Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Plans within plans: Aka: waiting and more waiting

Hey folks, it's Matt

Just as an update to Mariah's recent post, there's a lot to plan, but one of the hardest things is knowing you want to pursue something but not knowing what steps to take next.

For example, we know (91% sure, Mariah said) that we want to foster with the option of adopting.  That's not a hugely complex process.  But there are two factors: time and money, that keep making difficulties for us.  We're pretty sure we're not going to be ready financially--or space-wise really--to start fostering for about another year.  That puts us right at the time when we'll be done with our current lease and moving.  So...do you do it earlier, or later?  Probably later, after everyone's in a new house and you're not putting a new child through more transition problems than just moving from one place to ours.

So, more than a year out.  What do you do in that time?  How do you prepare, when the best thing is probably not to get started with paperwork or classes?  It's really hard to feel like you're not moving towards something.

Lately we've been discussing making our parenting better.  Not 'becoming better parents'--everyone thinks they're terrible--but improving how we do things.  Probably the most important thing here is creating consistent systems a foster child can quickly begin to TRUST.  For a lot of kids in the system, you aren't going to gain their trust by giving them something they like (they've been bribed before) or by acting like their friend.  Consistency is something they can count on.  Right now, we think that looks like:
  1. Being more consistent with schedules: bedtime and baths for the girls at a consistent time every day
  2. Being more consistent with discipline.  This means having better understanding of how you deal with different circumstances.  We use time out a lot.  What about when you don't have time for time out? How do you deal with different kinds of misbehavior?  How do you communicate effectively and simply what is and isn't okay?
There are others, too, but these come to mind.  We've already started work on this, and it's neat to see that it's something that helps our current children as well.  Some of the things we've started to change have had a great effect on the kids, and they seem happier in ways we're used to them being upset.

I'm excited about the ways that preparing for you, Number 4, is helping our family now, and building it so that it will be an even better family when you get here.  I can't wait to meet you, and I hope you, and any other children who come through our door feels loved, and like they can trust.

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