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#1 of 51 Old 01-29-2011, 08:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi all.

 

First off...let me just say...I am new to the "fostering and adoptive" board. I have read the guidelines but please let me extend my apologies if I don't word things in the right way. I have no intentions of offending anyone and I do welcome correction if need be just please be gentle:)

 

My dh and I want to become foster parents. Given that my hubby is adopted we feel we have some experience in the area that would be helpful. We both have a very good understanding of the loss that goes hand in hand with adoption and fostering.

 

I have a few concerns that maybe you all could help with. We have a DS that is going to be six next month and we were wondering about how this would affect him. Emotionally and physically. Even though we have thought about doing this for years we have only started telling our family and friends this past month. They all seem to think this has "come out of left field" and can't understand why we would want to do this. They have also been very forthcoming with EVERY horror story they have heard about foster children. Many of them very sterotypical stories. We feel very judged. Like we are not thinking about our son.

 

Have any of you experienced this?

 

I know I need to be realistic. There WILL be problems. The simple fact that the kids are in foster care will be something that will need support.

 

I guess I am looking for a bit of support. 

 

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

 

Brandee



 
 

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#2 of 51 Old 01-30-2011, 03:42 AM
 
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Subbing because I am also thinking about this, and we have a 5 year old too. :)

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#3 of 51 Old 01-30-2011, 05:17 AM
 
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I a have a 6, 4 and 20-month-old, and we in the process of foster-adopt. One member of our family has actually suggested that our girls will be raped by our new son. (In his defense, he works in a building with a couple of therapeutic foster agencies, and those ladies are clearly violating confidentiality and telling their juiciest horror stories on their freaking coffee breaks.)

 

What works for us is to leave the why-we-want-to-do-it conversation to our six y.o. and four y.o. They've been thinking about this for over a year now, and will recite chapter and verse on the benefits of growing a family through adoption. Since everybody seems to realize that the fear-porn stories can't be used on the kids, it kind of serves to defuse the situation. As your DS learns more about fostering, you may find that you have a tiny evangelist on your hands. Get him some books! 

 

Among adults, we redirect to the technical aspects of the process (the different agencies, the homestudy, therapies, schooling choices etc.) and let them put their energy in that direction. It makes no sense, of course, to be planning out how you're going to therapize a child you've not met yet - but it's better than building up a picture in your mind of your future grandson as a rapist. eyesroll.gif

 

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#4 of 51 Old 01-31-2011, 09:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for the response. I must say, I have been to quite a few foster message boards in the last few days and I am a bit horrified. Not because I heard horror stories but the lack of compassion and hostility towards birth parents, particularily mothers, is astounding and so very sad. I am so greatful for this board:)



 
 

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#5 of 51 Old 02-01-2011, 08:02 AM
 
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I'm a member of a big foster parent board (as are some other MDC members) and I think it's important to read the bad stuff. There is lots of negative things about fostering and if you just read the sugarcoated stuff, or a small sample of balanced stuff, you can get a false sense of what the reality can be. And when you are taking about serious neglect and abuse, sometimes it's hard to speak nicely about the perpetrators. We can't talk about this stuff with people who know the children so sometimes it's nice to anonymously vent to others who are in similar situations. People tend to vent online more than they talk about the positive stuff. But, I want to hear both types of stories.I've adopted two of my foster kids. I've got a pretty good relationship with my DS's birth mother and grandmother. Right now, I can't have any contact with my daughter's birth family. They are too damaged right now. I wish them the best, though. But if my children were permanently damaged by their birth parents, I'd be mad too. I know what you're saying, though. As a newbie, I was pretty turned off when I read other discussion boards.But, I take what I can use and discard the rest. I think there's a benefit in hearing all sides.

 

OP, the common wisdom is to foster children who are younger than the children already in your home. That's for everyone's protection. There are exceptions but most foster children have seen, and experienced more than your bio children. And they may harm your children. There are some good books for children about foster care. You'll find a list in the resource sticky for this board.

 

I haven't had children come and go since my DS came home (other than some day/weekend respite which is totally different.)  We knew that my DD was likely to stay pretty early in the case. She never had visits so it really was like she wasn't a foster child.  Heatherdeg had a really great post a few weeks ago about how her bio son has reacted to fostering.

