Thinking of fostering

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by ML, Dec 5, 2010.

  1. ML

    ML Guest

    A good friend of mine, P, owns her own drop in, hourly, daycare center. She also adopted 4 of her 5 kids from the foster care system. She believes husband and I would make good foster care parents. She sees the way we are with her kids, and the way we are with manster.

    One benefit would be that husband could afford to continue being stay at home dad. It would give us an avenue towards staying afloat. I really do believe we could add a lot to a child in terms of providing consistency and love and goodness knows manster has trained us to deal with difficult children. The challenges are evident and manster's well being and adjustment to it is paramount.

    But we are considering it. Just one kid, a couple years younger than manster. He needs to remain top dog and also, he's passive and we wouldn't want a stronger, more "influential" kid with us.

    What do you think? Has anyone done this and are we crazy to be considering it?
     
  2. moonglow

    moonglow New Member

    This just my very small two cents...I would consider what having a possibly major difficult child in the house would do to your child. I had considered foster care before because my heart goes out to these kids but I don't want my son abused (or when he was younger him abusing them!)...which is why I won't ever do it...at least not while he is in the house and by the time he moves out I would probably be too old and impatient to deal with a difficult child all over again. But you never know. The thing is he won't get your undivided attention anymore and could start acting out. (which is why siblings fight!) Your whole lives will completely change suddenly having another child in the house too. Its awfully lot to consider. Plus the money you get will go towards buying extra food and clothes and toy, etc for this new child ...I don't know how much would actually be leftover from that. If its even much at all. More things you would want to check into and if you do decide..make sure you check out the background of the new child very well so you can be prepared for what needs they might have.
     
  3. ctmom05

    ctmom05 Member

    For anyone with an active difficult child in the family, fostering could skew the dynamics in a way that would require a tremendous amount of energy to deal with
     
  4. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    My neighbor does this. There's one boy who must keep his own room because he is sexualized. It bothers me because she has several young grandchildren. Then there are times that her children become upset because the kids talk about things that are normal to them - abuse and witnessing abuse - to the other children and it forces conversations with their children that should be introduced by my friends to their kids, not someone else's kids with a skewed idea of "normalcy".

    Don't get me wrong - I was a foster child. They need people who can take care of them and invest in them. I lived in homes alone, I lived in homes with one or two others, I lived in homes with 10 others. I would not recommend it for families that have children of their own, especially difficult child's who need so much help, at home. Manster needs to be your highest priority, and a foster child could (even innocently) undermine that.
     
  5. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    It's certainly something to check in to but I would be very, very cautious.

    My own kids are grown and a few years ago I wanted to do this very badly. It's quite an undertaking. I was still working at the time but I drove 30 miles for ten weeks of night classes given by DCS which included lots and lots of homework. Every aspect of my personal and professional life was investigated. I went through three home studies. I submitted financial statements, personal and bank references, was fingerprinted, and spent weeks gathering and submitting documentation such as birth certificates and thirty year old marriage and divorce papers. I either mailed or faxed these documents to the SW I was working with and I started to get uneasy when she claimed not to have gotten some of these and asked that I resubmit them! Some of these had some pretty sensitive information on them and they were "lost"! More and more paperwork jumbles. After a while I started to realize that it wasn't something that I could do while I was still working, so even though I went through all preparation, I never went through with it.

    And now that I'm retired, I still think about it but probably won't do it. It all depends on your local CPS office but these people seemed to be completely overloaded and disorganized and this is who I would have to go through. Kids can be moved at a moments notice for no reason, you must keep endless reports and track every dime, and one complaint from an angry child and you will be trying to defend yourself from something that you did not do. Virtually ALL of the children, at least the older ones, are on some type of medication and go to some kind of counseling. I know the need for foster parents is very great and I ache for the children who are in "the system" through no fault of their own. But, at least here, I think it would be too difficult to work with those people who run "the system" and I would be letting myself in for frustration and heartbreak.
     
  6. ML

    ML Guest

    Thanks ladies. You definitely got me to stop and think. Maybe this isn't a good idea.
     
  7. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    I would think just going from being an only child to suddenly having not just a foster-sibling, but likely a needy one, would be a drain on even the most well balanced and generous-hearted kids. Have you talked to Manster about it?
     
  8. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    While you'd most likely be awesome foster parents..............I can see problems that may arise. Manster would have to suddenly get used to a new child in the house, plus the turnover rate depending on how often cps moves foster children around. So even should Master get along with a new child in the house or even get quite close to them there is always the risk hanging over head that the child will be moved. While not all fosters are difficult children............some are mega difficult children and while you're experienced, having mult difficult children in the house to play off each other and escalate situations can seriously make a bio parent want a nice quiet padded room somewhere.

