Wednesday, April 11, 2018

GIVEAWAY: Foster Care- One Dog's Story of Change

*To skip to the Giveaway Scroll to the Bottom*

How many fictional children's books do you know of that address the subject of children being in foster care?  There are not many out there, but I would like to introduce you to a wonderful newly published resource:

Foster Care One Dog's Story of Change was written by bestselling author Julia Cook who is not only an author but a counselor as well.  Julia's intent in writing Foster Care One Dog's Story of Change was to help children in foster care to know that they are not alone.  This is a needful objective considering that 273,539 children entered foster care in 2016 according to statistics released from the U.S. Children's Bureau.

Foster Care One Dog's Story of Change explores the ambivalent feelings of children in foster care, although technically the children are not humans but animals.  The illustrations for this book, courtesy Marcela Calderon, are darling!  Of course, I may be somewhat biased because I once had a pug and the main character of the book, a little dog named Foster, happens to be a pug.

One of the most touching parts of the books to me was when, after a caseworker removes one of the animal characters, Zeke, from his home to a safe house she introduces him to her "many friends", including a social worker, a counselor, an attorney, and a doctor who are all work together on the same team- "Team Zeke". 

Zeke describes his caseworker's explanation of "Team Zeke" this way: "She said they all wanted to help me bring my family together again."  I appreciated that description of foster care because it is truly a collaboration of professionals and volunteer foster parents and others who come together for the sake of a child.  Foster care, of course, is a complex process because although the goal is to keep families together, that is not always the outcome.

The strength of this book is that it is centered on the child in foster care and helps them to understand that whatever they are feeling throughout the process: anger, fear, guilt, or sadness- it's okay.  Furthermore, the characters in this book- children living in the same foster home headed by the loving yet fair Miss Beulah, are the greatest supports to each other.  

Foster Care One Dog's Story of Change is not only an excellent resource for children in foster care, but for other children to understand what it might be like to be in foster care.  My children who were adopted from foster care don't remember much about being in foster care since they were so young when they were placed with us but I will definitely read this book with the next child who is placed in our home.

I asked my 10 year old, who has never been in foster care but who has had many foster siblings over the years, to read this book and tell me what she thought about it.  At one point as she was reading she looked over to me with a look of concern on her face and pointed to the picture on the page she was reading and referring to one of the characters explained, "He's been there for two whole years . . . that's why he's crying."  

(Mind you, this particular child can not stand to be away from her parents for more than 2 or 3 days at a time so reading about being separated from family really affected her.)

When my daughter finished the book I asked her what she thought.  These were her words:

"It's good.  It tells you what foster care would be like- you can feel lots of different things." 

I followed up with the question, "How did it make you feel?" and her answers included,

"I felt sad for them being away from their parents. I felt like if I were to go into foster care I would know what it feels like." 

Foster Care One Dog's Story of Change reassures children in foster care, helps to build awareness and sympathy in children not in foster care, and also includes some helpful tips for foster parents and educators on the last couple of pages.  Some of the most effective, in my opinion, are Co-Parenting Matters, Teamwork Matters, and Reassurance Matters.

For more information about the book:

I am eager to spread the word about this book and will be giving away two free copies of Foster Care One Dogs Story courtesy of National Center for Youth Issues to two lucky people.

Giveaway starts 4/12/18 and ends 4/19/18

There are two ways you can enter this giveaway through Rafflecopter:

1) Leave a comment on this blog post telling me where you're from.

2) Visit Adoption & Foster Care: My Personal Experience's Facebook Page and tag someone in the comments who would be interested in this book.

That's it!  Two possible entries available and the winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and announced on 4/19/18.

a Rafflecopter giveaway