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Summertime for Foster Families

A blog post written by an incredible foster mom.

"The summer months are a true exercise in flexibility, adaptability and creativity for foster families. We do our best to make our summer plans as soon as we have taken down the holiday lights in the depths of winter. We email Caseworkers and Support Workers, write down details in our day timers and on the “More Time Moms” wall calendars (in pencil), and have discussions in case conferences about what everyone will be doing in the summer. We request travel letters for out-of-province trips, organize summer camps and set aside time for beaches, splash parks and picnics.

Then summer arrives! Holiday fun has been planned so now we relax and enjoy, right? Not always! Visit schedules with birth families may change. Caseworkers may go on holidays. Children may have daily meltdowns because the change in routine doesn’t make for a sense of security in a child with a history of loss and trauma.

So we go back to the calendar.

We bump this camping trip back a week, request a visit date change to accommodate the birth family and our vacation plans, put more structure back into the daily routine for the poor eight-year-old who can’t function without it. We remind the Caseworker that we plan to leave the province for the trip in one week that was approved in March and we still don’t have the Travel Letter required. At this point it is helpful to avoid checking texts and emails for the day, load the kids up and spend the afternoon at the outdoor pool, and breathe in the delicious summer air while listening to the giggles and splashes of happy little people.

We can plan, plan, plan and so we should, and so we have to with so many people in our homes on different schedules and with different needs. However, sometimes our plans need to shift a bit here and a bit more there. Some plans, whether for our family or for the children in foster care, are not flexible. This is how life is in foster care. We try to make sure all the children in our homes feel included and a part of our family, but we don’t always get the support we need to make that happen in a timely way. At these times, our Foster Care Support Workers help the team problem-solve and find a ways to accommodate as many people as possible. It can be a big challenge at times.

No matter how many summers we have spent as a foster family, one thing remains the same: things don’t always go as planned! We can view these as opportunities to learn, adapt, be creative, and communicate clearly, for the children in foster care and for the entire family. No matter how things unfold, we always have summer memories that last a lifetime."

No matter how things unfold, we always have summer memories that last a lifetime.