Since becoming a Hub Home provider in a Mockingbird Constellation I have gotten used to a little bedtime tradition: As soon as I climb into bed I hear the buzzing of my phone. The text reads, “I know it’s late, but can you talk?” I sneak out of bed, tiptoe downstairs, and make the call. These calls and texts come at all hours, and every time I find a parent or youth on the other end of the phone who is preventing a crisis.
By utilizing a support system, foster parents and youth give each other a gift. When they talk about their problems, allow themselves emotional venting, and share their fears and pain, they are better prepared to invest in relationships with each other. When a youth can talk about what is hard about adjusting to a new family, school, social worker, and friends they are less likely to blow up in frustration at the people who care about them. When parents can talk about the challenges of parenting a youth who comes from a different family culture than the one they create in their home, they are less likely to feel like giving up.
Creating security of placement for youth takes an entire team, but it cannot work if the parents and youth can’t find ways to communicate, find common ground, and create attachment. Only when they are empowered to care for themselves can they care for each other. They give to one another by trusting in the value of expressing their feelings and thoughts, and the result is the deep relationships that form through the process. In the community of a constellation, we find family through our relationships and security in uncertain futures by trusting in each other. A chosen family is intentionally created and in it we uncover the strength we need in ourselves and each other.
The Mockingbird Family Model (MFM) recreates the positive qualities and resources found in thriving families to better support, develop, and retain quality foster families. The model creates a micro community (a Constellation) by uniting six to ten foster/kinship families to a central, experienced foster family (a Hub Home) that can provide support to the entire group.