She is part of the village. It takes a village. She has done a lot of research, she is a parent who understand the additional complexities that happen with our foster/adoptive families. This was invaluable throughout the process.
My fostering journey began on a car ride home from my dad’s house in 2013.
My wife, Alex, and I had been discussing starting a family for a while, and I had always enjoyed and valued working with at-risk kids, be it as a volunteer for Big Brothers/Big Sisters, or through childhood literacy programs. But this conversation was different.
“Why should we wait?” I asked. “Why not do this now?”
And we did. The morning after that car ride, we called to inquire about fostering kids. Within months, we were licensed for birth-to-three placements and welcomed in two children. Once they moved, we changed agencies and began focusing on teenage girls with mental health challenges. We have since welcomed in a preteen and a young woman we adopted at age 16, after eight years in out-of-home care.
I started The Foster Lane in 2016. My goal: Help others avoid some of the challenges we faced, through coaching.
That started with learning. Since 2016, I have spent more than 1,000 hours reading books on trauma, children’s brain development, parenting strategies, and foster and adoption; watching videos and listening to podcasts on those same topics; and attending conferences on trauma, foster care, and parenting. I’m about to be certified by the Parent Coaching Institute, as I look to expand my parent coaching practice.
And I have plenty of life experience. I’ve navigated and parented through challenging biological parent interactions and communications, mental health struggles, rages, developmental delays, mental delays, manipulation, challenges with routine and getting out of the house, and bedtime trauma reactions. I’ve lived and learned with kids with reactive attachment disorder (RAD), attachment struggles, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), oppositional defiance disorder (ODD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), attention deficit disorder (ADD), disruptive mood disregulation disorder (DMDD), anxiety, internalization and externalization of behaviors, and more.
I want to share my experience with my clients, helping me and others become better parents. We are in this together.