Connecting with parents and families of the children in your care can be challenging at times but we all know how important it is for the children. My partner and I have actually had a wonderful experience and have built a strong relationship with one parent and grandparent, despite being warned that boundaries had not been respected in the past. Additionally, we have gone out of way to ensure that our three foster children have regular contact and visits with their older sister, who is in another home.
First of all, we were clear about the boundaries and made sure to explain that we had no desire to cut any ties. Our case is going towards a termination of parental rights, and we hope to adopt. Both parents and one grandparent have asked us if we would allow them to stay in contact after the adoption. We assured them that we would as long as it was safe for the kids. Grandma calls the most, and she is always sure to send the kids gifts for birthdays and Christmas. She live out of state but has visited once and is planning another visit next month.
At Christmas we were invited to a family Christmas party. We met all sorts of relatives including Great-grandma. By the way, we absolutely L-O-V-E her. She’ll be returning next month as well. Even though we had never met this woman, we wanted to show her respect as the matriarch of the family. We made sure to offer to pick up the older sister so that she could join us. We took a picture that morning of the four siblings and got multiple copies developed. Two of them we framed and had the kids give them to Great-grandma and Grandma.
We haven’t heard from Mom in almost a year, and dad was recently released from jail. While he was incarcerated he called and wrote regularly. We had to set up an account so that he could make the calls. Grandma insisted on helping with the cost. We made sure that the oldest child wrote to him, and occasionally we would include an update. We would send a copy of progress reports so that he knew how the kids were progressing. In every letter that his son wrote, we would send pictures of the kids and would write a little something on the back telling where and when the picture was taken. He always made sure to let us know how much he appreciated being able to see their faces and that he could tell that they were happy.
Just because Mom isn’t around or making contact, we haven’t forgotten about her. Whenever we develop pictures, we make three sets. One set is for Dad; one set for mom; and one set for us to keep. We have quite a few pictures set aside for Mom. We want to be able to give them to her when she does decide to reconnect.
Finally, we send pictures to Grandma every once in awhile via text. She really seems to appreciate these impromptu surprises on her phone!
These are just a few of the things that we have decided to do to maintain that family connectedness for our foster children. We feel that it has increased our credibility in the eyes of the family. They trust us and know that their family members are safe and most of all loved.
If you would like more information on our foster care and adoption services, visit growhope.net.
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