Saturday, May 9, 2015

what do we tell the kids

A friend of mine posted when I asked for blog topics:
Along the same lines as others as far as your much do you tell them about the cases? My parents tell me pretty much everything. Even when they've not told me certain things, workers have said those details right in front of me. I've sat in on meetings, I look over all the paperwork my mom gets, etc. I know a lot of it is because of my age/interest/and because I want to go into the field. But how much do you tell your kids? Also, how much do you tell family members? (Genius Siblings, your mom, in-laws...) I know some of them read the blog, but do you tell them more than what you blog about, or do you have family members that don't know about the blog and who you tell less than is on the blog? much do I tell my family?

My kids know pretty much everything. I really don't know how we'd be able to foster in any other way. I have to have conversations about the abuse with a multitude of professionals. In Russell's case, I believe that anyone providing ANY kind of care for him NEEDS to know that he has healing fractures. His left arm is noticeably crooked from the recent break. His pediatrician said that the body often realigns things on its own. We'll x-ray and consider surgery to correct in six months if necessary. The last thing I need in my life is some well-meaning person, over this six month wait, thinking *I* hurt Russell and starting an investigation against me because of well-placed concern. I think it's better that I inform care givers (day care, doctors, nurses, church nursery workers, etc.) that Russell has healing fractures.

I couldn't effectively have these conversations and keep my other kids uninformed. Secrets aren't safe and I don't keep secrets from my kids. They would know something was amiss if I had to step away to answer questions or if I wouldn't talk about Russell in front of them. It just wouldn't work.

Also, I needed to inform TT and Bart so that they would know WHY they can't rough-house with Russell the way they want to sometimes.

So if they know that, they might as well know everything.

I'm honest though. And I won't allow my kids to bash the bio family in any way. I continually remind them that we don't know who abused Russell and it's not our responsibility to try and figure it out. Our job is to love on Russell now and for as long as the State says he needs to be in our home.

I tell My Genius Mother, Brother, and Sister everything too.

And yes, I know that's against the rules.

But my mother helps me tremendously in understanding specific details in regards to child development. My sister is my personal therapist of sorts. She helps me deal with my own emotions regarding the case and my interactions with the bio family and all the professionals. And my brother has to know details so he can answer my medical questions.

As for extended family and friends...I probably tell more than I should. But I try a little harder to give only basic details.

Exactly what do I tell people that wonder why Russell is so small though? I know I'm not supposed to say a thing. And it's not like I'm out broadcasting that he was being starved. But dammit - Russell doesn't know the difference when I tell someone how badly he was hurt. And sometimes I think people need to see that foster kids are real. That abuse is real. And that it affects children in profound ways. Russell isn't just some news story that people see briefly and then forget. And my family doesn't have some strange agenda where we're trying to collect children or make money off the State.

Shoot - I tell y'all a LOT. And I bet quite a few of my readers have figured out who I am online IRL.

With any of the older children we've cared for I've been MUCH more selective about anything I say out in public. NO ONE needs to know that the big kids are foster kids. Please don't think I go around blabbing everything to anyone that I meet. But I'll be honest, it's hard to not say anything.

As far as family goes though, I need my kids to know most of the full story. It's the only way they can understand how the case is progressing and what to expect next. And I need the support of my mom, brother and sister a lot so they know everything. It is what it is. I don't know how I'd do this without telling people what's going on. It's too big of a weight for me to carry alone.


Anonymous said...

The real answer is you use good judgement while protecting the child.
You do a good job of it and in doing so you model the behavior your own children need to follow.
Am curious why your two youngest sometimes want to return to brick and mortar school in the fall.
And what can readers do to support YOU and foster children in their own state. I TALK about the statistical realities of what happens... and what doesn't. And I raise questions to my elected officials and VOTE. I no longer foster due to health issues.

Anonymous said...

if you're ever looking for another blogpost could you do something along the lines of what your ideal foster system would look like? or what would you change if you could only change one thing?

i really enjoy reading your blog :)

Foster Mom - R said...

It takes a village, and the village needs to know!