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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I havent even opend my home yet to a foster child but I know Im going to have a tough time working with the birth family during the time we try to reunite them with the child.

If anyone has any sugestions on how I can tell myself not to be jelous of the birth parent or angry or have negative feelings please let me know.

I believe that the best place for a child to grow up is with thier own birth family but sometimes it isnt possible and thats why we have adoption.I want to give the birth family thier chance and I want to be as much a part of that as my social worker needs me to be,but Im afraid I will be jelous.

Also how do you let go and say good bye to a child when they go back to thier birth family.(sorry French keyboard and I cant figure out puncuation)
 

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I'm confused...are you asking about foster parenting in general, or adopting out of foster care?

I would think that if you cannot work with the birth family, or the birth family in mind, you would not be a good candidate for a foster parent. Maybe straight out adoption would be better for you? Surely there are ways to adopt out of the foster system without being a 'normal' foster parent, I bet it varies though.

I only have very very limited experience with foster care as far as helping provide a safe place for a child in transition, but when I ran a group home for developmentally disabled adults (my guys were generally wards of the state, so I wasn't "in charge" there nor did I have final say if the state decided to move them/change benefits/ect.) it was something that you frankly had to just view as part of the job. I loved my guys very much, but I didn't 'own' them, and I knew that up front. It didn't affect my ability to love and care for them, even though I knew it was temporary.

I would ask your agency about feelings about this. I'd be shocked if it wasn't covered in part of the agency.

As far as letting go, it's hard, but you do it. I would imagine you can ask for longer placements. And maybe you'll find that long term, you don't really want to be a foster parent because that aspect of it is too hard for you. (It got to be too hard for me, after awhile, so I personally don't feel that it's a failing on someone's part if that's the case.) It's a real balancing act, opening your heart and arms to another person while knowing that you don't have much control.
 

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If you feel like you are going to be jealous of the parents, maybe this isn't the right role for you.

I plan on becoming a fosterer someday, but one of the things I am most looking forward to is working with not only the child but the family. Seeing the child return home would be the most satisfying and happy outcome for me, and while I have the child in my home, I want to work with the parents as much as I can, offering them support and being a non-threatening presence in their lives.

I would totally recommend reading Mary Callahan's Memoirs of a Baby Stealer. I think it gives a perspective on foster caring that many people are unaware of.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Jessy1019 View Post

I would totally recommend reading Mary Callahan's Memoirs of a Baby Stealer. I think it gives a perspective on foster caring that many people are unaware of.
DH and I have thought about fostering but it's never gone further than discussion... will look into it, thanks!
 

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I don't think that just because you think you may be jealous that fostering is not right for you. I think it's great that you are thinking about these challenges BEFORE you become a foster parent.

What we struggled with during the reunification process with G was

1- seeing that the parents were really doing very little to help themselves. Rather, they had all these providers doing everything under the sun to make this work but we knew these providers and all this help would be gone shortly after G was returned. How was that helping the parents? Things like- housing/food/transportation was provider for them. No, they were not taught to use public transportation, their case manager brought them where they needed to be. They didn't need to find employment (we all know TANF would require that or school) so they were supposed to figure out how to work after G returned to them?

2- While we knew they both loved G, they didn't show much concern for his well being. No one seemed to care that they didn't attend appointments and wouldn't ask how he was doing after knowing he was sick or had shots or had an appointment with the eye specialist. That used to drive me CRAZY! Once I waited to see how long it would take for them to realize he had cut another tooth (it was a front tooth!) and it took weeks.

3- The guardian ad litem always told me, "Alicia, we know the vast majority of foster kids would be better off with the foster family...BUT it's not about the better home, it's about removing jeopardy." Good to keep this in mind. It isn't about comparing who can take better care or provide more it's about safety.

The Baby Stealer book is good. It would also be good if you talked to some foster parents. I wonder if there is a group in your area that you could join. Also, you will have to go through classes in order to get licensed, so that would be a good way to learn more about the process.

Probably the best thing to remember when fostering is that ANYTHING can happen at any time.

A benefit of having a good relationship with birth families. A family I know of fostered a newborn girl. The dad was unknown intially. The dad was identified and the mom faded away. Dad was able to get custody of the little girl but when things started to get tough, he contacted the foster family. They loved the little girl and of course wanted to help. Fast forward a few years- the father, grandmother and foster parents share custody of this child. She lives with the foster family, visits grandma once or twice a month and when dad can manage, he comes to visit. They make up a room for him and he stays all weekend. Not something I can see myself doing, but it works for them and how wonderful for this little girl to see everyone loves her and wants the best for her.

I PM'd you a link to foster-adopt message boards
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I will check out the book when I get a chance.

I am now doing the foster parent training and am really learning alot and getting a chance to ask my questions.I think next week we will talk about letting go and things like that.We will also have a chance to meet with experienced foster parents.

We all do the same training and then we decide what type of foster home we want to have,long term,short term or emergency or we want to foster with the view to adopt.

I would very much like to adopt a child.I know this way is a bit of a risk bc once a child is placed with me there is a chance they will be united with thier birth family.

I want whats best for the child of course and thats the bottom line,but I am afraid I may have jelous feelings around the birth family even though I want them to be able to work things out and help them be better parents or whatever it is they need help with.I wont really know what my roll will be until a child is placed with me and the social worker lets me know.

