Fostering - A couple of newbie questions - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 22 Old 01-06-2012, 06:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi All, hopefully someone can give me some general information as I realize states may differ on their ways of handling situations.  DH and I have three bio children and would like to adopt another.  We would like the adopted child to be youger than our youngest, who will be 1 yo shortly.  We have bene researching and decided that perhaps the neediest children would be those in foster care, however, again, we would like a baby due to the ages of our own children and to help facilitate attachment with us.  We would like to foster - adopt.  I still have not wrapped my head around the abbreviations and leagal jargon, but my basic questions are:  1.  do many infants get placed into foster care?  2.  Can I specify, if we become foster parents, that we only want a baby?  3.  Can we say no if they offer us a child outside our specifications, and will it reflect poorly on us if we did decline a placement?  4.  do they try to place children in homes of the same race - we are open to any and all races/nationalities.  I am sure you all have answered these questions before, and I did read on another thread that a couple attended the foster info meeting in my state and they realy try to get the children back into their original homes, so I am wondering if this is the way to go.  One final thing, I am really concerned becasue our children are young and I dont want them to get attached to a baby that will not be ours.  While Iknow that is a risk, I am wondering if they can place babies whose risk is low - am I making sense?

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#2 of 22 Old 01-06-2012, 11:30 PM
 
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e&tsmom, you sound a whole lot like me a couple years ago!

 

1. Oh yes. Maybe there aren't as many infants as older kids, but it only takes one child who needs a family to add to yours! We live in Michigan. We went through foster training, told our licensing worker that we were interested only in children younger than our youngest (who was 4), but that we were especially interested in an infant as young as possible, and that we were interested in adoption. A few days BEFORE our foster license even arrived in the mail, we were asked to take the little boy who will soon be our forever son. He was 11 days old when we heard about him, 19 days when we brought him home.

 

2. Definitely. I would have become a foster parent a few years earlier if I had realized that foster parents can call the shots. You can say you only want a baby. They *might* still call you when other cases come up, especially if there is an emergency placement like we've had a couple times and they are desperate to get somebody right now, but you can always say no. In my experience, no one holds it against you if you say no and it doesn't put you at the bottom of the list or anything.

 

3. Oops, I got ahead of myself and answered that above.

 

4. I suppose it might depend on the community. My guess would be that they do try to place a child with a family that's similar to the one they were born into in many ways, including race. I happen to live in a very rural, very white area. I have never met a non-white foster family in the two counties from which I foster children, so I could be placed with a child with any color skin, though like I say there is a very small percentage of non-white people in this area anyway, so fewer foster children as well. When we filled out the profile of the children we would accept, race was a box we could check as was age and gender. We were able to write in any other specifications we might have had. We said we were open to any race and gender, up to moderate disabilities and ages 0-3.

 

Some number of years ago before some law changes that were intended to focus on getting children permanency as soon as possible, foster families were told NOT to expect to adopt the children. There were foster families and there were pre-adoptive families. A child might be in foster care for a length of time, then if parental rights were terminated, they would go to a different family to be adopted. Of course that is terrible for a child to experience yet another loss of family, so now foster families are allowed to state that they wish to be considered pre-adoptive.

 

With that said, the goal of foster care is always reunification with the parents unless termination becomes the goal of the case. But in my experience, the workers often have a pretty good inkling of which kids coming in are likely to end up with parental rights terminated. In the case of my son who I mentioned earlier, one birthparent had two previous children removed and the other birthparent said they would rather remain with the partner than have the child back, so our workers predicted the outcome. Of course the workers will always be really careful about how they say that because there are no guarantees and they don't want you ticked off if they were wrong. In other cases with which I am familiar, it has looked like a child's case would go to termination, but the child ended up being reunified with the parents. That is excrutiatingly tough, I would assume.

 

Our second son came to us already having had his birthparents' rights terminated, so we knew he would be ours forever. (We just adopted him last week, yay!) But he was almost 3 years old when he came to us. It's less likely to have an infant come with rights already terminated.

 

One thing to keep in mind — and this is not to scare you away — is that when infants come into care it's often because the issues are severe. This might mean the child is affected. Like you, I had bio children already. In my case, my husband and I felt like we'd already had our opportunity to have children who were grown in my womb and raised by us in a way that was as close to optimal as we could muster. That made us ready to accept children into our hearts who hadn't had these advantages. Our little guy who is almost adopted has cerebral palsy and developmental delays. Our older, just-adopted son is mentally retarded. I never thought I would be able to handle raising special needs kids until I received the calls about them and couldn't say no. I don't regret it for a minute.

 

One way I've heard of foster families getting a very young baby with rights already terminated is if the child is born drug addicted. So there's a risk and a benefit.

 

A couple other families I know have taken in young babies because they took in older siblings, as well. You would never have to say yes to such a situation though.

 

Good luck!

