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April/May 2020 Newsletter



Hello SaintA Foster parent,

We’re looking forward to staying connected and keeping you all informed.  Read on for more about caregiver capacity, foster parent shoutouts, training and much more!

Featured 7EI 

This month, we’re talking about Caregiver Capacity. We’re living in a particularly stressful time with COVID-19 and physical distancing.
Here’s a gentle reminder to stay focused on meeting your own needs, so that you can be better caregivers, partners and friends to others. No one is at their best when they’re stressed, and their anxiety levels are through the roof.

The Caregiver Capacity Challenge
In the current climate, we’re all dealing with big, new challenges and frightening unknowns. And so, we challenge you to consider implementing self-care practices, keeping date night and continuing your daily exercise, meditation and mindfulness routines. They are very important, now more than ever! 

Here are a few helpful resources to promote good physical health, emotional wellbeing and general stress relief, so you can focus on your caregiver capacity first, then, continue being the rock-star parent that you are!

  • SaintA Therapists: Available via Telehealth. Schedule an appointment here.
  • Physical health: 10 min cardio workout from home
  • Emotional wellbeing: Free meditation from Headspace

Foster Parents Rock!
Meet the Schumans

Summary by Theresa Ritter
Since 2004, the Schumans have taken placement of 51 children. They love taking care of babies until they are ready to be reunified with their parents or moved to an adoptive home. Each of their placements are like grandchildren to them, and they can’t help but cry when they leave. Their journey began with Mrs. Schuman originally becoming a foster parent in the 1960s. She says that back then, it was much easier to get licensed and that it didn’t require much paperwork. Even while she was raising her own small children, she took placement of babies. When she first started, the babies came without names, so her children picked out names for the babies. One of her favorite memories is of her young son waking up in the middle of the night to watch her feed their foster baby.

After Mr. and Mrs. Schuman retired, Mrs. Schuman was able to convince him to start again. They almost backed out once they saw all the paperwork that was involved, but now they can say they’re so glad they stuck with it. Now that they’re older, the Schuman’s are realizing they can’t keep up with the kiddos anymore, so their fostering journey will soon come to an end, but they believe fostering for this long has helped kept them young.

SaintA Travels:
Meet the Attoes

While the number of kids in care has continued to increase, the number of homes in Wisconsin has stalled. We are on the road to change that. 

We recently visited Chris and Wendy Attoe to talk about what makes great foster parents. The Chippewa-Falls based foster parents have 1 biological son and 6 adopted children. They’re big fans of keeping siblings together, as they’ve adopted two sibling groups. Although they have a full house right now, they can’t wait to open their heart and home again once they’re able to.

COVID-19 Updates

Things have been pretty uncertain lately. In the times of COVID-19, we’ve all had to adjust to a new normal that includes physical distancing, work and school from home and many other disruptions that we’re still getting used to. We’re doing our best to keep you updated and to support you through this challenging time. Check out this podcast from Dr. Bruce Perry on staying emotionally close during COVID-19 and watch this video about virtual visits.

You can browse this list of things to do a home while physical distancing and check out more resources below.
Food:
  1. The Tandem is giving out free (almost) daily meals. Check their Facebook Page for the menu.
  2. MPS is still providing lunches for students
  3. Use this map to find a food pantry near you
  4. The Boys & Girls Club meal program gives meals for the week to students on Mondays
Education:
  1. Tune into PBS for at-Home Learning
  2. Listen to free kids books with Audible
  3. Use Khan Academy to create a lesson plan
  4. Learn at home with Scholastic

Stories Like Yours

Three Little Words By Ashley Rhodes-Courter
Learn more here
Summary by Emily Davis

Three Little Words is a memoir of a girl who spent her childhood in foster care. Ashley was born in 1985 to a single teen mother and by the age of 3, she was placed in Florida’s foster care system. For almost 10 years, she was shuttled between 14 homes—some quite abusive—before being adopted from a Children’s Home at the age of twelve. 

 This compelling story provides readers with a perspective that we sometimes forget about. As you read, consider everything Ashley went through and think about the things that you can do differently in order to improve the situations of the ones in your care. Consider her worries of being away from her siblings. What can you do to better support the sibling relationship between the child/children in your home? Could you open your heart and your home to take in a sibling group? Consider the difficulties she had adjusting to each new placement. What can you do to help your children better adjust to living in your home? 

Let’s Celebrate: #FosterParentShoutout

May is one of our favorite months. It’s Foster Parent Appreciation Month and Mother’s Day, so that means double the opportunity to celebrate our awesome foster parents.

May 10 – Mother’s Day

May 31 – National Foster Parent Appreciation Day
Do you know someone who is adjusting well to the new normal? Do you have a foster parent who is always there for you or are always going the extra mile? If you know an awesome SaintA licensed foster parent or relative caregiver you think deserves a shout out, let us know! We’ll share them on the SaintA’s social media! 

Make a 10-15 second video and tag us on Facebook or send a short statement telling us why this foster parent deserves some praise. Send shoutouts to lharris@SaintA.org (she runs our social media!)