If you plan to continue fostering after the end of a placement or an adoption, don’t miss your due dates! I know that at the end of the placement, more often than not we need time to get through the grief. Likewise, at an adoption we want that family bonding time. Sometimes, jumping right back into foster care immediately is not something our heart (or family) is ready for. BUT if you plan on fostering again in the near future, do not forget to update your paper work regularly, even if you are not prepared to bring in a kiddo immediately.
Our mistake was missing the due dates
We have three weeks to make sure all of our foster care paperwork is up to date. Three weeks! Three weeks to do the training hours, the car inspections, the physicals, and all of the other fun paperwork we need to make sure we are re-certified. Sure, that doesn’t sound like too much, except the fact that my husband works full time and I run after a three-year-old all day. I knew the deadline was coming up, but I continued to put off the paperwork. Then, our Foster Family Agency called me to remind me that we were past due on most of the items we needed for re-certification.
I feel a little hypocritical at this moment in time.
I created and shared a lot of organizational printables with my readers including this one from the foster parent binder I created for myself, in hopes that I could help my fellow foster parents. I wanted people to feel as organized as I did when I created the system. My daughter was still in foster care, and I needed to do something to help me stay organized. And believe me, when she was foster care, we never missed a deadline.
But the moment we adopted our daughter I stopped updating the documents and meeting the deadlines for our re-certification paperwork. I pushed it to the back of my mind. We needed a break from the foster care system for just a few months. For the first time in three years we didn’t have social workers coming in and out of our house. We didn’t have them looking through our stuff. We didn’t have social workers, mental health examiners, lawyers and educational services disrupting our day. I didn’t have to stay on top of the paperwork constantly. She could go to the doctor without a check up form. She could get an owie without me writing up an incident report. I felt relieved. We got a membership to the Zoo, and we went whenever we wanted. The freedom has been amazing.
I kept ignoring the little voice in my head that told me, “Hey, you missed a due date.” I ignored all of those little voices. I was having fun with my daughter and my husband. Now our re-certification is upon us, and we are running everywhere to get it done on time.
Will we make it? I don’t know.
So my word of advice…
Turn in the paperwork by your due dates whether you are ready or not. Don’t ignore the due dates. It’s so much easier to just keep up with it, then to scramble around at the last second to get everything in.
On a positive note:
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To fulfill some of our training hours we watched one movie, one 20/20 episode, and one book that will have lasting impressions on me. If we had done the training hours throughout the year I wouldn’t have selected these three things. I normally like to attend the support groups for my hours, but since we were rushed we resorted to many documentaries and book synopsis’s to fulfill the training hours. Luckily, these were all worth the time and attention.
I highly recommend watching “Room For One More” directed by Norman Taurog. It is a movie from 1952 starring Carrie Grant and Betsy Drake. This one is purely for entertainment purposes. It will not teach you any foster parent lessons, or give words of advice, but it is entertaining. It glamorizes foster care a bit, but I laughed a lot. It was a lot of fun to sit with my husband and watch this movie one night after the kiddo went to bed.
We also decided to watch a 20/20 episode titled,“Failure to Protect.” This was an episode which highlights some of the problems with the foster care system. The system failed to protect a young girl, as a result she dies in the foster care system at the age of five. Although it was extremely difficult to stomach, and I lost some sleep over this tragic event, it was worth watching. I learned some valuable lessons from this event, but prepare your heart for the heaviness of this tragic event.
Failure To Protect | FRONTLINE– This link will take you to the PBS website for the description, transcripts, short excerpts and, and discussion. However, we found the full episode on YouTube.
Last, but not least
I highly recommend reading, Beyond Consequences, Logic, and Control: A Love Based Approach to Helping Children With Severe Behaviors. I will be honest, I originally chose this book because it was only four hours of listening time on Audible. It was the shortest Audible book I could find for us both to listen to in such a short time, and we needed to work fast to get these hours done. But I learned more from this book about parenting then I have from any other parenting books. This book discusses children’s behaviors and how their little brains work, but more importantly it discusses parental behaviors and fears, and helps demonstrate how we can be more effective when dealing with our children’s undesired behaviors in order to create a thriving positive relationship with our child. At times, it is a bit clinical and dense, but what I learned from this book is valuable, and I can already feel the difference in my parenting abilities.
PS: If you haven’t seen my binders and printables, check them out, and sign-up here to gain access to the FREE Printable library.