 


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#3 of 22 Old 01-07-2012, 05:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Incompetent,

 

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and experiences.  I am still trying to research everything as much as possible.  It sounds like the foster-adopt prpgram participation worked beautifully for your family.  I am now a bit more worried about the negative experiences.  I worry my children will become attached to a child who may not remain with us.  As much as it would pain DH and I to say goodby to a child we grew to love, I am struggling with inflicting that kind of pain on children who didnt get a say in the matter - kwim?

 

still lots to think about...

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#4 of 22 Old 01-07-2012, 06:57 PM
 
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A lot depends on where you live, this stuff varies so much by state and sometimes even county.

 

Where i live (MI) unless things have changed recently they dont have "foster/adopt"...they have "foster care" and they have "adoption(from foster care)" though they recently changed things so that the homestudy is more streamlined and easy to have one for both situations. I know with my agency they had the "Foster Unit" and the "adoption unit" with different workers. There was supposed to ideally be alot of communication between the two but that didnt happen in practice. Once TPR took place the child would be assigned to the adoption unit for adoption recruitment (whether that meant placement with FPs or someone else.) Where i live most kids are ultimately adopted by either foster parents or relatives. Esp "younger/healthier" kids.

 

In other states though, they have a special "track" for kids they think are likely to go to TPR and those kids are placed in homes that are approved and waiting to adopt. Sometimes the term "legal risk adoption" is used, although i've also heard that term used to describe something else (placement post TPR but while appeals are still being heard so there is a slim change the TPR would be reversed)...while my state doesnt seem to have this "track" officially, often workers will try to place kids with a high possibility of TPR into homes they know want to adopt.

 

The thing with foster care is you MUST realize, you must always keep somewhere in your head that *anything can happen*...a child you were certain would RU (reunify) soon might ultimately become available for adoption, a child almost certain to TPR might suddenly go home, and the process might be heartwrenching, infuriating, and painful along the way. For those who for whatever reason arent ready to deal with all that, choosing to do "adopt only" (that is, a child for whom parental rights are already terminated and no relative is a resource) is an option. The downside is that in most places the children may be older or harder to place (because usually "first dibs"/right of refusal goes to the foster parent, and since the TPR process usually takes from 1-2 years most FPs will want to adopt the child they have had from birth to age 2 yknow?) BUT it IS possible to adopt young children this way, you just need alot of luck, the right agency, possibly to wait awhile. It really just depends. Plus different areas may have more kids available.

 

You can choose the race of your child. I live in a suburb of Detroit and most FPs with my agency seemed to be black, as well as most of the parents, most of the kids etc. I was totally open to a transracial placement, but still when they called with the first one they made a big deal "he's AA! is that ok?!?" and i, so excited at finally getting The Call, stupidly said "i love black babies!" a la Tom Cruise in Jerry Maquire. lol.gif

 

You can choose the age, usually its an age range (i asked for 0-4 originally because we were homeschooling and i didnt want to deal with school.) they may call you with kids outside your parameters but its ok to say no. (In my area, the county calls the agency, the agency calls the parent...in other areas the on call county placement person calls the parent directly)

 

In my area there seemed to be plenty babies coming into care (and it almost seems like the younger the placement the more likely to TPR, whereas with older kids who have a relationship already they may try harder to RU?? i dunno....) plenty of adoptions happening. RU didnt seem to be the norm, but that varies, again...place to place. Many babies come into care due to a positive drug test at birth, or because there were prior TPRs and the baby was taken at birth as a preemptive safety thing.

 

I cant really speak to how your other kids will handle it...many people have had luck explaining to their kids that the baby is "only staying for awhile until his mommy can take care of him" so that if TPR doesnt happen, its not such a hard blow than if they thought "this is our baby, staying forever" Its really hard when you want to adopt though. Plus, you likely will have to take the child to visits each week, and in my experience was hard being mommy to a child that saw his "real" mommy every week, when you really want to adopt. Its hard! but worth it.

 

My experience is this: I had originally wanted to straight adopt (no foster), a school aged or younger boy as i had a bio son (9 when i started the process)...i figured how hard would it be to be matched with an AA boy around 7 years old? Really hard apparently. Over a year with my agency and no matches, no progress, they also wouldnt foster license me because "the goal of FC is RU"...so i switched to a new agency that seemed totally supportive of my desire to adopt and still foster (i KNEW that kids might go home and was willing to support The Plan whatever that would be) , they seemed to also think they could place a baby with me no problem. It took awhile to finally get my license, but within a month of getting it i had a placement. In fact, i had just happened to call the agency to remind them i was still waiting, when they said "We have a baby for you!" a boy, three weeks old, healthy. Was being removed from another one of their foster homes where he'd been for six days(i never got details but i think they closed that home) and had never been with bio mom. She had two kids TPRd a few years prior and the relative raising those kids decided she was too old to take the new baby. Bio mom basically said "dont call again" and the one relative who had occasional visits ultimately decided he couldnt adopt. So this was the DREAM first placement. TPR took place when he was not quite four months old, and by the time he was six months old i knew we were the identified adoption resource and they were not considering anyone else. Due to paperwork delays my worker couldnt file for adoption until that december but i got the finalization papers in the mail just before Christmas, a couple days before my son turned 11 months old.

