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Old 02-15-2003, 05:22 PM
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Thinking of taking on Foster kids...

My Hubby and I are considering taking in Foster kids. Everyone we've talked to says DON'T! That we will be made crazy by the state and the kids.
Has anyone out there fostered? Did it work?
We have 4 kids still at home, but the youngest are 13.
Any advice?
Laurie
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Old 02-16-2003, 03:05 AM
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Well, I don't have any actual experience with it, but as much as I would love to help some of those kids, I could not do it. Not only because of all the legal hoops and red tape crap, but just for the mere fact that I know I would get sooooo attached to them and I would hate when they left. It would break my heart.
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Old 02-22-2003, 05:08 AM
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There a lot of things to consider about it.
A kid in foster care is a kid who is bringing a lot of their own issues to be worked out, and they will work them out IN YOUR HOUSE !!! Plus the social services crap, and the birth parent's crap, just getting approved as a foster home is a long, grueling process.
BUT--that being said--we started fostering with a six-month-old, highly neglected, real delayed little baby boy. By two years he was deemed NOT needful of special education, and within normal limits in all areas. Now, he's 11 years, and in a gifted/talented class at school (!) He's as rowdy and goofy as only an 11-year-old boy can be.
We NEVER had an issue with parental visitation, by the time he was two we were asked did we want to adopt, that started another two-year process, and the adoption became final when he was 4.
I would't change a thing !
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Old 02-22-2003, 05:29 AM
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i was a foster parent for many years to teens who had been released from training school and were wards of the court. it is what one would call a 'mixed bag' of experiences. since it is rare that any of these children will be emotionally stable you must be prepared for all sorts of crisis....from getting them out of bed in the morning until back to bed at night....and hoping they'll stay there. also their life experiences usually leave them with distorted value systems that will clash if you expect them to come in and abide quietly by your routine. if you think these children are going to be grateful for your largesse and the physical things you surround them with...no..it doesn't work that way. your expectations of such gratitude will be thrown back in your face. they can be destructive and thefts are a real possibility.

that's the down side.

you do, however get the reward of seeing them respond to routine....of daily life that is predictable.....their flourishing with healthy meals...their learning of new skills in looking after themselves and how to interact with the world.

i eventually went on to be a foster care co-ordinator for such teens and found that the main problem was always the unrealistic expectations of the foster parents....who always expected the kids to be grateful and respond as such.

different parenting skills are essential....very firm and clear definitions of expectations and meaningful consequences for misbehaviour need to be quickly applied. in my house, truancy meant the offender had to read a bedtime story to my young daughter...shakespeare!!!

there are three key things you will need.

1. a very good sense of humour.

2. lots of creativity.

3. a totally unambivalent ability to say "NO' AND STICK WITH IT.

thirty years later i still see and hear from some of my kids. i won't claim that they went on to become solid law respecting members of society. many had to do time in jail. but i always get hugs and love from them, even the ones that ended their residency in disaster. go figure?

i would do it all over again and have fond memories of the time. some of these kids were so remarkable and overall the house was full of laughter.

if you go ahead, remember to not try and present yourself as their parents.....your role is guardian and caretaker and you will build resentment if you try to lable youself otherwise. the worse the birth family relationship, then the stronger the child's bond will be to that parent and it must never be put down or minimized in any way. one can only help the child learn how to cope with those old bonds in a way that is not so stressful.

whew...my typing finger is getting sore. if you want to discuss any further please feel free to email or p.m. and we can chat.

good luck.

carol
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Old 02-22-2003, 05:33 AM
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Please let us know what you decide.

One more thing to consider--at least where we live, one of the things they ask you is if you would ever be interested in adopting. This is one of the early questions, before you even get approved. BUT what you answer is important, because it puts you on a specific list. So, if you say "no", you will get kids who will probably go back home one day, and will never become available to be adopted by you.

A "yes" list doesn't mean you WILL want to adopt anybody or even that some particular child will ever be adoptable, but only that there would exist that possibility.

Does this make any sense? I'm not explaining it very well.
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Old 02-22-2003, 06:27 AM
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How interesting this thread has come up. Hubby and I started discussing this very thing about two weeks ago. We are interested in maybe adopting some kids (older ones, no babies), but, were concerned about the expense. I am a sahm, and plan on staying that way. We have two kids already, and we would all love to have additions to our family, but, from what I understand, the cost is somewhere in the thousands for each child.

I had thought about what u said, Carol, and I applaud you for what you have done for many. You are a special lady, and it shows thru in everything I read from u.

Bupu, was it expensive when ya'll decided to adopt your foster child?

Be blessed,
Beckie
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Old 02-22-2003, 07:12 AM
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Hi ?StillNaked?: Pray about it is my first and most important advice. Fostering children is not something you just do. I believe you have to have a calling. You certainly can't do it for the $$ because that would mean it's not worth it!

Like raising your own children, fostering children has its ups and downs, its pleasant and unpleasant surprises. In the end, you've not only rescued a child from a harmful situation, but you've instilled some very good "stuff" into them. Even if you don't see it, you know it's there. Some time in that child's life he WILL appreciate all you've done. It may be years later as he looks back or maybe it will take him going through a few hard times.

I quit my job a little over 5 years ago after my husband and I prayed and decided to do therapeutic foster care. Not just normal children needing guidance but children with emotional, behavioral or physical problems. You know... the kids no one wants for sure.

After 5 years we're still going strong. Yes we have our times with the system. Like any legal system in the US, we need improvements made but all and all, it's a good thing. You have to keep in mind you can't save the world. We have learned that there are some children you can help and there are some you can't. That doesn't make you a falure.

With our agency, we have had a lot of parenting training and it has enlightened us and helped us improve our parenting skills even for our own children.

Good luck with your decision. If you've prayed about it and know that this is what God wants you to do and you have His support, there's nothing you can't do! I encourage people to do this! I get tired of hearing "I could never do that". etc. etc. These children are suffering in homes where they're supposed to be safe but instead are neglected and abused hidiously. It's tough and not always rewarding but somebody has to step up to the plate!
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Old 02-22-2003, 07:16 AM
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I wanted to tell dxlifer how encouraged I was after reading her post! BRAVO. 30 years!? Wow.

beckie: In my state, to adopt the children we have, there is NO cost. The state pays. We go through an agency called SWAN. There are other agencies too. Maybe you could look up SWAN on the net and see if they are in your area as well. Good luck.


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Old 02-22-2003, 07:49 AM
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foster parenting

Hi. I was a foster parent for a number of years and we had both good experiences and bad experiences. Most of it depends on whether you get a good social worker or a bad one (bad as in she is slow getting things done, not very attentive etc.) One idea you might try is being a crisis foster parent. That requires a bit more training but you never have a child more than a couple of weeks. That way you can work with children when they need you the most but it is not a long term commitment. And remember, if you decide to become a foster parent whether long term or crisis care, you have the right to say no to any placement and if you do take in a child and it doesn't work out, you can always ask them to place the child in another home. (this should only be as a last resort though). Foster parenting can be an extremely rewarding experience and it is definitely worth it. Just make sure you are assertive enough to ask for what you need when dealing with the social workers or the state. I wish you luck and hope you decide to give it a try. It isn't nearly as bad as people lead you to believe.
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Old 02-22-2003, 08:38 AM
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PBS TV just ran an excellent program on foster parenting in their program Right On The Money. Lots of web references were mentioned and are on-line from rightonthemoney.com. IF i didn't get the web right do a search with in PBS or TPT.org the local producer. Good luck!
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