Monday, April 10, 2017

Foster Care: MAPP Training

We so official! MAPP training ✔️#fostercare #mapp #fosterparents
Officially trained!

For our first steps towards foster care parenting, see here

So we had our in-home meeting with the social working over two months ago, and we just finished up our MAPP (Massachusetts Approaches to Partnerships in Parenting) training, a requirement for all parents hoping to foster/foster-adopt in the state. Normally, it's a three-hour, one night a week, for ten weeks course, but we did the condensed weekend version of four Saturdays, 9:30am-4:30pm. Friends from church and Piercen's work graciously stepped up to watch the kids for us, so we didn't have to hire a babysitter. We are very lucky in our friends. Training took place in Lawrence, MA which is a good 30-45 minutes away, but that was kinda nice as it gave us time to discuss our thoughts and feelings without having little ears around.

So, training.  After the first Saturday, I thought it was going just a waste of time. We had some basic discussions about what it means to go into foster care; things most people would have already thought about. However, my opinion has changed with the subsequent Saturdays. We've talked a lot about permanency and the disruption of permanency, how being taken into care can affect a child,  the perspectives of birth parents, foster parents, social workers, and the children when DCF (Department of Children and Families) becomes involved with a family. I've come to understand the importance of maintaining connections between the children in care and birth family members, how a child's experiences can affect their growth and behavior, and how having a new child in our home might affect our family.

I had to check some of my beliefs and assumptions at the door. I kinda just thought that a child taken into care would be relieved to be away from the abuse/neglect they were experiencing at home. However, in their view, being taken away from the only home and family they have ever known is probably the worst thing that has ever happened to them.

I have a newfound respect for social workers, for the almost impossible job they have, and how they maintain an attitude of respect and care for the children and the families involved. The workers who ran our training were upbeat and optimistic, but also realistic and honest.

A couple of nights ago, as I lay awake in bed, I started to panic. How is caring for a foster child going to change our lives? Is it going to ruin them? As the main child care giver in our family, is adding another, very young child going to be an unmanageable amount of stress for me? Are our own kids going to suffer? Is it going to ruin the near perfect family life we have built? Then the following day, this prayer came up during my Vespers prayer time, and I was reminded that we are not called by God to do that which is easy. And what he has called us to do, he will provide all that is needed:

"O Lord my God, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; yet you have called me to stand in this house, and to serve you at this work. To you and to your service I devote myself, body, soul, and spirit. Fill my memory with the record of your mighty works; enlighten my understanding with the light of your Holy Spirit; and may all the desires of my heart and will center in what you would have me do. Make me an instrument of your salvation for the people entrusted to my care, and grant that by my life and teaching I may set forth your true and living Word. Be always with me in carrying out the duties of my faith. In prayer, quicken my devotion; in praises, heighten my love and gratitude; in conversation give me readiness of thought and expression; and grant that, by the clearness and brightness of your holy Word, all the world may be drawn into your blessed kingdom. All this I ask for the sake of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen." 

So what's next? Our local DCF office will be informed that we have completed the MAPP training, and they will assign to us a social worker to be the support person specifically for our family (each foster child who comes into our home will have their own separate social worker). This part may take about two weeks. After that, the family social worker will meet with us several times to write up our home study, a rather invasive (so we were told) document detailing every detail of our family life, and our home will be given a second safety check. The home study write up process takes around 30 hours of a social worker's time, and while they are supposed to only have a few such studies to do each month, they can sometimes have five, six, eight such studies to do. On top of their other duties. So the trainers said to expect at least a month to a month and a half for the home study.

So for now, we sit back and wait. We finish getting the guest room set up for an infant/young child. I wade through the boxes and bins of kids clothes and equipment up in the attic and get it organized and ready for use again. We continue to talk to the kids about what's going to be happening. We wait. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for sharing your journey, Lady K.! It is so powerful and inspiring to read about, and I know that y'all are building something beautiful here. Look forward to continuing to follow all of the next steps!

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