HeartBorn

Inspiration and Support for Foster-Adoption Parents

Archive for the tag “Foster-Adoption”

10 Tips for Dealing with a Child’s Demanding Behaviors

Let’s face it – kids will test your limits. They will push your buttons. How do we deal with a child’s demanding behavior? Following are 10 tips we hope will help you manage this difficult phase.

  1. Be concrete – Don’t confuse your child by saying, “In a little while.” Or “In a bit.” Instead, be specific. For example, “We’ll read the book after you finish brushing your teeth.” Or “You can play outside when you put the toys away inside the container.”
  2. Take turns – Practice taking turns with the child. For example, during play time, say, “We are going to take turns choosing what we play. You go first, then I will go next.” You can model this in other areas as well: taking turns picking a movie, what to eat Friday nights and what drink mix, etc. This builds cooperation and teamwork.
  3. Give choices – Try to say “No” less. Instead, give choices. This will allow them to express their voice and gives them a sense of control. To avoid confusion, be careful not to give too many choices. Allowing the child to choose can be used as a distraction. For example, you can say, “You can color or play your DS while you wait for dinner.” Or have things set up for the child to avoid frustrations. For example, use coloring mats during meal times. It promotes learning and invites dialogue while you finish up a meal.
  4. Keep structure – Knowing what’s next alleviates anxiety. I know there are times when keeping structure is difficult. One way to help a child know what’s next is by using a timer. For example, when watching television, say, “When the bell rings, it’s time to turn off the T.V.”
  5. Explain the consequences – Be clear about the consequences before the child has opportunity to “misbehave.” For example, before going to the store, say, “We are only buying what’s on our list.” I find that having the child hold and “help check off” the list helps them focus. When they say, “I want…” I ask, “Is it on our list?” I play it off, then say, “No, it’s not” and just keep walking.
  6. Read a book or watch a movie Books or movies can provide great examples regarding various topics. After reading a book or watching a movie, talk about it. Ask questions that will open the dialogue. Please don’t give examples of what your child is doing wrong. Instead, use the characters and ask the child a question about what happened with the character. To reinforce the concept you are trying to instill, refer back to the character as many times as possible.
  7. Play games – Games have the potential to teach a demanding child the concept of “taking turns.” The child will learn that there are times of rest, passing and other times engaging in “their turn.” Children learn to empathy with others as they learn the game of “loosing” or “winning.”
  8. Model delayed gratification – This is important. Show your child that you are able to wait for those things you really want. For example, when shopping don’t buy an entire outfit. Instead, discuss the concept of being a “good steward.” Even if you can afford it, this will help the child understand that “we can’t always buy what we want.”
  9. Teach the difference between needs and wants – When a child’s impulsive tendency surfaces, they are not able to recognize it. Parenting requires helping your child identify their impulsive behaviors and help them choose wisely.  We don’t need a new bicycle. We want it. We need food, but we don’t need an ice cream cone. We want it. Check your own vocabulary and try to catch yourself when you misuse the word need.
  10. Be consistent and stay calm – As the adult, you have to be consistent and stay calm. It won’t help for you to show your frustration or anger.  In fact, it will only make things worse. So, model staying calm. Remember that eliminating demanding behaviors will take effort and energy. It’s all about trial and error but most of all, it takes time to reinforce these concepts.

We Want to Hear from You! – What are some helpful tools you have used to help with demanding behaviors? What were the results?

Rough Night

Last night was a bit rough. ZG began asking for her mommy. Then, ZB began pouting and then… cried inconsolably. It can feel so overwhelming to not really know yourself what’s going on. Can’t imagine what it’s like for them. All I could do was tell her that her mommy was with the Dr. trying to get better. That I did not know more. That I was so sorry she could not be home. I held ZB till he fell asleep then laid him down next to his sister. He then wanted to leave the light on, so I left the hallway ones on. I tried going to sleep, but just couldn’t.

Around 4am, ZB wakes up… he turned the lights on. I go to check on him, thinking he may wake up ZG, but she was sound asleep. So, I held him again, laid him to bed and then he slept all the way through 8:30! ZG woke up till 9:30! Overall, I would say things went well… at least for me.

