May 21 – Angie and Mike – Montcalm County
Most parents, including those who foster, start out with hopes and expectations about the behavior of the children residing in their home. Most parents who foster have plans, rules, and interventions to use when complimenting positive behaviors, as well as redirecting unwanted behaviors. Angie and Mike are foster parents who understand when children have one or more extreme temperament traits and as foster parents are rarely surprised or confused when those traits are displayed. This unique and tremendous skills set is what allowed for two little girls to achieve placement stability after having instability within the foster care system. Angie and Mike instinctively recognized that interventions used to shape behaviors in the positive may work with one child, but didn’t have the same outcome when used with another child. They used this recognition to learn about individual differences among children and how to support each child, until reunification could safely occur.
It’s a process
We often read how placement stability is important for children to develop healthy secure relationships and serves to reduce the potential stressors that arise from being displaced multiple times. Angie and Mike ensure that the stability children have in their home is effectively carried over when there is reunification. As parents who foster, Angie and Mike, view reunification as a process, not an event. They are supportive of birth parents and children, recognizing reunification is a process of change, adjustment, discovery, and challenge for everyone involved. Angie and Mike consistently create a culture of encouragement by using language that affirms biological parents’ abilities and goals, as well as focusing with parents on their strengths. This has been the process they use while fostering and while remaining involved with the families of origin after reunification occurs. This has been the process they use to find the joy in serving as parents who foster!