When it comes to medical care, foster parents operate in a strange sphere – a kind of medical no man’s land! Because I have two biological kids, I was accustomed to a fairly standard procedure when it came to the seeing the doctor. When they were sick or needed a well-check, I’d call ahead to the doctor to schedule and appointment. On the day of, we’d check in, show an insurance card, see the doctor, pay a co-pay, and come home with a sticker (sometimes multiple stickers). It was pretty standard. Now that I’m a foster parent, the relative simplicity of those visits is now a thing of the past. Those were the good ol’ days!
Now, I’m sure the rules vary from state-to-state (as everything in the foster care system does), but in my home state of Pennsylvania, here’s how it looks…
First, birth parents have the right to always be present at medical appointments (as they should). But, honestly, it can be awkward. The kid might be cranky, the doctor NEVER knows who to talk to, and it can easily descend into an opportunity for the bio parents to visit with their child instead of participating or engaging in the appointment.
Some of the best advice I ever received in terms of drawing everyone’s focus back to the medical appointment at hand was to earnestly ask for the birth parent’s opinion on something. For example, Continue reading