FOST-ADOPT PARENTS: Challenges for Shared Parenting with Biological Parents
It is difficult to be a Foster-Adopt parent.
On the one hand, a Foster-Adopt parent is hoping that his child might become part of their family. They want to dream and plan. They want to begin taking them into their heart so that if by chance, it works out, the child will already feel loved.
However, they are expected to keep this hope on the back burner while they try to help the child and parent with reunification efforts.
This puts them in a very challenging position. It is a challenge to open your heart and then be disappointed. It is a loss and requires going through the grieving process. It would be nice if we could all see ourselves as a temporary but safe haven where we do the best we can to provide love, security, safety, and hope. Perhaps seeing yourself as the Safety Net Grandparents who wants what is best for your own children and for your children’s children. If these foster children were the children of your own child, you would hope and pray that your daughter/son would get their priorities straight and be successful, loving parents.
-It is difficult to remain non-biased when you get the information about why the child was removed.
-It is difficult to put yourself in the bio parent’s place because you can’t imagine allowing yourself to become “like them.”
-It is a challenge to realize that a meth mom in person is very different from just hearing about the meth mom.
-It is a challenge to try to partner with someone who has hurt their child. It is a challenge to remember that you don’t know the history or experience of a person. (It is a challenge not to judge).
-It is challenging to remain strength-based when a child complains when they come back from visits.
-It is challenging to remember that negative behavior after a visit does not automatically mean that the visit was bad or that it is evidence that there should be mo more visits.
This is a myth that perpetuates itself when looked at in a simplistic way. Bad behavior=bad visit= bad parent. Even in the best circumstances where divorced parents are consistent, loving, and kind, children will have a transition period where their behavior is negative. It is natural and normal to have a difficult time adapting to different homes, different rules, different personalities and feeling a division of loyalty. It’s hard to go and it’s hard to come home. It’s a bit like jet lag.
-It is a challenge to keep from wishing that the biological parent will fail. Just be aware of this challenge and fight the urge to filter out the good things while looking for the bad.
-It is a challenge to try to disconnect gracefully when it looks like everything points to the child returning with the parents. This is especially difficult when your heart says that the child would be better off with you.
You must trust that somehow in some way, that things will be as they should be.
You did your best and provided a temporary safe haven of love and care.