Fostering Times Vol. 5 No. 5
Published by Bethany Rice on Monday, December 05, 2011
NOV ‘11 - VOLUME 5, No. 5…A Youth Unlimited, Inc. Publication
SPECIAL HOLIDAY EDITION
The Season is upon us…
We realize that you are not receiving this holiday newsletter until after Thanksgiving. However, we also believe that there is a reason that Thanksgiving officially begins the holiday season leading up to Christmas. So, let’s all remember to give thanks. May each of you be blessed as we have been blessed by you.
As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.
- John Fitzgerald Kennedy
A Psalm of Praise and Thanksgiving
Make a joyful noise unto the Lord all ye lands.
Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise; be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
The unthankful heart … discovers no mercies, but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!
- Henry Ward Beecher
Speaking of being Thankful…
In our busy, busy lives, how often do we take the time to stop and really count our blessings? For some of us, it may be part of our daily routine to express our thankfulness for all that we have. For others, we may wait until special occasions or special holidays, such as, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
As I have gotten older, I have become more aware of all that I have been given in life and just how little I would have had it not been for the generosity of others, including family, friends, present and past acquaintances, and even total strangers.
I have also realized as I have gotten older how much things have changed over time. We, as a society, teach and preach independence; take care of number one; asking for help is a sign of weakness; and so on and so forth. I recall a point in my life where I tended to think the same way. I thought I had to do everything myself and on my own or else I was a failure.
Boy, did I ever need a wake-up call!! And finally, after a lot of not-so-wise choices made while I was sleepwalking through this land of ignorance, I woke up! Thank Goodness!!!
This is the Truth that I have come to realize over time…If it was not for my family (and “family” includes blood-related and heart-related), I would have nothing meaningful in this world. And, to be honest, most of the material things I have in my life were also given to me by someone else.
In last year’s holiday newsletter, I wrote that my year could be summed up with the word “transition.” Well, as I wrap up this year, I find that I am transitioning still. So, this word still applies, but my real word for this year, 2011, is thankful. I am so thankful for every minute of every day of 2011, because even on the darkest days, I still saw the Light. I still saw the blessings in the moment; an opportunity to learn and grow.
Does this mean that I walked through those moments with the grace that I should have? Absolutely not, because I am still human, after all. But, when I took the time to look around me during those dark times and afterward, when the rain had stopped, I saw God’s grace all around me.
As you and yours enter into this holiday season and begin your walk through 2012, I pray that you will take the time daily to acknowledge the blessings around you and be thankful. And, always know, you never have to walk through any valley alone; your YU family is always right here to walk with you. And, lastly, for those of you who have walked with me this year, I thank you for the privilege of your presence.
Merry Christmas and God bless each and every one you!!
Consider yourself hugged!!! Tammie
Decide to accept the path God has given you with courage, grace, and humor.
- Luci Swindoll
Glory to God in the highest!
-the following has been borrowed from Our Daily Bread devotions for December 25, 2011
During our church’s Christmas celebration, I watched the choir members assemble in front of the congregation while the music director rifled through papers on a slim black stand. The instruments began, and the singers launched into a well-known song that started with these words: “Come, now is the time to worship.”
Although I expected to hear a time-honored Christmas carol, I smiled at the appropriate choice of music. Earlier that week I had been reading Luke’s account of Jesus’ birth, and I noticed that the first Christmas lacked our modern-day parties, gifts, and feasting – but it did include worship.
After the angel announced Jesus’ birth to some wide-eyed shepherds, a chorus of angels began “praising God and saying: ‘Glory to God in the highest!’” (Luke 2:13-14). The shepherds responded by running to Bethlehem where they found the newborn King lying in a barnyard bassinet. They returned to their fields “glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen” (v. 20). Coming face to face with the Son inspired the shepherds to worship the Father.
Today, consider your response to Jesus’ arrival on earth. Is there room for worship in your heart on this day that celebrates his birth? -Jennifer Benson Schuldt
Grant us, Father, hearts of worship
At this time of Jesus’ birth;
We would see anew His glory
Shine throughout this sin-cursed earth.
- D. De Haan
Heaven’s choir came down to sing
when heaven’s King came down to save.
From the Director’s Desk…
Seasons Greetings, Fabulous Foster Families,
2011 was my first full year with Youth Unlimited and serving as your Program Director. As I reflect on the year, I can truly say we have been through our seasons of sunny and stormy weather as a program. For me, the sunny times have outshined the storms we have roughed and survived. This year we had more MAPP attendees/graduates than ever before in one year. I was able to mail out a check to every single foster parent in the month of April because there was a child placed in every home the month of February. We had two families adopt through fostering with our program. We were able to get Renda back as a Case Manager! So many wonderful milestones come to my mind and definitely outweigh any of the negative situations that hit our program. I am so thankful for how God is working in our program and to see so many of you growing as foster parents! Thank you for all you do and the care you give our children! We couldn’t do it without you! Please have a wonderful and blessed holiday season.
