Friends & Family,
Well, we’re finally here. Our trainings are complete. Our Home Study is scheduled. And now we wait on our foster care license. But before all of that we need to share some things with all of you; some of these are just things we’re asking and some are things mandated by the State of Texas.
Minimum Standards (MS) now rules our life. We’ve spent hours bringing our home up to par. The house is inspected every quarter to validate this; whether we have a placement or not. It’s complicated and ever changing so we’ll try to keep you up-to-date as well.
Here’s what we need:
Pray for us- This is going to be hard, emotionally and physically. It’s very likely we’ll take placement, get attached, and then have the child taken away (likely quickly placed instead with family or eventually returned to parents). It could be the next day, 4 days, or it could be in 7 months. We’ll never know and we’ll never have a voice in this. Child Protective Services (CPS) always makes the call and we have to trust that the team around us is making choices in the child’s best interest.
Pray for the kids- Children in care have ALL experienced trauma. I’m not going to list the possibilities because we have all heard stories through family, friends, and on the news. These kids deserve better; that’s why CPS has stepped in and it’s why we’re doing this. To help. Pray that their lives after they leave us are better and that they get to experience a real, normal childhood. And pray for their families too, not all trauma is intentional or avoidable.
Be patient- Taking a placement is going to be hard. It might be 1am on a Tuesday when we both thought we’d be going to work as normal in the morning when we get a call and have a 2 year old with only 40 minutes to prepare. We’ve been trained, our house is ready but none of that will matter when a new little person is suddenly dropped in your lap.
Minimum Standards RULES- We’re not joking here. If we tell you something violates MS it couldn’t be any more serious, I promise it’s not something we’ll say because it’s fun. Violating MS threatens our license and the placement of that child with us. These kids have all come from difficult places and experienced untold hardships. The last thing we want is to inflict further trauma.
Minimum Standards, again- Here a few things specific to our friends and family from MS when we have a child placed with us. 1) No social media pictures of the children. A back of the head or including a leg/arm is fine. Covering the face with an emoji is not. Please, always ask us before posting the photo. 2) Trauma. I know we keep saying it but it’s the most important thing. These kids have all gone through God knows what. Sometimes we’ll know details (and we’re not going to share that, this is the child’s story not ours) and sometimes it’ll be revealed as they become trusting of us or in therapy. Be considerate that this isn’t a typical child. 3) Discipline. Normal discipline techniques Do Not Work with traumatized children. That’s why we spent numerous hours in class on this. You have to defer to us and the techniques we’re using. We’ve been taught lots of things that will seem unusual. You have to trust and defer to us. 4) Spanking. We are caring for these kids on behalf of the State. You will go to jail. Period. And we’re the ones legally obligated to report you, so let’s just not go there. 5) Spanking, again. For those of you with kids of your own, it’ll make our lives easier if you don’t threaten your kids with it in front of our kid. Our kids have been through trauma, they very well may have experienced physical abuse. You threatening to hit your kid in front of them will not help their care or progress. Spanking invokes fear in a child. These kids don’t need more fear of violence. 6) Medication. There are lots of rules. Just find us before giving the children anything, even a vitamin. 7) Privacy. Jenny from down the block doesn’t need to know that our child is only a foster. We’ll be referring to the child as Ours when they’re placed with us. We’d like you to as well.
Be forgiving- We likely won’t know the whole story. We’ve heard numerous stories of things CPS forgets to tell you or doesn’t know and you only discover later. Lots of them include kids that are terrified of their car seat, for instance, because they’ve been locked into it for hours. So if we cancel at the last minute, understand that if it’s not life or death and that child doesn’t want to get into that seat today then we’re not coming. We’re sorry but a dinner or playtime out just might not work on that day.
Adoption- Yes, this is our ultimate goal. But we have no idea what our path to get there will look like. We’ve heard wonderful stories about the first placement ending with adoption and that would be wonderful. But more often than not that will not be the case. We’ve met and spoken to so many wonderful foster and adoptive parents. They all agree, and so do we, that we’re doing this to help the children. Whether they stay with us for an hour or 6 months we want that time to help them while they’re here.
We know this is a lot and if you have questions, just ask. We’re all learning here. We have great resources, both at the agency and other foster parents who’ve shared their contact info and willingness to be advice givers when we’re not sure. As a team, we can always find the answer. Use the link below to ask anonymously.
We’re as ready as we can be. This is going to be an exciting, sometimes heartbreaking, journey but ultimately we can change a child’s life for the better and hopefully they will change ours. We have an army of love behind us and it will never go unappreciated. Thank you for your support and we look forward to sharing more as we are able.
x Daniel & Patrick