Rotary Club of Faribault

Posted by Laura Bock

Foster Care/ Adoption

     On Wednesday January 23rd we had the pleasure of hearing from Katie Anderson from Rice County foster care. Katie explained the process people go through to be able to foster a child in Rice County. There are a couple of different types of foster care positions you can apply for. There is respite care - this is short term, maybe you are taking a child or children for a weekend so another set of foster parents could take a break, or for some other short-term situation. The second is long term care - you have the child or children for a longer period of time. The end result in this scenario is usually reunification or adoption. who can be a foster parent? Almost anyone. It takes a clean back ground study, age 21 or older and space in your home.  Licensing takes 3-4 months and starts with a perspective foster parent asking questions and being informed.
 
     There is a background study done on anyone 13 or older in your home, and finger prints taken for anyone 16 years of age or older. There are 3-4 home visits conducted, one typically from the fire marshal, these visits are to get to know the foster family better. There are forms, and training you must attend, not too many Katie says, just a couple. And last is the home study conducted by the court. They court will sign off on you.
 
     After all that you wonder "when?" Katie tells us it could be tomorrow or a year and a half down the road. You never really know. Rice county tries very hard to keep siblings together and there is a large need for teens to have a home with foster care.
 
     After Katie wrapped up her part of the presentation we heard from our good friend, fellow Rotarian Pastor Jared Mathews. Jared and his wife Emily are foster parents for Rice County.
 Pastor Jared gave his own presentation from the foster parent point of view. He covered 4 lesson every foster parent should know. 1. it’s not about you. 2. A parent is a parent is a parent, this is a role or function, not a blood relation. 3. Life stories are important everyone has one, but they are not a foster parent’s story to share. 4. There is always trauma, a child being removed from their home is traumatic to them regardless of what people outside of the situation think.
 
      He also covered two misconceptions about foster parenting. 1. I have to be a "super parent" and 2. I have to know everything there is to know about parenting. Neither of these ideas are true, anyone who is a "parent" is learning on the fly. One final topic Pastor Jared covered with us, Stereo types of foster children. "bad kids" -they are not bad kids, they are processing a very difficult situation. "Defiant" - they are not defiant, they have a different set of life skills, or they don't have them at all yet. "Ungrateful" - they are not ungrateful; their experience of love is different or difficult. Pastor Jared finished with this "Foster care is not for the faint of heart, it is for the full of heart."
 
     Thank you, Katie and Pastor Jared, for the information and powerful message you both provided.