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#6 of 51 Old 02-01-2011, 08:16 AM
 
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NONE of my problems with being a foster parent have stemmed from the children.

 

ALL of my issues with the foster care system are a result of the case workers, judges, and other adults involved. Even when they try their hardest to be honest and straightforward, they are CONSTANTLY telling us things that are misleading or outright false. It's like playing telephone with twenty 3rd graders. None intend to lie, but the truth doesn't get from A to B. It gets messed up along the way.

 

That said, the experience has enriched my life and if I had it to do over I probably would.

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#7 of 51 Old 02-01-2011, 08:21 AM
 
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That hasn't been my experience at all. I've worked with wonderful social workers, GALs, and judges. But, I've heard that quite a bit from my foster parent friends and people on foster parenting boards.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by marsupial-mom View Post

NONE of my problems with being a foster parent have stemmed from the children.

 

ALL of my issues with the foster care system are a result of the case workers, judges, and other adults involved. Even when they try their hardest to be honest and straightforward, they are CONSTANTLY telling us things that are misleading or outright false. It's like playing telephone with twenty 3rd graders. None intend to lie, but the truth doesn't get from A to B. It gets messed up along the way.

 

That said, the experience has enriched my life and if I had it to do over I probably would.



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#8 of 51 Old 02-01-2011, 05:59 PM
 
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I think the best you can do is to calmly explain your reasons to the people who are close to you and whose opinions matter. If someone isn't close to you or is just an aquaintance, you can just say something like, "Thanks for your concerns. We've talked to our social workers about these issues, and we're continuing to explore options..." or something equally vague. You don't owe people an explanation for how you grow your family, just as you don't owe people an answer about your personal fertility suggestions.

 

Your kid will likely be fine. We adopted our son through foster care and my bio kids love him like crazy. Yes, there was pain involved, and losing a foster child is miserable for your biokids sometimes. But all the research I've ever been shown shows that kids whose parents fostered grow up more compassionate, kind, empathetic, and selfless than others. Your son may have to deal with difficulties, but if you are keeping open lines of communication and explaining to him that the kids are only there temporarily, it helps to lessen it. 

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#9 of 51 Old 02-13-2011, 04:29 PM
 
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I just wanted to say hi Brandee. :)  welcome (officially) to the world of adoption! hope you're well!


We're Tiffani , Mark , Lucy (9/99) , Dexter (8/01) ,and Zachary Marvin (3/07) and Naomi Rose (6/09), home 11/10, by way of Ugandan adoption.

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#10 of 51 Old 02-14-2011, 06:18 PM
 
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I think, just like ANY parenting choice, everyone will have their own opinion.  Someone will think you are out right wrong for fostering, some will agree with you all the way.  But the people who really love you and your family will stick by you whether they agree with your decisions or not.  They will get used to the idea and will probably be more supportive than you think.

I believe fostering or adopting are a calling that some people just will not understand.  Likewise, if you feel that calling you won't understand why some people don't want you to do it.  It takes a very special person/couple to be foster/adopt parents and the world needs them, so do what you feel is your calling and the rest will fall into place!  Good luck!


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#11 of 51 Old 02-15-2011, 12:10 PM
 
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I think, as well, that it's important to listen to the "horror stories". Because, honestly, if you do fostercare, you will (not *may*, WILL) have your own. A foster child raping your kid? Not likely. But your foster son that you've had for a year getting sent back to birthparents who you've been talking with, been friendly to, the whole time, and then have the birthmom send the kid to the hospital a year later? Very likely. Or at the very least, you'll have a child with you for 3 years (which is illegal) and the parents' rights won't be terminated, again and again, and the poor kid will eventually be sent to live with an aunt she's never met.

Or you'll have a foster baby whose mother really needs parenting support, education, proper drug treatment...and she will get none of it, regardless of how you try to help her. And the caseworker will be suspicious of you (because foster parents just want to steal babies away from their parents, don'tchaknow?), the whole time. And the mother will either get the baby back, with no support, or she won't. Either way, it's a big FAIL.

