27 March 2013

WOYWW

This week I'm off on Wednesday!  Play along with us at the lovely Julia's Blog.
 
 


There's not too much today...just breakfast and a cup of coffee.  In the lower right we have a Passover dinner guide. We're having a couple over for dinner tonight to celebrate the Last Supper.  I still have to go to the grocery and purchase some supplies.   ...and there's a whole house to clean and get guest ready!  My husband baked a cake last night (it was delicious) so my kitchen...is just a bit mess too!  Ugh!  I'll try to pop in and visit some blogs during cleaning break!

Peace and Love, y'all!
Posted by Picasa

21 March 2013

Fostering and Adoption: Learning new things

I'm working on a scrapbooking project to try to provide a way to introduce ourselves to foster kids and their families.  Not sure if it will actually help, but if my parents were taken from my house...a book detailing where they were going might make me feel a little better.    I'll create the book and then see what our placement specialist says about it.  For now it gives me something to do.  I love having a project to work on ...something to inspire me!

 
 



I'll make pages for our house rules, the chinchillas, board games we love, movies we love (children appropriate), outdoor activities, favorite meals, things we love to bake...  Anything that would make a child feel more comfortable entering a stranger's house (ie...foster parents' house) or parents of the child feel more comfortable about where the child is going (if that's even possible).   


Foster class was really interesting on Tuesday.    We discussed the goal of permanency.   Basically while a child is in foster care, there are 2 plans that are concurrently in motion.  #1 reunification.  That's always the goal, but there's always the chance that reunification is just not going to happen.  So #2 termination of parental rights and hopefully adoption... Sometimes the powers that be are moving in both directions at the same time.  Probably the most important thing that we learned is that there are government subsidies that continue to provide financial for the foster children once adopted. Those subsidies continue to pay for day care and health care for the children.    That is such a huge deal for us!  We could actually afford to adopt a foster child should they become adoption.  WONDERFUL news!   One of my fears was that we'd want to adopt but not be able to afford it.  I'm so glad to put that fear to rest.  


Peace and Love, y'all.
Posted by Picasa

14 March 2013

Foster Class: Discipline

 Finished quilt! 



Disciplining someone else's child is a big challenge...esp if the child has not been disciplined appropriately (ie, punished too harshly...or neglected).  Foster parents cannot spank or hit foster children, speak to them in a degrading manner, withhold dinner, threaten to cancel family visits, threaten to send them back, lock them in a room, tie them up, etc etc etc.   While I don't really feel that the list of "can't dos" really limits how Chase and I plan on providing discipline, it's still good to think about how we are going to discipline these kiddos.  Chase and I have never been parents of any sort before...How are we going to handle this?

The class talked about some of the appropriate ways of disciplining foster children.  First, always remember you are raising someone else's child and the child doesn't really want to please you.  The child probably doesn't even want to be around you.  Most children in healthy families have a desire to please their parents.  I know I did growing up.  I can remember crying and feeling upset if I thought I had disappointed my family.  Since foster children may not be motivated to please you, the teacher of our class suggested a system of earning rewards and privileges as a way to motivate them to obey the rules etc.   

Even more important than providing rewards/consequences is living by example.  Children are always watching adults...always!  So at all times Chase and I have to lead by example.   Sometimes we still live like we did in college...We still let the laundry go until the last possible moment...sometimes our dishes stack up.  We forget trash day about 75% of Fridays...(luckily we don't produce much trash since we compost and recycle what we can).  I still leave out craft supplies.  I don't always make the bed.  BUT all that's not as important as the fact that we love and respect  God and each other.  We have love and room to spare for the children.   I really feel that God has called us to this and he will help us live out his will.  

13 March 2013

What's on my workspace (ie, couch) today?

Here's what I'm working on this week:  I'm on the home stretch for making this quilt!  I'm going to get it done today!!! Thank you, Julia for hosting WOYWW http://stamping-ground.blogspot.com/. 
 

Here are the cinnamon rolls I made from scratch this week :)

Sewing and cooking!  Maybe I'll do some painting later today!  Thanks for visiting!  Up next Foster Class #6: Discipline.

Posted by Picasa

09 March 2013

Challah bread, Foster #5, and Homestudy Interview #2

My goodness! I'm so glad to be nearly caught up with blogging.  Here's some pictures from a bread project:  Challah with raisins



The rising dough...


 The next day, I rolled out a hand full and added raisins.


Coiled it up and let it rest.  Then I  painted it with an egg mix and sprinkled it with sesame seeds.


 And baked it!  It turned out quite yummy!



 Lesson 5 was on the subject of strengthening family relationships.

This is something those raised in a healthy family take for granted.   Growing up in a healthy family provides children with a sense of identity, history, and cultural values.   It provides a sense of self esteem.   Your cultural identity includes your values, routines, communication patterns, religious beliefs, foods, how life celebrated and honored.  Part of your cultural identity also includes racial identity.  As a foster parent you try to instill in your foster kiddo that they (and the culture they come from) are valuable members of society with the same rights and entitlements as everybody else.  You try to dispel stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination.   This is a big challenge for foster kids, because your house is probably going to be different culturally.  Probably the best way to help the kiddos respect their own cultural identity and instill confidence and a good sense of self esteem...is to support the bio-family.  Send them pictures, ask the bio-parents for advice, support visits etc.  Another important part is making a "lifebook" for the children.  I'm all over this lifebook thing.  A lifebook is a scrapbook sort of thing that covers the family history of the children.  It basically includes as much information as we can gather for the children.  The book belongs to the child so it can travel with them as they go from foster parents to bioparents/adoptive parents.  It sort of provides a map of where they've been and their story.  It can be as fancy as you want it to be.  Anyway...I'd love to put my scrapbooking skills to use to help a kiddo connect to their past.



