The Education a Foster Parent Receives Has to Match the Size of Their Heart
It’s been almost 7 years since I broadcasted to the world “I am officially a foster parent!” It’s been seven years since I mistakenly thought I was going to save a child just by being me.
After the first two littles left our home to return to their bio family only after a brief stay, I had stars in my eyes. I felt how amazing I was surging through my veins, afterall, I was a person who was changing the world. It was an easy two weeks of my time! Bring on the next child. My crown was so glorious it almost touched heaven. Until the next call came.
You would think the DCFS provided training would have educated me on the two completely different types of calls a foster parent could receive for a placement. If they did include it in the curriculum, I didn’t pay attention. This was my downfall.
The first call we had received was an example of a call from a caseworker with a lengthy history for the children provided to me, the foster parent. The reason for the accommodating information came from the children being in the system for a while. If the child is lucky, they have a caseworker or CASA worker who has stayed with the child during their time care which makes the passing of information more complete. The second type of call can come from a case manager or investigator. This call happens when the child is newly removed from their caregiver. Often there is no history on the child if they have never been in care before. In addition, the foster parents can expect to care for the child for at least eighteen months before learning if the child will return home or will need a pre-adoptive placement.
We received the second of the two unknowingly. “Mrs. P. I am an investigator and I am in the home of two young children we are presently removing and they need a placement tonight. Are you and your husband open?” Well, of course I am open to two little people who need a home. No, I did not think of asking anything beyond ages and names because I was caught up in the romance of it all. After all, they would go home like the last two in just a couple of weeks, right?
No, they did not go home after two weeks and the two children doubled to four children in less than a year. In less than a year my confidence, my patience and my self worth fell out of my head and all were replaced with fog. I have no real memories of it.
Do you think it got better in the 2nd year? No!
Do you think it got better in the 3rd year? No!
Do you think it got better in the 4th year? No!
Do you think it got better in the 5th year? No!
Do you think it got better in the 6th year? Yes!
Healing a child’s heart takes years. Why did I not know this?