In early November 2013, the project staff were contacted by a foster mother (Irina, 36) requesting to enroll her in the School for Foster Parents for a repeated course of training. Despite the fact that she had completed the School four years before and adopted a one-year-old boy, she decided to refresh her knowledge to take one more child to her family. Irina attended all sessions, showed active participation in the group and shared her fostering experience eagerly with other participants. In the beginning of April 2014, by a court decision Irina adopted a six-month-old girl (Mila). The foster family was joined by a new member: a daughter for the happy parents, and a sister for their four-year-old son Volodya.
Key achievements of the Foster Family Project • Conducted two School for Foster Parents training cycles, each consisting of 12 training sessions;• 16 people (13 families) trained through the School for Foster Parents;• 15 prospective foster parents (12 families) received certificates of completing the School for Foster Parents; • Conducted one meeting of the Club of Foster Families; • 20 families raising 32 foster children provided with the project support.
We are pleased to update you on the Foster Family Project. The project staff members pay much attention to recruiting and training potential foster parents. Also, a large portion of their work is devoted to assisting newly formed foster families.
During the period from January through March 2014, Doctors to Children’s Foster Family Project staff provided consultations to 65 potential foster parents. Fifteen prospective foster parents were interviewed by the staff in the project office. In March, the project staff initiated a new cycle of the School for Foster Parents training, which was attended by 10 persons (8 families). Services were provided to a total of 25 foster families taken on the project supervision.
In April 2013, Marina, 37, and Nikolai, 38, a married couple, applied to DTC for a course of training in the School. By that time, they had been married for over 10 years and had no children on their own. They were willing to take a boy or a girl, under 3 years of age, to their family. Marina and Nikolay attended all sessions of the School for Foster Parents, but were not sure they were ready for fostering a child. All summer long, the couple were taking consultations from the project staff on such issues as documentation required for adoption, possible developmental disorders in children living in institutions, interaction with child protection agencies, and realization of their own resources required for raising a foster child.
In the fall, the family went to Irkutsk region to meet with Dima, a two-year-old boy. While Marina and Nikolay were visiting the boy in a babies’ home, they inspired confidence among the institutions staff, and were also offered to meet with a wonderful girl Vika, one and a half years old. After several meetings with the children, the couple decided to become their parents and return home to St. Petersburg all together. As of that moment they had not had enough grounds for adoption: in accordance with the Russian legislation, adoption of children whose parents were deprived of their parental rights is only possible after a lapse of 6 months from the deprivation. This fact did not stop the couple. They took guardianship of both children, waiting for an earliest opportunity to adopt them.
All this time, DTC’s staff members were providing the family with comprehensive support, including consultations on adoption issues, recommendations on children’s adaptation in the new family, and psychological assistance. In February 2014, by the court decision the children were adopted: now Marina and Nikolai are happy legal parents of Dima and Vika.
Dear friends, we would like to tell you a story of a family taken on the project supervision.
Nina and Tanya, sisters
At the end of 2012, Nina and Tanya were removed from their family, facing threats to their lives and health. Their mother abused alcohol. She used to come home drunk very often, accompanied by her partner. Every time it was a new partner, and every time she forced the kids to call him their dad. They had never seen their father. The sisters often stayed at home, unsupervised and underfed.
While the girls were in the orphanage, they were placed twice in host families for a short term, and the project staff hoped the girls would stay with their new parents. However, these placements were not successful to bring about long-term relationships.
In early August 2013, an experienced foster family supervised by the project learned about the sisters. By that time, Elena and Igor, a married couple, had raised two children on their own, graduated form the School for Foster Parents run by Doctors to Children, and were bringing up two foster children – brothers, 7 and 15 years old respectively.
At the end of the month, Nina and Tanya were placed in this family. On September 1, Nina went to the new school. She enrolled in her new brother’s class to repeat the first-grade program, as she did not attend school regularly in the previous year and missed a lot. At first, her younger sister Tanya found it hard to go to a kindergarten, refusing to stay without her foster parents for several hours a day. Presently, she is happy to attend the kindergarten where she has found a lot of friends. Nina and Tanya enjoy doing everything together with their new mother and father: playing, cooking and reading before going to bed. Also, it is so wonderful to dance all together!
