I have always liked writing. Even as far back as high school, I was a poet…and I knew it. I wrote a poem for my graduating class and it was read by the school valedictorian. As time went on, I continued to write poems for the children I cared for in preschool and Mother’s Day Out programs. I usually made bookmarks out of the poems for the parents. It was not until the second time my husband and I went through foster parent training that a book idea came to mind. We had two biological children, then added two adopted children, and further added two foster children from different homes. This gave us lots of experiences from which to draw inspiration. The foster care culture can be very overwhelming to the foster parents as well as the children in custody. I began thinking about what I could do to help children who are in custody realize that people are there to care for them. I simply sat down to tell a story and it all fell into place.
When a child is placed in a foster home, he or she has absolutely no idea what the family will be like. Will they be nice or strict? Do they have children of their own? Do they have animals that the child may be afraid of? When writing my book, I started from the moment of introduction and focused on the daily aspects a child would want to know about. I talked about children who were already in the home and how they interact with each other. I pictured what their rooms might be like? I looked at what changing to a new school would probably feel like. I covered the people who normally take care of the child, the foster parents, case worker, doctors, etc. Many children are often scared of the differences in family culture. That is, what will they do for holidays, vacations or visits from the foster parents extended family? I also discussed what happens when a child has reached the end of their time in foster care. Do they get to go back home? Or will they be adopted?
Writing the story was the easy part. Drawing the pictures was out of my range of ability. I knew what I wanted the pictures to look like, but I could not do it myself. I reached out to the daughter of a friend from high school. Rebekah Wood did a tremendous job on the illustrations. Even if you do not read the words of the story, you could still know what is happening throughout the book. The pictures literally tell the story.
I have just finished my second book for publication. It is about children with sensory issues. Our eight- year old son has sensory issues and this book is told from his point of view. Rebekah is working on the illustrations and I hope to publish before Christmas.
If you have ever dreamed of writing, just sit down, and put your thoughts on paper. We can use our experiences to educate people. If you are unsure, start small with articles for magazines. Before I published my foster care book, I already had submitted two articles to the Fostering Families Today magazine. Last summer, I started my blog Tips from the FLIP Side. It is a stream of conscious blog with everyday encouraging tips for people. I enjoy it and that is what matters. If you dare to write it, jump out there and make it happen.