From Foster Parent to Adoptive Mom: One Year Later

The boysIt was never Karen’s intention to adopt a sibling group of three.  She was going to be their foster mother while they worked toward reunifying with their birth mother. 

While fostering, she learned a lot about the importance of stopping kids from bouncing around the foster care system.  About the importance of finding them a safe, permanent, loving home – with birth family or someone else.

So when it became clear that reunifying with their birth mother was not an option, Karen decided to adopt. 

One year later, here’s the email she sent to us at Plummer Foster Care. 

Just wanted to update you all on the one year anniversary of “The Adoption”.

All of the boys are doing great and each is doing their own thing:

  • John is doing Floor Hockey with the YMCA
  • Steven is now a Junior Purple Belt with Ocasio’s True Martial Arts
  • TJ is doing summer league basketball
  • Both John & Steven play Spring league Flag Football Sundays.
  • All 3 boys will be attending the YMCA Sports Camp this summer in Plaistow NH.

 

All boys are in good health and are doing ok in school. They get to play video games on the weekends only (which drives them all crazy).

Most days after school John makes a supersonic sandwich of 3 different lunch meats, pickles, lettuce, tomatoes and mayo. John is learning how to do his own laundry (thank God for Tide Pods). Because he’s so short, he has to stand on his tip toes to reach in the washing machine to get his clothes out.

Steven turned 8 on May 1st and had his party at Laser Craze in North Andover. He wanted an all boy party “no girls allowed” and that is what he had. Steven’s favorite sandwich is Fluff and bread –no peanut butter. Steven is also learning how to do his laundry, John & I help him put his things in the dryer.

TJ cooks dinner one night a week. He watches the food network and thinks he’s a chef. He had done burgers (on the grill), chili, and Hamburger helper. I want to start him out slow, very slow. (smile). TJ does his laundry on occasion (smile).

This has been a long journey, but I think things are finally coming together for us and I just want to take this time to thank each and every one of you for making this all possible for me or should I say us.

-Karen & The Boys

Poem by a Plummer Foster Parent

In this poem, one of our foster parents reminds us of the deep power and lasting impact of foster parents. Thank you Miss Elayne.

Change a Lifetime May is National Foster Care Month

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Legacy of Foster Parents

Children come into your life for a reason, sometimes for a season
Often for a lifetime.
You don’t need to know which one it is, you will adapt to each child.
Remember, every child is in your life for a REASON
Often to meet a need.
They come so you can assist them through a difficulty,
Provide them with guidance and support,
Aid them physically, emotionally or spiritually.

Sometimes they may seem like a godsend.
More often, a challenge.
You may thank God or ask “Why me Lord?”
Remember, they are here for a reason;
Learn their reason and help them to succeed.

Some children come into your life for a SEASON.
An experience of peace, to make you laugh, or test your patience.
They may teach you something new or remind you of the past.
They often bring you an unbelievable amount of joy.
Believe it is real, if only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach LIFETIME lessons.
Lessons you must build upon to create a solid emotional foundation.
Your job is to accept the lesson, love the child
And put what you both have learned to use
In all other relationships and areas of your lives.
This foundation will last a lifetime.

Then, often without any wrongdoing on either part
Usually at an inconvenient time
They are gone
And for the moment, the relationship is suspended.
Often they go home or to live with extended family;
Sometimes they go to college, start a family of their own
Get married or just strike out to find themselves.
What we must realize is that we have met a need.
Our desire to help was fulfilled, our work is suspended
And often, for this child, done.

Frequently children search and find you to say “Thanks.”
Sometimes they return for help with their adult lives.
Sometimes they return when you need them most.
Often, sadly, the outcome of their story remains a mystery.
The prayer you sent up may yet be answered.
There is a hole in your heart.
You need to remember: However small,
You have made a difference in a life.

It is said that love is blind, friendship is clairvoyant.
Our relationships with our foster children are, uniquely,
A wonderful combination of both.

To All OUR KIDS – Biological, Adopted and Foster –
Thank you for being a part of our lives.
You were here for a reason,
A season, a lifetime.

