Considering a gift for the foster or adoptive family you support? We have a few ideas that may be the gift that keeps on giving!
When Pete and Ellie decide to start a family, they stumble into the world of foster care adoption. They hope to take in one small child, but when they meet three siblings, including a rebellious 15-year-old girl, they find themselves speeding from zero to three kids overnight. Now, Pete and Ellie must try to learn the ropes of instant parenthood in the hope of becoming a family.
This film is not recommended for young children or children who have been a part of the foster care system. If an older foster/adoptive youth would like to see “Instant Parents”, I suggest watching it with them and following the film with a discussion about your personal attachment to the child. It may be triggering to their situation as well as verbalizing fears that they may have about self-worth and abandonment.
I’m thankful that “Instant Parents” is receiving attention and I hope that it does draw in people to consider becoming foster parents or providing more support to foster families in their community. The intention of the film was to be a blessing to the foster/adoption community as well as to hopefully recruit more families for kids!
Our news is consistently flooded with stories about people who have been subjected to sexual abuse. Working with kids from hard places, we know that sexual abuse is not new, but more and more people are willing to come forward to share their experience.
Statistics say that 1 in 10 children (1 in 3 girls; 1 in 6 boys) experience sexual abuse before the age of 18. 90% of children who are sexually abused know the perpetrator from school, church, friends, or their own family.
One of the most significant factors that make a child vulnerable to abuse is not having an involved caregiver. Perpetrators watch children and their families to see if they can gain access and privacy with the child without gaining attention. As you can imagine, children who are experiencing neglect or have a caregiver who struggles with substance abuse often fly under the radar.
Not just students are in need of more information! When we provide care for children from hard places and support foster and adoptive families it is essential that we have an understanding of what children experience and what the family might truly need. Sometimes we help others in the way that WE think is best and it isn’t actually beneficial for the child or family. The best plan of action is to always ask the family what we can do to be a blessing to them.
There are many trainings offered in Colorado and all around the country that teach us about trauma, how to relate to teenagers, build attachment, and effectively support developmental and mental health disorders. If there is a topic that you think would help you better understand the family you serve, please explore the following resources for trainings, blogs, and books that will equip you in loving foster and adoptive families well.
BLOGS AND PODCASTS
By contacting a local Child Placement Agency or county Human Services Department, you may learn about additional learning resources outside of Colorado.
May is National Foster Care Month. Around the country, the faith community is working with child welfare to recruit more foster families and increase funding for services as the number of children entering the system is increasing at an overwhelming rate. Having 5,734 Colorado children in foster care on a given day in 2017 is a problem, especially with only 2,200 licensed foster homes.. To confront this, we welcome friends, families, churches, and support team members to join Project 1.27 as we foster love during the month of May and beyond
In the month of October we see neighbors front yards turn into graveyards, spider webs covering trees, and skeletons hanging from racks in the grocery store. Generally, this isn’t unsettling for us and despite the decorations, we feel safe. The understanding we have of feeling safe in our surroundings is called “felt safety”.
Kids who have experienced trauma may not feel safe, even in the comforts of a loving foster home. We KNOW that they’re safe. They have food, water, a bed, and hopefully a community of nurturing people coming around them to provide for their needs. However, because of what they have experienced, their brain development is often stuck with their fear center (the amygdala) being consistently activated, without a higher level of cognitive processing. Without the slower and more deliberate processing of higher parts of the brain (the prefrontal cortex), the stress hormone cortisol is released and the fight, flight, or freeze response is triggered. Regardless of the safety that we believe we’re providing for these kids, they don’t feel safe.
Before becoming foster parents in 2014, Matt and Teresa took time to build their support team which includes Teresa’s dad, Tom and his wife, Anne. Currently, Matt and Teresa are caring for an 11-month-old baby boy, nicknamed Espresso, placed in their home last fall. Espresso is their 2nd placement. Espresso’s half-brother, who was safely reunified with his father, was their first. Matt and Teresa are now big brother’s very involved godparents and planning to adopt Espresso in the next few months.
Often when we are volunteering our time and resources to help others, we hold to our ideas of how we want to serve. With all of the information and recommendations that we provide monthly for support team members, our most important counsel is for you to ask your foster family what they specifically need. Each family is unique and each child they serve will have different needs. We hope that you and your foster family are in frequent and vulnerable conversation about ways to pray, praise, and discuss specific things that you and your team might do to help uphold and sustain the family.
For National Foster Care Month, we’re taking our own advice! We have asked a Project 1.27 foster and adoptive mom what she has needed from her support team as a foster parent.
As we train our Project 1.27 families to become foster parents, we share with them the harsh realities of child abuse and neglect. It’s hard for many of us to imagine the horrific stories we hear on the news, in biographies, and as friends share their stories. There are others of us who have personally experienced the pain of abuse and/or neglect and strive to heal from the wounding.
You may or may not know the abuse or neglect story of the child for whom your foster/adoptive family is caring. You have, most likely, observed some of the effects of trauma that comes from abuse and neglect. Although children are incredibly resilient, it makes sense that they may continue to struggle with some of the following issues:
We asked a handful of our Project 1.27 families things they would like their Support Team to know for their first Christmas as foster parents.