Sometimes in foster care, it’s all butterflies and roses and things go exactly the way you pictured it would.. the child fits perfectly into your home, get’s along well with all of your children, eat/sleeps good.. you know, everything you could possibly imagine going well, just does.
But sometimes in this process, you find that things are not always as black and white as you remember in training and sometimes those lines that you remember signing your name by, don’t always happen the way you thought it would.
Let me give you all a few examples of the “Gray area” we have experienced.. now first and foremost this is solely my opinion an what has personally happened in our family, it doesn’t mean that this happens for everyone.
- The “end-all trial” which was supposed to happen to us to start our adoption with the boys, has been reset 4 different times, in 5 months.. still haven’t started that process.
- There is a 30 day removal request that you are allowed to make when you feel one of the children in your house isn’t really working out (I won’t go into detail, but that is the nice way of putting it) and it should mean that CPS has just 30 days to get them out of your house and placed elsewhere, or you can have an expedited 14 day request that means the same thing.. and what we have found out is that, that is just a number and that CPS can leave them in your house longer if need be, due to them unable to find a placement for that child elsewhere.. hmm..
- The paperwork. When they say you have monthly documentation on a child, you start to think “ok maybe just a few documents” but no.. I am loaded in about 6 pages/per kid/per month + any doctor/dental notes that I have to show proof of + any incident reports (scratches/beavhorial, etc) +educational docs of what they are learning in school+ report cards.. Okay, you get the point right? SO. MUCH. PAPERWORK.
- The team. Every single child that comes into the foster care has an attorney+ad lidem+case manager+CASA (if they get appointed a worker). Every single child has a team that you somehow have to coordinate everything with! Let me tell you, my month gets filled up pretty quickly coordinating everything with them.
- The required stuff. So much stuff is mandatory–doctors visits/dental visits/tb tests/specialist visits/ training/etc. that sometimes it is hard to just keep up with it all. I try to schedule everything all at once, but it doesn’t always work out that way.. it makes for a lot of driving.
- Counseling.. it’s like a double-edge sword. You would hope that taking your child to an out-of-town counselor 3+ times per month would be great, but sometimes you see no benefit. While all foster children are required to be in counseling at 3 ages and above, sometimes you don’t really see the effectiveness of it all, with some children. I think family counseling would be best, so the truth would always be told and heard.
- Hearings-ugh.. it’s something that happens at 2 weeks after removal, and usually every 3 months after that, until the trial at 1 year post removal happens. Foster parents (or least in our case) are not heard. We are not asked by the Judge how the children are doing, or how they are handling this process developmentally/behaviorally….nothing at all. “The team” (which I have actually very rarely seen them interact with my foster children) are always trying to figure out “what’s best for the child/ren” with little to no regards of the kids themselves. Usually the arguments in the hearings are polar opposites of what’s usually best for these precious children.
**I am not talking down to foster care or in any way/shape/form/fashion or trying to deter you from this process, just wanted to speak about stuff that we think we should have been told when initially getting involved in this process.
©2017 Sheridan Johnson @Journey with the Johnsons. All Rights Reserved.