Monday, October 26, 2009

Ask Dave Question No. 2

Every week I write a post about a question sent to me by a reader. This week I received three really good questions, so I decided to write about all of them!

The first question was, “What do you recommend that the family members or close friends of foster parents do to support them? What do you wish your family or close friends knew about your life as a foster parent?”

After giving this considerable thought, I would recommend that the families and friends of foster parents try their hardest to treat the foster kids just as they would their own kids, or the children of their relatives. I think foster children get the most out of the experience and feel most comfortable when they feel just like everyone else around them. In my particular case I can truthfully say that my family and close friends do just that, and I thank them for it!

The second question was, “Have you ever had a foster child that you could not handle? If yes, how was it resolved?”

The answer to this question is absolutely, YES, several times. This is always a very difficult thing. On one hand the last thing any foster parent wants is to force a kid to switch homes again. Statistics show that kids that for whatever reason have to move from one foster home to another end up more troubled than those that have a more stable foster experience. On the other hand, caring for a kid with behaviors that are out of your comfort zone is very disruptive to the house and everyone in it. I can usually cope for a while – a few months, at least. I try to get professional help for both the child and for me, I pray for a quick reunification, and I tell myself that it’s only temporary. Eventually, though, a child like this always has to be moved to another home. Often it is to a special group home staffed with professionals.

And the third question was, “As a foster parent, do you make general medical decisions for the kids in your care---such as deciding whether they should be vaccinated against H1N1?”

The answer to this one is yes, I do make general medical type decisions like this for the children. However, if there is anything controversial about the decision, then I try to get the parent’s concurrence. I just went through this with H & K’s mom, who believes that a flu shot she once had gave her the flu. Our combined decision in this case was that the kids will not receive an H1N1 flu vaccination this season. A big part of my decision was that I read that this flu has only been dangerous (thus far) to those with a pre-existing medical condition that left them in a weakened state to begin with. Both H & K are very healthy.

Thanks everyone for some really terrific questions.  I look forward to more!  If you want to read about other Ask Dave questions, click HERE or select the Ask Dave topic thread in the right column.