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VPM Audio Diaries: Foster Parents Provide Stability During COVID-19

David Vinson and Lindsey Hershner sit on a porch swing in their yard.
David Vinson and Lindsey Hershner became foster parents in February, just a few weeks before the COVID-19 shutdown. They've adapted to providing meaningful activities, like raising chicks and playing music, and having tough conversations with their foster kids about racism and the future. (Image Courtesy David Vinson)

This segment was produced by Catherine Komp.

Transcript:

David Vinson: Can you do the pedals? I'll do the notes.

[Piano Music]

My name is David and my wife's name is Lindsey. And this is our audio diary. Among us are two amazing young boys, eight and six. 

So this is sort of like an introduction, to kind of get some background, how we got into being foster parents. And once we started doing the trainings and I don't know, we both felt pretty solid about the whole thing. I don't know. Lindsay, do you remember when you first started thinking about being a foster parent?

Lindsey Hershner: I personally started thinking about it cause in my work, I work with children and I interacted with some children that were in foster care and sometimes saw that people didn't understand where they were coming from. And, I guess I've just never had a child I've worked with where I didn't end up just really liking them and just seeing really great things in them. But I guess I've worked with a lot of children where it was sometimes hard for people to see that. So just because we have some experience with it and it fell open to having children either way and there was a need and we signed up for the information session and I just guess we just kept going,

Adapting to COVID-19

David Vinson: Hey, it's David, just checking out the chicks here. We've got some chicks, was it three weeks ago now, just to kinda give the kids something else to think about or do, and can give us something else to think about or do. I mean, not that we need more to think about or do, but something fun, something interesting. Another living thing we've got. The first two they named, Iron Spidey and Tony Stark and then Lindsey named Cleopatra and Maria Von Trapp. They're so cute. They are stinky. 

[Chick peeps]

Lindsey Hershner holds one of the chicks they started raising.
Lindsey Hershner holds one of the chicks they started raising. (Photo courtesy David Vinson)

David Vinson: So, what's been like the craziest of the living with the virus all around? 

8 year old: It is really annoying. And I can't even go to play with Jefferson or anything.

David: I remember what I wanted to talk about a little bit was just sort of, you know, how much the boys miss their Dad, miss their family. You know, that's one of the heartbreaking parts of foster care anyway, but then, you know, the COVID world makes that even more kind of precarious, seemingly perilous. Although, you know, they're so strong and bouncy and resilient. 

Just want to say just how amazing all the social workers have been that have been involved with us that we've interacted with, case managers, support staff, from outpatient therapists to United Methodist Family Services staff, DSS folks, everybody's been really amazing. I know the foster care system and all the personnel involved with that really get a bad rap. They're working so hard and given so much love and time to kids.

[David playing piano]

6 year old: I hate when people playing some ugly music. 

David: Oh no! I’m not that bad am I?

6 year old: You keep singing some songs I hate. I hate songs.

David: You like Everything is Awesome though.

[6 year old sings Everything is Awesome] 

Garden
(Image Courtesy David Vinson)

Talking Through Difficult Topics

David Vinson: What did I want to talk about? Lindsey's just really awesome, talked with the kids the other day about what happened to George Floyd and praying for him, for his family, praying for awareness. As white folks, the ways we're compliant and complicit in the sort of complete world racism. That was really, really good job broaching that topic with them. And, you know they're halfway listing, but I know they are listening.

[Music: Blue Dot Sessions]

I just wanted to follow up about something the older boy said while we were around the fire, it was really sweet and touching. He said, hey, you know, if you guys adopt us, that would be like, yay. And then immediately he was like, wait, no, if you guys adopt this, that would be like, boo, 

I kind of laughed. I was like, so it's kind of both. And then I was asking him questions to try to figure out what was good or bad about it. And, he said you know, if I got adopted, then that would mean I would have two days and two moms.

And that was really insightful and interesting. So I really want him to know that we could be David and Lindsey, we could be whatever, you know, really they need for as long as they're with us. And you know, we don't know what the future holds for them and for us, but we sure do love them and are grateful that they're a part of our lives. 

[David sings I Won’t Back Down]