There was a time in my life when I was a part of the Foster Care system.
I was in two foster homes. Both were with larger families. One of the families had other foster children while I was there. The other as far as I remember anyway, did not.
This is going back a number of years now, but I remember a bit of the moment this happened. If you don’t mind, I’d like to share this.
I remember coming home from school one day when there was a car pulled up to my house. I remember feeling a little different about that day. A feeling I can’t fully explain except to say that there was a change in the air. My suitcase was packed and moved to my then social workers car. It was then explained too me that I was going to a Foster home.
I remember staring out. I was numb, but not surprised. There was conversations about this before so I my 8 year old self wasn’t surprised. I just went with the flow.
My social worker drove out to the house. She gave an explanation of this family I was going too. A load of emotions came through my head all at the same time. But, I remember going with the flow.
We arrive at the house and we meet. It was an acreage there was lots of animals. Cows, horse, cats. The family is standing there waiting to greet me. What was odd was one of the kids names was Kevin he was one of the other foster kids, which was my name. I think we changed mine to Mark for the time.
It was an adjustment for me. New house, new household rules and new ideas. It was also close to the end of the school year and I was also going to a new school with new teachers. There is lots of an 8 year old to adjust too.
That experience ended. But a couple years later, I went to another Foster home. This was a family of 5 with no other foster kids in the house. This being the second foster home, I had some experience with dealing with the adjustments to fall back on. Again, new family, new school and new teachers and lots of a kid to adjust too.
In both of the cases, I would have to say that my foster experience was positive. The parents were nice, so was the Foster siblings. As a matter of fact, do you remember the kid named Kevin I told you about from the first family? Him and his actual blood sister ended up being adopted into the family.
The reality is , and this is from my perspective, being a parent of foster children is not easy. Some of you who are parents can give that perspective. The reality is you are dealing with a child that in all tense in purposes was pulled out of a family into another one. There is a small sense of rejection that is hard not to suppress. Kids will handle that very differently. As a parent, that is an adjustment depending on the kid. Some kids are bounced from foster home to foster home. This includes babies.
Looking back, I also think it’s odd that the first meeting between family and child was when I was moving in. I’m not sure of that has changed, but it should. We are spending a long time in a confined space together, should there not be meet and greet before? I know the parents are educated about the child, but that can improve.
The reason that this is I’m sharing this story with you is because there has been some discussion about Foster homes in Alberta.Things like this story here vhttp://globalnews.ca/news/988969/89-foster-deaths-unreported-in-albertareport/ about the number of deaths in Foster homes. This will lead to an investigation on foster care in Alberta. Which I welcome because it is an important discussion. However, let this not stop people from realizing there are many incredible foster parents out there that are loving and nurturing
If we are going to have this discussion I say we open it with this question. Do you think that the government or agencies are showing enough support for Foster Parents?
My answer is no. There is a psychological preparation from both child and parent that needs to be worked on.
But that’s a perspective from a former Foster Kid that was in the system.