 

For some reason my agency had me "on hold" in their system and i never got any more calls but when i fixed that i immediately got a call for an 11.5 month old baby girl. They said it was going to be temporary and wanted to know if that was ok, since they knew i wanted to adopt. I said that was fine. Apparently this child had a ton of sibs placed here and there and the relative that had her unofficially was going to be trying to get her and the other sibs back. Still when there was about a month with no contact from the agency, no visits with bmom, nothing...i was starting to think maybe it would be more permanent. When contact was finally made, things progressed very quickly...a visit with mom, and then i think the following week she was moved to a relative. I was happy for her and it was fine. I told the worker that it was hard on my son to have a sib so close to his age (he was 15 months when i had the 12 month old)...so i wanted a NEWBORN next time...i told her very specifically "not a one year old." The next day she called me with a one year old. eyesroll.gif And i , of course, said "fine!" and when i went to get him he wasnt a "one year old" he was a big boy! nearly a year and a HALF...and just two weeks younger than my son!  My "twins" are now nearly four. orngbiggrin.gif

 

His case was very complicated and i wont get into all the details since i've written a book already (sorry!) but...i thought FOR SURE he'd go back to his dad, but shortly after placement i got the new plan and the goal was adoption (!!!) and the tpr trial started about three months after he came. (the kids had been in care technically longer.) That trial was just delay after delay and didnt wrap up for FIVE MONTHS (it was awful because visits continued during that time so it was very weird emotionally) but in the end both parents were TPRd. (and you think you'd be happy, but its VERY sad and tragic and i cried in the courtroom.) Then it took more than a year to finalize. (Another long story.) In that time i also had my son's half sister placed with me for the purpose of adoption. She was 8 at placement.

 

I'd like to adopt again. I dont know that i'd do regular fostering again, i might be willing to foster an infant they feel strongly will go to TPR. I dunno. My boys really want a baby sib and i think it would be really hard to say goodbye. I might look into adopting a child younger than they are (like under 2)...straight adoption...and if i have to wait a year or two for a match so be it. I'm in no hurry. But i'd have to find a new agency and im not looking forward to that whole homestudy process again. Its REALLY NICE having workers OUT of our lives!

 

So to summarize (LOL), all three of my adopted kids are AA, all are healthy (my daughter has some emotional issues that drive me crazy but she isnt dangerous or anything), and they were 3 weeks, 16.5 months, and 8 yrs old at placement. In that time i had an additional foster child that RU'd, and i had one call for a 12 day old baby i missed out on (long story) and a 5 yr old boy i missed out on because i missed the call and he'd already been placed. All of my kids had been in foster homes before and two came to me from another foster home not the bio family.

 

 

 

 


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#5 of 22 Old 01-09-2012, 06:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks so much, Queenjane, for sharing your insight and experience.  You have given me a lot to think about.  I have a few more questions:  You speak about using an agency.  There is an agency with a good reputation in my area, The Annie E Casey Foundation, that trains foster parents, does the homestudy and all that, but is it better to use an agency go through the public social system.  Our county does training, too.  I do not believe there is a cost for prospective foster parents in either case, I just want to know if dealing with case workers thorugh an agency or the public system will be easier.

 

I have been reading a lot about everything, and we sort of have the dreaded "rescue mentality."  I am not quite sure how one who fosters wouldnt have that mentality, but it seems to be frowned upon.  I understand that the goal is reunification so perhaps they are worried about the foster parents doing something to sabotage the birth parents, I dont know.  But, in all the literature in different states I have read, it is frowned upon.  What are the reasons they do expect people to becaome foster parents. 

 

Lastly, for now, I wouldnt want to take mroe than one child at a time.  I would prefer it to be an infant, and my van only allows fo rone more car seat anyway.  Do case workers frown upon your ability to only take one child?  And, if they know your wish to adopt, do thye frown on that, too, becasue, truthfully, if we could adopt an infant from foster care and hope to give them more opportunities that what they may have had, we would love that.  But, we would likely not foster again, at least for a while. because we would not have room.   Would they even want to bother with us since we seem to be kinda specific about what we want (baby, so the baby can attach properly to a loving adult).  Would case workers understand our desire is becasue we feel so passionately about attachment parenting and know how vital it is for babies to attach to a caregiver?

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#6 of 22 Old 01-09-2012, 05:52 PM
 
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Originally Posted by e&tsmom View Post

Thanks so much, Queenjane, for sharing your insight and experience.  You have given me a lot to think about.  I have a few more questions:  You speak about using an agency.  There is an agency with a good reputation in my area, The Annie E Casey Foundation, that trains foster parents, does the homestudy and all that, but is it better to use an agency go through the public social system.  Our county does training, too.  I do not believe there is a cost for prospective foster parents in either case, I just want to know if dealing with case workers thorugh an agency or the public system will be easier.

