Friday, February 25, 2011

Foster/adopt parenting

If you feel the desire, or calling to be a foster/adopt parent, get the training to be certified and talk to other foster/adopt parents about the rewards and the difficulties entailed, before taking on this job. Know your limits. Be informed. Know ahead of time the age of the child that will fit for your specific family. It is also important to recognize that you have expectations - realistic and unrealistic. An example of an unrealistic expectation may be that a 5 year old (who has been displaced and experienced trauma) should act like a 5 year old , rather than a needy toddler sometimes or a detached out of control teenager at other times. A realistic expectation maybe that there are certain rules and traditions to pay attention to in our family and that being part of our family is participating in these rules and traditions. It is useful to sort through and identify these expectations ahead of time and as they arise in the moment. I know many seasoned foster/adopt parents who have found great joy, and satisfaction in knowing how to be a secure, stable, kind adult in the life of their foster/adopt children.

Foster/adopt parenting is one of the most important and most challenging jobs that I know of, along with the county workers and clinicians who provide services for these most vulnerable children in our community.

You can join a local chapter of foster/adopt parents to get support, that will provide different educational opportunites, discussion and support groups. The Marin Foster Parent Association near Mill Valley is one such organization that provides a wonderful community of support in so many ways for the member families.