Remember Jesus is the reason for the season!
You possess a tremendous capacity to convert your old wounds, as well as the old wounds of others, into brilliant opportunities.
- Dennis Fairchild
A look at what has been going on and what is coming up in 2012…
As Bethany mentioned, in 2011 we had the two largest MAPP classes EVER in the history of our program! Pretty amazing, don’t you think??!!
And, our most recent training for our currently licensed folks was the HIV Basic Training that was held on November 5th. We had a good turn out for a Saturday morning and we appreciate everyone who attended. There were some great questions and discussions and hopefully the group left with some valuable and useful information. If you have not attended this training, you need to plan now to participate in the next one. There is a lot of misinformation floating around today about HIV and, as professionals working with children, you need to know the facts!!
Our next big event will be January 31st, 2012 when we have our next MAPP Open House. Start thinking now about who you can recruit into our fostering family.
***If you bring a perspective TFC family to Open House your name will go in a drawing for a $25 gift card.
***Names of all perspective families present will also go in a drawing for a $25 gift card.
And, don’t forget, you can receive up to $350 when you recruit a new foster parent into our program. Pretty easy money and who couldn’t use a few extra dollars??
We haven’t quite completed the rest of our training calendar for 2012, but we’ll have that out very soon. Please mark your calendars AND call to register for these upcoming classes as soon as you are given notice. As many of you know first-hand, it is so much easier to stay on track with in-service than it is to get on track with in-service.
Stay tuned for further info about this!!
Think about this…
Coming in 2012 we, as a program, are going to take a more active role in encouraging our foster parents to take advantage of respite. This valuable service is provided primarily to give the foster parents a break, a mini-vacation, if you will.
If the child is able to visit with the same respite foster parent on an ongoing basis, this can be a wonderful time for the child too. As we all know, the children in our care need positive role models in their lives. Being a respite provider for the same child every 4 – 6 weeks gives the child an opportunity to build another positive connection (one of your 12 skills!) and add to their support system.
Another advantage of respite for the foster parent is that you, too, will be building a new connection with a fellow foster parent who understands the stressors that go along with being a successful foster parent.
You make be wondering why we are considering this. The truth is that we are looking at what we can do to provide ongoing support to you so that you stay excited and committed to fostering. In other words, we’re trying to prevent burnout and discouragement that often goes with being a foster parent. To be frank, we don’t want to lose you. We think all of you are wonderfully, gifted individuals with huge hearts for children or else you would not be doing this in the first place!
You may recall the mandatory training that we had back in September called “You said WHAT??!!” about effective communication. If so, then you will remember that the main reason the meeting was held was because an allegation of abuse had been made against one of our fabulous foster parents by a former client. Even though the allegation was unsubstantiated, it still took a toll on the foster parent and has given her pause as to whether or not she wants to continue fostering.
We are very sad to say that another allegation has been made by a client against one of our other equally fabulous foster parents. This case is still under investigation. And, even though we fully expect this allegation to be unsubstantiated, there is still the process to go through and the foster family has already begun questioning whether or not they want another child placed in their home.
We fully understand the questions, the concerns, and the mixed emotions that arise from such a situation. We get that this is very personal to you. Your character, integrity, and name are being looked at under a microscope even more closely than usual. We also realize that children say all sorts of things, especially when they are bombarded with the same questions over and over again by numerous people.
Please remember that we are your number one support system. Dig out the handouts that you were given in the recent training and review them; especially the one that you received about what to do if an allegation is made against you.
Also remember that accurate and complete daily documentation is CRITICAL!!! We appreciate that you are very busy and that keeping that daily journal can be a real pain. We get that. BUT, it is a vital part of your job as a foster parent and it can play a huge role if any type of questions comes up. Also, for those of you who have traditional children placed in your home and are not required to do daily documentation, a piece of advice to you…buy a notebook and keep notes anyway. As we all know, there are lots of kids who should be authorized therapeutic that are traditional.
How else can we help you? If you have suggestions, please let us know? If you feel like you are reaching a boiling point, please don’t wait until you boil over to call us. We are a family and families are supposed to help each other out, right?
Think about this too…
One of our newest foster parents stated that she would like there to be an opportunity for her and her family to meet and get to know the other foster families in our program. I asked her to be thinking about what that looked like to her. How should we go about that? Do you guys have any suggestions? Are any of you interested in starting up the Foster Parent Support Group again? If so, how would we set that up? Would you be interested in something like a quarterly pot-luck for our families to come and hang out for a couple of hours? Maybe have a meal and play family-friendly games or something? Think about it and let me hear from you!!! Thanks!! Tammie
Vol 5, No 5 – pg 4