 

Even if you've glossed over what I just wrote, please read this:

It is very easy for abuse allegations to be called in about YOU and your family. Babies and kids get hurt, you have a child, you know this. But if a caseworker or a therapist or a birthparent sees a bruise, things can spiral out of control. And lawyers and judges aren't part of the process...if someone hotlines you, you're under suspicion. You will be questioned, you can have your fostering license taken away, you will have your foster kids yanked and moved, and it's very possible that you might have your own child pulled from your home. Even for a day, that would be horrendous. And for the foster kids, it's another nail in their attachment coffin. You can't say that this won't happen to you. It might. You have to be willing to take this risk. That's what fostering is about.

 

Your friends who discourage you may have misperceptions about what fostering is, and you can educate them if you'd like, but after fostering for 2 years and watching many friends foster, I always try to discourage people from fostering. If you're childless, and you want to risk your heart breaking more than you ever thought possible, then go ahead. But if you have children, I think it's a truly bad idea to risk their hearts and security.

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#12 of 51 Old 02-15-2011, 02:02 PM
 
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... and this is the kind of fear porn I often get treated to whenever I talk about my plans to grow our family through foster/adoption. 

 

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#13 of 51 Old 02-15-2011, 02:13 PM
 
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I'm sure BTDT foster parents who have had traumatic experiences are equally thrilled by having their experiences dismissed by people who haven't been there, too.

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#14 of 51 Old 02-15-2011, 03:08 PM
 
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I don't dismiss the experiences of people who had traumatic C-sections after failure to progress, but it doesn't mean I'm asking to hear their horror story when I tell them that I'm pregnant. And that's lot more common outcome in the family-building process than ZOMG THEY WILL RIP YOUR BABIES FROM YOUR ARMS YOUR WHOLE FAMILY WILL BE IN HELL I TELL ALL PEOPLE NOT TO FOSTER.

 

Seriously, how much cred would we be expected to give to a a person who "always tried to discourage people" from getting pregnant, you know, bad stuff can happen?

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#15 of 51 Old 02-15-2011, 03:30 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karin95 View Post

I think, as well, that it's important to listen to the "horror stories". Because, honestly, if you do fostercare, you will (not *may*, WILL) have your own. A foster child raping your kid? Not likely. But your foster son that you've had for a year getting sent back to birthparents who you've been talking with, been friendly to, the whole time, and then have the birthmom send the kid to the hospital a year later? Very likely. Or at the very least, you'll have a child with you for 3 years (which is illegal) and the parents' rights won't be terminated, again and again, and the poor kid will eventually be sent to live with an aunt she's never met.

Or you'll have a foster baby whose mother really needs parenting support, education, proper drug treatment...and she will get none of it, regardless of how you try to help her. And the caseworker will be suspicious of you (because foster parents just want to steal babies away from their parents, don'tchaknow?), the whole time. And the mother will either get the baby back, with no support, or she won't. Either way, it's a big FAIL.

 

Even if you've glossed over what I just wrote, please read this:

It is very easy for abuse allegations to be called in about YOU and your family. Babies and kids get hurt, you have a child, you know this. But if a caseworker or a therapist or a birthparent sees a bruise, things can spiral out of control. And lawyers and judges aren't part of the process...if someone hotlines you, you're under suspicion. You will be questioned, you can have your fostering license taken away, you will have your foster kids yanked and moved, and it's very possible that you might have your own child pulled from your home. Even for a day, that would be horrendous. And for the foster kids, it's another nail in their attachment coffin. You can't say that this won't happen to you. It might. You have to be willing to take this risk. That's what fostering is about.

 

Your friends who discourage you may have misperceptions about what fostering is



yeahthat.gif


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerchild View Post

I'm sure BTDT foster parents who have had traumatic experiences are equally thrilled by having their experiences dismissed by people who haven't been there, too.


 

And  yeahthat.gif... thank you.  Sorry, but if you're on a message board about c-sections and asking questions about it, then you should expect to hear the horror stories to better prepare you to avoid them.  If everyone made decisions based on the rose-colored glasses versions of everything, we'd be in sad shape--because life is obviously not rose-colored.

 

OP: I think cdmommie nailed it:  like every other decision we make in life, people will have something to say about it.  By the same token, you will know that you will not be able to turn to these people for support when you need it (and you will need a shoulder to cry on once in a while).  Sad, but reality.  You will likely also be looked at sideways by people who make all kinds of false assumptions about why you are fostering.  :/


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#16 of 51 Old 02-15-2011, 03:36 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post

 

I don't dismiss the experiences of people who had traumatic C-sections after failure to progress, but it doesn't mean I'm asking to hear their horror story when I tell them that I'm pregnant. And that's lot more common outcome in the family-building process than ZOMG THEY WILL RIP YOUR BABIES FROM YOUR ARMS YOUR WHOLE FAMILY WILL BE IN HELL I TELL ALL PEOPLE NOT TO FOSTER.

