Recently our foster care team had the opportunity to enjoy a fun evening with some of our foster families at Pump It Up in Greenville. We do these foster family fun events quarterly as a chance to connect with our families and give them an opportunity to experience something fun with their biological and foster children. Shared experiences can go a long way in building relationships and attachments. Children that are able to share experiences with a caretaker can feel more secure and confident in their place in the family. For kids in foster care, this can be especially helpful.
Being taken from their biological family and placed into a family of strangers causes many conflicting thoughts in their young minds. That ambiguity was the focus of Dr. Monique Mitchell’s keynote speech at our conference, and of her book The Neglected Transition. The uncertainties of who they are living with, why they can’t live at home, and what will happen to them and their siblings can wreak havoc on the thoughts and feelings of a child. It takes time for relationships to develop, and sharing experiences like our evening at Pump It Up can help those foster families connect with the foster children in their care.
Events like this also allow foster parents to connect with other foster parents. Foster care can often be a lonely calling. Temporarily parenting children with trauma backgrounds is different than parenting biological children, and that can be hard to understand for people who don’t foster. Being able to talk to other foster parents who are experiencing the same things you are can be another form shared experience that can strengthen and encourage community and sanity in this crazy life we’ve chosen.
We take a lot of pride in the many different ways that we support the families that choose to begin their foster care journey with Thornwell. We understand that there are different options, and we always feel honored when people choose us. Our ultimate goal is to improve the lives of children who find themselves in foster care, for however long that is. We strive to do that by supporting and loving on the folks that support and love on kids in foster care. From recruiting to licensing to post-placement support, we believe that supportive relationships and shared experiences help everyone do their job better.