Today I begin my second month as a foster mom.
This is what I’ve learned so far.
- I have so many questions.
Since we came to foster care in an unusual way, I feel like I’m simultaneously in the remedial program and the accelerated group. I have lots of very basic questions, while also being trusted to use common sense and experienced mommy-wisdom, either that or everyone is holding their breath hoping I don’t do anything really stupid. I think I’m doing pretty well, most of the time.
- Zoe* is blending in well with the family.
The girls are together a lot – enough to get on each other’s nerves at times, but for the most part, they enjoy each other. Zoe doesn’t feel like a guest or a stranger anymore. I find myself thinking about how much we’ll miss her when she leaves some day.
- Being a foster parent to a teen with a cell phone changes things.
There is no illusion of being in control of contact with family or friends – not that I need to be in control, but somehow I thought it would be different. I also thought our identity would be private – um, no. That might be true with younger children, but not with teens.
- Being a foster parent to a teen is an amazing opportunity.
Having a teenager dropped into our family lends itself to really interesting conversations about family stories, life goals, and plans. Our families have some things in common, like grandmas who make the same special cookie recipe, and grandpas who are loggers.
It’s also a great time to teach new skills like cooking. The girls made chicken pot pie last weekend, and Zoe has become a stellar salad maker. It’s an incredible time to step into a young person’s life.
- My Resource Peer Mentor is a godsend.
She is an experienced foster mom who answers my questions, gives me advice when I ask, and checks in to see how I’m doing. Plus she texts, even in the evening, which is perfect for me (I try not to drive her crazy).
- Case managers work hard.
I’m pretty sure I’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg, but their jobs are no joke. Because we live in a rural area, not only do the case managers work long hours, they travel long distances. The program coordinator stopped by my house Friday night on her way from one town to another – a distance of 185 miles each way.
This is a very different experience from international adoption. Back then we were dealing with agencies that were in other states. We had one local social worker who did our home study, but I never saw anyone else in person.
One month in and I think we’re doing well. I had a moment of panic when I helped Zoe get her first job and then realized I didn’t even know if it was allowed – thankfully it was. So far, so good.
Our newest question involves driving. Zoe just completed Driver’s Ed and has 50 hours of driving practice to complete. We’re working with her Independent Living case manager to hammer out questions of auto insurance, liability, who she can practice with, etc.
I’ll keep you posted!
You might like to read: What I’ve Learned About Being a Foster Mom After Two Weeks
*Zoe is a nickname chosen by my foster daughter.
with hope and gratitude,
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