The sisters’ adaptation in their new home is going on well, with the family provided with the regular Foster Family Project assistance. The first priority issue for the foster parents is Nina’s and Tanya’s health status: the girls need serious medical examinations and treatment.
New Year party for Foster Family Project clients
On December 22, clients of the Foster Family Project participated in a real New Year celebration party. This time the event was hosted by Radisson Hotel. Within the walls of the ancient building located in the heart of St. Petersburg, the organization Plyaskin Group showed a beautiful dance performance for children. Experienced and recently formed foster families were invited for this holiday.
All the children were given long-awaited presents from Father Frost.
The cultural program culminated in the traditional tea, cakes and sweets for children and their parents.
Such events are very important for families raising foster children. This New Year celebration was not only a holiday, but also an opportunity for the families to share their successes, their children’s achievements, and have their work recognized by their peers.
We are grateful to everybody who helped us organize such a wonderful party for children.
School for Foster Parents
On December 24, the final session of the winter School for Foster Parents training cycle was conducted by the project staff. A total of 12 persons (10 families) were provided with certificates of completing SFP training and made a decision to take a child to their family.
In October 2013, a large foster family supervised by Doctors to Children fostered one more girl. Previously, the girl was placed in a babies’ home and needed regular medical monitoring. Kristina, two and a half years old, was happy to find new parents, new brothers and sisters, as well as her full five-year-old sister previously fostered by this family.
In November 2013, graduates of the spring School for Foster Parents became happy parents of a two-year-old girl from a babies’ home of the City of Vologda.
We are pleased to update you on the latest news of the Foster Family Project.
In August, we conducted our regular School for Foster Parents training cycle. A total of 9 people completed the training and get ready to become foster parents. During this quarter, a total of 26 potential foster parents were provided with consultations by the project staff on family placement of children. Over the last 3 month, 5 children from government institutions were placed in foster families. Also, 23 families with 28 foster children have been provided with project support. The most common challenges faced by foster parents were child development and upbringing issues: What should foster parent do if a child refuses to eat? How to support a child if he/she has an emotional crisis or re-enacts past traumatic event? Should foster parent use punishments to stop bad behavior? These and many other issues were addressed by the Project staff.
In April, a new School for Foster Parents training cycle was initiated. In May, a total of 13 people (9 families) completed the training and were awarded certificates. During the reporting period, a total of 56 potential foster parents were provided with consultations by the project staff on family placement of children.Due to your support, 5 children from government institutions were placed in foster families. Children placed in families represent different age groups: the youngest child is a 4-month-old boy, and the youngest one is a 7-year-old girl.Over the last 3 month, 28 families with 40 foster children have been provided with project support.
Peace Boat Team Visits the Club for Foster Families On May 18, the Club for Foster Families received an unusual delegation: DTC was visited by the Peace Boat team. The ship of the Peace Boat Organization brought over 800 passengers from Japan to St. Petersburg. The purpose of their voyage is to promote peace, human rights, equal and sustainable development and respect for the environment. The Peace Boat embarks on a voyage every year, visiting tens of countries every time. This is the third Peace Boat visit to DTC. The event started with the presentation of DTC projects for the guests. The delegation members in their turn told about Japanese culture and answered the children’s questions. The event program also included a series of workshops. Peace Boat passengers held an origami session for children and demonstrated the art of calligraphy. The clients were also well prepared for this meeting. Assisted by their parents and volunteers, they conducted workshops on making rag dolls, decorating Russian nesting dolls, and showed decoupage techniques. As the guests say they were very impressed by the Russian Salad class.The meeting culminated in tea drinking with Russian pancakes and Japanese sweets, and a photo session.
Presently, the majority of our clients are spending their summer holidays in children’s recreational camps, sanatoriums, or in the country together with their parents. The project staff members continue their work interviewing potential foster parents, visiting families under the project supervision, and providing consultations to candidate foster parents by phone or at personal meetings.
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