Putting the CARE in foster care

TRUE STORIES is a guest post series sharing honestly about adoption and foster care. My hope is to create a culture of support for the adoption/foster community.  If you would like to share your story, click hereToday’s post is written by Megan Dottermusch.

When people think about the U.S. foster care system, they most likely have a few preconceived notions. Foster care is often misunderstood, and this could happen for a couple of reasons. The media often focuses on the negative side of the system and people are influenced by stereotypes that permeate popular culture. Limited personal experience could also be a factor. While cons to the system exist, there are still children who are adopted into loving, nurturing homes everyday.

To help dispel any myths or misunderstandings about the foster care system, SocialWork@Simmons created an informative infographic titled “The Facts of Foster Care.” The infographic details the current state of the foster system by outlining the demographics of the children in the system and the outcomes the children experience.

First, it’s important to understand why the foster care system exists. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Children’s Bureau provides foster care services to children who are removed from their homes as the result of maltreatment, lack of care, or lack of supervision. Among the primary goals for foster care children are reunification with their birth parents, adoption, and guardianship, which are all positive outcomes when compared to children living in youth homeless shelters or aging out of the system.

About 1 in 184 children in the United States are in the foster care system — that’s more than 100,000 children in need of a permanent home. Becoming a foster care family requires a thorough background check, and while states provide money for those who support a foster child, motivation among foster parents can vary. Often it is the desire to make a tangible difference in a child’s life that pushes a family to seek approval for foster care.

While it is true that children in the foster care system are at a greater risk for drug and alcohol abuse, serving jail time, unemployment, and post-traumatic stress disorder, a nurturing and attentive foster family can mitigate these outcomes. Most foster families aren’t in the system to make money — in fact their mean household income is substantially lower than families with biological children. But an income doesn’t measure the worth of a family, nor does it measure the love contained within a household’s walls.

While there are flaws in the foster care system that need to be addressed, it’s important to remember that people are doing important and life-changing work. There are foster families that help children navigate the difficult and challenging path they must take. Families dedicated to nurturing young lives are needed to help at-risk foster care children lead successful, balanced, and happy lives. The challenge is to make sure children experience positive outcomes after going through the foster care system. For me, this means we need to work to ensure the benefits of the foster care system far outweigh the negativity, and that we need to create an enriching environment that sets up foster children for a lifetime of success.

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Fair Trade subscription box review

Instagram is my social media preference for many reasons. I seriously think it has taken the place of blogs in many ways and with so many gorgeous images to look at on a daily basis, it's easy to see the appeal. One of the things I love about Instagram is how quickly I can find other people, blogs and companies that share the same passions I do by searching through hashtags. 

Many people have found me through some common hashtags I use on Instagram: 


And I have found many companies through hashtags they use:


One such company that I connected with was Box of Blessings by International Blessings, a fair trade subscription box. Sarah Barnett, the founder of the company reached out to me through Instagram about trying their Box of Blessing. My love of fair trade products knows no bounds, so I was delighted to learn about a new subscription box focused exclusively on it.

The subscription can be for 1, 3 or 6 months. Each box contains 3-4 handmade items or pieces of jewelry made from around the world from impoverished nations, empowering artisans to earn a sustainable wage through admirable means. The best part is the little card inside which tells you about where the product came from and the people who made it. It's a great way to feel connected to your purchase and the artisans who created it.

And if all that wasn't awesome enough, they also donate 10% of all proceeds to a poverty fighting cause every month. All of that information is right inside the subscription box.

I received the June subscription box and I was delighted with what I found.

A gorgeous green stone ring and wooden bracelet made in Old Delhi India by a group of nearly 80 artists with Matr Boomie.

There was also a set of hand-blown glass earrings hand made by an Ecuadorian widow names Aida Males.

All three items showed great craftsmanship and are just stunning to see. They've all become regular staples in my wardrobe.

If you are interested in trying out fair trade, consider subscribing to a Box of Blessings and enjoy ethical accessories delivered straight to your door from around the world. And be sure to tell them The Acting Mom sent you!

p.s. Visiting a fair trade workshop in Uganda changed my views on ethical fashion.

All opinions in this post are my own. I did receive the product for free in exchange for sharing my opinions with all of you.
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And then we quit homeschooling.

We've homeschooled for two years. Kindergarten, first grade and then kindergarten again, with a little preschool thrown in for the two youngest. There were lots of worksheets, nature hikes and thousands books read in those two years. It was wonderful to be on our own schedule and pace as we adjusted to being a family of six. Homeschooling allows for a lot of flexibility and we needed that.

It was the best decision for our family at the time. We knew we would take the kids education a year at a time. While we love the idea of home education, we also know there is a lot of value in them being taught by others and learning different points of view. Craig and I had decided long ago that we wanted the kids to have a public school experience and that time is now.

We are quitting homeschooling for the upcoming school year. The kids are enrolled and ready to start school in four weeks! They couldn't be more excited about this new venture and I'm doing a little freak out as I look at uniforms, school supplies and packed lunches. Eeekkk!

Trusting someone else to watch my kids for eight hours a day is something I haven't done in my seven years of parenting ever. EVER. I've been solely responsible for my kids 90% of the time, with Craig doing the rest. This is going to be a huge adjustment and I'm having a bit of a panic attack knowing I'll have a second grader and a kindergartener. To be honest, it's also hard to let go. I've been in control of the kids day in and day out and relinquishing that to a stranger is not an easy task, but it is a necessary one. Parenting is hard! Can I get an amen?

I am excited about what the kids will learn and how they'll grow this next year. And the friends they will make! This will give me more one-on-one time with my two youngest, helping them grow and flourish. It will also open up time for me to rehearse and memorize lines for my theatrical endeavors, which I'm loving.

Overall, this is going to be awesome! It's a big change for our family with a lot of adjustment, but I'm excited to see how different we will all be in a year. Here's to a new year!

p.s. Did you know I have a website just for my acting endeavors?

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