A disregarded cry for help

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by TheyAreLegallyAdultsNow, Jan 11, 2011.

  1. sister in law and her hubby were awarded "foster parents of the year" two years ago for their dedication and previous successes with troubled foster kids.

    They've got kids of their own (aged 10-15)

    My sister in law works very hard at helping these kids overcome their vast and varied "issues" it consumes much of her time and attention. The latest foster placement has my niece and nephews hurting... lacking parental attention from their parents... the "super-foster-parents."

    Yes, sister in law and brother in law do WONDERS for the various troubled kids... but I can't help but wonder what is the cost to their "own!"

    Their current foster placement is 3 sisters with MASSIVE abuse/mental-health issues. (The three fosters are part of an 8 child sibling group that is divided among various homes) It is NOT those poor kids' fault that they have issues. NO ONE should have experienced what those poor kids have!!!!! For them their mental illnesses and behaviors are forms of coping and survival... I get it.

    But there ARE other kids in the house whose lives are being traumatized by the presence of the 3 severely traumatized foster kids!!!

    When we were up visiting... after all the other kids went to bed, my 15 year old niece put her phone shaped fingers to her ear and mouth and proclaimed...

    "Hello? Social Services? This is Mr & Mrs_____ You need to get these foster kids out of our home! We tried our best! They need more help than we can give them! We have our own kids to raise. They need our time and attention too! There will be PLENTY of time for us to save the world when our own children have grown! We can go back to fostering in a few short years. Thank you! Good-bye!"

    I know it is traumatic for kids to be moved around within the system. I really do get it! I really do!!!!!! Our own daughter (who we adopted out of foster care) bounced around different foster homes about every 90 days because foster families couldn't tolerate her Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) behaviors in their home. Did all those moves negatively impact her? Absolutely!!!! But the moves compounded an already existing very serious problem.

    I think there is wisdom in saying "As awesome as we have been at fostering, this placement is not good for our family our own children are suffering."

    Sometimes disrupting a placement is best for all involved...

    I know my sister in law and brother in law heard their daughter that night... I just wish they had HEARD her!
  2. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    You are right! They should be putting their own kids 1st because no one else wil.
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    First, exactly what are the bio kids lacking besides time and attention? HOW are they showing that they are unhappy? From your post I gather that it has gone beyond some jealousy of the time and attention shown to the "new kids" to doing real damage to them. Why do you think this and what are you seeing? The pretend phone call was pretty open and put it all out there, or it would seem so. Were the parents in the room? Paying any attention? What was there reaction to what she said? Did they respond at all?

    Do you have a clue as to why they are so wrapped up in helping all these foster kids to the exclusion of their own children's well being? Are they clueless or hooked on the respect and adulation of those who know that they are foster parents?

    Would they respond appropriately if you spoke to them, and be willing to make some real changes, or would they get angry and blame you for "stirring up trouble" and take it out on the kids?

    What exactly do you think would happen if CPS got a report that the bio kids in this home were suffering and miserable because they were ignored for the foster kids?

    Do the kids see tdocs (bio kids and fosters or just fosters)?Have they told their tdocs how they feel and why? How long has this situation been going on with their kids speaking and acting out?

    If speaking to them will not help them see, then you may want to consider helping your nieces/nephews write letters telling their parents HOW they feel and WHY. I am sure that specifics of what the parents and kids are doign that is hurting the kids would be helpful if you can get the kids to reveal this.

    I am really worried about these kids. The foster kids may be manipulative enough and/or strong enough to actually HURT these kids, esp as some ahve quoted that 99%+ of foster kids are sexually abused. Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) kids can be incredibly dangerous to others and I worry that the bio kids may be enduring physical and/or sexual abuse along with other issues. If not from these current kids then from past ones (or future ones).

    If letters to the parents do not work, maybe CPS NEEDS to hear about this. It isn't easy to do. IF you detail the pretend phone call then it will be clear that you did the report. Encourage the kdis to talk to adults - you, a school counsellor or teacher, a therapist or even their pediatrician, SOME ADULT other than mom and dad. If they won't talk to any other adults, and you believe they are abused, you have EVERY obligation to help them - report it to CPS and KEEP reporting. Anonymously if you want to contact your nieces/nephews again as this will NOT be a popular choice with the parents. I don't even know if it would do any good, depending on how much CPS is willing to ignore to have a home for these foster kids.

    I would at least try very hard to help. You are seeing what sure looks like abuse and as an adult you have some obligations here also.

    It really sounds like these parents have totally lost sight of their own kids, which is very sad. I hope the parents would respond if their kids' pain was visible to them, but you never know how dependent they are on all the praise for their foster work.
  4. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Several things scream at me here.

    1) What is the payoff sister in law & brother in law are getting from all this fostering? Is there any way they could get the same payoff by focussing on their own kids for a wile? Maybe take a break from fostering for say, three years, while they let their own kids have some attention and finish growing up?

    2) Is there a chance these current foster have abused/are abusing the natural kids?

