- how long have you been fostering?
- Since June 2000, so almost 8 years
- how many kids have you had in your home?
- Three permanent placements that "stuck": Carl, David, and Evan
- One that did not: Frankie
- One girl, Ann, who lived with us for 3 months
- And I am up to "T" in pseudonyms for respite kids. So that's 20, right? Some of those kids were "repeat customers" that we got pretty close to. (Careful readers will remember that Ann is on that list, but so is a boy I refused to give a blog name to.)
- And we mustn't forget the bioboys!
- Total: 28
- 29 if you count the boy who spent one weekend with us to see if a placement with us would work. It wasn't a match. He was hyper-active and Roland just can't face that at home after doing special ed all day at school. I almost called the social worker half-way through when he did a back-flip off a very tall pile of straw bales.
- I know a lot of kids come to you after being in some kind of emotional turmoil relating to their sexual identity, what resources do you provide them (besides a safe loving environment) to help them through that rough time?
- I think the kids would tell you that they weren't in any emotional turmoil, although the adults were living with had been -- to varying degrees. That said:
- Our agency has been really good at finding them counselors from the GLBT community. It requires driving them into The City and usually to the far end of it (45 minutes one way). There are counselors in Our Small Town, but no one sufficiently skilled in GLBT issues.
- We also take the kids to the GLBT youth group (in The City), if they want to go. Frankie was too young, in chronological and emotional sense, but the other boys went.
- We have made an effort to be a part of the community at large. We go to a GLBT friendly church (another drive into The City) where there are many gay and lesbian couples. The regulars at our monthly potluck include in, let's see, 5 GLT people.
- We also supply books, including novels, and gay-friendly DVD's. Did I tell you that I got Trick for a Mother's Day present?
- Do you find individual mentors within the GLBT community or organizations that help with the process of coming out or dealing with bias issues?
- Absolutely. There are quite a number of different people who have been helpful but the greatest assistance has come from the leader of the youth group for GLBT kids. I haven't needed him as much recently but he helped me a great deal in the beginning. He held my hand, comforted me, told me when to chill and stop worrying and a few times told me when I should be worrying.
David and Evan were already out when they came to me. They would have denied having any "coming out" issues or needing any help dealing with prejudice. We did talk about particular things, and I know the youth group leader and their counselors were helpful, although Evan's was much better than David's.
Carl and we went through the coming out process together. He was already out to friends, but not to many adults. It was a journey.
Okay...still having fun. If you got questions, send them in.