Holding My Tongue

One of the big challenges for me being part of the foster system has been holding my tongue. Trust me, it is not my strong point. I come from a long line of over educated, opinion havers. While it usually makes for some interesting holiday meals, as a foster parent, not always the best. For starters, the children who come into your care, have not known you long enough to understand context and that it comes from a place of caring. Secondly, we found that – generally – any discussion of their mother was sacrosanct. She could do no wrong, and if you wanted to connect at all, do not bring up anything she may or may not have done to get her kids placed in the system in the first place.

I made it about 9 months never saying a thing. Listening to the mother blame everyone and anyone for her situation. At 90 day reviews, I watched her be rude to the team of cross-agency people whose job it was to help them with resources, counseling and much, much more. Never attempting to participate in her own recovery, she missed valuable opportunities. All through this, I (mostly) held my tongue. It is a very frustrating part of being a foster parent. My partner and I talked about it quite a bit and vented to each other all in the hopes of me holding my tongue.

It came to a head with our kid when after one of his school’s soccer games, he wanted to drive home with another family and hang out at one of their houses. As you probably know, the rules for foster kids and this type of thing are pretty clear. It was a ‘no”. The kid got mad and went into pout mode. It was at that point my tongue could not be held. I pulled the car over and turned off the radio (much as my father had done with us as kids). In as calm a voice as possible, I told him, whether he wanted to hear it or not, he was mad at the wrong people. We did not get him into the system, we were trying to get him out. All the counselors that he refused to engage with didn’t get him into the system, they were trying to get him out. I suggested he think about that a little bit and possibly adjust his attitude.

This is on my mind greatly this morning as we got a call yesterday from the kid’s school saying he did not attend yesterday. For most, not  big deal, but for this kid, who was initially removed from his mother’s home for truancy (a very common reason for these kids), it marked the first time he had missed school since he came to live with us… and only took one week reunified with his mother for him to truant. My first instinct was to call the county worker and make sure they knew. The hubby told me we would not do that as we do not want our access to his school information to end. We can see his grades online and use good grades as an incentive for him.

The statistics for foster kids are pretty bleak… kids in the system graduate high school at less than 30%. But, those that do graduate, over 90% attend college. So, the key was getting the kid through high school. After one week, our hopes for this kid’s success took a hit. My heart breaks a little bit but I hold my tongue.

Pregnant women more susceptible to domestic violence……….Florida man shoots pregnant wife in back of the head, claims it was self-defense.

A Florida man was placed under arrest over the weekend after he admitted fatally shooting his wife during a domestic dispute.

Port St. Lucie Police on Sunday responded to a call from 21-year-old Chekingson Sinclair, who said that he had shot his wife, Argrett, according to WPBF.

Responding officers found the pregnant woman dead at the scene when they arrived.

 Investigators determined that an argument between Sinclair and his wife began at around 6:30 a.m. on Sunday in their bedroom. The suspect said that he had thrown his wife’s phone into the toilet, and she had chased him around the house with a kitchen knife.

But Sinclair said that the victim could not catch him, so she locked herself in the bedroom. He explained how he retrieved a gun from underneath a recliner in the living room, and went to the bedroom to confront her. The argument escalated, until Sinclair said that Argrett lunged at him with the knife.

He pulled the trigger, and she fell to the floor. But she got up again, so he shot her in the head, he told investigators. Sinclair then waited three hours before notifying police.

Detectives, however, said that Argrett had sustained a gunshot wound to the back of her head at close range.

After admitting that he wanted to kill his wife, Sinclair was charged with first-degree premeditated murder, murder of an unborn child and tampering with evidence.



Family Pride Network Event

On a super sunny Sunday afternoon, we went to the Grange Audoban Park for the Family Pride Network event “Nurturing GLBT Families”. It is always so interesting to meet GLBTs from Columbus that we have not met before. Columbus has such a small town feel, so when you realize how big a city it really is, it is pretty cool.

The United Way Pride Council sponsored the event and the panel discussion was lively and informative. I felt like adoption was the main focus so I did try to shine some light on fostering and an option.

Turns out, there were several couples there that Foster and some have children by surrogacy and adoption as well. For us, we wanted children of school age so we could continue to work. Our preference. Most we met were focused on infants. Our friends with children started with infants. Choices. We felt There were so many kids out there that needed good, loving, safe homes. Fostering seemed a good choice for us.

What we learned was that the early days of HIV and orphaned and infected kids opened the door for gays in the Foster system. I can imagine. Our agency actually recruited us. We met them at the Pride Festival. They saw they value we could add to these kids lives.

We also learned that Ohio's adoption laws are not favorable to GLBT folks. Being married somewhere helps. Having a common surname helps. Apparently, the advice was “lawyer up”.

Also, Keep an eye on the 6th Circuit Court. Big news comin.

Columbus Foster Dads

Hi… This is the first entry in our blog about being Foster dads in Columbus, Ohio. In Ohio, Foster programming is done at the county level and the Foster placement done by private agencies. It is a process that involves many people and agencies and there is a good deal of money floating around throughout.

Our writing is intended to vent, share and offer kinship to other gay men who are fostering or are thinking about fostering. It is nothing more than our opinions and experiences. We will try to change names to protect the innocent and the negligent.

We have been partners together for 13 years and counting. We both come from large families who are supportive of our fostering journey. Our first placement, a 12 year old boy, just left our care after 10 months to move back home with his mother and family.

What will follow is our story.