Featured 7EI: Perspective shift
As we move into a new season of adjusting to a new normal, we must continue to remind ourselves to think positively. Although summer won’t look the same without our favorite summer festivals, fairs and waterparks, we can still enjoy family time in safe and exciting ways while continuing to practice social distancing the best we can.
For the Fourth of July, you can still have a family barbeque, buy some glow sticks to light up the night instead of fireworks, take advantage of state parks or turn your backyard into an adventure land. And instead of being bummed about missing out on Wisconsin State Fair, watch for recipes in the Closed Facebook Group to make your own cream puffs at home or enjoy food on a stick. There may even be a few summer themed events or giveaways!
Foster Parent Spirit Week
May was Foster Parent Appreciation Month and we are so happy we got to celebrate with you all. Our Caregiver Coordinators put together and delivered care packages to our awesome foster parents across the Milwaukee area. We hosted our first annual Foster Parent Spirit Week. Congratulations to our winners: Lori and Philip Hegarty, Cheryl Nitz, Sarah and Joseph Wawrzyniak, Elizabeth Grace and Ryan, Jennifer and Douglas Reed.
Closed Group, Always “Open”
The Closed Facebook Group is the place to be if you want to participate in more fun and interactive events. It’s also a community of your fellow foster parents where you can ask questions, get advice and discuss ups and downs. Level 2 and TFC parents are welcomed! Request to join here.
Foster Parents Rock: Shannon and Adam
Shannon Pechauer and Adam Kanack always understood the overwhelming need for foster parents and that’s why three years ago, they decided to become licensed. Since then, they have welcomed 10 children into their home, and the majority have been reunified with their families.
Last July, the couple adopted a sibling set of two. “Your relationship with your siblings is often the longest-lived relationship of your life, and we wanted to do what we could to make sure that relationship wasn’t severed,” Shannon says. “It’s an added trauma and injury to children that didn’t choose their situation.”
Any Moment Can be Special
Shannon and Adam take joy in the little moments of fostering. When Shannon was pregnant with their oldest biological child and wasn’t feeling super great, their 13-year-old foster daughter would curl up with her on the couch and they would binge watch TV shows together. She still misses those TV marathons.
Another special memory was when they did respite for a 17-year-old over Halloween. They took their little kids trick or treating and said he would have to tag along. They got him a costume, and he ended up having a blast trick or treating with the younger kiddos. “I would like to reassure other foster parents that are considering accepting teen placements that doing so should not come loaded with negative assumptions. Accepting a teen in your home may be much more rewarding than you think,” says Shannon. “Also, you likely won’t have to wipe their butts for them, which is always an added bonus.”
Accepting Children as they Are
“We have had two children come out to us while in our care,” Shannon recalls. Their now-adopted 8-year-old she told Shannon and Adam that she identified as a girl when she was 6 years old. They always ran their household with a “colors are for everybody, clothes are for everybody” instead of a “girl color” or “ boy clothes” approach, so Shannon suspects that this made Bell more comfortable showing her true gender.
Now, Bell has a full team to support her, including siblings, extended family, biological family, a gender identity therapist, supportive health care team, after school camp directors and staff, and teachers. “And for that, we are so incredibly thankful,” says Shannon.
Stories Like Yours
Talking to Children About Racial Bias By: Ashaunta Anderson, MD, MPH, MSHS, FAAP & Jacqueline Dougé, MD, MPH, FAAP
Read the article
This succinct article touches on useful strategies to assist parents with discussing racial bias with their children. Children learn at a very early age that there are differences between them and others. Research shows that children notice the difference between ethnicities as early as 6 months. As parents, it is your responsibility to educate yourselves and the children you are caring for about racial bias and the negative impact it has. – by Marande Buck
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. Meet Michael. He is an awesome Milwaukee-based TFC foster parent, who’s dedicated to fostering African American teens. He’s a former drill sergeant and educator and has one of the biggest hearts we’re ever encountered.
The two-year anniversary of Cathy’s Collection is July 12. Cathy Miller was a beautiful, shining example of unconditional love. She was a powerful force who gave a home to many, if not in place, most certainly in her heart.
Cathy’s Collection is a grassroots-style boutique of new, donated items for kids and youth in foster care. We don’t accept clothes, but we are always in need of diapers, formula and other baby items. We also need toys and gifts for teens. If you’d like to make a donation, please email GrowHope@SaintA.org. Learn more about Cathy’s Collection here.
Open For Business
The following Milwaukee-area businesses are currently open. As you venture out this summer, please remember to practice social distancing, wear your masks and wash your hands regularly. Stay safe everyone! Game Show Battle Room – Milwaukee, WI
Milwaukee Public Library (pick-up only) – Locations Vary
Sky Zone – Locations Vary
Stone Fire Pizza – Locations Vary
Bayview Printing Company – Bayview, WI
Lynden Sculpture Garden – Milwaukee, WI
Milky Way Drive – In-Franklin, WI
Milwaukee County Zoo – Milwaukee, WI
Cho’s Martial Arts School – Greenfield, WI
Milwaukee County Dog Parks – Locations Vary
Edelweiss Cruises – Milwaukee, WI
Swan/Boats and Bike Riding at Veterans Park – Waukesha, WI
Springs Water Park – Pewaukee, WI
Lapham Peak – Delafield, WI
Marcus Majestic Drive In
Lake Geneva Boat Tours – Lake Geneva, WI
Lake Geneva Ziplines and Adventure – Lake Geneva, WI
Shalom Zoo – West Bend, WI
Pike Lake – Hartford, WI
Bookworm Botanical Gardens – Sheboygan, WI
All State/County Parks – Locations Vary
In most cases, the goal of foster care is reunification. It can be overwhelming to think about saying goodbye, so here are some tips for dealing with reunification if or when it comes.
About 30 percent of foster youth identify as LGBTQ. We need our foster parents to be loving, open and accepting to any child who comes into their home, no matter their sexual orientation. Here are some tips.
Black Music Month
Black artists are responsible for many of our favorite genres, like jazz, rap, hip-hop and rock n roll. Music has always been a powerful part of black culture. From protest anthems in the 60s, to gen z hip songs on Tik Tok, black music needs to be appreciated in all forms. Check out this playlist for oldies, this one if you want to dance, or listen to the black national anthem.
Refer a Family
DID YOU KNOW? There are incentives for referring qualified family and friends to become foster parents? There are three milestones when you make a referral*, outlined below, with corresponding gifts.
- Application received earns you an item of SaintA merch
- Approved license results in a $100 gift card of your choice from the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families
- First placement earns you $250 from SaintA
New foster parents are always welcome to the SaintA foster care team and we want to reward you for your hard work identifying good parents for kids who come from challenging places.
* The new foster parents must list you as their referral source on their completed application.