Today, our case manager from Olive Crest (OC) came. They both were very calm and playful. ZG was playing with the cards that Child Share (SC) gave her the day before. I’m so grateful for everyone involved thus far. SC has been very supportive and the gift baskets for the kids were a nice touch. OC… well, I love this organization. These individuals truly care for our children.

Okay, so after our case manager left, we went to the park. It was so much fun. ZB’s personality was coming out just a bit more. One thing I know – he likes to play ball! ZG is a little monkey J She loves the monkey bars… loves to approach other kids and loves to wave. I almost wonder what went so wrong with their mother? She’s done good things for sure. Yet, so many questions are still unanswered.

My husband got a call from children’s services that they want ZG to be at court hearing tomorrow. I am not happy about that. I sure hope they don’t put her on the spot. I also have to tell her so she’s not surprised… somehow I have to learn how to deal with these difficult conversations. This will be my first.

I made their first doctor appointment for this Friday. I’m concerned for ZG – she has a full body rash that usually kicks in at night. Not sure if she’s allergic to something. ZB finally ate today!! He had fruit this morning – orange and he loves apples… he also had cinnamon teddy bears. I’m so relieved, but will still take him to Dr. cause he seems to skinny for his age. Well, that’s my day thus far. If there is time I will continue telling you about this journey. Now time to wake up kiddos from their nap and have some ice cream – yummy!

Today’s Prayer: Wonderful savior, help us guide these children into your Word, your Love and your Salvation. Give us peace, lots of energy. Give me a new back J and bring my husband safely back home tonight. We ask you to take full control of tomorrow’s court hearing. Help little ZG through this process.

We Want to Hear from You! – What have been some of the struggles you have encountered with your little ones?

Our First Day as Foster Parents

I can’t believe we have two little ones at our home today, the same day we are placed on the list. When I saw four missed calls from my husband this afternoon, I knew something was up. I call him back and he tells me, “Did you see my text?” I respond, “No, I just called you right away cause I’m still working.” He says, “We got a call for two little ones. Four year old little girl and her two year old brother. That’s all the information we have. Want to do say yes?” I immediately said, “Yes!” We had already decided since we finalized our certification that the first call we would get, we would say yes. So we did. God’s will is for us to help these children, so there’s no need to pray about it, think about it or wait and see.

I left work early and went straight home. I found my very good friend M.B. helping my hubby put the crib together. I love my friend. This is a woman who has always been there for us, ready and willing to help out with our needs. I’m so grateful and blessed to have this kind of support. So, when I get home, they are almost done with the crib and then M.B. goes to pick up a toddler bed that another good friend was going to give us.

Due to confidentiality purposes, we will identify them as Zoe Girl (ZG) – 4 yr old and Zoe Boy (ZB) – 2 yr old. Zoe means LIFE. That’s my prayer for these children; that they may be filled with Life – God given Life, Spirit filled Life. Okay, so then the social worker calls us. He is on his way with the two little ones. They arrive around 6pm. They come out from the car. ZB just looks at me and stays quiet. ZG is so talkative and just so comfortable and immediately begins to tell us about her toys. I thought about this moment for the past 9 months. I had questions like: What would it be like when they arrived? What will they look like? What will I say? But at that moment, none of those questions mattered. When you see those faces, you just try to welcome them as best as you can. They have just been removed from their home, their comfort, their families and all that they know. The least I can do is just be present with them.

Once their inside, they begin to play with their toys. They did not want to eat anything. ZG wanted was water and ZB wanted milk. We took them a bath and they loved it. They played in the tub with toys. Now, to get them to sleep was a bit of a struggle, but for what they just went through, I think it’s reasonable. ZG had so much energy. She did ask me when she would go home to her mom. My response was, “I’m not sure, but tonight you will stay here with us. You are safe here. Tomorrow is a new day and maybe we’ll know more.” My heart sank!! ZB was almost asleep and doesn’t speak much. It’s ZG who has the questions now. I just pray I know how to handle these questions as the days go bye.

As I sit here it’s 12:50 am and I’m sipping on some chamomile tea. I can’t sleep! I just feel so honored and blessed that our home is being used to welcome and protect these children. This is what Jesus meant when he said in James 1:27, “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” (NLT) Life is about these very moments.

After all the turmoil and last minute shopping, I have so much peace. This can only be from God. I know things are still too soon to know what will happen. I’m not worried about that just yet. All I know is that they are here tonight. Tomorrow is another day. Oh wait! It’s already tomorrow. J I know that it is possible that any day these children may be reunified with their mother (and my prayer is that God does what’s best for these children), but I will enjoy my time with them just for today.

