World Wide Wednesday – December 30, 2015

iStock_000003621765_LargeIt’s World Wide Wednesday! Here’s what’s news in the world of foster care and adoption around the web:

  • China’s New Two Child Policy – Will it impact intercountry adoption?
  • Recorded Webinar: We Never Outgrow the Need for Family
    This webinar
    from the Child Welfare Information Gateway highlighted the adoption story of Mary Lee Esq who inspired the creation of the Fostering Adoption to Further Student Achievement Act. It also showcased resources and tools for recruiting families for older youth, strategies to overcome common barriers to adoption, and examples of how to help older youth be open to the idea of being adopted.
  • Judge’s Rare Public Plea Finds Adoptive Family for Teen

Have news you’d like to share? Please post in our comments!

Inclusion in this post does not imply an endorsement by the Coalition for Children, Youth & Families. The Coalition is not responsible for the content of these resources.

Tip Sheet Tuesday: Reaching Your Boiling Point

178856933.jpgWe all have a boiling point. Some of us reach it faster than others and some may take a very long time to reach it. Part of the battle is recognizing when you are getting to your boiling point and knowing what to do to stop it and recover.

Emotional Flooding
The term for this reaction is called emotional flooding—when you are so overwhelmed with emotion that you are out of control. In this state, our bodies revert to a “fight or flight response.” This is our bodies’ safety system for reacting to danger and emotional flooding.

When we are in a “fight or flight response,” our bodies begin to release large amounts of adrenaline and cortisol (stress hormone). Our heart rate increases while our blood flow starts to move to the major muscle groups of the body.

This is also the time in which brain function leaves the frontal lobe (where logic is stored) and moves to the brain centers (where instinct and survival skills are held). So, when we are experiencing emotional flooding it is virtually impossible to think clearly or hear the other person. We are only reacting and trying to survive.

Here are some signs to help you recognize when you (and others) are flooded:

  • You feel overwhelmed by your emotions.
  • You feel like you are going to “lose it” and start yelling.
  • You are crying and feel out of control.
  • You would “rather be anywhere on the planet” other than in the same room with the other person.
  • You desperately want the talking to stop.
  • You really want to leave the situation.
  • You are so upset that you “can’t stand to listen to one more word.”
  • Continue reading on our website

Under the Umbrella: 7 Tips for Success as a Foster Parent

iStock_000065618451_Small.jpgFoster Parents muster a myriad of skills to care for the children in their home and ensure their journey through the foster care system is as smooth as possible. Below are 7 key skills the most successful foster parents employ on a daily basis.
  1. Patience: You may have heard the adage that “patience is a virtue;” well, for foster parents, patience is a way of life. As a foster parent, you will have many moments where your patience is tested. You will have to be patient during licensing, waiting for placements, court processes, and you will no doubt have your patience tested by the children who enter your home. Staying grounded in the mission to see a child through to permanence will help you cope during particular trying times.

    Check out this tip sheet if you are reaching your boiling point.

  2. Communication: Being a good communicator is vital to being a good foster parent. When you take placement of a child, you will have to communicate a lot of information to child’s worker, the treatment team, and even in court. However, what makes a great communicator is not just the ability to relay information to interested parties, it’s the ability to ask questions, seek assistance, and communicate your own needs.
  3. Understanding Trauma: Trauma and loss are cornerstones of foster care. The children who enter foster care experience trauma through abuse or neglect, and a series of losses they endure by being placed outside of their homes and biological families. Good foster parents understand the role that trauma is playing in the lives and behaviors of the children in their home. However, the best foster parents understand how trauma impacts their lives and the lives of their family members. Parenting a child with a history of trauma is in itself a traumatic experience for many foster parents and foster parents should be mindful of things like vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue that can lead to burn out.

    For more tips on trauma in children check out this tip sheet.

  4. Team Work: When it comes to caring for a child in foster care, there are many members of that child’s team. These team members often include birth family, social workers, therapists, and doctors, not to mention lawyers and judges. Although sometimes it may feel that some members of the team have competing interests, foster parents are most successful when they find meaningful ways to work with the team to meet the needs of the children in care. Mastering the above skills of patience and communication will help you work as a member of the team to shepherd a foster child to permanence, no matter what that looks like.

    For more tips on team work check out this tip sheet.