    3) What would happen if the daughter who mimed the phone, actually made an appointment with her parents to discuss her concerns? Why has the daughter not done this? And what would happen if you and your husband facilitated this?

    Your sister in law & brother in law remind me of people who go jogging several times a day as part of a keep fit regime. Laudable, healthy, sensible - but hang on, it is beginning to look a tad excessive. Is this really to keep fit, or is there mostly the endorphin payoff behind this?

    Some people are emotional endorphin junkies. In fact, I have to attend a meeting tonight with a woman who is like this - in her case, she thrives on crisis, and resolving crisis. s a result she often creates crisis in order to be able to fix it. It also means other people get blames for crises that either do not exist or are minor, or of her own making. All because at some level, she needs to feel like she's the hero.

    I think your brother in law & sister in law need to be heroes. And they're not getting enough of this parenting their own kids. Very sad.

    Mind you, a site like this would be a godsend to them. And we would soon sort them out regarding their own kids' needs!

  5. Thanks for the thoughtful feedback SusieStar! Technically speaking the kids are all well cared for... good grades, clean clothes, full tummies etc etc etc.

    The level of trauma the current foster kids have seem to need more focused attention. They are getting lots of focused attention... and the bio-kids do get some attention... and other times have their heads in video games and computers most of the time... which is kinda-sorta-age appropriate... not necessarily best... but common for kids their age in today's society. Know what I mean??

    Mom and Dad... aunts and uncles were all around the table when my niece made her proclamation. Her parents heard it loud and clear. They said nothing.

    A few days later I mentioned to sister in law my concern about her daughter's valid outcry. I encouraged her to hear and validate her children's opinion regarding the family effort to improve the lives of kids through foster care. I forget what exactly her response was, but basically she blew it off.

    The fosters do have a history of molestation they are a few years younger than my nephews but close to them in height. The girls do look much older than they are.

    The fosters see psychiatrist regularly. sister in law goes in first to give psychiatrist update then fosters have their visit. I don't believe bio's are involved in counseling.

    The littlest one has the biggest issues... she has the most amazing smile/sparkling eyes combination... and when new-and/or-gullible people are not present the littlest one rages and kicks and screams and growls like an animal!!! I NEVER would have believed it if I didn't witness it with my own eyes!!!!!! The middle child (sooo heavily medicated at first) would be the first to appear to most people to have issues... but her issues are nothing compared to the littlest one!!!

    To be fair...
    We were there during the holidays. Busy/stressful time for even "normal" families.
    sister in law said fosters were exceptionally out-of-sorts during our first visit because bio-mom was a no/show for that week's visitation (Christmas fast approaching).
    Next time we were over (still holiday season) foster girls' bio-mom SAID she was getting an apartment and SAID they'd ALL (8 kids in all) be moving in together SOON. (Meanwhile sister in law says foster system is working toward terminating parental rights) Kids were extraordinarily out of sorts!!!

    I do think the best kind of foster placement for those kids, especially the youngest of the three, would be a therapeutic foster home... possibly separating the youngest of the three from the other two girls. There are younger/and older siblings spread out in other foster homes.

    I think the best course of action is to encourage my niece to keep talking about her feelings first and foremost with her parents... writing letters to them if she's feeling unheard, maybe even asking for occasional counseling sessions for herself and encouraging her to speak with trusted teachers counselors at school if it ever becomes too much.
  6. There is a touch of crisis lover in my sister in law it is the one quality my oldest-bio child dislikes most in her.
  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I hope this is helpful to the girl. How frustrating to not even be heard by her parents, though they were right there. She must REALLY be upset to say it in a public setting. It is highly possible for even the youngest of these kids to be abusing the bio kids - even given the age differences. How would YOU react to this younger child coming in, doing inappropriate and wrong things to you/at you and then because she is "cute" and "normal" looking if you complain she cries foul and says you did it to her - so the older kid gets the blame AND punishment.

    If you can get private time iwth this teen please let her know you are on her side and if there are things she wants to talk about you will believe her and try to help.

    I agree with Marg that these people are hooked on the rewards of fostering - endorphins and adulation from those who know about their "dedication" and "love" and "devotion" to these kids (while their own feel abused and neglected - cobbler's kids have no shoes syndrome!).
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My close friend was adopted as an infant and her parents had a steady stream of foster children all her life. For most of her young years she felt that she was no different than the foster kids...that she just lasted longer. Her parents also won Foster Parents of the Year awards, but what Social Services didn't know was that Mom was an alcoholic. On top of that, a few of the foster boys came to her room at night...you have to remember, these are kids that have a high rate of being sexually abused and they act out. These parents have no idea if their kids have ever been abused by the fosters.

    My opinion is that some people like the adoration of being a foster parent (of course, they get paid pretty well for it too). And you don't have to declare the board fees on your tax returns because it is not considered work. I did foster care with hub for a few years, mostly to foster/adopt. The system is terrible and so hard up for fosters that I doubt you can do anything to make t hem take the license away. And if by chance you were able to achieve that, they may take it out on this kids. There's money and accolades at stake here.