Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Recap: First foster class

We are two of a group of 24, but only 22 showed up last night. The class was led by two caseworkers and an experienced foster parent. Two of the three leaders are not terribly skilled facilitators, and my teacher brain kept urging me to redirect things so we could keep moving, as it became evident pretty quickly that we were going to run out of time. We got through about two-thirds of the stuff we were supposed to, but none of the leaders seemed to think this would be a problem down the line or anything.

We are the youngest people in the class (but only by a few years). We are the only married couple who have zero children between us, I think. I was relieved that quite a few of the people in the class aren't sure if they want to just foster or are hoping to foster-to-adopt, because we haven't made up our minds 100% yet on that one.

Basically, the biggest thing I took away from the class was this: Fostering is not an easy life to live, and the ten weeks of classes are designed for you to discover if it's right for you, and if it is, to give you tools to make it somewhat easier. If it's not right for you, that's okay. It's not for everyone, and it's way, way better to "select yourself out of the class" (caseworker's language, not mine) than have a child placed with you and be indifferent or regret it.

There is a guy in the class who is only going through the system to become the legal guardian of his niece, who he has raised almost since birth (she's just over a year, I think). I think the dude is not totally in control of his mental game, and he took up a lot of the class time pointing out that shit they were telling us about meeting with birth parents didn't apply to him. He did not take a single hint that maybe he didn't need to keep bringing it up. I am really hoping that he can chill the hell out so the rest of us can hear information we might very well need, but I'm not going to be surprised if he drives me crazy for ten weeks.

Overall: Lots of review of shit I read in the reading everyone was supposed to have done but probably only four of us actually did; hoping the nine classes left feel more useful.

Tomorrow I'll post the recap of my fight with Andy. It's a fun one.

Any questions for me about the foster stuff? I'll try to answer anything I can!


  1. Do they count as my niece/nephew? Do you stay in contact with them after they leave? Would you get in trouble if they gained excessive amounts of weight while living wih you? Do they come equipped with anything? Is there an upgraded model? These are the important things to know.

  2. Ps i had to sign in under aim. Why is yahoo not an option? That's dumb.

  3. Everyone, say hello to The Kid! In order:
    1. Yes, as long as they're with us.
    2. Depends on the relationship we've cultivated with the birth parents, but hopefully. If we had a good experience with the kid, I think we can request that they come back to us if they return to the foster system.
    3. I have no idea. I'd guess so, but really, I think that won't be a huge problem. Especially if we get a kid before the end of our CSA season, because we can't get through all that shit.
    4. That will be different for every kid, but it's best to assume they'll come just with the clothes on their backs.
    5. ...Probably not.
    6. Google and yahoo are competitors, and google owns blogspot. Duh.

  4. I am glad to know that there isn't pressure to follow through once you've begun the process - I hope that it in fact weeds people out who aren't ready... but I imagine that those who opt out weren't the ones who would abuse the system/kids (kind of like those who chose not to have kids b/c they weren't ready are probably more ready than many who end up having the kids). Are you able to request an age range?(sorry if you've already addressed this). I feel like different ages require a different level of emotional preparedness. Do they coach you with what to say to the kids when they begin to ask questions? Also, how much must you comply with the parents? I assume most visits are court regulated, but if you just do not have a good relationship with them, how do you go about visits?

  5. We can in fact request an age range, but it's likely they'll call us about any kid who seems like they might fit (or any kid who needs a home, I guess). We are currently listed as foster parents for kids birth to age 5. So far they haven't given us much concrete stuff about how to talk to the kids about what's going on, other than that a common need the kids all have is information about what's going on (so that's not exactly helpful). I'm curious about what we're allowed to tell kids about what we know. If mom is in jail for bank fraud, do we tell the kid that? What about if she's in jail for murder? What if we know the kid was abused, but the kid hasn't specifically disclosed that to us? Do we respect the kid's right to tell us, or do we tell what we know? I really, really hope our classes get more focused as they go, and that the past two have just been "overview" type affairs, because I have seven million questions.

    In the beginning stages, all visitation is set through the courts, and I think if things aren't smooth with the parents you can just stick with what the courts say. All the visits are done at a secure "visitation center" so the parents never have any need to know where we live or anything if we don't want them to, and the visits are supervised (at least at first) by a social worker. We shouldn't ever be expected to supervise a visit - but I'm not sure that it won't ever happen, because I know sometimes things get mixed up, and I would rather stay during a visit with a birth parent than explain that the social worker's schedule was wrong so you can't see your family today. I also know that if you develop a good relationship with the parents you can choose to let the kids seem them more often, as long as the court approves, and you can elect to share your address or whatever if you want to invite the parents to things like birthday parties.

    This got really long. Geez.