 

I have been reading a lot about everything, and we sort of have the dreaded "rescue mentality."  I am not quite sure how one who fosters wouldnt have that mentality, but it seems to be frowned upon.  I understand that the goal is reunification so perhaps they are worried about the foster parents doing something to sabotage the birth parents, I dont know.  But, in all the literature in different states I have read, it is frowned upon.  What are the reasons they do expect people to becaome foster parents. 

 

Lastly, for now, I wouldnt want to take mroe than one child at a time.  I would prefer it to be an infant, and my van only allows fo rone more car seat anyway.  Do case workers frown upon your ability to only take one child?  And, if they know your wish to adopt, do thye frown on that, too, becasue, truthfully, if we could adopt an infant from foster care and hope to give them more opportunities that what they may have had, we would love that.  But, we would likely not foster again, at least for a while. because we would not have room.   Would they even want to bother with us since we seem to be kinda specific about what we want (baby, so the baby can attach properly to a loving adult).  Would case workers understand our desire is becasue we feel so passionately about attachment parenting and know how vital it is for babies to attach to a caregiver?


1) it really depends on so many factors, such as where you live. For example, in my county, you dont really go through the county except perhaps if you're fostering a relative or something. they are all private agencies who have contracts with the state. Many of them only deal with foster/state children but others such as Lutheran Social Services, Catholic Social Services, Bethany etc also do other things like private infant adoption. These private agencies are not allowed to charge for homestudies for state kids (in my state...not nec. true for other states) They WERE charging (i think Bethany wanted something like $1500! gulp), but the state told them it was a contract violation. In my state there basically isnt a difference, the private agencies provide services to all age kids, all need levels etc. But in some areas/states private agencies may only provide treatment foster care, or not have the "younger healthier kids" that the county can place in their own homes. In some places the county provides better services to the foster parent, in others the private agencies do. And of course this all can vary from agency to agency. Its best to kind of call around, explain the type of child you can help, and see what they say. When i did that, the county told me to call a private agency. You might also want to contact your state photolisting or adoption group and see what they say. They may be able to recommend an agency "off the record."

 

2) I havent really run into the negativity against "rescuing" a child...except maybe in online adoption circles. (And that is because often, if your motivation is "rescue" and not "to parent another child" you might not be truly prepared for what you'll be getting.) Usually, foster parents might say something like "i love kids and want to be able to provide a child with a safe home for as long as the child needs it" or some such thing. Not "rescuing" so much as "helping." Also...i think you may find that its not so black and white once you meet birthfamilies and start fostering. A birthparent is a real person and while of course there are situations where horrific abuse has occurred or the parent is just an awful human being, what i suspect is more often the case, is the birthparent is addicted, or struggling, or rather pathetic...much of it is just really sad. When i look at all three of my kids i see the generational impact of drug abuse, foster care, neglect, chaos, instability. Both bmoms were themselves in foster care and not raised by their own birthparents. Both have a history of moving from place to place, poverty, instability. One is mentally ill, the other has emotional issues. None of the children were outright abused. When TPR occured for my first adopted son (who had never lived with his bparent and was placed as a newborn) i thought i'd be like "yay, he's mine!" but instead i felt really sad for what that meant. With the other kids, i openly cried when TPR occured, its really sad. Even if its the correct decision. Its really hard to say if your future adopted kids will have a "better" life with you...a "different life" for SURE...but "better" is so subjective in many cases. I think if you just replace the word rescue with "help" you'll be fine.

 

3) In my experience, they absolutely will NOT frown on you saying you can only take one child. And while you might not get very far if in your initial phone call you say something like "hi, i'd really like to rescue an abused child from foster care, but i only want one, and i want a newborn please!" if you say during your orientation or training or homestudy (whenever it seems appropriate) that at this time, you feel you can best meet the needs of only one child (due to space limitations) and prefer that child to be under one year old to maintain birth order in your home, you'll be fine. In some areas, you'll get a call before the ink can dry on your license because there are just THAT many infants coming into care and in other areas (perhaps rural areas with lots of FPs or an area with less of a drug problem etc) you might wait a long time. Again, just depends! Do not get talked into a placement you dont want to accept. There will ALWAYS be another one!

 

I had to really INSIST on being licensed for more than one. I finally had to say i wanted to be licensed for as many foster children as my home could accomodate space-wise (in my area, min. of 40 sq ft bedroom space required with a max of four foster kids per home, 8 kids total in the home)..which was four. I didnt really intend on fostering four kids, but its easier to get approved initially then go back and change your license to increase the number.

 

4) I think its good to be open about wanting to adopt...they MAY steer "potentially adoptable" babies your way because the less moves for a child the better. But you also have to be careful because the goal of foster care (which you will hear over and over in your journey) is reunification of the family, if possible. So first, you need to decide if you REALLY want to foster, or if you just want to adopt a baby and FC is the route to doing that. If thats the case i think you'd need to do some real soul-searching. You HAVE to be prepared (as much as possible) that the child wont stay...esp if you have other kids, i think its that much more important that "we're just watching a baby until his mommy is well and can parent him" because otherwise i imagine it would be too devastating to lose their sibling. If you think you can do it, that fostering is for you, you may explore with your worker about whether they do have an "adoption track" or "fost/adopt" etc whether officially or unofficially..."we know the goal of fostering is RU of course, and we're happy to do that, but we'd also be open and totally love to adopt an infant in our care if TPR occurs...how does your agency handle that? " etc.