  5. Support Network: The journey of being a foster parent is not one you have to take on your own. Successful foster parents take the time to identify the people in their lives that can provide support throughout the process. This can include partners, neighbors, and friends, but it also can include other foster parents and even the child’s birth family.
  6. Self-Care: When you are caring for other people, particularly children, it is often easy to forget to care for yourself. Successful foster parents are dedicated and hardworking, but they also know that, to be most effective, they need take time for themselves. For ideas on how to take care of yourself please check out this tip sheet.
  7. The Ability to Let Go: It was mentioned earlier that loss is a cornerstone of the foster care experience. This is true for the children and birth families, but is also certainly true for foster parents, too. The primary goal for foster care is to reunify children with their birth families and, in Wisconsin, 60-70% of children who enter care are eventually reunified with their birth families. It’s important to understand this and keep this mind, and prepare yourself for losing a child that you have come to love and care for. Successful foster parents understand that, when a child reaches permanence, either through reunification or through adoption or guardianship, it’s a wonderful outcome for children worth celebrating.
    For more tips on reunification check out this tip sheet.
Please remember that the staff and Resource Specialists at the Coalition are always here for you, whether you need additional information and resources, support services, or just someone to talk to. You can email us at info@coalitionforcyf.org or give us a call at 414-475-1246 or 800-762-8063.

World Wide Wednesday – December 23, 2015

iStock_000003621765_LargeIt’s World Wide Wednesday! Here’s what’s news in the world of foster care and adoption around the web:

  • How heroin is hitting the foster care system
    The increasing pressure rising heroin use is putting on child welfare systems—and the ways that several states are tackling it by expanding addiction services—are the topics of this Pew Charitable Trusts Stateline article. Read the article.

  • “Seven Ways Parents Can Help 13-Year-Olds Start Their Social Media Lives Right”
    This New York Times Motherlode column discusses a recent movie and study about teens’ use of social media. Included in the findings: “Children who felt like their parents were monitoring their activity online were noticeably less distressed by online conflict.” Read the article on the NYT website.

  • The Foster Care Adoption Process: The foster care adoption process can be difficult for parents to understand. Two legal experts break it down, step-by-step, to help you figure out if fost/adopt is right for your family.
  • Adoption Photo Album – 2015 Holiday Photo Contest
    We want to see your best seasonal shots! Please share photos of your kids or family celebrating the holidays, from Thanksgiving through New Year’s, including the photo you used on this year’s holiday card.

    This contest opens Monday, November 9, 2015 at 9 am ET and closes Monday, January 4, 2016 at 11:59 pm ET. One winner and three runners up will have their photos featured in e-newsletters and online.

Have news you’d like to share? Please post in our comments!

Inclusion in this post does not imply an endorsement by the Coalition for Children, Youth & Families. The Coalition is not responsible for the content of these resources.

Tip Sheet Tuesday: How Do I Choose an Adoption Agency to Help Me Make an Adoption Plan?

You’ve made the difficult decision of deciding to make an adoption plan for your baby. But now what? Which agency should you contact to help you through this process? There are many factors for you to consider. Not all adoption agencies are the same.

iStock_000073245993_Small.jpgPersonal Preferences
Ask yourself a few questions about your personal preferences for your child before deciding on an adoption agency or an adoptive family. Consider the openness of the adoption and what type of family you prefer.

  • Do you prefer to have a fully open adoption with the possibility of visiting your child? Or would you prefer to receive only letters and pictures? Or do you want the adoption to be fully closed?
  • Do you wish to live close to the family that you will choose? If you are looking to have an open adoption and visit your child you may want to choose a family who lives closer to make this trip easier.
  • Do you prefer a two-parent family for your child, or are you willing to accept a single-parent family as well?
  • Do you prefer your child have a stay-at-home parent or are you willing to choose a family who works outside of the home?
  • Do you want your child to have siblings?
  • Do you prefer your child to be raised with a particular religion?
  • Does the race of your child’s family have an impact on your decision?

These are just a few questions to ask before going to an agency and choosing your child’s adoptive family.

Agency Checklist
When looking for an adoption agency be sure to ask a few specific questions, such as:

  • Does the agency explain all of your options?
  • Does the agency require or recommend counseling before looking at adoptive parent profiles?
  • What other types of counseling and support does the agency offer and how long does it last? Is it from the time of the contact through delivery and placement?
  • Does the agency have a separate counselor for birth parents and adoptive parents?
  • Continue Reading on our Website