It is important when providing Wrap Around Care for a family that you understanding the unique challenges these non-traditional families face. It is almost always difficult adjusting to a new family member living in the home, whether it be a new baby arriving, an older family member moving in, a college student back from school, or anyone else.
The initial transition stage is a time to find a new “normal” and adjust to the changes that this new family member has brought to the dynamics of the family. Just like any other situation where someone new in moving into a home, the same initial transition happens in an adoptive or foster situation, however there are many other challenges these families face that most traditional families will not.
Little to No Information on the Child
Many times, very little, if any information is known about the child an adoptive or foster family is taking in. And often time the information that is known is not accurate or has huge gaps of information missing.
Physical, Mental, Emotional Trauma Suffered by the Child
The majority of the children placed with adoptive or foster families have suffered considerable trauma physically, mentally, emotionally, or any mixture of the three. Due to this, these families are not just taking in a new child who they know little about, they are taking in a child they know very little about who has suffered considerable trauma and will likely have behaviors, habits, fears, and tendencies as a result of this trauma. These can range from mild to severe and can have a great effect on their day to daily lives depending on the extent and length of the trauma faced.
Working Through the Trauma Suffered by the Child
Adoptive and foster families are also responsible for helping the child they have taken in work through past traumas and current behaviors, habits, fears, and tendencies that are a direct result of that trauma. This includes working daily on these behaviors and the more severe the behaviors are the more time and energy it takes to work through them.
Often times the worse the trauma was that the child suffered through the harder and more time consuming it will be to help the child work through this. Unfortunately, these behaviors, habits, fears, and tendencies are so deeply rooted in who the child is, they often times take years for the child to overcome them and sometimes the child never gets past them.
This means that a family who adopted a child years ago could still be dealing with these behaviors, habits, fears, and tendencies on a daily basis.
Mounds and Mounds of Paperwork
In addition to all the challenges above, adoptive and foster parents are required by their agencies and the state to record on paper many things like medications given to the child, times when disciplinary action was taken with the child, details about doctors’ visits, weekly and monthly reports on the child’s progress in the home, and much more. This paperwork is often times very detailed and time consuming to fill out.
Multiple Doctors’ Visits
Due to the physical, mental, and/or emotional trauma faced by the child, they will likely have more visits to doctors, counselors, therapists, etc that other children. This means that adoptive and foster parents could have regular appointments for the child on a weekly basis that they are required to go to.
This also means that if the parents work, they are having to repeatedly take off work to take the child to these appointments or they have to schedule them outside of work hours which eats away at their evenings and weekend. If one of the parents stays home with the child and has other children this means that they are taking multiple children to these appointments or having to find childcare during these appointments.
Countless Court Dates
Another type of appointment that adoptive and foster families have to set aside time for are court dates. Depending on the case itself, the amount of court dates varies. For example, an adoptive family will have less court dates for a child since parental rights have already been given up of the court has already determined that the child’s paternal rights need to be taken away.
As for fostering families, there are usually more court dates involved since the court is working to determine whether or not a child’s biological parents are fit to take care of the child long term after working through the program the court mandates for them or if the parental rights will be terminated.
Often times this process is one to two years long but varies greatly depending on the case. Once again attending these court dates means that parents must take time off of work, take children with them to court, or find childcare so that they can attend court without the child.
Possible Visitations with Biological Family
Biological family visitations are more likely to happen with foster children than with adoptive children, however these do take place after an adoptive placement as well. Biological visitations are usually less likely or at least less frequent with adoptive families since the biological parental rights have been terminated or relinquished.
Although, some adoption have agreements that states that the biological family is allowed to see the child ever so often or the adoptive and biological family simply want to stay connected for the sake of the child. In fostering situations the court will mandate if biological parental visits are allowed and how often the visits will happen.
In some circumstances these visitations are needed and a blessing to everyone involved but often times due to the trauma the child has faced, these visitations can be extremely hard on them because it is a reminder of the trauma they faced.
The aftermath of these visits can be a relapse in behavior, habits, fears, and tendencies that they child is already working through. It can lead to things like bed wetting, nightmares, depression, and many other negative behaviors that the child and families will need to work through.
As you can see from this list of just a few unique challenges that adoptive and foster families face each day, being a parent of these children is very taxing physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. These are just a few reasons why these parents desperately need Wrap Around Care on a regular and ongoing basis.