National Foster Care Month – Personal Experience (Part Four)
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In honor of National Foster Care Month, EVOLVE Family Services wanted to honor some of our amazing foster care providers. We asked a few of our providers to answer questions about their experience with foster care so far, what they have learned, and what they want prospective foster parents to know before beginning the process.
Our foster care team interviewed Karin McGillivray about the journey as an EVOLVE foster parent.
Question 1: Can you share a little bit about your foster care journey, including how long you have been providing care and if you are a relative or traditional provider?
“I’ve been providing foster care since September. My experience was that two teenage siblings were in a severe crisis and I knew them, and I just said yes. I didn’t think about anything, I just said yes. At first it was a little overwhelming, but I’m glad they’re here, I’m glad they’re safe, and I’m glad they feel secure.”
Question 2: What has been the most rewarding part of being a foster parent?
“The most rewarding part for me is watching the kids get better. They have grown so much since coming into my care.”
Question 3: What have been some unexpected challenges while providing care?
“The extent of the children’s trauma has been very challenging to see and work through. I also didn’t know a lot about severe trauma and the comorbidity that can be involved in that before they came into my care, so I have been learning a lot about that.”
Question 4: What is something you have learned while providing care?
“I have learned not to sweat the small stuff. I face challenges on a daily basis, but it is important to know what is worth worrying about and what I can just let go.”
Question 5: What are the ways you have continued to practice self-care while providing care?
“I talk to my friends every day, and that is kind of my personal version of therapy. It’s helpful to connect with people who know me and who will always offer a listening ear.”
Question 6: If you could go back in time and tell yourself one thing when you started this journey, what would it be?
“Know that it’s a marathon. I didn’t know that it would be a marathon. I had no expectations, I had no ideas, all I said was “okay.” Nothing gets fixed quickly. It takes time, patience, and dedication.”
Question 7: Anything else you feel would be helpful for prospective foster parents to know?
“I recommend learning about mental health and the impacts of trauma on behavior before taking placement. This will help you better understand what is causing the children’s behavior, and then you can better address it in a helpful manner.”
Question 8: What resources have you found most helpful during the COVID-19 situation and what additional support would be helpful?
“Access to technology has been huge during this time. It has been really helpful that technology allows the children to continue completing their schoolwork, accessing therapy, and connecting with different services.”