Friday, February 13, 2009

Foster Parenting Class

If you read yesterday's post you may be slightly aware of the fact that I am/was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. However, having survived this day, and sleep will be here shortly, I am doing much better now.
One of the biggest parts of my anxiety this week was the parenting class I took on Monday night. For the most part my classes are uneventful, but interesting. Monday night was a nightmare, but we were duly warned in advance. The subject matter was sexual, physical, and emotional abuse. Four hours of looking at pictures, listening to stories, and watching videos on all matters of abuse.
I'm a fairly tough girl. I can handle most things. But this was awful.
They warned us that on average 50% of the class will drop out, or just walk out, after this class. It is THAT bad.
I didn't walk out. I found myself doodling more than usual as a defense or detachment mechanism. But I survived. Sort of.
It has taken me 3 full days to really shake off the horrible effects of what we saw on Monday. I'm not normally a doom, gloom, and just give up, kind of girl. I like to think I can fight through anything, and make it all work in the end. But this class had me so upset I haven't been able to even think straight.
But I went back to class tonight. And sure enough, close to half the class was gone. Including my table buddy. I really hope she comes back next week. I really liked her. Class tonight was a simple and more typical class about developmental stages and delays in children, as frequently found in the foster care system. There was more discussion than usual about teenagers, which I really appreciated.
A new idea and subject were brought up this week as well that I keep thinking about. (I'll probably regret openly surmising on the blog like this, but hey, that's what the delete key is for later, right?) I'm contemplating taking in pregnant teenage girls. I'm not sure why yet, but it feels right. It would be a very different situation than what I have been expecting and planning for up till now. I think it would be rewarding at times to help a young girl prepare for the future, both in placing a child up for adoption, or in preparing to take care of a child. The way the foster care system works, a girl stays in the system while pregnant. But if she keeps the child she leaves the foster system (and most likely goes on welfare, and returns to the mother that wasn't taking good care of her in the first place, and within a few years the baby ends up in foster care as well. but that is the worst case scenario. sort of.). However, if she places the child for adoption, either privately or through the system, she can remain in the system. There are several other scenarios that can play out here as well.
Before I go further, let me make a quick side note here- you will never hear me use the phrase "give up the baby for adoption." I don't like that phrase. To me it implies that "giving up" a baby is negative. When in fact, choosing to place your baby in someone else's arms is the greatest gift you can ever give. I choose to use the phrase "place the baby/child" for adoption.
I think fostering a teen mother could be greatly rewarding. It could also be incredibly frustrating, and even heartbreaking at times. But for some reason, ever since I heard about it this week, it has felt right to me.
I'm not sure if I want to ask for thoughts or advice on this matter yet. My brain is still a little overwhelmed with everything. But then again, I like outside points of view.


  1. It sounds like you just had to jump into learning more and now you are being led to the right option for you.

    I will admit - I've been out of the blog world for a while so I probably shouldn't comment until reading your past posts.

    Good luck!

  2. Wow! I didn't even know that was an option. Rewarding, frustrating and heartbreaking were the words that came to my mind too.

    It would be absolutely incredible to experience that side of the equation. Being adopted myself, I appreciate your effort to bannish the phrase 'give up'.
    Only recently, have I heard conversations of how terrible it is that she gave her child away. What?!
    Also only recently, I came upon some media created by adopted individuals who resent being placed for adoption.
    I just couldn't even relate to the concept. My gut instinct was to find them selfish. That they don't appreciate that their adoptive parents ARE their REAL parents.

    It's hard to realize that maybe not everyone had the same positive experience I did.

    I always saw it as - my parents REALLY wanted me. My brother (also adopted) saw it as - some one gave him away/ didn't want him. But I don't think his feelings were ever as extreme as example I explained above - but then maybe I should ask him.

    Anyway... I sort of wandered away from your topic and I'm sorry for that.

    I think what you are doing is great!
    but you alread knew that.

  3. I am a firm believer that your gut is the best advice you can follow. Mine has never proven me wrong yet.

  4. I think it sounds awesome! It would be incredibly difficult, no matter what choice a girl is making regarding who will raise her baby. Maybe you need to start learning about being a doula, too.


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