Brad and Nick talk about some of the complexities that come with caring for kids in foster care, adoption, and kinship care.
Brad: We’re Brad and Nick Schliakowski, and we have five children at home. Three of them are from a previous relationship, and two of them came to us through foster care.
Nick: I and my husband have fostered to adopt our daughter. We have also fostered some teens along the way, and we are currently fostering, again, hopefully, to move towards adoption soon.
Brad: What we’ve learned in this process now is that it’s harder to do family kinship care than it is general placement foster care. The little one we have right now, that’s family; he’s our nephew.
Nick: I think with kinship, it’s different because regardless of the child, you’re still related to the parent, right. And that can be really, really difficult when making decisions, and you want the best for everyone involved. But sometimes, that choice of saying, well, this person is not necessarily right to be around this child at this time, and you’re related to that person, it can be really, really, really sad and really hard. And there can be some fighting and some arguing, and it can be sometimes really, really ugly. But at the end of the day, our job is this child. Right. And that’s priority number one no matter what. So we have to, you know, make that distinction sometimes. And it’s not easy to do at all.
Brad: You know when you’re a foster parent, yes, there could be phone calls, and yes, there’s visits, but for lack of better saying, you can turn it off or you don’t, it’s not always on. But when we think about kinship care, yes, this visits, and there’s phone calls, but then you have family gatherings, you have birthdays, you have Christmases that there’s still going to be together in many cases.
Nick: Our seven-year-old, she has a lot of questions. We’re starting to have those conversations now of the truth behind why she’s not with her mother. And that can be really hard to say to a seven-year-old. And she doesn’t really understand what narcotics are. And do you really want to have that conversation with a seven-year-old? So we do reach out to the therapists and say, hey, you know, she’s asking a lot of questions. We don’t want to lie; of course, it’s her truth, and she gets to have that. But how do we have these conversations with her where she’ll be able to understand? And that’s, you know, the biggest piece of that for sure in any of our foster situations. We’ve always supported the children having a relationship with their biological parents if it was safe and healthy for them to do so. And in these cases, unfortunately, that’s not happened yet. Still hopeful that our children will be able to have a relationship with their biological parents. Unfortunately, we’re just not there yet, but crossing our fingers.