 

5) I think its great to be pro-AP, and many of these kids surely need a stable adult to attach to. Just be aware that its not as straightforward as having "your own" baby to AP...this child may be going back home, and you may need to help them learn to sleep on a schedule, in their own bed. If they spent time in other homes, they may already be used to holding their own bottle, or may not like to be held much...just no way of knowing ahead of time. You may be a six month old who is already working on an attachment disorder and may totally reject traditional AP methods. You also have to find different ways to AP than is typical on this site (for example, you cant cosleep or nurse a foster child, although i ignored the no-cosleeping rule and bottlenursed my first) Its hard to, for example, provide your baby with wholesome organic foods and then have the parent feed koolaid and cheetos during a visit. And there really isnt much you can do about it. (omg i had NO idea people gave their babies/toddler cheetos until i started fostering, not just bparents but fparents too! and im not even that into healthy eating but cheetos!?! and fruit punch??for a baby??)

 

I'm so longwinded. Sorry. I'll stop here. I totally could go on and on. redface.gif


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#7 of 22 Old 01-09-2012, 09:03 PM
 
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I also have a few foster parent newbie questions. My husband and I are first time "up coming" parents. Due to early childhood leukemia we were unable to have our own children and decided to become foster parents. Through this whole process we hv learned a lot about not only ourselfs but eachother and what its going to be like to have child in our home. One of the major things we are struggling with is, missing out on all th expecent parenting things. Since we hve never had our own kids we are not prepared as far as "material thing," toys, beding, carseats, strollers, etc. Since we don't know what age (other than what we put on our appliation 0-6 yrs) we maybe expecting we are having a hard time planning. My mom and I went shopping today and we wre talking about all the things we still have to purchase, even though we are expected to be lisenced in the next 2-3 weeks, she mentioned how it it was unfair that just because we aren't having our own baby why we don't get a "baby shower." We have every intention on adopting if any our future kids need a loving family and home. Would it be proper for my mom or friends t have a shower for us? And any advice about fostering to calm my nerves would be great! cold.gif
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#8 of 22 Old 01-10-2012, 09:52 AM
 
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It's fine to have a shower, if someone wants to throw one for you. I started fostering with nothing but a pack n play. I received my first call before I had even received my license and wasn't ready. Luckily, my first baby came from another foster home and the foster mother loaned me a bunch of stuff until I could get what I needed. I did have a bed but since that baby was only four months old, I couldn't use it.

 

Do you intend to really foster from 0-2 or is that just what's on your license? I'm licensed from 0-12 but I've only ever fostered kids younger than four. I tend to get what I need, when I need it. I have a tiny townhouse and no room to store stuff. Freecycle has been wonderful for getting things when I'm in a pinch.

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#9 of 22 Old 01-10-2012, 10:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, Queenjane, again for your thoughtful reply.  I appreciate your longwindedness!!!  You have giving me a lot more to think about.  I do want to say that I didnt mean to imply that I felt the birth parents were "bad."  I do feel for them, and the children, which is why we are considereing this in the first place.  I do think you are right with regards to soal searching.  I do not in any way feel like we are perfect parents, but I do feel like we do a pretty good job and we would love to grow our family and help someone else at the same time.  And, if we do get all set up to do this, I would def use your suggestions of making tsure the kids know we will just be taking care of the baby until his/her mommy can do it herself, but I am not sure I woudl have it in me not to get too attached.  I am really questioning myself.  I thought that adopting an infant through foster care would be the best way to go for us, but perhaps a straight up adoption of an infant would be better through a private agency for us.  I dont know.  I seriously feel torn.  I know I will get attached, especially if it is a long placement.  I wonder if I would be strong enough to let go without causing more hurt to the rest of my family.  If a birth mother can parent her child, I am all for that.  I was really hoping to be able to help a child where that isnt the case.  But, since you never know...I dont know.  Still thinking...maybe... 

 

Elsie - You can also check out kids consignment shops to get things you need.  I do lots of shopping in consignment stores - you cant beat the price!

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On my lisence we put 10 and under becaue we are hopeing for a sibling group. However we would idealy like to stick with 6 and under. We are a young couple and it would be kind of weird for a lack of better words to have a 9 yr old or 10 yr old. We have just slowly been accumalating things but there's just so much more we need since we hve never had children before. But its also so hard to plan because we have no idea what's going to walk through your door. How long have you been a foster parent? Has it been hard ad rewarding? Thanks so much for your reply!
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#11 of 22 Old 01-10-2012, 08:10 PM
 
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Yes I have! And let me tell you, its SOOOO overhelming!! I just don't have any idea what to plan for, with hving your own baby you know your going to cover every stage of life, with foster children you have a general idea of age but still no idea what's going to come through our door! Now it seems since we know all of our paperwork has been sent into the state and were in the lisencing waiting game eality has hit me, and has hit me hard. I'm freakin, but I know I wil be able to just roll with the punches and arise to the occasion. joy.gif
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#12 of 22 Old 01-11-2012, 04:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Do you have friends with kids?    maybe You could wait until you have a placement, borrow what you need in the beginning and then begin to accumulate things?

