Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Foster Care & Adoption - Feb 26th

I am so thankful to the Pishney's for joining us at MOPS today and sharing their hearts with us about Foster Care & Adoption. I feel like we were given some very good information today on what the process of being a foster family or a waiting family for adoption looks like & how every situation is different.

Let me give you a little background on my experience with Foster Care...When I was 10, my parents made the decision to be Foster Parents through Bethany Christian Services and they have been involved in that ministry ever since. I grew up being very aware of the blessing that Adoption & Foster Care can be (I also have 2 cousins who were adopted), but I also remember many of the questions and comments along with the looks. They assumed that I was the mother of the infant we were caring for and in my early teens with a baby of a different ethnicity. It was never a negative experience as we would just explain that we did foster care or just smile and continue on our way. For my family it was just like having a new brother or sister in the family for awhile, usually a few days to a few months. I also got some very good experience with newborns which was very useful when my girls were born :)

 I now have a few friends who are on their own path of Foster/Adoption, and am very thankful to Jeff & Karen for putting together the following information on understanding the process and being supportive to those going through this journey and what we can do to help and encourage them or just know what the best way might be to converse with them about their Foster/Adoption story.

Understanding the Emotional Toll - What do you wish people would understand about Foster Care?

  • That you are very vulnerable during this process
  • So many of the details are out of your control / unknowns
  • All of the emotions that come up during the process, paperwork and interviews
  • Delays and health concerns - trying to get the child the services they need(working with many different social workers, counselors, doctors, etc...)
  • Child's emotions and adjustments 
  • It is/can be a very lonely journey
  • Communicating about the process without sharing too much or sharing too little and confusing friends and family
  • Answering random questions from strangers
  • Birth parent visits are the toughest days and can take days to recover from

What to say or not to say:

  • Don't ask details about the child's past
  • Don't ask why the child was taken away from his/her parents
  • Don't scrutinize the child looking for signs of drug use by birth mom or fetal alcohol syndrome
  • Don't try to find something wrong with the child
  • Don't assume the child will be less smart because he/she was adopted
  • Don't share your horror stories
  • Don't label the child(labels do much damage & last a lifetime)
  • Don't compare stories 
  • Why would you ruin your own kids by doing Foster Care or Adopting? God didn't care any less for the child because he/she is adopted or in Foster Care. God has a specific plan for each of His children
  • Ask about the child's present likes/dislikes, favorite things or activities not their past experiences
  • Birth child / Biological child
  • Birth mom / Biological mom
  • What is their ethnicity (not where did you get them from, where did they come from)
  • Did you adopt internationally or domestically? Instead of where did he/she come from?
  • The foster/adoptive parents aren't lucky to have missed out on the rough newborn phase w/little sleep etc...The child isn't lucky to have gone through all of the hard stuff.
  • Don't keep reminding the child that he/she is different
  • A good thing to say would be "Your family is beautiful" or "We're praying for you"

What you can do to help:

  • Pray
  • Be genuinely interested
  • Focus on the present or future
  • Be encouraging, make phone calls, bring dinner, send text messages, offer childcare, listen, or just let them cry, be a good friend, don't judge
  • Rejoice with them
  • Be sad with them

We can all do something to help care for the orphans...

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