Foster parents across the Mid Shore recently gathered for the 2019 Resource Parent Conference, featuring Tony Hynes, a former foster youth who wrote the memoir, “The Son with Two Moms.” After spending time in foster care for the first few years of his life, Hynes was adopted by his parents Mary and Janet in the mid 1990s. His family faced a custody battle with his birth family, who felt his adoptive parents, two white women, were not the right people to raise him.
Hynes’ presentation, “Let’s Talk About Our Families: Best Practices for Resource Parents,” focused on his experience of growing up as a transracial adoptee, former foster youth, and as a child growing up in a same-sex headed household. He is currently pursuing his PhD focusing on racial connectedness among transracial adoptees and facilitates the Transracial Adoption Group (TAG) at Family Works Together. Hynes advocates for families like his while serving on the Board of Directors for Rainbow Families.
He shared with foster parents; “Biases shape interactions with children in foster care and with birth families. Their stories started before they were in a foster home . . . Children are the owners of their own stories, you just hold the pages. It is up to you to share the book, but timing is everything.”
He added, “Details matter. I think about children in foster care not knowing the details of their lives and how it makes them feel. It is helpful to share with children when they can get therapy and process [these details] as children.”
Hynes went on to share with participants other ways foster parents can help their children and show them they care about them, including being there for them in school, letting them choose their school, reviewing their class curriculum, interacting with their teachers, getting involved in school events, and serving on school boards.
The 2019 Resource Parent Conference also featured workshops for foster parents on the Power of Healing Relationships for Traumatized Children in Foster Care; Beyond Cutting: An In-Depth Look at Self-Injurious Behaviors; Raising Children in Social Equity; Understanding Trauma and Sexualized Behavior in Children and Teens; Infant, Youth and Adult CPR; Caring for LGBTQ Youth; If Behaviors Aren’t Making Sense, Maybe It’s Sensory; Managing the Triad; and Drug Trends and Identification.
May is Foster Parent Appreciation Month. For information on becoming a foster or adoptive parent, contact the Talbot County Department of Social Services at 410-820-7371. An information session will be held on Wednesday, July 17 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Caroline County Department of Social Services located at 207 S. Third Street, Denton, MD.