|Topic Review (Newest First)|
|12-29-2006 11:23 PM|
I think the best thing you can do is find a foster parent support group in your area to get a feel for how the system works in your area. Fostering is a rollercoaster ride that can become a real nightmare when you fall in love with the kiddo. In our situation, the way the laws are written and the very concepts I support (helping families stay together) seem to be at odds with the best interests of the child. And all the professionals know this, but know there is nothing they can do and that's just the way it is... So, understanding what the people in your community are going through will help you when you find yourself wondering how the case plan has anything to do with what is right for the child.
Not that fostering is bad, but it's really important to know what you are getting into before you begin.
|12-28-2006 06:08 PM|
|12-28-2006 09:17 AM|
Just chiming in to give my $.o2 worth! I've been fostering since August and have had one placement since then. It has had its ups and downs along the way. We have a newborn addicted girl. So she doesn't have any outward emotional issues from abuse or neglect, but clearly has some physical issues and delays.
The hardest part for me- I don't love her like I love my own kids, so I feel guilty. The system is very confusing and, imo, messed up. We have also been given a date for her departure and we are not sure it is the best place for her to go. (To her grandmother's. Why isn't she visiting with gram? Why isn't gram taking the older siblings whom she has at least met, and has a relationship with? Gram didn't do such a hot job raising her own kids, why does she get to try again with a sweet, wonderful, innocent baby?)
The best part- It has brought out the best in my own kids. (the worst too, actually!) They realize how much they have that others don't. She is a totally different kid than when I met her in the hospital going through withdrawal. We have shown her so much love and attention. She has a great personality (which I can't take any credit for) but is also so quick to smile and laugh and play (which I give us some credit for!) I feel like we've given her a pretty solid start to a life which is going to be hard.
Thoughts for you- I've come to realize just how emotional it all is, and know that I couldn't handle a 5 year old coming in with his own issues to compound it all. I've struggled with not loving our dfd enough and then caring for her too much and getting scared. Geesh, imagine if she was having her own issues and not just being a perfectly great 4 month old! Just something to think realistically about.
I think it is a great thing to consider. I grew up in a foster family and feel that it was good for me, but I have siblings who feel very differently. (We had 60 odd foster siblings over the years. Some for days, two for more than 15 years each.)
I don't believe we will continue with foster care after this child leaves, but I am also execting twins. But I think we may try again in 5 or 10 years. Who knows; it is not completely out of the possiblity.
Good luck on your journey. Just remember that at any step of the process you can always say "no, thanks, we are done." I think families sometimes get caught in foster care, either out of a feeling of repsonsibility to the child(ren) they already have or because of persuasive social workers. But it is clearly worth exploring.
|12-28-2006 06:33 AM|
raleigh_mom, about travel, here you need either parental consent or a court order to leave the state. Visitations with birthparents can prevent you from getting an order, or even having the social worker seek one...but it depends on the situation and the permanency plan for the child. If the permanency plan for the child doesn't involve reunification with birthparents, travel is generally okay. When ds was still my dfs, we were able to travel without any problems. With dfd, we did take a trip with her, but it was harder to get the social worker to seek the order after birthmother refused to sign off (birthfather was all in favor of us taking the trip with her though), not because it interfered with visitations (it didn't), but because for some reason the social worker got it in her head that the judge wouldn't approve the order due to dfd's age (even though when we traveled with ds, he was even younger, and we had no trouble). With my other foster kidos, I have never done any out of state travel.
lovebug, congrats on your decision to do this! I think it is great that you have really researched and figured out what will be a good match for you. And I am totally in support of your decision to do longterm care (when you say that, what exactly are you picturing?). I still think taking a short term placement or two for your first placements can be really helpful because you get a feel for different social workers and for the way your agency functions. My first placement was a "permanent placement" that went south (as in, child was moved even though it was not in the child's best interests and we had been assured that child wouldn't be moved) partly because of the people involved. It was a really, really, really painful time. I still cry sometimes when I think of it. Had I known more about the social worker, I probably would have thought twice before taking a placement of a child in her caseload. I also might have switched agencies earlier had I known more about how the director of the agency functioned in *reality* (the face she showed during licensing and during our first six months of doing care were totally, totally different than how she ended up really being...she since was forced to resign because of her behaviors, but I never would have guessed that was her future when we were in the process of getting licensed and started parenting because at the time I adored her).
But even from a less drastic standpoint, the more placements we took along the way, the more we knew the ins and outs of the system and how to function within it. I am so glad that our ds (then dfs) didn't come to us earlier on in our foster parenting journey because the foster-adopt roller coaster would have been a lot harder. And dfd's case is even more complicated, so thank goodness we have done it once before.