 

Oh, biggest question that I have - do you have to be a sahm?  I teach 4 days a week and my baby goes to a sitter in the mornings and my mom in the afternioons until I get home.  Any fosster baby we would have would need to be the same.  is that allowed?

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#13 of 22 Old 01-11-2012, 07:35 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by queenjane View Post

A lot depends on where you live, this stuff varies so much by state and sometimes even county.

It really does depend on where you live. We were looking for a 0-5 boy or girl any race and got placed with a pre-adoptive baby girl 5 1/2 months old. I gave away all her baby stuff just *knowing" they are not giving us another baby and 6 days after we went active again we were placed with a 3 month old girl. We adopted the first and are going to adopt the second. I know someone in the next county and they have waited 2+ years and are open to a low-risk boy or girl up to two kids any race ages 0-5 and they have not had one call. I am really surprised. But then not really. Our county is less race-driven than the neighboring county. I think that is why they haven't had a call. Then the other neighboring county has more foster parents then kids for the younger age range.


Carly, mama to DS C (5th grade), DD Miss M (07/09, fostered 1/10, adopted 08/10), and Little Miss C (11/10, fostered 01/11, adopted 11/12). Foster Son, Mr. A, age 11 placed 10/13.
My angel babies , ~01/08~ (twins), ~09/08~, and ~01/09~.

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#14 of 22 Old 01-11-2012, 08:06 AM
 
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E&Tsmom,

I did ask my foster care director about being a stay at home mom or a I still work and have foster children. She told me that its completely fine to still work and be a foster parent. I alsofound out through another foster mom that I met by chance that there i financial assistance for foster childen and daycare. The lady dd warn me though, if you do decide to apply fo assistance to apply as soon as the child is placed. She said otherwise it takes a while and then the state starts questioning "why now" are you applying for assistance. Just a word to the wise she said.

 

Also in reply to you about if I have friends with children, i do. However my husband and I have decided to not keep the foster parents on the downlow until we actually have the lisence in our hand and now that nothings going to get in our way to being parents. We have had so much heartbreak when it has come to becoming parents we are extremely guarded. Only a few selected people know and like i said, until we have the lisence and know we are getting children we dont want to make it public. But when that time comes that we know we are getting children that would be a great resource to talk to friends with kids for borrowing stuff. Also my mom is a avid garage saler, and yesterday she was talking about she cant wait until garage sales start up again bc now she has grandkids to shop for, It was cute.

 

Thanks for much for all the help everyone and Its great to have other women to talk and bounce ideas and questions off.

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#15 of 22 Old 01-11-2012, 01:46 PM
 
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Originally Posted by e&tsmom View PostOh, biggest question that I have - do you have to be a sahm?  I teach 4 days a week and my baby goes to a sitter in the mornings and my mom in the afternioons until I get home.  Any fosster baby we would have would need to be the same.  is that allowed?

Both DH and I work full time. Full time in my county is defined as 32 working hours or more per week. As long as both parents work full time, daycare is subsidized in my county. I found a great daycare where I only paid $35/month for DD2 when she first came and now at 1 years old the subsidy covers 100% of her daycare. However, depending on the area a lot of foster parents in my county run into a larger discrepancy, upwards of 200-300/month that they are responsible for in daycare. But, they can look around more. I think a lot of time convenience and the area they live comes into play. The most I paid was $85/month because the rate on subsidy was less than what the daycare charged.

For us, it has to be a licensed facility that is already approved to take the subsidy, I couldn't pay my mom/friend/neighbor with the subsidy. Our DD1 came from another foster home that that the foster-grandma babysat her other DD that was adopted but my DD1 went to a licensed daycare.
 

 


Carly, mama to DS C (5th grade), DD Miss M (07/09, fostered 1/10, adopted 08/10), and Little Miss C (11/10, fostered 01/11, adopted 11/12). Foster Son, Mr. A, age 11 placed 10/13.
My angel babies , ~01/08~ (twins), ~09/08~, and ~01/09~.

