Monday, August 15, 2011

Stalking Your Matcher 101

I thought I'd share this month's edition of "Please Give Us A Baby!"

Hello Matcher 1 and Matcher 2-

I'm just checking in to say Hi! We have been very busy getting ready for school with Baby 4. He will be taking a "big boy bus" 5 afternoons/week to preschool in September. He's very excited about bringing his new racecar backpack with him. 4's health has stabilized for now and we haven't had much excitement recently *knock on wood*. His last surgery was a week ago and he did really well. We don't go back until the end of September. There is an interstate compact happening with 4's Relative Resource, so he could be moved to another state but nothing is certain yet. Either way, we're having lots of fun and soaking up the end of summer.

I took the classes to become a MAPP trainer last month, and enjoyed it a lot. Brandon played on a softball league this summer and has been tackling some odd jobs around the house with 4 on his days off. 4 likes to take credit for building our new front steps :)

Our Green bedroom is organized and ready for an occupant. I'm attaching pictures. It has pink accents now, but I'm ready with a blue racecar bed and a can of brown paint just in case :) I still feel that 4 will do best as the oldest child in our home. We would love to take children under 4yrs old, and we are experienced and comfortable with many different special needs including autism spectrum, G tube feeds, premature/ prenatally exposed infants, and most recently tracheotomy care.

I hope to hear from you soon!


 From what I gather of the foster care matching business, it goes like this:
1- CPS investigates a report of abuse/neglect and decides the child needs placement
2- The matcher gets a small description of the child and their situation and needs to get them a home ASAP
3- They call the first family that pops into their head and is certified for the age and needs of the child.
4- If the families they know offhand are unavailable, they type the child's race, gender, and age into their computer and get a list of homes that are open for children with those characteristics.
5-They start calling down that list.

What I don't know is how our names come up in that list. Maybe alphabetical? Well that stinks for the Zimmerman's, doesn't it?

So the best bet is to be that family who sticks out in the matchers head when they first get the call about a newborn being released from the hospital that day. I do that with my monthly email and stopping into their office whenever I find myself in the Social Services building. I also make it a point to tell other caseworkers that we are open for more placements. When I ran into 2 & 3's caseworker at the visitation center and she said, "You guys were so great to work with!" I said, "And we LOVED working with you! You could always mention us to the matchers, and maybe we'll be on your next case!".

Our certifying caseworker suggests calling the matchers once/ month to keep them thinking of you, but it's awkward for me to do that. I tried once and it came out like this:

Matcher: Hello? Matcher 1, Homefinding team
Me: Hi! This is Teresa Foster Parent.
Matcher: Oh Hi Teresa!
Me: Hi [Crap, I already said that] Uhhh.. I....
Matcher: How is Baby 1?
Me: Good, Good. Really good. He's probably going home soon. We want another placement, uh.. after he leaves... probably soon...
Matcher: click, click, click [That's the matcher typing an email to my caseworker asking if I have special needs] Well, I don't have anything right now, but I'll keep you in mind, mmkay?
Me: Um, well, Ok. We have cribs! And bottles!
Matcher: Right, right sweetie. Bye-Bye!
Me: Bye.

Ok, it wasn't that bad, and it kind of worked because I got the call for baby 2 just nine days later, but it felt that disastrous. It's uncomfortable to call someone and try to sell yourself and still be casual and conversational. So I don't call anymore. Instead I email.
 I send out these gems with the intent of being a bit cheesy for 2 reasons: middle aged women love that stuff and it makes us memorable because most other foster parents have too much dignity to send out myspace style snapshots and emails with the subject line "We're too young to be empty nesters!". Judging by the 4 beautiful children they've sent us, I'd say it's working.

So those are my secrets to getting the cute kids. You've got to butter up your homefinding caseworker.


  1. :-) I tend to take the whole "Just wanted to check in and see if you needed anything from me" approach. I usually end with a "Don't forget about me! (Not that I'd let you... ;-)" It always gets chuckles and the matcher laughing "Definitely not going to forget about YOU!" I am under the impression that all six of my placements have been direct results of me hounding the poo out of my matchers until they just wanted to get rid of me. Whatever works! :-)

  2. Hi Teresa!
    I found your blog about a week ago (through google) and I have really enjoyed reading it! We just got our first foster placement 6 weeks ago (actually 6 weeks ago tonight at midnight). Is there a way to send you a private message through your blog? Thanks!

  3. I'm a middle aged woman & I love that stuff :)

  4. I love all 3 of your comments!

    Jennifer- There is a way now! I just set up a FCOLS email and added a "Tell me your story" page at the top left corner of our blog with the link. Thanks for the idea!