Dana is a 32-year old energetic and compassionate single woman who felt compelled to become a foster parent. She thought love would be enough to help hurting kids heal. She had some extra love to give and jumped into fostering with excitement and high expectations.
In January 2020, two boys named James and Jordan, ages 7 and 11, joined her in her home. The boys had been removed from their birth mom. Dad was weeks away from finishing a prison sentence. He was expressing an interest in doing what it took to get his kids back.
As soon as dad was released from prison, two visits with the boys were scheduled. The boys we ecstatic to see their dad, and the two visit dates on the calendar seemed to be fueling their thoughts 24/7. When Dana took the boys to the third scheduled visit, their dad wasn’t there and hasn’t shown up again.
This devastated the boys. By the time Dana called Chosen in March 2020, the boys’ behaviors were out of control. Yelling, aggression, lying and defiance replaced the sweet boys that had entered her home. Dana’s main support system for help was her mom, who soon refused to help because she was unable to handle their behaviors.
On top of the chaos, Dana’s foster agency added a 9-year-old boy to her home, named Matthew, one week before school shut down because of COVID. Matthew had experienced significant abuse and walked into Dana’s house with many unhealed hurts.
Now, with three rambunctious, aggressive boys whose daily routines had been abruptly altered and no respite help while trying to work from home, Dana told her Chosen Care Manager that she wanted to disrupt the placements of all three boys because she did not think she could parent their hard behaviors, keep up with their online school work, and keep her job with no help.
When she expressed her desire to disrupt to the CPS case worker, she was told that it didn’t matter that she wanted to disrupt; there were no options because of COVID.
The first thing Chosen’s Care Manager did was to help her create routine and schedule to get through the days. One week later, one of the boys became so physically aggressive that a crisis team from CPS was called to the house. Dana’s Care Manager showed her how to recover from such a difficult incident in a trauma-informed way and then talked with her every day for three weeks whenever she felt like she needed a listening ear.
Our Care Manager arranged for her to get help setting up parental controls on the laptops and iPads to help with the screen time challenges. Dana learned how to identify when hard behaviors were a result of trauma memory triggers and how to respond in a way that would allow them to process their grief. She learned how to give them a strengths-based understanding of their difficult stories, including how to help James and Jordan talk about how hard it was for the dad to not show up to their scheduled visits.
Dana learned how to integrate the three boys as brothers so that they didn’t feel like two separate families. Dana and her Care Manager did all of this via Telehealth during a pandemic shelter-at-home order. And guess what? The behaviors of all three boys improved. They finished the school year well and on track. Dana’s mom is helping again. They even all went on a vacation together.
Today, Dana is committed to the boys for as long as they need to be in her home.