Recommendation: The Connected Child

I recently checked this book out from the library and just finished it today.  All I can say is, “Wow!”    This is one of those books I want to read over and over again.

This book is for adoptive families, right?  Absolutely not.  Well, it is, but it’s so much more than that.   There are so many great tips and tools in this book.  I wish I would have read this book before I had a child placed in my home.   While many books approach one or two areas of well being, this book takes a holistic approach to parenting.

This book is great for parents.   The tools are appropriate for biological, foster and adoptive kids.

Today is a great day to get the book.* Sit in the backyard and read while the kids are playing.  You wont regret it.

*I am not getting any financial compensation for this recommendation.

Change

The secret to change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.  -Socrates

Car seats.   Car seats for kids got me thinking about change.  I’ve been parenting long enough to see a variety of car seats and car seat rules evolve.   Just when you think you have it all figured out, your pediatrician tells you your 18 month old should be rear facing until age 2. Ugh!

Staying current on the latest and best practices for safety is important, but even the best of us can find ourselves getting behind.  Caseworkers are no exception.   Have you ever had a caseworker who seemed to be perplexed by a car seat?  I have.

While many caseworkers have received training on car seat safety, extra help from foster parents can go a long way.

Most caseworkers are thankful for an experienced parent to double check the car seat fit for transporting  kiddos.  After all, YOU ARE THE EXPERT PARENT.  You’ve got the foster parent certificate to prove it!

So gently use you expertise to  create positive change- like coaching a caseworker on how to properly install a car seat.

It’s easy to focus on fighting the system.   We can get angry when our kids aren’t safe and start taking arms quickly.    I’ll admit, it’s hard to believe professionals are transporting kids in substandard car seats.  And it’s a bit infuriating as well.   But I’ll also be the first to admit,  a few minutes of simple instruction from a foster parent could save our government agencies a lot of time and energy.

Don’t ever forget.  You are immensely valuable.    Your knowledge and gentle guidance can create change that would a government bureaucracy decades to achieve. Leverage your skill set for good.  You don’t have to wait for change to come from the top.    You can build something great from the bottom up.  Your influence for good has potential to change more than just the kids you care for.

  • What has been a source of frustration?
  • Can I re-frame my problem as a possibility?
  • What complaints can be changed to opportunities to make a difference?

 

 

 

 

 

Imperfect

 

If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content.  -Leo Tolstoy

Do you ever get the feeling that you’re dealing with an imperfect system?    Serving in foster care requires learning to handle business even when situations are unprofessional.   Many parents complain about caseworkers.   Sometimes it’s difficult to contact a caseworker.  Or maybe a case worker seems unconcerned about the child in your care.

We tend expect the same customer service experience from foster care as they expect from a business.   But state foster agencies are underfunded, understaffed agencies dealing with crisis.   They are not a corporation with a customer service department  to ensure foster parents have a pleasant experience.   

I’m not suggesting that government agencies not be accountable or aim to excel.  We certainly have to spur one another on to do better be it through legislation or policy change.

I am suggesting foster parents manage their expectations and be flexible.   The  local social services department isn’t Burger King.   So don’t set yourself up for failure by expecting your way, right away.

After getting to know many caseworkers I’ve learned that most of them are doing their very best in extremely difficult situations.   They have limited funding, excessive caseloads and exposure to intense trauma. Caseworkers do their jobs because they care about kids and families.  So, no matter how tough it might be, remember we are all on the same team: imperfections and all.

Talk with your caseworker to find the best way to contact them.  Email? Phone call? Text?

Ask them who they would like you to call if you cannot get a hold of them.

Always be quick to say something positive and encouraging.  As the old proverb says, “He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.

  • We never get too old to follow the golden rule.  Think of one time you treated someone in a way you’re not proud of.  What could you have done differently?
  • How can you make the golden rule your guide on the foster care journey?