Hubby and I have entered the world of foster care. We will be working with at-risk infants. That will be the ones born with drugs in their systems, or ones who aren’t gaining weight appropriately, or have feeding tubes, or need apnea monitors, or have broken bones, or are living with other similar issues.
We have not chosen an easy road, but rather one offered to us by God.
We are currently in training/licensing classes. We’ve taken three of the required eight, so far. Each is three hours long, so nine hours of training completed so far. After those classes we go on to have classes in CPR, First Aid, Child Restraints in Vehicles (car seats), and special training for the medical issues we’ll experience once children are in our home. With those things being extra classes after the training ones, you may be asking “what are in the training classes?”
From our training manual:
Voices of Youth video – actual people who were in foster care as children, talking about how many foster homes they had, why they moved so much, and what stuck out in their minds about certain caregivers.
The legal process – from the first phone call from someone reporting an abused or neglected child, through the child entering foster care, the court hearings that happens while the child is recovering in the foster home, through the child either returning home or being adopted. It’s a process which can take several months to several years.
Explaining that all foster parents are mandated reporters – what that means, what we report, and a reminder of what happens when we do.
Explanations of what tends to bring children into foster care.
Information about addictions and family systems that lead to children being removed.
How a child learns to communicate their needs, and what happens to that child if his/her needs are not met, and the larger impact if a child never forms a healthy attachment to a caregiver.
The impacts on a child’s development when he/she is placed into foster care. A reminder that the child’s first day in care is likely the worst day of that child’s life. (We expect it to be the best day, but from a child’s viewpoint it usually is not.)
Ways we as caregivers can minimize those traumas and help children develop attachment.
Types of development – physical, cognitive, emotional, social. How a child can be a different “age” in each area.
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, and the ways it impacts a child’s development.
And that’s just what we covered in the first three classes!
The classes are pretty intense. Lots of videos, lots of explanations being given by people personally impacted by what we’re studying.
A video of an adorable girl whose biological mother drank alcohol to excess during her pregnancy – resulting in this seven year old girl being unable to hear the instruction “touch the red circle and the blue square” and follow it correctly. She was cheerful, she wanted to follow the instructions, but she could not hold them in her mind long enough to do them.
Photos of typical bruise and burn patterns we may see in the children when they arrive in our homes. I couldn’t watch all of that one.
This is not going to be an easy road. My heart already hurts for these children, and I find myself reading books and internet postings to be sure that I know a multitude of ways to help the chlidren we’ll have with us, for as long as they stay with us.
I’m excited about this opportunity. I’m nervous about this opportunity. I’m definitely praying about this opportunity. And we’d appreciate your prayers as well. I’ll keep you posted!