 

Seriously, how much cred would we be expected to give to a a person who "always tried to discourage people" from getting pregnant, you know, bad stuff can happen?

 

And this is the kind of comparison that just DOES NOT WORK. Pregnancy usually ends happily. C-sections, even, usually end with all parties happy and healthy. It's rude and mean to fearmonger. It's kind and loving to try and keep someone from hurting themselves and others. You can dismiss me, that's your choice. And maybe you'll foster and have no negative experiences. That doens't mean it's a good idea. The system is broken far more than you can possibly imagine. The system hurts children, hurts families, daily. Will you have beautiful, wonderful children in your care who you will care for and enjoy and help - yes, definitely. I know dozens of families who have done so. And *each and every one of those families* have been hurt emotionally, financially. I've been on many fostering boards and the statistics really show that discouraging is the most ethical way to go. If people know the realities, and go ahead with it, that's fine.

 

I sure am the last person to tell someone to not do something "because bad stuff can happen". But, if someone told me they were going to go bungee jumping, I'd say "you go, girl!" because I know it's relatively safe and there will be people there helping them learn the ropes stay safe. If someone told me , "I'm going to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge at night with dental floss tied around my leg", I'd do everything in my power to stop them. I suspect you'd do the same. Would you keep your mouth shut because your friend was really psyched about her plan and was complaining that nobody was supporting her?

 

If you're saying (Smithie & OP) that you've talked to a lot of foster parents (current and former) in your county, and you've heard the whole spectrum of stories, and you know some of the ways that your county workers, the judges, the CASA workers, etc., are great and some of the ways that they suck, and you're truly willing to risk the worst story being yours, your child's, your family's, and you still really feel like this is something you want to do, then go right ahead. And, yes, I'm serious. Do it with your eyes open. Tell your friends, Yeah, I know the system sucks and it will be super-hard, but our family has decided this is our calling. (or whatever.) But, really, don't expect them to tell you that jumping in with your dental floss and your eyes closed is a great, fuzzy, cute idea.

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#17 of 51 Old 02-15-2011, 04:32 PM
 
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I'm sorry if my response was too harsh. I do believe that your intentions are good - although I think it would be a truly awful thing if people stopped fostering, or stopped adopting through the foster care system. 

 

 

 

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#18 of 51 Old 02-15-2011, 04:38 PM
 
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I wish I had read more "horror stories."  I went into to foster to adopt with rose colored glasses.  Though nothing really could have prepared me, I wish I had my eyes open a little bit more.

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#19 of 51 Old 02-15-2011, 08:36 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post

 

Seriously, how much cred would we be expected to give to a a person who "always tried to discourage people" from getting pregnant, you know, bad stuff can happen?



Seriously, if they'd just been through a late term loss, a baby born still, a husband who'd seen his wife literally drop dead before him from an amniotic fluid embolism--I'd give them a hell of a lot more credit than the person who says "Oh la!  That would NEVER happen to me!!  That kind of bad stuff only happens to other people, how dare you imply that anything could go wrong with pregnancy/birth, you drama queen."

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#20 of 51 Old 02-15-2011, 08:59 PM
 
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No, you wouldn't. But you'll never have the chance to find out, because never ever ever will you encounter a person who has reacted to their tragic pregnancy outcome by discouraging the human community at large from having babies.

But as the PP has pointed out, it's not a great analogy, because tragic pregnancy outcomes are rarer than really tough fostering outcomes. I don't say "tragic" - few things are tragic on the scale of dead mamas or dead babies - but tough. It makes sense to tell people that the road is not an easy one.

Biokids being yanked out of the home because of abuse allegations? THAT'S fear porn. It's possible the way that losing a baby or dying in childbirth is possible.
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#21 of 51 Old 02-16-2011, 05:43 AM
 
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Quote:
Biokids being yanked out of the home because of abuse allegations? THAT'S fear porn. It's possible the way that losing a baby or dying in childbirth is possible.


