I'm still processing my thoughts on our discipline lass from two weeks ago, but last night's STARS class was about permanency and the importance of lifetime relationships for all children.
Thoughts that I loved from this class:
1) If you adopt a child outside your culture/race, think of your family as a multicultural unit, not a family who is learning about the new kids' culture and background.
2) When you adopt, you are permanently tying your family to another (the child's birth family), even if you never see or speak to them again.
3) You absolutely MUST be at peace with your child loving and missing their biological family, even after adoption. Perhaps especially after adoption. It's best if you can find a way to celebrate and remember the bio family much like you would a relative who has passed away.
4) It is the goal of Children's Division to have a child in a permanent family within two years of entering the foster system.
The class discussion veered off course a bit and ended up highlighting a few interesting facts that I didn't know about foster parenting. Of course, all policies vary from state to state and can change.
1) It tuns out that you have to be specially licensed to care for kiddos with more severe behavioral/emotional issues. Because we won't be being licensed those areas, we most likely won't be risking exposing our children to extreme behavioral/emotional issues.
2) Anyone can be approved as Respite Care Providers, and that doesn't put them on some list that would make them available to any foster parent's request. What that means is that we can continue to use our normal alternative child care options (largely my parents) for all of our children while we wait for the adoption to be finalized. The adults in the house just need to get fingerprinted and have a quick walk-through done of their house.
3) There are several "types" of foster parents. Some are signed up to be strictly emergency care providers and would only be offering temporary short term care. Emergency care might include a situation where a non-offending parent lived far away and couldn't come to pick up the child for a day or two. It could also happen that a grandparent or another relative was able and willing to take the child but had to have a background check and home walk-through completed.
4) A foster parent can make decisions about a foster child's prescription medications, routine medical care, and education, but foster parents CANNOT cut the child's hair without permission from the biological parent. I love this one. It makes me smile. A birth parent can also decide whether his/her child leaves the state with a foster family. If a biological parent really wanted to be the one to experience the beach with their child, she has the right to request that the child stay behind. I'd never thought about vacationing with foster kids from the biological parents' viewpoint, but it has to be SO HARD to watch your kid go on a fabulous trip with another family. Guilt, insecurity, loss, fear... not fun.