What we have learned about foster care in our first month.

One month ago today, we had been an approved foster home for 1 week. We had already said yes to a placement who never came into care and no to a placement for various reason. One month ago today, me and the toddlers had drove over an hour to a play date with some new awesome friends, who are also new foster moms. One month ago, we received a call that resulted in our first foster care placement. 

What we have learned about foster care in our first month.

(And this is just our experience with our DFACS. I can not speak for every foster parent or every agency) 

  • People are very interested about how foster care works. Also, a lot of people don’t understand how foster care works. Generally, children come into state custody (aka, foster care) due to some sort of negligence by their birth parents.... whether it’s unsafe living arrangements, alcohol or drug abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse or abandonment due to arrest mainly.... to name a few. The number one goal of foster care is reunification between child and parents. The biological parents get a case plan, which basically state what they need to do to get their child(ren) back in their custody. Until then, they have visitations with their child(ren) weekly, to keep in contact and keep the bond. There are various court dates, phone calls, visitations, team meetings, more phone calls, more court dates and paperwork, paperwork, paperwork for foster parents, caseworker, bio parents and all involved. Nothing that a mom can’t handle ;) 

  • People/friends come out of no where to help, check in and bring food! The support by phone/text/in person has been nothing short of amazing and completely inspiring. I’m so thankful for the understanding (from most people) that life has gotten crazy, busy and overwhelming at time, and have shown us grace, love and support even when we have been a bit frazzled and slow to respond. So thank YOU. You know who you are.
  • Caseworkers are overworked and frazzled. I know that feeling and it sucks. I have sympathy. I have patience. I have understanding. Visitations get canceled or moved at the last minute. Go with it. Be flexible. Be like water. & thank your caseworker. 

  • They (the caseworkers for the bio parents/kids) really can not tell you anything about the case. Not a thing. They will tell you what you need to know, regarding the best interest of the child. They can not tell you why child is in care, if the parents are working their case plan to move towards reunification, if they slip up etc... Most information is public knowledge, so if you are very curious of the charges, case plan etc... you can go to the court hearings. Which is your right, as foster parents. You just make sure you find out when it is. Again— frazzled caseworkers. Dont be afraid to reach by phone call/text/email to check in.

  • Privacy is HUGE- I have taken necessary steps to start ensuring a bit of privacy. Laugh if you must, at this social media loving mom but as previously written about in another blog post, privacy is huge. When we first started this journey I had every intention of sharing all I could (within reason). It’s easy to not give a second thought to issues with out a face or a name, but once you have that child in hand and have met their birth parents, you are not only protecting yourself and that child, you are protecting that birth parent too. I know that may sound crazy to some, but as stated above, some kids are in foster care because their parents have made mistakes, as some of us have. They are living the only way they know how, the only way they were shown as kids. Throwing stones at them is not necessary, we hold out helping hands. Protecting their privacy and their rights is crucial, as well as ours. So sharing “everything I can” is no longer a priority. 

  • After 3 kids, adding more really doesn’t add much more craziness. You are already used to be outnumbered and having more kids than hands. I pride myself on knowing my limits and what I/we can handle. Sometimes it works out, other times, not so much. I have meltdowns, hell, we ALL do. We get overwhelmed but the difference is.... the difference is, we embrace the chaos. •Be on the look out for a post about “How we handle it all.”•

  • I’ve read this a few times and it proves to be true... after the first 2-3 weeks you fall into a routine and everyone usually has adjusted. Throwing a new child in the mix is hard on everyone involved. You have to find a new normal and a new morning & nighttime routine. After a few weeks, everything becomes second nature and you become a family of {6} in our case. 

  • You learn what “take it one day at a time” truly means. Will this child likely be reunified with his mama? Yes, he will. Will it break my heart? Yes and No, both for obvious reason. But do I worry about that? Not right now. Right now, I’m worrying about how much sleep we are going to get tonight, if my kid hates me now because I just yelled at him and what’s for dinner. We take it one day at a time. 

Interested in becoming foster parents or a {single} foster mom or dad? Feel free to private message me or email me. You set your parameters, not the other way around. Only want/can foster boys or girls. Perfect! Only want 1 placement/child at a time? Perfect! Only want baby’s, toddler, school aged kids or teens? Perfect! Think you can’t afford it? If you can afford to live now, you can afford fostering. Work full time? Perfectly fine! They can work with you. If foster care is calling at you, screaming from the rough tops actually, answer the calling. We need you. 

As always, thank you for reading!
~Mika Beggs