Why do you keep saying this? ("fear porn") Its like you are dismissing the possibility.

 

If a person fosters long enough they will almost certainly eventually have some sort of allegations leveled against them. One consequence of this COULD be removal of all the children for a short or long period of time. Is that the norm? No. But it has and could happen. I know one foster parent who had to make sure her foster daughter was never alone in a room with her husband (or other adult male) due to the girl's history of false allegations, they had to protect themselves.

 

I think for most foster families the "horror stories" come more from the court process, seeing how abused a child may be when they come etc. But thats still hard to go through. My friends did a six month long pre-adoption visitation with three young children (who were told this is your new family and were calling them mommy and daddy and spending up to ten days in a row with them), and in the end, weeks before move-in/adoption filing the agency decided to not let them have the kids. They dropped them off to the foster family for an overnight (so they kids could then spend another ten days with the pre adopt family), and never saw them again. Were not allowed to say goodbye. Their own kids were pretty traumatized by this. It was horrible. This stuff happens.

 

I could give you a list of the horrible things that have happened to me, to IRL friends, and to people i know well from email lists...but you will just dismiss it, like you have dismissed every single other 'negative' (that is, realistic) thing anyone has said about foster care and adoption.

 

Here's one piece of advice...dont be too quick to sing the praises of foster care or older child adoption, because it might just come to bite you on the butt. I was sooo offended when my sisters would suggest maybe NOT adopting an older child, or when they would ask if i was sure it was the right thing or wasnt i worried about a kid with issues. But guess what...i ended up getting a kid with issues. Not major, scary, violent issues. But issues that my family has now ended up having to deal with. Every holiday, family gathering, etc. And because my family is my closest support, they are who i "vent" too...but i've had to eat some humble pie because it has NOT been as smooth sailing as i claimed it would be.

 

I wouldnt want to see everyone to stop adopting or fostering. I'm sure i'll continue to adopt myself. There is a big difference in being informed and choosing to proceed, and putting rose colored glasses on and getting annoyed with anyone who tells you the world isnt really pink.


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#22 of 51 Old 02-16-2011, 06:45 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by queenjane View Post

 There is a big difference in being informed and choosing to proceed, and putting rose colored glasses on and getting annoyed with anyone who tells you the world isnt really pink.



This.

Sure, when you say you want to do foster parenting or foster-adoption, lots of people will question you about it and tell horror stories. It's really very frustrating because most of those people don't know what they're talking about and have never lived it. But when actual foster and adoptive parents tell you stories, listen.

 

I felt pretty well-informed going into this, yet still, the situation I'm now in has come out of left field. I never imagined this possibility. And I have to be perfectly honest here. Although I feel as though my life has been enriched and I don't have regrets about getting involved in my FS's life, I'm pretty sure that I won't be taking on more foster children after this. I just don't trust the system.

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#23 of 51 Old 02-16-2011, 07:55 AM
 
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"fear porn" makes it sound like the people telling the REAL stories of their REAL pain are somehow getting off on it, Smithie.  I get that you don't believe anything like that will ever happen to you, but frankly, that type of dehumanizing dismissal of people who are sharing their own stories is arrogant at the best, and downright cruel at the worst. 

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#24 of 51 Old 02-16-2011, 08:29 AM
 
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Smithie I like you, I really do and a lot of the time your very gutsy, shoot from the hip style gets me thinking about things in a different way and I really appreciate that about you. But you don't know what you're talking about, in this case, and I hope it's not to your detriment that you go into fostering with this attitude (though I know your plan is really to adopt).

 

 