Homestudy Interview #2

  This interview lasted 3 hours and we sat at our dinner table with our licensing/placement specialist over a cup of coffee (and some bread) and discussed our support network, drew out our "ecomap," and discussed our discipline styles.  We don't really know how we're going to discipline...since we've never had kids before!  Our specialist recommended reading Love and Logic for some discipline ideas.  A friend let us borrow his audio version of the book and Chase and I have been listening through it.  I have to say some of the techniques are not going to fly at all in my house.  For example...the author mentioned rehoming a dog because the children weren't feeding it and it was losing weight.  UNACCEPTABLE!!!  NO!!!  You cannot torture a living creature to teach a lesson.  For goodness sake...rehome the dog before it suffers.  I hope I just misunderstood that part.  Another part that really bothered me was the "Uh Oh Song"  It just sounded sarcastic to me...and you can't lock a child in his room.  That's illegal for foster children...  Just saying.  Other than those little points there are some good tid bits in the book.  I like the basic concept of you have to let children make choices and not always swooping them in to save them from natural consequences.


Peace and Love, y'all


Posted by Picasa

07 March 2013

Foster Class #4 and Homestudy



I’ve learned so much from just starting this process of getting licensed to foster children.  I think that even before our first placement…we’ve been challenged and our hearts stretched to hold a little more love.   I’m still a little behind on blogging about the classes…so maybe I’ll try to catch up today.  Chase (bless him) has taken over cooking dinner.  My made from scratch turban shaped challah bread (with raisins) is in the oven.  It’s looking delicious.  I’ll post a picture of it if it’s done before I finish this post. 

Let’s do some catch-up on our foster process…
Foster Class 4:  Grief and loss
 Lesson 4 was all about loss and the children’s (or really anyone’s) response.  The children that enter foster care have experienced more loss than most children (and even most adults).  This can include a loss of self-esteem, significant people, health… We talked about the pathway through the grieving process (Loss, Shock/Denial, Bargaining, Anger, Understanding, Coping, Managing Loss).  These can be experienced simultaneously or in any order.  No matter what sort of situation the children come from, chances are the love their bioparents and didn’t want to leave.  So being forcibly removed from their loved ones and placed in the home of a stranger is a significant loss on many levels.   It’s normal for the children to react to this loss.   Foster parents (ie, the strangers) are expected to help the children react to their many losses and teach them socially acceptable ways of expressing those very heavy feelings.    Sometimes while we help the children deal with losses, our own losses will come to mind.   We also discussed developmental grieving…that is that you revisit grief again as we develop more coping skills or perspective.  Here’s an example of that in my life.  As a veterinarian, I periodically diagnose lymphoma in dogs.  Every time, I not only grieve for that family that just got the news their dog has terminal cancer but I reprocess the grief of losing my beloved childhood pet, Corky.  I keep a picture of that rotten little dog on my desk, and I’ll never forget.  That is an example of developmental grieving.    The children will go through this as well.  It may seem that they are doing well and forgetting their pain…then suddenly they will become angry or sad again. 

Life is such a beautiful, wonderful…sometimes bittersweet thing.  I really hope we can help the kiddos.  In class the instructors said we can help by showing that we care about the children’s feelings (24/7), providing for the children’s needs, showing the children how to express their needs and that their needs will be met, and demonstrate that there are adults in the world that can be trusted. 

Anyway as a foster parent you serve as a “loss manager,” and in many ways I feel like this a skill I use at work regularly.   I help people grieve for their pets when our beloved pets suffer disease and die.  I grieve for my patients and my clients too.  I really take their suffering to heart and I work to make the passing of pet as peaceful as possible.


Homestudy Interview #1
Following lesson 4 we had our first interview as part of the home study (FYI the first interview was sort of a pre-homestudy, pre-class interview).    We talked a lot about grief and the losses Chase and I experienced throughout our lives.  This was a fairly intense interview just because of the subject matter.  I was apparently very pensive at work the following day.    We also talked about some of the issues our families have historically struggled with.  We talked about the effect Chase’s work has had on him etc.   Overall I’d say the interview went really well even though the subject matter was a little intense.

06 March 2013

WOYWW - Challah bread resting and quilt

Play WOYWW with the lovely Julia over at http://stamping-ground.blogspot.com/.

Here's what I'm working on this Wednesday morning: 



Challah bread is resting and about to be glazed with egg, sprinkled with sesame seeds, and baked.  Not picture is God's portion...which I pinched off and put in foil so it will burn in the oven.  This is a traditional Jewish bread made on the sabbath.   I'm not Jewish, but the bread sounded really delicious.  It's got honey, oil, yeast, flour, salt, and water :)  I hope it turns out yummy.  Maybe I'll post a picture when it's out of the oven.

Here's the other project that's on my workspace this week:  a  quilt I've been working on for 3 years. I'm finally going to finish it!! #determinedcrafter


In 8 minutes our foster licensing specialist will arrive for another 2 hour interview and home tour.   This is the 3rd in house interview.
Posted by Picasa