April is a time to raise awareness of abuse and neglect issues and to encourage communities to support children and families who are suffering. Foster Care is one way to offer that support and to help families get back on their feet and reunified, learning new coping techniques and parenting skills.
There are several factors that contribute to child abuse. Poverty is one of the main factors of abuse and neglect, which may be due to the stress of the living situation or higher reporting due to social services focusing more on the poor. Once we can pinpoint the risk factors we know how to avoid abuse by learning strategies to cope. It's also important to learn the signs of child abuse and know what to do if you suspect that a child you know is being abused or neglected.
Suggested Reading/New Articles and Features:
- Adoption Search Angel for Texas and Parts of Louisiana
- Financial Aid Basics for Foster Care Students
- Understanding and Managing the Loss that Comes with a Forever Family - by Andrea Hare
- Transitions - Defining a word that is used often in child welfare.
So, according to the calendar - it's spring. I still needed my winter coat this past weekend - but the calendar says it's spring - so I'm a believer.
So, what better time than now to create some cute handmade gifts with the kids?
Most moms love the handmade stuff the best when it comes to gifts from kids. Stumped as to what to give or create? Consider the following cute Easter or Spring inspired art projects that you and the kids can easily do in just an hour.
These ideas would be perfect for a birthmom, or any member of a birth family, in a foster or adoptive situation.
- Hand Print Hearts
- Hand Print Lilies
- Foot Print Chicks
- Hand Print Flowers
- Bigger Hand Print Flower With Child's Photo
Great Foster Parents Work with Birth Family to Aid Reunification
Cover Art Courtesy of Franklin Street Gallery Productions
The topic of adoption often just pops up with kids throughout the course of a day. It's usually not a conversation that a parent purposely plans, even though they may want it that way. I Bet She Called Me Sugar Plum is a beautifully illustrated book that does not have a strong adoption theme, but the topic is thoughtfully woven into the story. The book shows a mother and daughter spending the day together doing fun activities, and eventually getting ready for bed. As the daughter learns about her grandmother, she asks about her birth mother.
I highly recommend I Bet She Called Me Sugar Plum. It highlights a beautiful mother daughter relationship and the normalcy of adoption talk between a parent and a child.
Have you read I Bet She Called Me Sugar Plum? What do you think?
Whether you are just beginning the adoption process and knee deep in paperwork and social workers or have already been blessed with the arrival of your child - you may have already been hit with some pretty strong emotions. Some of the emotions you may have already anticipated like excitement and joy, but you may also have felt a few other emotions that have caught you off guard. Don't worry - feeling angry or depressed is perfectly normal when working your way through the long process of adoption.
Two guest authors share their perspectives. Mardie Caldwell talks about Dealing with Anger and Depression while in the adoption process and Amy Rogers Nazarov shares her experience with Depression After Adoption.
Share your own experiences by clicking "comments" below.
Because of Winn-Dixie is a wonderful book. I heard some rumblings about whether this would be a good book or movie for children in the foster care system to read or see. Based on my experience with the book I have to say, "YES".
I loved this book. The story does deal with loss, but the losses are dealt with in an uplifting way that depicts the characters attempting to move on with their lives. The main character, Opal, was abandoned by her mother at the age of 3 and is thinking more and more about her mother. Opal's father, the preacher, desperately misses his wife and does not to like to talk about her. Winn-Dixie is credited with helping the preacher open up about his wife and with helping Opal make new friends. Perhaps Winn-dixie has been given too much credit? I think Opal finds courage to do more after making friends with such a loving mutt.
Read Because of Winn-Dixie with your kids. It's a good one!
If you were called today to take a foster care placement - what questions would you ask the social worker calling? Do you know? Have you given this thought? Most experienced foster parents have a mental list of things they want to know about before accepting a new child.
I think one of the most important questions to ask is why the child is needing to come into your home - why in care, or why they are moving from another home. Another important question to ask is the number of times a child has moved. Take a moment to read what I suggest foster parents should ask, then share what questions you like to ask by clicking "comments" below.
I love Dr. Seuss! Horton Hatches the Egg is my all time favorite Dr. Seuss book. Of course I also like The Cat in the Hat or Green Eggs and Ham, but nothing gets to me like the character, Horton. Probably because he has such great character. When I read Horton Hatches the Egg I can't help but think of this as a perfect foster parenting story.
Horton takes care of an egg for a bird who is tired of sitting and waiting for the egg to hatch. She goes off and has a great time, while Horton sits on the egg through all kinds of weather and hardships. Then when all the hard work is over the bird comes back for the egg. When the egg hatches we see that the baby bird has some elephant features like Horton. He made a lasting impact on the baby bird. I love that.
Elizabeth Kennedy, About.com Children's Book Guide, says about Oh, the Places You'll Go, "It's an inspirational book that provides an uplifting sendoff in Dr. Seuss style for people entering a new phase in their lives, but Dr. Seuss also points out that there will be difficult times as well as good times." I think that this is an appropriate message for some children as they transition between foster homes or even into a new adoptive home.
What is your favorite Dr. Seuss book? Which ones do you think are best for foster or adoptive children or parents?
Suggested Reading/New Articles and Features:
I love Downton Abbey. I started watching with Season 2 after reading so many of my friends going on and on about it on social media. I have loved the show ever since.
Season 4 brought us an adoption story line. Lady Edith becomes pregnant at the end of season 4 and is completely depressed and confused as to where to turn. She trusts her aunt with the news and was pretty much bullied into going away and placing the child informally with a couple in another country. Upon returning home, Lady Edith's sadness is noted by everyone in the home, including the staff.
I found myself very proud of Edith when she told Mary that maybe they needed to show their emotions more - which is very un-English. It was clear that she was having second thoughts and desperately wanted to take control of the situation.
Edith went back to Switzerland, retrieved her infant daughter and placed her with a farmer that lived near their home. She finally made a decision on her own. While still sad, it was clear that she found some peace with the new arrangement.
Did you watch the season finale of Downton Abbey? What were your thoughts on the adoption story line? I can't wait for season 5. It's never long enough for me.