When a change happens, sometimes you are given little or no notice. Some of our foster kids were moved from our home without any notice to us at all. In fact, one of our foster kids who was in our home for less than a week when he was told at court that he would not be returning home with us. He had been in trouble at his last home the prior week, and the judge, whom he met with after leaving his last home and entering ours, sentenced him to go to a higher level of care than our home. We had no warning. He went straight from court to this new facility. Luckily for us, we had an inventory of everything he had brought into our home with him. Even though he was not there to help us pack him up, we knew what we had to pack. Making an inventory on day one helps you be ready for any sudden changes. It also helps foster kids feel secure that, even if they get moved at least they’ll get to keep their stuff.
Be open and upfront.
We are always open and upfront from the very beginning. When we do an inventory with our foster kids, we explain why. They have never complained, never felt bad, and in the end it benefits both them and us. The uncertainty of foster care is no secret to foster kids. I mean, they’re the ones that it affects the most. Let them know exactly what is going on. Help them understand the dynamics of having so many people involved in their case. Be ready for change, but be completely in the moment. Your foster kids will follow your example. As you give them your best, they will give you theirs.
Please leave us a comment…
As always, if you have enjoyed this content, please leave us a comment or share this with your friends. This helps us to continue to create free content to help foster parents like you receive tips and support to make your life easier. And, if you have any questions, or if there is something in particular that you would like to read about, please give us suggestions and feedback.
Ben & Deb
The Foster Parents