It’s May, and that means it’s National Foster Care Month here in the U.S. In honor of this designation, I’m planning (hoping?) to post something close to every day. As you can see, I’m already a day late. C’est la vie.
Last night, E and I spoke at a MAPP class at the agency where his social worker works and through which I was matched with him. MAPP is class Massachusetts uses for foster care education, required of anyone wanting to be licensed as a foster parent–including those who wish to adopt from the foster care system. It’s six weeks of 3-hour intense classes learning about laws and issues the children might have, and techniques to deal with them. I loved my class, and clearly remember the families who spoke. I was thrilled to be asked to return the favor.
While E was in a visitation room playing on his iPod, I initially spoke to the group alone. I told them about the early days of being matched and placement, of my journey from the MAPP class through the matching process, and of life right now as a first-time single mom to a middle school boy. I described some of the issues we bump into, and how I try to handle it. I touched a little bit on his relationship with his birth family, and the factors that led to him being taken into care.
The group was lovely and engaging and asked great questions. When we brought E in, he looked a little bit like a deer in headlights, facing this group all staring at him, but he quickly warmed up. They asked him some “what kind of things do you like” questions, but also asked him about what he liked best about being with me (the cats), any advice he’d give them about bringing a child home (go slowly–make sure you have the right match, or years down the road you might wonder what happened), how he thinks his future has changed by being with me (life is better), and why he thinks we’re a good family (we’re a match made in heaven [cue “awwww” from group]).
I had one thing I planned to talk about, which I forgot until I got home, but overall I think it went so well, and I’m glad I got the opportunity to pass on whatever knowledge I’ve gleaned from the last year or so of this process in order to help create new forever families for some of the 2,400 children in Massachusetts waiting to be adopted.