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#16 of 22 Old 01-12-2012, 09:17 AM
 
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Just trying to say this gently, knowing something about infertility myself... Your mom does not really have a grandkid coming if you are fostering a child whose goal is reunification. It is great if she can love these children, but relatives can really add to the heartbreak, if they do not understand what it is all about... There are enough big emotions to go through without someone making it harder. (Maybe I misread what she truly meant, though.... )

 

IMO, fostering in general and fostering really just to adopt are two very different callings. If you know that your goal is adoption, I think it is good to be clear about that and work towards it. To really think if foster to adopt is right for you. IF you are in it to foster and then would consider adoption if the situation comes to that, it is a whole different thing. We are short term foster parents for babies. What I have learned so far is that, yes, I will love these babies completely. However, it also becomes very clear that, unless something really big happens, they belong to the parents, not to me. I think it would be very difficult to handle interaction with the parents, if I were hoping the whole time that their child becomes mine. I don't know how it works in your state, but I do feel that a foster child will never be yours the way bio children are. I don't mean that there would be any less love, but the parents (or at least the idea of them) is something the kids will live with the rest of their lives.

 

Think hard and choose wisely. I think all routes can be wonderful. Just know what it right for you.


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#17 of 22 Old 01-13-2012, 06:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Lesstraveled,

 

Thanks for your post.  It really got to me and I do believe maybe we need to go another route.  In my heart, i want to adopt.  I figured through foster care because I though those children would benefit most from a stable home enviornment.  However, fostering was more a means to an end for us.  Not that we wouldnt want to help needy children, but with our own being so young, that was not really they way we wanted to go.  Thanks, everyone, for your insight.  I think we are going to look into a private agency that adopts through the state system.  If I am understanding correctly, they deal with TPRed children and those on that track.  So, perhaps we will skip the fostering situation.  I am sure I'll be back with more questions.

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IMO, fostering in general and fostering really just to adopt are two very different callings. If you know that your goal is adoption, I think it is good to be clear about that and work towards it. To really think if foster to adopt is right for you. IF you are in it to foster and then would consider adoption if the situation comes to that, it is a whole different thing. We are short term foster parents for babies. What I have learned so far is that, yes, I will love these babies completely. However, it also becomes very clear that, unless something really big happens, they belong to the parents, not to me. I think it would be very difficult to handle interaction with the parents, if I were hoping the whole time that their child becomes mine. I don't know how it works in your state, but I do feel that a foster child will never be yours the way bio children are. I don't mean that there would be any less love, but the parents (or at least the idea of them) is something the kids will live with the rest of their lives.


I'm not sure i totally agree with this. I mean....i GET what you're saying. I think its important to know what you're getting into if you choose to foster. It bothers me when people think they are guaranteed to adopt if they foster, or they actively hope the parent WON'T get it together and RU with the kids, just so they can adopt. Sometimes even sabotaging RU. Thats not cool. BUT...it also bothers me when its the people who "got into this to foster, not adopt" who get to adopt the majority of the kids available for adoption! that makes no sense to me. The way the system is set up...the people who really WANT to adopt essentially get the leftover kids and most kids get adopted by their foster parents, not straight adopt parents. (At least in my area.) I think you can feel "called to adopt" and not necessarily have such a strong calling to foster, and still foster and be a GOOD foster parent. I know plenty of foster parents who stopped fostering after they got "their" kids and finalized the adoptions (myself included, although there were other factors as well)...I think in many places if you cannot afford a private adoption and want to adopt a fairly healthy/younger child...foster care is going to be the logical route. It bothers me when i've seen people who would make good foster parents turned away because they dont feel this huge calling to "just foster, oh and i'll adopt IF it comes to that but i'm ok with whatever!" I think someone can be a good adoptive parent too if they really just set out to foster someone else's child. People CAN have their heart pulled in two different directions and still do a good job at fostering. Its not easy but its def. doable. I know with my first adopted son, i totally wanted to adopt from the outset and was glad everything went smoothly toward that goal, that doesnt mean i did anything wrong as a foster parent. i did my job, i showed up to relative visits, i supported the case plan.

 

 

As far as the bolded statement...could you clarify a bit what you mean? maybe its because you do foster care short term for infants, but this isnt at all how i would characterize my experience with fostering. Yes, its hard before you get that finalization paper in the mail making the child "100 percent yours"...but in my heart my foster kids were "mine" long before THAT. The significance of that paper was that the agency couldnt swoop in and decide they were taking the kids back (like they did to my friend)...it had NOTHING to do with feeling like they werent mine. And except at the very beginning before a bond could really be established i certainly didnt feel that "the child belongs to the parent, not me"...i felt that my children had bio parents (with different levels of involvement) and we both had roles in this child's life. With my first foster son, *I* was the only mother he had....it would have been bizarre to feel that he "belonged" to a mother he had not met since birth, who did not seek to RU with him, and who had no visits. And with my second foster son...certainly by the time TPR rolled around he was just as much "mine" as hers, if not legally then at least emotionally. AND he was still a foster child for more than a year after that. I know someone who has been fostering for FOUR YEARS and they just now TPR'd the kids....you can't have a child from birth to four years old and be raising that child, and the bmom gets one visit per week if that, and feel that he is "more hers than mine...he belongs to her"....well i guess you CAN but i dont think you'd be wrong to feel that is your child even if intellectually you know "anything can happen." Its a different situation than just keeping a baby for a couple of months til mom can get it together.

