Guest Post: The Supportive Foster Parent

I am asked to review more books than I can possibly read, let alone review. Now when I receive requests to review books that are a good fit for some of my friends and associates, I pass them on and have them review them in my place. This guest post is written by one of my wonderful friends who has a heart for the left behind, the forgotten and the broke.

My name is Jamie Trisler and I am a seasoned foster parent. I have been licensed for well over 365 days and I have had upwards of more than one child in my home. Okay, so I am actually pretty new to the world of foster parenting. My family, which consists of me, my husband of 12 years, and our three biological children ages 8, 6, and 5, have only had one placement that only lasted a total of 12 days. In other words, we are very inexperienced! That is why, when Melissa offered me the opportunity to read The Supportive Foster Parent for a guest post on this blog I was really excited! I never pass up the opportunity to read a book that can help me be a better foster mom.

The Supportive Foster Parent, written by Dr. Kalyani Gopal, is a book that is designed to expose and bring to light the less frequently talked about aspects of a foster home. So that together, foster children and foster families are better able to bond and live together creating a successful placement.

The purpose of the book is to walk through the entire foster home process starting with the very beginning stages of deciding why you want to be a foster family, what you need to do or change in your home in order to be a foster family, welcoming and adapting to new children being in your home and ultimately, helping your foster child return home to their biological family.

Dr. Kalyani Gopa, who is a seasoned clinical psychologist, has over 25 years of experience dealing with children in the foster care system. Her book, The Supportive Foster Parent does an excellent job of letting a new foster parent know what they can expect from any foster child that enters their home. Dr. Gopal gives a lot of specific behaviors, disorders and characteristics you can expect from your foster child and tips on how to create a positive and strong attachment to the child despite the unique difficulties each placement brings to the home.

However, perhaps because this is a first edition, I found numerous problems with editing. At one point, I was asked to reference an Appendix B and upon looking, no such appendix appears anywhere in the book. Most of the tips and techniques were mentioned but no explanation as to how to carry it out was given. It also seems that the author wrote the book with the assumption that the reader is familiar with medical and clinical terminology. If you are not, then this book could be frustrating to read.

The Supportive Foster Parent is a book that hopes to bridge the information gap between foster children and foster parents. I found this book to be an incredible resource for new and fresh ideas on how to relate to foster children. However, due to the clinical terminology and incomplete explanations to tips and techniques, I would not recommend this book to a new foster family who has never had a foster child in their home. This book would be better suited for someone who needs to be reminded why they are foster parents. Someone who needs a new perspective on how to deal with a unique situation. Sometimes you need to be reminded of the challenges foster children experience. This book is the perfect anecdote for that.

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