Department of Family Services - Children and Families

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

TTY 711

12011 Government Center Parkway, Pennino Building
Fairfax, VA 22035

Oriane Eriksen,

Foster Family News - 2020 June - Words from Fairfax County Foster Care and Adoption Association (FCFCAA)

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Bethany ShivelyWell, summer is almost here… I guess? Is it April, May, June? Who even knows anymore.

As someone who lives by various calendars and to-do lists, the lack of structure over these past few months has been HARD. Especially as foster parents, it’s nearly impossible to survive without a high level of structure and routine. It can be a full-time job simply staying on top of all of the school, medical, therapy and county appointments that come along with each child – not to mention our own work schedules, family obligations and social engagements. Structure and organization are important  we need it, and our kids certainly need it. But with work, school, visit and appointment schedules thrown off, these times are challenging to say the least.

“Kids, don’t forget, you each have three different Zoom appointments at three different times. Go wash your hands. No, you just had a snack 30 minutes ago. I don’t know - check your Google Classroom, or Blackboard Collaborate, or Blackboard Live or Blackboard Classroom! What’s the login again? Is anyone else having Wi-Fi issues? Seriously, can everyone just be quiet for 20 minutes while I’m on a work call?” 

I hate the term “new normal” but this is, for sure, the “current normal” in our house these days. 

Foster parents, you are all rock stars – all of you. Being home with kids, many with special needs and behavior challenges, 24-hours a day with no break while many also working from home and simultaneously serving as full-time daycare providers and teachers – is no small feat. Add to that the extra anxiety about health, finances and job security that so many people are facing right now – and even many of the people who seem to have it all together most of the time are struggling right now. 

And our kids feel it too. Even our pets are feeling it not quite knowing how to handle everyone being home all day, with no peace and quiet. Ever. I’m very tempted many days to go sneak off and hide under the covers with a pillow over my head, like my dog so shamelessly does when she needs a break. And I’m not going to lie, I may or may not have done that once or twice. 

But there are good things too, amidst the hard. The summer weather means more time outdoors (albeit strategically worked in between your 15 daily Zoom appointments). Time for hikes, picnics, dog walks, water balloon fights, sidewalk art and family bike rides. There are lots and lots of bike rides around here these days.

If you have needs or concerns right now, please let me know. Our county workers are doing all they can to provide support to our resource families during this time, but this is new territory for everyone – and they can only help address issues if they know about them. Hang in there, take care of yourselves, and keep the lines of communication open.

Thanks so much for all you do!

Bethany Shively
Fairfax County Foster Care and Adoption Association (FCFCAA)

This article posting is part of the Foster Family News monthly newsletter designed to keep foster parents informed about all the new and notable happenings in Fairfax County.

Learn about what the Foster Care & Adoption program has planned for foster families - stay on top of trends, participate in trainings and learn about policy changes.

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