The reason I lurk this board, is because I would love to be a foster family, I straight up ACHE for it sometimes....but my family has been HEAVILY involved in adoption and foster care and respite care going back generations and I know too much and I can't go into it thinking it's going to turn out great because a lot of the time it doesn't. I mean, most of the time it's OK. Some of the time it's really bad...and every once in a while everything goes GREAT. But people who put too much emphasis on the GREAT and resign themselves to the OK and refuse to think about the really bad...are setting themselves up for a really wild ride and I don't think that's fair to their kids. I think people place too much importance on themselves as foster parents....they think that every kid coming in the door is going to be changed by them, really and truly impacted and that if the parents are really bad, they;ll lose their rights and that if the match really "clicks",  foster kids and the foster family can be together forever through adoption. The reality is...it's not about you. You aren't there to save the day or be a hero, it's about the kid going back home. From day one, that's what it is all about...the kid coming and staying, so the parents can be straightened away or whatever and then, the kid going back home. If you don't realize that is where it's heading most times, you should not foster. A lot of the time, when a kid leaves your home, it's when things are just getting settled. You JUST start to feel like the kid is in a groove, like you are giving them some normalcy. You never get enough time to see a lot of progress through. You're not going to walk this child down the isle, throw your hat in the air at a high school graduation, or hold their kids after they're all grown up and have their own family. You don't get the normal payoffs of parenting a tough kid. These kids need you like CRAZY and then they leave. What's worse, seeing a troubled kid you didn't click with walking out the door to go back to a situation that's probably not going to heal him...OR...seeing a troubled kid you REALLY click with who has a strong shot of coming through his troubles just fine...walk out the door to go back to a situation that probably won't heal him? Because that's been our friends/families experience with fostering. Kids you can't reach going home and kids you love to pieces going home...and kids who no one else wants because they are so bad off with disabilities becoming your adopted kids because it makes you so disgusted to think of them not having real parents if their own. <-----My adopted Grandfather aside, this has been the case with every foster situation our family has had over the years. THe kids you know need more help to heal from trauma than you can give them go home to crap situations, the kids you LOVE who are going to be fine if they can jsut be in a normal situation for the rest of their childhood go home to crap situations and the kids who set your house on fire and who seem like they are doing well for a year and then regress back into self injury, stealing, running away and lashing out violently at the neighbor kids...yeah, nobody ever seemed to want them....which is why three of our family memebers are severely challenged individuals who will probably never be able to live outside of a group home or facility as adults...but who we love and who were adopted because they NEEDED a family.

 

A lot of the time when kids go back home, it's to a situation you would NEVER EVER want your own kids in. People seem to think that kids with "mild needs" aren't as tough as kids with higher needs and that anyone can do it. Man, it's easy to think that, until you get an up close and personal look at daily life with a kid who can't be touched or doesn't talk or won't eat or won't stop eating or hits your biokids or whatever. "Oh, it's no big deal, he just has some attachment issues" - "Oh, we're not signing up for hte hard cases, just kids with FAS and mild emotional problems" - those issues are no laughing matter, these kids need a LOT. Oh, and somebody else is always telling you how to do things with the child, what help they need/don't need, etc, because it's not your kid. It's really hard....and you don't get a prize in the end, either. Most people I know who say "I wis I never fostered" say that because of the intense emotional roller coaster of REALLY loving a kid, really desiring to give them all they can...and they do...they give and give and overcome so much..and then the kid is just *poof* GONE. Most people I know who got burn out, got burned out because of THAT. Well, that and being lied to, jerked around and otherwise crapped on by the system....coming "thiiiiis close" to adopting their dream kid, who is a perfect fit, having EVERYONE straight up telling the kid "this is your forever home" etc...and then last minute having everything change. Do you know how it feels to have to explain to your young kids that the foster kid who was "definitely their new brother/sister" is gone and they're never going to see that kid again? - This is not for the faint of heart, this crap is for REAL.

 

I know I don't have what it takes to be a good foster parent and it kills me, but I can't do it to my family because I just wouldn't be the best thing for a kid in that situation. People think that ANY home is better than whatever home these kids must have come from...but man, a bad fit with a foster kid is no joke. I am a great person, great parent, great wife, etc. I know I am. I think I have a lot to give and I know that in some other way I will come to impact the lives of kids with family situations that are unstable. But I don't have what it takes to be a foster parent.

 

I don't have what it takes to:

 

- Parent MY kids

- Parent MY kids in a foster situation

- Parent a foster kid with low to high special emotional/mental/physical needs

- Parent a foster kid with above mentioned needs in a foster situation

- Navigate married life in a foster situation

- Do all of the above with a foster system in my life that ranges from pretty okay to downright disgusting, depending upon where you live.

 

I can't do that. I don't have what it takes.