 

 

 


Katherine, single homeschooling mom to Boy Genius (17) geek.gif  Thing One (6) and Thing Two (6) fencing.gif and one outgoing Girl (12) bikenew.gif and hoping for more through foster care and adoption homebirth.jpgadoptionheart-1.gif 
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#19 of 22 Old 01-15-2012, 01:29 AM
 
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 BUT...it also bothers me when its the people who "got into this to foster, not adopt" who get to adopt the majority of the kids available for adoption!

 

This is a very interesting point that I had never thought about. I simply recognized in the OP's message my earlier feelings about the whole thing. I think fostering would be an extremely hard experience if one were hoping to adopt, only, and yet was having frequent contact with the bio parents and was supposed to be supporting reunification. In this situation, also, the support from friends and family would be important, which is why the comment by OP's moms really bothered me, though I may have read too much into it. However, the system there works differently than what I am used to and it is of course different if the foster child is someone whose chances of going back to the bio parents are very small. I have not bumped into that at all, yet, so I simply don't know about those emotions.

 

 

As far as the bolded statement...could you clarify a bit what you mean? maybe its because you do foster care short term for infants, but this isnt at all how i would characterize my experience with fostering. --  With my first foster son, *I* was the only mother he had....it would have been bizarre to feel that he "belonged" to a mother he had not met since birth, who did not seek to RU with him, and who had no visits. And with my second foster son...certainly by the time TPR rolled around he was just as much "mine" as hers, if not legally then at least emotionally. AND he was still a foster child for more than a year after that. I know someone who has been fostering for FOUR YEARS and they just now TPR'd the kids....you can't have a child from birth to four years old and be raising that child, and the bmom gets one visit per week if that, and feel that he is "more hers than mine...he belongs to her"....well i guess you CAN but i dont think you'd be wrong to feel that is your child even if intellectually you know "anything can happen." Its a different situation than just keeping a baby for a couple of months til mom can get it together.

 

Yeah, I think my experiences are and will be very different from yours, as I work with babies whose parents see them at least twice a week, come and make the decisions at doctor's appointments, etc. If I fostered babies who might stay and whose parents were not really involved, that would be quite different.

 

My message to the OP is simply that she has to know what her motives are. I think it would be very difficult to keep fostering a baby if one were in it to adopt and it was becoming obvious that the baby would be reunited with parents. I suppose it would feel like quite the waste of time in some way, as one would be hoping for another baby and a new chance as quickly as possible... OK... sounds cold... but we are human.  As far as I understand the US system (well, depending on the state), it does sounds like there is a way the OP could foster to adopt, without a lot of risk. 

 

These emotions are very close to me, yet, as we send a baby home about 6 weeks ago that could have ended up not being reunited. It is still not a clear case, really.  The baby was with us for only two months, but boy were there a lot of emotions involved. I think it could have been very painful, had we been in it hoping to keep the baby. 


 

 


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#20 of 22 Old 01-15-2012, 08:25 AM
 
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You can hope to adopt but not look at every baby as "the" baby. If a child has involved parents, or it looks like the baby will go home, then it's important to support that.

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#21 of 22 Old 01-15-2012, 10:09 AM
 
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I will answer your questions from what I know of my area. Your area may have different laws, policies, culture, etc.

 

1. do many infants get placed into foster care?

Yes, but the vast majority reunite with their biological mothers or other relatives. There is actually a very high need for foster homes for infants under 6 weeks because those babies cannot go to daycare.

 

2. Can I specify, if we become foster parents, that we only want a baby?

Yes, absolutely.

 

3. Can we say no if they offer us a child outside our specifications, and will it reflect poorly on us if we did decline a placement?

Yes you can say no to any placement.

In my experience, we only stopped getting phone calls for new placements after two years when we made it clear we were only interested in fostering children biologically related to the one we already had. For two years we received call after call after call that we just ignored or said NO to.

 

4. do they try to place children in homes of the same race - we are open to any and all races/nationalities.

Depends on the worker. In our situation, we had a placement worker that didn't care about race but then we had a caseworker who appeared to have some racial biases and tried to remove our FS and place him in various other same-race homes.

 

Other thoughts:

If you really want to adopt a baby and you think you'd have a hard time dealing with the uncertainty of fostercare then you should do a private domestic adoption instead. Find an agency or an individual to help you. But if you're VERY flexible and you're cabable of handling a lot of stress, incompetence, and uncertainty OR you simply cannot afford a private adoption, then opt for a fostercare adoption. Personally, we will NOT be doing another fostercare adoption, at least not any time soon. We DO plan to adopt another child and we're pretty flexible about age and race and we prefer an open adoption, but there's simply no way we will abuse ourselves by interacting with the fostercare system again. I say that as someone strongly commited to adoption, children, and family. The system is broken.

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#22 of 22 Old 01-16-2012, 03:24 AM
 
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Quote:
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You can hope to adopt but not look at every baby as "the" baby. If a child has involved parents, or it looks like the baby will go home, then it's important to support that.


Yes, but mentally this can be VERY hard!


Mama to a little lady and always praying for more.
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