Saturday, September 28, 2013

From our mailbag: Sincere thanks for scholarship

Good news from our mailbag:

On behalf of my adopted daughter, I wanted to send our sincere thanks for the $500 scholarship from the National Foster Parent Association. I don't know if [she] has thanked you properly, so I wanted to make sure I sent this (belated) thank you. I apologize if she has never sent you a thank-you note. [She] is putting her $500 scholarship toward college expenses; she is now a full-time college student at Humboldt State University. 
Again, please accept our sincere gratitude for [her] scholarship. Thank you so much. Take care.

Warmest wishes,
Tamara G.

It's always great to hear from our scholarship recipients (and their parents)!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Triggers -- Understanding from a Foster Child's Perspective Part 3

By John Ross
Reprinted with permission

In Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, John relayed how triggers develop. Now he gives us suggestions on how we can be more understanding as foster parents.

"Knowing what is played back in their head for each trigger, helps a great deal..."

This happens to some kids when they go home for supervised or unsupervised visits. That’s where the abuse took place for some of them. So, it stands to reason their behavior would be poorly when they return to our homes. Why would anyone expect every child to come back acting wonderfully pleasant? Bio doesn’t have to always do something to upset the child. The place for some is a trigger in of itself. I hear foster parents complain a lot about how horrible the kids behave after they return from visits with bio. For some kids, I expect it.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Triggers -- Understanding from a Foster Child's Perspective Part 2

Credit: Graphic Nature Stickers

By John Ross
Reprinted with permission

In Part 1 of this series, John recounted how opening oatmeal triggered a 50-years-old memory for him, and how memories affect how children in care behave. 

The fact that just smelling the oatmeal produced an immediate memory, so sudden, had it been a bad memory, it more than likely would have hit me like a ghost suddenly appearing in front of me and yelling BOO! I more than likely would have had a negative reaction and would probably not have made oatmeal. In fact, I may decide to never eat oatmeal again. I may have a negative reaction every time oatmeal is served and instead of being able to verbalize why the sight of oatmeal bothers me, my behavior may display it, and if no one connects the oatmeal to my behavior, then my behavior may appear to be occasional willful disruptions at meal time. Since the trigger brought a memory of abuse so quickly, a child may react in sudden fright, heart pounding, they may jump, scream or run away because the memory was way too sudden for them. I have seen this happen to kids in my care many times. I have seen this happen to kids at school, many times. I have seen this happen to kids in department stores, playgrounds, you name it. You can see it in their face, their reactions, and their behavior.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Triggers -- Understanding from a Child's Perspective Part 1

Credit: Marty Figley

By John Ross
Reprinted with permission 

Have you ever smelled something and it brought back memories from your childhood? I opened a container of raw oatmeal and for some reason decided to smell it, and there was an instant memory from my childhood of me eating raw oatmeal. The memory was vivid, the taste of the raw oatmeal was fresh in my mouth; I even saw myself in the memory, reaching in the box and getting a handful and putting it in my mouth and eating it. This would have been over 50 years ago for me. The thing that caught my attention the most was; how “instantly” the memory came. It was very abrupt, without warning, it was just there, playing in full and very detailed. And all I did was smell the raw oatmeal.