 

I feel like, a lot of the time, the problems that some of these kids come with, get kind of glossed over. Or people will say "oh, well most of them aren't "fire starters"'. But it really does happen. Oh, and if you work in FC long enough....some friend or family member of a foster kids biofamily WILL call DCYF on you at some point. It's just gonna happen. I don't know anyone who has been in foster care for longer than a couple/few years who hasn't had this happen. This doesn't mean that at the end of your life you don't look back and think "Wow, that really changed my life and was worth while and important to those kids" - but a lot of people I've known didn't feel like they were able to make a *true* impact with kids. I know some families who were really chewed up and spit out by the foster care system and in a couple of cases, the impact on the family/biokids/marriage was really lasting and negative.

 

I'm so glad for the family members I have who are foster/adopt kids. My whole family has a long and strong history with fostering/adopting. Some of the stories are REALLY hard with good endings...and some of the stories are REALLY hard with really bad endings. One of my grandmothers REALLY hard with a good ending stories involves her home being completely burned to the ground by a FS who ended up being adopted by her. One of our family's really hard with a horrible ending, involves my foster uncle, who was a very small child and nearly adopted and had very special needs, DYING on a trip to the mall of heart failure...he was doing so well, but then, because of his disabilities(as a result of being abused), he just had sudden heart failure and was dead.

 

I have a lot of really great stories, too. Growing up with foster kids all around me was, in some ways, really incredible...but only because the adults around knew how to approach things, knew how to talk to us other kids, knew how confusing and weird some things could be for us bio kids and weren't wearing blinders. Every kid is different and every kid brings a different package to the table. Every kid has good days, every kid leaves a special mark on your heart. But every kid comes with heartache of some kind, too. You can't breeze into fostering the way you breeze into birth..."Oh, I'll jsut breathe my way through the hard parts" - no. No it's not like that. Respite care work taught me more about fostering than I needed to know. It can be REALLY hard. Oh, and if you think little babies cant have attachment disorders and other problems because of neglect, etc, you're wrong and you need to educate yourself.

 

I bow down to those of you who can foster....you are truly amazing. You are SAINTS. I just can't. I know too many burned out exfoster families. I know too many kids I grew up with who feel resentful of their parents fostering(and some who wouldn't have traded it for the world, either). I know too many relatives and friends who are like, REALLY good and noble people, who in the end, were left feeling broken by the system. Who saw too much, who lost too much with their own kids, etc. Even if there is a chance that my story could end up one of the happy ones...like ladies here seem to have (which makes me so happy)...I just have seen first hand how bad it can go and how hard it is even when it's NOT going bad. I feel like I can't chance it. I've been there, picking through the rubble of a burned down house, looking for anything that might have survived the fire, set by the foster/adopt son, who, because of his emotional/mental problems can't stop bringing up the fire and rubbing in the fact that he set it and laughing about it....even though everyone knows that was his way of processing his guilt and fear over what he'd done...it SUCKED. Especially because he had been having a REALLY great year and he was improving by leaps and bounds when he did it.

 

I'm not saying "no one should foster" - but I am saying "proceed with caution". Don't foster parent because you want more babies and hope to find your "meant to be" through fost/adopt. If you want another baby, have one. Adopt through private adoption. Hire a surrogate, whatever. But don't go into foster to jsut to find another kid for your family. Foster because you want to FOSTER....find out what that IS, without ignoring things that don't fit your rosy image of "what it's gonna be like" and then make the decision to do it. It will impact your family, extended family, kids and marriage in ways you can't see from the beginning....so just be prepared for that.  Foster parenting, in my family, has been a lot of guts and not a lot of glory.

 


Me and DH ...lovin' DD dust.gif(6/08) and DS kid.gif(11/09) Plus NEW BABY!! DD baby.gif (UC-5/12) We heartbeat.gif Water Birth/Homebirth/No Vax or Circ/BF/BW/Country Livin'! chicken3.gif

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#25 of 51 Old 02-16-2011, 09:03 AM
 
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Just a tidbit...

My parents fostered pregnant teens while I was quite young (4-7) and also had kids in from the inner city during the summer. I have no lasting scars and only the deepest respect for people who do fostercare as well as those who receive such services.

 

Our first child was adopted out of country and we're now fostering another, age 4. It's been the best thing in the world for our first. She's learned an enormous amount about herself, humanity as well as day to day requirements in interacting with a sibling. She's his champion supporter as well as his nemesis. They're siblings, plain and simple. Whether or not it's forever (which it looks like), it's been the best thing in the world for us all. I was saddened to learn that a pediatrician friend advised another mom-wannabe NOT to foster based on my tales of woe. I will say it's difficult work, but ever so rewarding!


