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Any foster families here?

Discussion in 'Parents Off Topic' started by lynn, May 19, 2009.

  1. lynn

    lynn Approved members

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    Have any of you guys ever done foster care? Or do you do it now? My husband and I have always planned to care for foster kids when our kids get a little older. Well, we keep having kids so it'll be a long time before our kids are older.:)

    Several things have come up lately that have made us think that maybe we should consider it now. We watched a couple of little girls over the weekend who have been adopted by a family at our church. They are sisters who were shaken as babies so they have some effects from that. I'll say that they were fun to have around--they are so innocent (due to the damage in their brains). And HAPPY!! That hasn't always been the case though. I remember when they first were placed with the family and it was painful. We've watched many kids go through their homes over the last several years and it seems to be very emotional. They are in the process of adopting their fourth foster kid, but they've had to say good-bye to many more. I don't know if I have it in me.

    I guess I'm looking for stories of experience. I know three families who foster/adopt and they are completely sold-out on it. I feel like maybe I'm not getting the complete story, if you know what I mean?

    Thanks
     
  2. sisterbeth43

    sisterbeth43 Approved members

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    Lynn, kudos to you and your husband for considering this. I nevr did foster care, but I did do daycare for foster kids. When I was talking to one of the foster moms one day about the lack of money, she made the comment that I should do foster care--that there was good money in it. I really think that is the reason she was doing it. Sort of turned me off,
     
  3. shekov

    shekov Approved members

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    My husband and I looked into it semi-seriously last year and decided to wait.

    I think it's an awesome thing to do and an awesome responsibility.

    We decided that bringing a potentially difficult child into our home would be something WE could handle but were not sure that it would be a possitive experience for our 3 kids.

    I hope someone with practical experience chimes in here. I'd love to hear some possitive stories.
     
  4. frizzyrazzy

    frizzyrazzy Approved members

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    we've thought about it, but don't have the room.

    We had a friend growing up who's mom used to foster newborns - brandy new day old babies. It was hard to have this constant stream of babies, but my friend and her siblings were all older, so the babies were not competition (at that time, moms were just moms and stayed home and took care of kids, so it didn't' seem strange to have more kids in the house, know what I meant?) anyway, from the mom's point of view, she purposely tried to maintain a babysitter role with the babies - caring for them but not becoming overly attached. she never wanted to adopt, just to be there for these tiny little babies who had no chance in their first days of life. She said it was rewarding, but hard.
     
  5. ethical_erin

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    There are lots of options! :)

    Hi there. I also have never been a foster parent. However, my dear friend growing up (one of my bridesmaids back in 1994) was a foster child, so I got a really close up view. The caring parents she had truly changed her life forever. She lived with them for over 10 years and considers them true family. I'm in Arkansas, and here there is foster parenting through DHS and then "therapeutic" foster care through Community Service, Inc. These are children who have mental health issues or have had very traumatic abuse where they receive counseling several times per week to deal with their pain. Also due to the neglect, they often have poor health and need extra doctor and dentist visits until they get back up and running. I have a parapro in my classroom who is currently doing therapeutic foster care. The pay for therapeutic is ~$1200/month tax free. Regular DHS care is much less, but there is not the same level of medical care and counseling required. There is also respite care which might be a great place for you to "get your feet wet." You give other foster parents a "break" like a day off over weekends, holidays, or when they might be having a situation themselves such as back surgery or death in the family out of state. Both DHS and other agencies need respite families. So, you become familiar with the children, but they are only with you for a few nights at a time. I say follow your heart. There is such a need out there. And, you can set your ground rules...at least around our state you can. And by that I mean you could specify only girls or only boys or such as that. Should you ever become privy to information on a diabetic foster child, please let me know -->eaylor@yahoo.com. I am in the beginning stages of a non-profit venture. I am going to follow the Lord's calling for a home for diabetic kids...those in foster care, court ordered needs, or just others who are in really bad shape...fixing to be in the DHS system. Best wishes to you.
     
  6. lynn

    lynn Approved members

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    Thank you all for your replies. I hadn't considered being paid--with seven kids and one paycheck we are always broke so I just figured we'd share the "brokeness" along with the love! I did some checking around on our county website though and they do actually pay quite a bit. I worry somewhat though because they say that part of the qualifications of foster parents is to earn enough money. We are definitely low income.

    I like the idea of respite care. Maybe we will talk about that. I think we'll have to pray for some discernment.
     