I have just started the process so I have lots of time to figure things out.I want to prepare as much as I can even though I know there will be things I cant prepare for.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by imnotsupernanny View Post
I want whats best for the child of course and thats the bottom line,but I am afraid I may have jelous feelings around the birth family even though I want them to be able to work things out and help them be better parents or whatever it is they need help with.I wont really know what my roll will be until a child is placed with me and the social worker lets me know.

You know, I hate to sound negative but the truth of the matter is- once a child is placed in state custody, it has very little to do with the child and is all about the parents. It's like the children have no rights at all.

When G was having overnight visits last summer he went from a good sleeper to a screaming bloody murder needing to be held most of the night kind of guy. It was heartbreaking to see and so frustrating because it didn't make a bit of difference to anyone who could do anything about it. Everyone was just like...yup that happens when we get to overnights. No one cared that the parents were not meeting his needs- NOPE- just that their rights were being met. It really is all about reunification.
 

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The emotion i hear alot of fp's mention is not "jealousy" so much as it is sadness, frustration, anger. usually more at the system than at the bio parents, but that can be there too. I'm not sure what age you are thinking of fostering, but i would imagine that if its a child that already has an established relationship with their parent, you will see how much they love their parent and want to be with them, no matter how much that parent is lacking in skills. And i would think that you will *want* the child to be reunified, if the parent is actually getting their act together. It will be sad, and you will miss the child, and your heart will break, but in the end you'll know you did a good thing for that family. Often, when things work out well like that, you can maintain some kind of relationship with the family.

But what i think really angers fp's, and causes many to quit out of frustration and heartbreak, is when you have to send a child back to a situation you *know* is not good for that child. You don't get a say. Sometimes the sw's dont get a say. The judge may send a child back even if everyone is saying its not a good idea. A friend of a friend is fostering some kids, and they will most likely end up back with the mother, even though she has not demonstrated the ability to care for even one of her kids, let alone six. None of her children have lived with her for any long length of time. They go back, they get sent to grandma, they go back, then back to grandma (who is fostering) If you join a foster parent email list or board, you will hear the "horror stories", and yet you will also hear the stories of reunification that worked out well, and also of foster parents who were ultimately able to adopt children in their care.

If you do not think you will be able to handle giving a child back after six months, a year, two years....then you may want to consider straight adoption, where the parental rights are already terminated. Even with foster adopt, there is a chance the child will be reunified. I don't know what the situation is where you live, where i live we do not have a formal "foster/adopt" program like some states. But 80 percent of children available in my state who are adopted, are adopted by their fosters and/or relatives. not easy to adopt a child through straight adoption, esp a younger child or infant. I've been waiting since July for an older boy, and yet met someone who fostered, who was able to adopt three infants in five years. So you need to weigh all of this, talk to your worker, talk to other adoptive and foster parents, check out message boards, etc.

I think you'll find that rather than jealousy, you will feel alot of other emotions. It may help to see that many of the bio parents that you will be working with are struggling with so many issues (poverty, addiction, mental/emotional difficulties, lack of good parenting when they were a child, lack of education, etc) that the relationship they may have with their child is the one thing they have to hold onto in their life. Not really something to be jealous of, but rather something to nurture.

Katherine
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Jessy1019 View Post
If you feel like you are going to be jealous of the parents, maybe this isn't the right role for you.

I plan on becoming a fosterer someday, but one of the things I am most looking forward to is working with not only the child but the family. Seeing the child return home would be the most satisfying and happy outcome for me, and while I have the child in my home, I want to work with the parents as much as I can, offering them support and being a non-threatening presence in their lives.

I would totally recommend reading Mary Callahan's Memoirs of a Baby Stealer. I think it gives a perspective on foster caring that many people are unaware of.
You seem like you'll make a wonderful foster parent someday.


And that book is a real eye opener.
 

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Along with all the other great advice you have received, I would add that you should wait on an actual placement until you really feel ready and have had the chance to talk out these concerns. Many times Child Protection is so low on foster parents (and therefore willing to bend some of their own rules), that they will place a child with a family before the training process is even completed...it often sets everyone up for failure. You will know when you are ready.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I know about the foster care system in British Columbia,Canada where I grew up as a foster child.I am now an adult living in Montreal,Quebec.The system here is different Im sure and things have probably changed since I was in it.For me as a foster child it was tough bc I really had no say where I was going to live or when I was going to be moved and some foster parents just gave up on me without trying to help me out.It made me pretty angry.

I feel Ive worked out alot of those issues and know that if I do become a foster mom I dont want to give up easily on a child that may be what they label as hard to handle.Its really important to me that Im honest with myself as to what I feel I can offer to foster children and if Im not sure then I either wont be a foster parent or will choose to only accept certain ages or something like that.I dont have to make these decisions now so its ok.

I really want to foster to adopt a child from birth to 6 months,if possible.This is bc I thought a younger baby would be easier to bond with.Since Ive been doing the traning though Ive been thinking may I could be a good foster parent to a teen or an older child who needs someone on a short term or emergency basis.Im going to be open about this part of the fostering and learn more about befor I agree to anything when that time comes.

I have 5 of the mandtory training sessions left and then I can fill out the application on April,11 and start the assesment.Since I may be moving in July I may not start that process until after when Ive settled into my new place.Though Im really excited about this I dont want to rush into it.
 
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