Mama to Ru cutie (a. age 3, fall 2006) and foster to adopt  wonder-child (arrived a. 3,  2010) 

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#26 of 51 Old 02-16-2011, 09:56 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post
Biokids being yanked out of the home because of abuse allegations? THAT'S fear porn. It's possible the way that losing a baby or dying in childbirth is possible.

 

I live in fear of this.  I don't think it is because of stories I have been told.  It is because of the reality of our situation. 

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#27 of 51 Old 02-16-2011, 10:11 AM
 
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It's fairly important to mention that the OP is in Canada, where the rules and processes are different than in the US.  It's not all sunshine and roses up here either, but it's not quite as ...unpredictable as in the US.  Brandee, I can't remember where you live -- I know it's "away from me", but what province are you in again? have you talked to foster families in your area, or been to any information sessions or seminars or anything? Talking to other families in your province is the best first step. The system in Canada has it's faults for sure, but you only know what those faults are by hearing it straight from other foster families in your province/region. Listening to horror stories from the US is not going to do you much good. Social programs in Canada are much better, so while some of the horror stories are comparable, of course, anything about "the system" and even the level of abuse and neglect (typically) are different.

 

I hope there are Canadian foster parents who can jump in here and offer their perspective.  I have really close friends who foster here in BC, and it is a rollercoaster ride for sure -- every foster or adoption situation is -- but they have a LOT of support (they foster through VACFSS rather than the ministry, if that means anything to you) and it is working well for their whole family.


We're Tiffani , Mark , Lucy (9/99) , Dexter (8/01) ,and Zachary Marvin (3/07) and Naomi Rose (6/09), home 11/10, by way of Ugandan adoption.

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#28 of 51 Old 02-16-2011, 10:13 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post

Biokids being yanked out of the home because of abuse allegations? THAT'S fear porn. It's possible the way that losing a baby or dying in childbirth is possible.


Just because all these are unlikely doesn't mean we as parents should ignore that they are possible.  

 

My dear friend, the only person I know IRL who has fostered, quit because the social workers were making comments about how they thought she should institutionalize her autistic bio son.   


-Shannon, momma to H reading.gif 8/03, N heartbeat.gif 9/06, & P homebirth.jpg 8/11, missing S brokenheart.gif born at 11 wks 1/09 

 


 
   

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#29 of 51 Old 02-16-2011, 11:29 AM
 
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Well, I certainly didn't adopt two of my foster children because no one else would want them. I adopted them because they were MY children. I've had no horror stories and really haven't heard many from the foster parents that I know IRL. But, I've many friends who I've met online and have heard some scary stuff. Bad stuff can, and does, happen. While children being raped by a foster child may not be the norm, inappropriate touching is quite common. As is a foster child making an allegation of abuse by the foster parent or a bio child. Those things are realities for MANY foster families. I'm so lucky that the system in my part of my state is pretty well run and foster parents are pretty well supported.

 

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#30 of 51 Old 02-16-2011, 12:00 PM
 
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"Why do you keep saying this? ("fear porn") Its like you are dismissing the possibility."

 

I'm not sure I've ever dismissed a possibility in my lifetime. I make Worry Lists. redface.gif

 

Maybe the phrase is just too sharp-edged and obscures my meaning, in which case I'll stop using it, but... we've just has a bunch of posts about people's lived experiences of foster/adopt, and a lot of potential negatives were brought up, and one person pointed out that she herself could not foster because of the way fostering had played out in her family, and several people pointed out that an abuse allegations is very, very likely to happen at some point if you foster many children. None of that bothers me to hear. All of that information is useful, to me at least, and probably to the OP. It's not new information for me, but it would have been new a year ago!

 

None of those posts gave me the flashback to "let me tell you all about my fourth degree tear, pregnant lady!" And none of them, you'll note, constituted a blanket recommendation against foster/adoption. I really do think there's a substantive difference here, and that's it's not all about me refusing to listen to bad stuff. 

 

I'm not a saint, for sure. I think that's one of the things that's going to make me a good foster mama, and eventually a good adoptive mama. 

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