Anyway, take it or leave it. But after we switched agencies (from a private agency to the state), while we waited for a foster-adopt placement, we took a placement of an eight year old girl that was always meant to be very short term. Having her for a little less than a month was great. It eased the wait for our foster-adopt placement, giving us someone to focus our energies on. It was fun because we didn't really have to worry about the future. *And* it got our names out in the DCFS office so people could really get to know us. Her going back home was a very happy occassion for us. We had always known it would be short term, so we approached it like we were babysitting in a lot of ways. We were able to not get too emotionally attached, with no trouble at all...as much as we adored her (we actually still stay in contact with her). Also, we were able to be a mentor for her mother and even though we know her mom isn't perfect, we know that the two of them love one another very much. It was less than two weeks after that little one left when we got our foster-adopt call.
So, just a thought.
Other advice? Well, I have tons. What type are you looking for? If it helps you, here is my background:
My dw and I have been foster parents for about five years. We first foster parented through a private agency. In our state, the Department of Children's and Family Services handles the vast majority of foster care cases. However, they contract out to private agencies the care of children with high/therapeutic foster care needs. This way they can have higher case loads for state workers, and lower case loads for kids who really need more of the social worker. Anyway, so our first agency was a therapeutic agnecy for older kids and teens. And we basically started out with them because before we even got licensed, they had a "permanent placement" for us. After he moved, we did respite care with them for a while, and then we ended up switching over to the state, getting an adoptive homestudy, and doing both short term care (including emergency placements) and foster-adoptive placements.
ds, then dfs, was placed with us at 1.5 days old while still in the hospital. We adopted him 13 months later. We now have dfd, who was placed with us at 6 months old. We are waiting to see what will happen with her case, though she was placed with us specifically because it was looking like her case plan was going to become adoption. Indeed, the situation continues to look poor for reunification, though you never know (if there is one thing I have learned, it is that no matter what someone says, unless you have legally adopted a child, there are never any guarantees when it comes to the future of their placement). The first termination hearing is this week.
|12-28-2006 02:43 AM|
please keep it comming...
i dont have any kids yet, so the worry of my kid trying to fit in is not even a topic right now.
the long term care (after going to some classes) i feel fits us best. i knwo and have been told OVER AND OVER again. you can not be 100% anytime you foster. i am going through kids crossing. they are #1 in the state they are very helpful and under stand what we are going through.
i love the advice i will type more when i get a chance.
as far as the PG teens. not right now. i dont feel i could handle that. we are young and have not been PG ourselfs so i dont feel fit doing a PG teen.
|12-28-2006 02:38 AM|
|12-28-2006 01:02 AM|
|12-27-2006 08:31 PM|
|raleigh_mom||When you foster, can the foster children travel with you? We are also looking into becoming foster parents, but I am concerned that we have some trips planned for this year. They are within the US, but some cross state borders.|
|12-27-2006 08:19 PM|
We are trying to become FPs. We're still waiting on our home visit(s). A pretty nice place I've found online to learn the ins and outs of foster parenting are the forums at fosterparents.com. You can get just about any question answered there. I know there are a few active FPs on MDC, though.
What I have gathered through all I've read and learned in the classes is that the only thing certain in foster care is that nothing is certain. You have to be flexible and recognize your limits.
|12-27-2006 06:12 PM|
I'd suggest starting with short term placements and 1 child. Kids in foster care have been around the mill and are not the easiest kids in the world to love sometimes. JessasMilkMama's experience is not uncommon.
I'd be very careful about making a long term care commitment if you don't have much experience in this area. It's so traumatizing for these kids when so many placements fall through. Ease your way into the system to see if it really is for you.
I think it's great you're going to try though. I used to work for CPS and really felt for those kids in care. I saw so many placements break down - the foster parents would really try hard but some of these kids can be really challenging to deal with. I don't know what kind of support services they have for kids with behavioural problems here (psychologists etc) because you often need them.
|12-27-2006 05:42 PM|
Well, we took in my SILS 2 kids when they were like 18 months and 4, and my first baby was 18 months too. It was horrible, they had a lot of problems that no one had told us about. The baby had Shaken Baby synd. and cried and screamed all day. My own baby stopped talking and completely withdrew. My niece had to be held all day and could not be soothed. They couldnt sleep, it was so hard. They had too many problems that we could not handle and eventually we had to give them to people who were more equipped to handle them, and then they were returned to their father.
It was so rough, I felt so much guilt about returning them. It was the worst thing we ever did. My husband could not handle it, and they are his sisters kids. I was really upset that I couldnt spend time with my own baby, it was just insane. Then we had to rearrange all the visits with their mom, it was hard to be around her. We just were not prepared. Everyone ended up traumatized.
So be warned a lot of the kids have a lot of problems they wont tell you about, thats typical. Some people are cut out for it, like some people are cut out to be nurses or teachers. But some people arent. I think its great you are considering it and I hope it all works well for you. Kids need loving people like you
|12-27-2006 05:35 PM|
|~member~||What about pg teen moms?|
|12-27-2006 05:09 PM|
My DH and i are looking into foster care. we have started the long line of paper! can anyone give us more advice?
just so you know.
we will be doing
*long term care
mods i was un sure where to post this. please feel free to move it as you see fit!