    I thought about fostering when the kids were younger. I changed my mind as much due to the potential of forming a strong emotional attachment to a child only to have them removed from the home........that and at the time here you couldn't request specific age ranges. I did not want teens in my house when my own kids were preschoolers.

    That said, I know a foster family or two that have made it work for them. Great people with the utter patience of Job himself (and maybe a saint or three). One set of fosters adopted my twin cousins........as well as 15 of their other foster children on top of the 8 children they had of their own. However their 8 were grown and off to college before they took in the first foster child.

    There are a lot of pros and cons to it. Maybe it would be easier if you didn't already have a difficult child in the home, but then again maybe not as you wouldn't have many skills to deal with the kids that would be coming into your home.

    Definitely a tough decision. One that I decided again. I had my hands full with Travis and Nichole and Katie when she was here.
     
  9. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    This is a deeply personal, marital, family issue. It will change EVERY aspect of your lives and can put a huge strain on the family as a unit, the marriage, the parent-child bond, and every individual in the family, including the foster child. It may mean putting all of you into serious danger. Many of these kids are incredibly damaged and most likely you will NOT be told what was done to the child or BY the child. I am pretty sure it was MWM who took in a foster son (11yo or so my fuzzy brain wants to remember) who sexually abused her other children!! I have known cases where a much younger child has abused an older child very badly - even though the older child was a easy child.

    The statistics on the numbers of foster kids who have been abused is terrifyingly high - esp for those who are willing to foster an adult child. Usually the foster and/or adoptive parents have NO idea and the system doesn't want to tell you because then many foster parents might refuse to continue doing that work.

    It would put a big stress on manster. He has been the only child for many years, and he may very well feel left out and jealous in many ways - even if he doesn't want to feel/act that way.

    This is going to sound chauvinist, and it is NOT designed to offend anyone, but there is NO WAY that I would permit my husband to stay home and care for foster or daycare kids. NOT NOT NOT because husband would EVER hurt a child in ANY way because I am completely sure he would NEVER hurt anyone. I would be VERY worried about possible false accusations of molestation/sexual abuse. Men are so incredibly vulnerable to those accusations and it only takes ONE allegation to completely DESTROY their reputations, careers, and everything else they value. Even having the allegation be PROVEN unfounded - having the man's innocence be PROVEN - will NOT EVER repair the man's reputation. An old friend of my parents, a man my dad taught with and was best friends with for many many years, was accused of sexual misconduct by a female student. The investigation cleared him 100%, even proved he was NEVER alone with her, not even in a hallway during classes, but even now, twenty plus years later, he is still at the SAME level and paygrade that he was at then. His family lost almost everything to pay his legal fees, and he couldn't get a job anywhere else, so he made the school district keep him on as an employee, but he was NEVER given promotions, etc... and they put him in the nastiest, roughest, most dangerous schools in a large metro area school district. It has been a waste of a very kind, wonderful, intelligent man's potential - ALL lost because some jr high girl got mad that she had a detention for skipping class.

    The amount you are given to support the second child is not likely to be much. It may be enough to help you all out, only you k now what your budget can handle. Just be careful. If you do choose to be a foster parent, I am sure that you will find many rewards. Be sure to ask, up front, how often the kids are moved. In our current town, foster kids are moved as little as possible depending on their needs, etc.... Esp the very young children. Not every area is like that. I has a friend who stopped fostering because it was the policy in her area to move kids ever 4-6 months, at the longest they were with a family for a school year. The idea was to keep the kids and parents from bonding so closely, so that if they had to be moved it wasn't as traumatic for them because they were "used" to new families. in my opinion that is torture for all parties - the kids never have anyone to become attached to and the families deal with heartbreak over and over and over. It has been a while since she stopped, so I don't know if that has changed since then, but it is something to ask about.

    You are a wonderful, sweet lady - the children in your life are very blessed!

    ps. Thanks for the mito disorder article!!
     
  10. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    That's another thing too - the money. I'm not sure how much it is here now, but it's not much. They get a clothing allowance twice a year and their medical, dental and counseling is paid, but the monthly stipend is not much at all and a lot of people end up dipping into their own funds to buy those extras. The clothing allowance wasn't much either when you figure the costs of things like winter coats and shoes. Here the amount goes up with the age of the child but when I was going to do it, the monthly amount allotted for a teenager was just about the same as what I had been getting in child support for my son, and child support was based on the idea that it was half the amount to support him and that I was paying the other half. There were several foster families that had formed a food co-op for groceries, etc. It always makes me mad when people think that foster parents actually make money off of it - they don't, and here you have to prove that you have sufficient income to support your own family because it's forbidden to use any of the fostering money for your own use.
     