Today’s Prayer: Lord, thank you for your grace and mercy. They are new every morning. We ask for strength – just for today Lord. Give us your wisdom and revelation to know what is right, good and true. To be able to speak words of life to these children. We pray for their mother. Keep her safe Lord. Bring the resources she needs in her life. We trust in You!

We Want to Hear from You! – What about you? Where are you in your journey? Share with us what your first day looked like?

Our Journey Through the Foster-Adoption Certification Process

It’s been a long journey, but we did it! We are now certified Foster-Adoption Parents. Thank you Olive Crest for all the support you have given us, for your professionalism and wonderful staff. We don’t have a child placed in our home yet, but we are getting ready for the arrival. We want to share a little bit about what our journey. Here’s a bit of what you can look forward to in this process.

Our journey began back in June 15, 2011. We submitted an application with Child Share – check them out at:  http://childshare.org. We met with one of their representatives. They basically recruit families and link them to several organizations like Olive Crest. So, we chose Olive Crest for their faith-based principles. Once the application was submitted, Olive Crest was very prompt in following up with us.  Visit Olive Crest’s Website: http://www.olivecrest.org

The first step was to fill out the paperwork. Then we met with an Olive Crest Foster Family Specialist. Nothing fancy okay… they just want to get to know you. Then we met with our Adoption Social Worker for a long interview. I think ours was about four hours. She interviewed my husband and myself individually. Then she interviewed us together. Thankfully we did not have to take any counseling or read additional material before getting approved to continue. Both our family specialist and adoption social worker were warm and just made us feel comfortable. They are truly great individuals.

So, how are you doing so far? It sounds like a lot right? Well, it is. I mean, a child is being placed in your home. They do this so that they find good homes for these wounded children. These children deserve the best possible care. What helped us get through is basically just being yourself. Letting the staff really get to know your personality and who you are. A better match is found that way. It’s for the sake of the child or children being placed in your home.

Okay, so once that is done there is a checklist they give you to help you in the certification journey. Following is a list of some of the Certification Checklist items needed in the process:
• Fingerprints
• Health Screening, Physical & TB Test
• Copies of: Driver’s License, DMV printout, Liability Insurance, Dog shots, Proof of Income, Birth Certificate, Marriage Certificate, Home owner’s insurance, Car insurance
• Emergency Disaster Floor Plan
• Family Photo for Homestudy
• HIPAA Quiz
• CPR, 1st Aid Classes
• Trainings: Pre-Certification, Pre-Certification Manual, Attachment, Parenting Across Cultures, Basic Adoption and Eliana Gil Booklet
• Babysitter: They also need to have most of the paperwork along with TB Test, Fingerprints, CPR and 1st Aid Class

I know, looks like a lot. The key is to get yourself a folder and put everything in there and check off the list as you go. Prioritize – Start with fingerprints since they take the longest. Then, start on the trainings. Organization is key in helping you stay on top of things.

We were certified by the end of March – A total of 9 months! It can be done in a shorter time, but due to other factors in our lives, we chose to take it slow. The process has not been easy, but we can say that Olive Crest does a great job at helping you navigate through the process a bit easier. We’ve changed our profile numerous times as the days went by, but finalized it right before we got certified. A profile is the information you give them of what gender, age, cultural/race you are looking for. We ended up with: Male, age 0-5, any race, if he has a sibling (boy or girl) that would be fine as well.

What’s next for our family? Well, our name gets listed on the county roster beginning today, April 16th. We’ve been told we can get a phone call the same day, two weeks later, three months to even six months later. This means, we don’t know. It can be a bit overwhelming, but we are also very excited.

Okay, well that’s enough information for you. Stay tuned as we begin sharing our learnings with you. We are planning on doing some podcasts as well (my husband prefers talking, while I prefer writing), so we came to conclude we’ll do both. We hope you find this blog both helpful and inspirational. We do want this to be a place for you to ask questions, give comments and feedback. So please engage as much as possible. This is the way we all learn from each other.

Click here if you want to read more about the steps for becoming a Foster-Adoption Parent:

http://www.olivecrest.org/site/PageServer?pagename=gen_help_foster_adopt

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