Foster Parenting on Mother’s Day

May is National Foster Care Month ribbonAnne, an experienced foster parent of 20+ years, remembers that when she first became a foster mother she assumed that there would be celebration on Mother’s Day, but she found that most years it was easier not to have too many expectations of the day. Some children will want to talk about or visit with their birth mother; other youth might have a difficult time on Mother’s Day and not know why.

While kids in foster families can care deeply for their foster mothers, most also love and miss their birth mothers from whom they’ve been removed – and Mother’s Day reminds them of this loss.  Anne recalls that her foster son, Josh, wasn’t able to sit with the family during meals on Mother’s Day. It was just too painful. Anne would try to encourage him to join the family, but often found herself allowing Josh to have dinner on a TV tray.  During Josh’s first Mother’s Day with Anne, she recalled that he was feeling sad and wanted a hug; however, due to his history of multiple losses, Josh was afraid to make himself emotionally vulnerable.

Instead of just giving her a hug, Josh told Anne that first he needed to go to the “hug store” to buy one. This way, the hug would not be directly from him, but one that he “purchased” – much safer for him emotionally.  The hug store ended up being the place Josh would go often when he was feeling down and needed a mother’s affection, but was having a difficult time asking for it.

Sarah shared that Mother’s Day is also different in her family, now that she is a foster parent. She recognizes that foster children may not be thinking about her on this special day and usually tries to help her foster children honor their birth mothers on the holiday. Like most acts of foster parenting, Sarah was not thinking about herself, but rather what was best for the children for whom she deeply cares.

Sarah’s foster son, Alex’s, eyes lit up last year when she suggested to him that they create a Mother’s Day greeting for his birth mother. Eight-year-old Alex carefully wrote a “Happy Mother’s Day” message and held it up proudly so that Sarah could take a picture and email it to his birth mother. She remembers that he wore a gratified smile all day long. What could be a better Mother’s Day gift than that?

While many kids are happily cooking breakfast or making personalized gifts on Mother’s Day, for some kids in foster care, Mother’s Day brings up mixed emotions – not all positive. Understanding these underlying emotions can help foster moms have realistic expectations and create closer bonds with their foster children.

May is National Foster Care Month

May is National Foster Care Month“Kids Need Families – it’s just what they need.”  – foster youth

Imagine growing up without your family. Sadly, there are hundreds of thousands of children in the U.S. for whom this is the reality. May is National Foster Care Month, a time to highlight the plight of children in foster care and to salute those families and professionals who ensure that these young people have what all kids need and deserve – someone to love and a place to call home.

Plummer Foster Care works throughout Northeastern Massachusetts to find foster families willing to parent children and teens in the system. The Plummer Foster Care Program is dedicated to getting those kids into families so they don’t bounce around from place to place, school to school and community to community.

All types of people qualify as foster parents. To become a foster parent, you don’t need a big house, a spouse or partner or extensive parenting experience. What you do need is dedication, patience and a strong desire to provide a stable and loving home for a young person in foster care.

Community information sessions hosted by Plummer Foster Care offer a chance to learn more about the roles and responsibilities of foster parents.  These sessions let you know about the children and youth served by Plummer, allow you to meet staff, answer your questions and determine if fostering is right for you.  A list of these sessions is on the Plummer website at WWW.PLUMMERHOME.ORG/FOSTERCARE.

The Plummer team provides 24/7 support for all of its foster families. Plummer foster parents have access to a network of social workers, support groups, experienced parent mentors, programs and services and other community and state resources.

“No doubt that foster parenting can be challenging” admits Knapp-Hernandez.  “But many foster parents agree that it’s also the most rewarding experience of their lives.”

Plummer foster parent Tina says, “There’s always support, the social workers are great. It doesn’t even feel like you’re talking to a social worker, it’s like you’re talking to someone you know. They’ll come out and play with the kids on their weekly visits, things like that. They make the kids feel like it’s another person they can trust and count on and that’s what these kids need.”

Plummer turned down more than 200 requests for homes from the Department of Children and Families just in the last year.  This National Foster Care Month, call Plummer to find out how you can make the difference of a lifetime to a child in foster care.  There’s no obligation and it may put you on the most rewarding path you’ve ever taken.

Call 978-935-9555 or visit www.plummerhome.org