  11. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    The amount given for clothing is pitifully small. I spoke in depth with the therapist when difficult child was in the psychiatric hospital 7 yrs ago and one of the things we discussed was his sense of entitlement. I was used to things like periodically getting clothes for him as I found sales, etc... They had me NOT do that, even had me NOT replace his gym shoes (only shoes he would wear) when they "fell apart" because they saw him purposely tearing them up - pulling the soles off of the shoe part, even sneaking scissors into his lap to cut them up. They gave him some duct tape and had him patch them - to his fury. The clothing amount was $50 twice a year - to shop they took the kids to either goodwill or salvation army and had them shop there for everything but underwear. They still had to get underwear out of the $50 though. It was a real eye opener for him to not have mom just replace what he destroyed. it really made a BIG difference, but it was HARD to find all the clothes he needed out of that $$.

    I am sure the amount is even less now. I also think it may be like SSDI where you have to track the money and be able to prove that you spent it on stuff for the child during periodic reviews.

    Foster parenting is certainly a labor of love, and NOT a plan to make money or support a family, which is kinda wrong when you consider how many appointments some foster kids end up needing.

    Has your husband considered substitute teaching? You usually do NOT need a teaching certificate, though it may limit the # of days per school year that you can teach. Most places are desperate for teachers and subs, so the requirements are not as strenuous as they are for regular teachers. It allows you to have a lot of flexibility in your schedule as you are not locked in to a set schedule for the most part.
     
  12. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    I'll come from the perspective of adopting from the foster care system. The tweedles had some very good foster parents & those who were in over their heads yet kept accepting more fosters than they could handle. Saying that, God bless each & every foster parent/respite provider out there. It's not an easy task taking on another child; one with whatever baggage he/she will bring into the home. Taking on fosters is a humbling experience; these youngsters are in a bad way & emotionally demanding.

    ML, I love that you're willing to look into this ~ I worry for Manster's stability; for the cont'd family dynamic that your difficult child knows. Look into the process if you are excited, interested in this opportunity. Learn the system inside out. Know the specifics of a child's & his/her family's issues. Is this child a runner? Has he/she set fires or hurt animals? Are there substance abuse in the parental home? A bedwetter? Mental illness? Is there an IEP in place & who would be in charge of the educational issues? What is the foster SWs case load ~ will he/she be available for emergencies? Training?

    I've just skimmed the top of the ice berg ~ there is much to learn before you take this step. AND much of it is "on the job" training.

    ML, let us know & we'll support you either way.
     
  13. Jena

    Jena New Member

    hey

    your hearts in the right place as always, as is your thought of financial. yet from seeing it first hand when i worked in in home crisis i had a family with a huge problem difficult child wow this kid was rough, yet he had a terrible background they adopted him. let's just say she had about 2 foster kids. foster kids come with-their own baggage and like anything else you get what you get i do not believe you can request certain problemed difficult child kids. their all going to be sweet at heart difficult child kids with a ton of problems and yes giving them love and warmth shelter and food is a great thing yet u have to think of carefully would manster be able to handle attaching and detacthing constantly because that's what he'd have to do. more importantly how would you a sensitive person who is caring and wants to love a kid handle loving a child for x amt of time and than having to say good bye?

    some of these beautiful foster kids come from situations that neither you or i could even begin to comprehend and yes they will act out, share with you in time if they feel the ounce of safety from you guys and it's beyond the gfgism that we're accustomed to handling. what i've seen is alot of kids being seriously abused either physically or emotionally or sexually and its heartbreaking on multiple levels and thing is you want to keep them.

    i met a beautiful sweet young girl going back two years ago at my clients home. she was 3 and a half was adorable, bright and just a sweet kid. she sat in our entire session two times i was there. she'd sit on my lap, play with my necklace and ring while i worked with their difficult child and his parents.

    i than asked one day how long will you have her? their question was shocking another 2 mos. her father is fighting for custody and winning. oh great i thought. next question why is her belly so swollen like that is she sick? they said no it's from the sexual abuse her father did onto her.

    let's just say i sat in my truck almost throwing up and soon after that i left the job. was too much for me to know i couldn't help her she wasn't in my realm of visits besides sitting on my lap and that within the next several mos she'd be back with her abuser.

    sorry that was a strong story yet your an awesome person and i dont' want you to get caught up in a situation that is hard emotionally on all of you. if you can handle all of that than i say go for it, those kids need a safe place. yet if you can't dont' hurt yourself, manster and husband.

    ((hugs))
     
  14. ML

    ML Guest

    I love you gals so much and after reading all your responses I am convinced this is not a road we are prepared to go down. Thank you again for your supportl
     
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