Monday, May 18, 2009

Training #2

Last week I didn't know what I was getting into when I went to training. I think I was expecting it to be more of a presentation of facts. That it would be: here are the issues you are going to be faced with and here is how to deal with them. But it wasn't that way, it was more of 'put yourself in someone else's shoes.' So this week I approached the training differently. As I was getting breakfast beforehand I felt I needed prayer. I had sent an email the day before to some of my friends with prayer requests and I thought, 'It would be great if someone could read that and pray for me right now. Who would be up and online at 8:15 in the morning?' Then I thought my friend Linda, who has 3 kids might be. I was praying that God would put it on someone's heart to pray for me. Fast forward half an hour, I am sitting in my car outside the training center, checking my email on my phone before I go in. My friend Linda had written me just 15 minutes earlier. Wow, God really answers prayer. So I went to the training strengthened knowing that I wasn't alone.
This weekend we covered attachment and loss. The topics were again presented from an emotional perspective. What I learned about attachment is that it is formed by meeting basic needs. There are different levels of attachment and children's behaviors vary based on these. We were read two stories of children from birth and were to imagine ourselves as that baby. Being on the side of the room that had Baby B, who ends up in foster care, I felt that I would be hostile to the world.
Then in the afternoon we discussed loss. They had one of the instructors sit up front and some of us stood around her representing the things that are important to her. Then another instructor told a story and we walked away as she lost these things in the story. After it was just her sitting up there by herself; the story even took her name away. It was a good presentation of loss and helped us to feel what the kids must feel when they are taken away from all they know - and in a more traumatic situation than the story. I was thankful at this time to be a Christian, to know that even if all that was taken from me, I would still have God and wouldn't feel as though I had lost my identity.
Another thing presented were the stages of grief. The instructors said that children can be easier to deal with during the first three stages, and then when they get to anger the foster parents give up. But this was a great perspective: this anger should be celebrated because it means they are moving through the stages. However the children often get moved and end up getting stuck in that stage. Each move creates another loss!
I felt more confident this week, less scared. I know that I am going to have to deal with some terrible stuff, but I also know I am not alone. One of the instructors said sometimes if you are young, one of the losses the foster parents have is their friends. I think it is ironic because since I made this decision, I have felt closer to and developed more friendships than before. It also helped my confidence to reflect on some of the children I have been around before and seen changes in. Lastly, and it sounds funny when I say it this way, but I also know that I have this supernatural power that the other people in the class don't have -- prayer.

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