Sunday, October 20, 2013

Thoughts on fostering

While I think we are saner people this time around, I wonder if every placement will bring my privilege to the forefront.  I wonder if I have anything to offer BB, what do I know of hardship?  Will I just force BB to try to live up to middle class standards?  This time around I have been thinking about much we aren't giving BB that we gave before - partially out of our financial situation currently, but also out of understanding that overwhelming a child with too much new at one time. 

Tonight, we celebrated BB's birthday at a wings place because he told us his favorite food was wings.  We went and during the meal we gave him a small gift card and he was able to get anything off the menu.  They brought ice cream - as their birthday token.  I forget that going out to eat can be a new experience.  Seriously, the idea that we needed to wait for a table with a buzzer in my pocket seemed crazy to BB - and it sorta is but that is what we have learned to do, right?  One time BB got up for what I assumed was a trip to the bathroom but no, BB went to the other side of the place and tapped the shoulder of the waitress and asked her to fill up BB's drink.  BB really didn't know that while not wrong, its not expected that one does that. 

Fostering brings up so many questions for me.  How do I affirm the child's culture and family, while helping the child think about where to go from here?  Am I just turning kid's into middle class white folks?  That probably isn't helpful.  I know that the way we do things in my house isn't the only way, but in my house there are some rules that are probably more class tied that morally tied.

Tonight, we had a conversation about the rules of the house.  We waited to give the rules several weeks during the first foster family we had, and we decided to keep it.  We get to know each other - what will be our issues with said child and can make specific agreements for that child.  We also ask for rules from the child how they might want us to act as parents.  (I used to use this in my parenting class back in Colorado.)  These are BB's:

1. To be understanding of BB
2. To talk to BB like a real person. 
3. Listen to BB when he needs to.
4. Respect BB at all times.
5. Don't dump too much on BB at one time.

Beautiful!  I hope I can live up to these, as I signed a paper saying I would.

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