  7. OSUMom

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    My husband grew up with over 60 infants in his family. :) They would foster newborns until they were adopted. This meant having a baby for a few hours to the longest they had a child was 18 months. He actually is coming to our lacrosse game tonight. He had cerebral palsy and was difficult to place in a home.

    Most of the time they would have an infant for just a couple days from hospital until they went to the new adoptive parents. It's a very short term situation - very rewarding, but kind of difficult to see them go if you become attached. Might be an option for you? This was through Lutheran Social Services many years ago.
     
  8. Judy&Alli

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    Hi Lynn,
    This is a very passionate subject for me! My two youngest beautiful daughters started out as my foster children 9 years ago.

    My dh and I had talked about it all through our marriage. He kept closing the subject. Only later did I find out that he was afraid of us getting our hearts broken due to the fact that they don't always stay.

    So 10 years ago we ran into our neighbor with a "new" boy. He was rotten to the core. Fast forward 6 months and he wasn't the same child. He was polite and happy. Totally different kid, but now he had a family that loved and cared for him. That little boy changed our lives. He is Brittany And Alli's birth brother. There are six kids in their birth family. We adopted the youngest two and my neighbor adopted the others.

    There are so many pieces that go into this story but I want to tell you that this is a GOD story. God put all the pieces together to make us a family. I think back now and if we did it when the timeing wasn't right, I don't think our family would be the same. Pray hard He has a plan!!!!!!!!!! I can't imagine life any different!!!!! Trust in his guidance, He might have your kids already picked out.:D I look at the day that we met our daughters as the day that God ordained for us. No coincidences, God incidences!!!
     
  9. joy orz

    joy orz Approved members

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    My parents fostered. My sister was adopted as a foster, and my parents had seven other kids over the years who came and went. It is a wonderful thing to do for a child, BUT it is NOT easy. And you really need to take into consideration the role your children will play as their lives will be just as affected as the child you bring into your home.

    Make sure it is something you all are willing to do as a family. The family my sister lived with before us had a daughter who was too jealous and so they sent my sister back into the system.

    Growing up a foster sibling, I think it shaped me positively, but it really wrecked me every time someone had to go back home.

    Now that I am a mother, I couldn't do foster care. I would love to adopt, but I don't have the ability to disconnect and let a child go if they were to be sent back to their birth parents. You'd see me on the news running for the border. They could make a Lifetime TV special of it.

    So if you want to foster, spend lots of time talking to the entire family about it. Look deep into yourself and ask if you could look a birth mother in the eye and welcome her into your home if she comes for a visit, and think about how you all would handle it if the child were to go back home.

    One thing I think people don't realize is that in foster care, the birth family is very involved because the goal is to reunite. It's like being divorced, you still have to see this person at baseball games, share holidays and birthdays. And your job is support this relationship between a child you love and someone you know hurt them. My mother is actually able to do this with a sincere smile on her face, but it takes a really special type of person to be able to do it.

    So if you are that person, then I thank you and wish you the best. Again, my sister and I are very close and I'm blessed to have her in my life. So you just have to look at the big picture.
     
  10. Ellen

    Ellen Senior Member

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    I have not been a foster parent but I have read two very good books, one from the perspective of a guardian ad litem (or CASA) (who later went on to adopt a foster care child and one from the perspective of her foster care child.

    I Speak for this Child by Gay Courter

    Three Little Words by Ashley Rhodes-Courter

    You can learn more about the authors here:
    www.gaycourter.com
    http://www.rhodes-courter.com/

    For those who do not want to necessarily commit to being a foster parent, becoming a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) or Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for a child in the dependency system, your work will be valued and your opinions respected by the court. There are so many children without a single person who truly looks out for their best interest. You can be THE person who cares about that child.

    http://www.nationalcasa.org/
    http://www.guardianadlitem.org/
     
  11. ethical_erin

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    CASA is good idea!

    Thanks for mentioning the CASA! A lady in our church is a CASA volunteer, and she said the judges in our area truly value their information and input.
     
  12. czardoust

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    its hard letting go. i fostered one little girl in texas when my husband was stationed there. this girls father was 18 and a buck private, her mother was a young teenager who dumped her on her dads doorstep. I will never forget this child.....she was a Little Person. the size of a 1 yr old at age 5. lit up a room, never stopped smiling. my children loved this girl so much. she lived with us for 1 short month while her father got it together.... too short.
     

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