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Thinking of doing FOSTER CARE...please share your experiences!


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May 5, 2012, 12:08pm   #1
Crystalina's Avatar
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Hello!

My husband and I have been thinking about becoming foster parents.

We are mid thirties and mid forties, with no kids of our own. I am special education teacher, and about a third of my class is comprised of foster kids. I deal with many behavior/learning and emotional issues EVERY DAY with these kids, and I am pretty sure we are fairly well-equipped to take on a foster child.

Anyway, as with most life-changes, I am having some moments of worry and self-doubt.

Would any of you be comfortable sharing your experiences as a foster parent, both good and bad? I'm interested in hearing what you've gone through, or any tips and viewpoints I haven't considered.

Thanks!
May 5, 2012, 12:57pm   #2
g
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My one friend did foster care for over twenty years. She took in teenage girls who seemed to be very difficult to place. She would have 3-4 girls at a time which is way more then most people would ever do. She raised them as her own and guided them in life. Most went on to college or the military after high school and still kept in touch with her as they got older. She found it very rewarding. She did have to deal with issues but she had rules and the girls accepted them and I really can't think of one major problem she ever had.
May 5, 2012, 1:45pm   #3
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WOW - that is wonderful OP! This is such a meaningful endeavor. Some of my friends were fostered as kids/teenagers. They remember most fondly the homes where there was love but also clear structure and crystal clear boundaries. Those fostering parents were the ones that made the most difference.

I'm sure it will be challenging, but it will also be a very rewarding thing to be there when they really need you. ♥
May 5, 2012, 4:58pm   #4
alliemia's Avatar
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Have you checked with your children and family services dept? I think the first step would be to take classes and that will help you determine if it's the right fit for you. Since you are aware it may be a special needs child and you are familiar with how to handle many of those issues, you are probably ahead of the game.

Also, keep in mind that foster is usually a temporary situation, so think about how you will cope if you have to say goodbye to the child. I think sometimes foster situations can lead to an adoption in some cases though.

good luck.
May 5, 2012, 10:01pm   #5
Crystalina's Avatar
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Originally Posted by alliemia
Have you checked with your children and family services dept? I think the first step would be to take classes and that will help you determine if it's the right fit for you. Since you are aware it may be a special needs child and you are familiar with how to handle many of those issues, you are probably ahead of the game.

Also, keep in mind that foster is usually a temporary situation, so think about how you will cope if you have to say goodbye to the child. I think sometimes foster situations can lead to an adoption in some cases though.

good luck.
Thanks for the info!

We are thinking of doing the foster-to-adopt program. Three of my students are currently in the process of being adopted from that program. And their foster parents are such wonderful people and my favorite parents to deal with, because foster parents are always so much more realistic and down-to-earth.
May 6, 2012, 10:38am   #6
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"Ruffian"
Hi Crysalina-

We are in the foster to adopt program. The one thing I will tell you....be really patient. Dealing with Child and family services will make you want to tear your hair out. State agencies move at a snail's pace, and make sure to keep on top of everybody, because it's easy to get lost in the system. Make sure you like your social worker-it's a really important relationship. If you have to switch caseworkers-do so!

The foster to adopt takes a bit longer than regular foster. It's hard to find kids that are "legally free" and right for you. If your state has a support group, you may want to look into that.

Best of luck- I think all this will be worth it someday.
May 7, 2012, 9:15am   #7
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It is people like you who are perfectly suited to become foster parents, IMO. If you are a special education teacher and have dealt with foster kids before, you already know a good deal of what you might encounter, and unlike many other people you have professional background to help you along. Some foster parents I have known have had conflicts between foster children and their biological children (often a lot of time and effort goes into a foster child's issues at school and socially) and had to give up fostering, and you also do not have that conflict.

There is a family we are close to who has fostered to adopt several times, and I cannot say enough good things about them. They are some of the most patient, compassionate and loving people I've ever met. Two of their children have ongoing issues at school with behaviour, and I don't know anyone better suited to help those children than this family. IMO, it is people like this that make the world go 'round, caring for others and making a difference where they can. Good for you for considering such a big step. If you decide to do this, you will make an enormous difference in someone's life.
May 9, 2012, 2:31pm   #8
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First of all, a big congrats for making such a decision. This, combined with the job you decided to do, prove your emothional strength and affectionate character, two of the main qualities a foster parent (or any parent) must have!

I have no experience with foster care myself, but I know several couples who have adopted kids and they've all done a great job!

I cannot offer you much advice on this issue. I'm just glad there are people like you out there!!!
May 10, 2012, 1:12pm   #9
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I think that is a wonderful decision you have made! To be able to give children a better life than that they were given is just great. Some of the stories that certain foster children can bring along with them are just gut-wrenching. Many have been through absolute nightmare situations, even past foster parents. The more foster and potential adoptive parents there are in this world, the better chance they have at a new start, and a new outlook on life.

Do you have a specific age range that you were thinking about or are you open to all ages?

Best of luck!
Jun 10, 2012, 3:11pm   #10
c
Louis Vuitton Lover
Thanks great, and I commend you for reaching out. Every child need someone to love them, and create a stable environment.
Jun 10, 2012, 5:26pm   #11
mammabyrdie's Avatar
May The Force Be....
The foster parents I know personally end up adopting their foster kids. I'm sure there are challenges, but you have a huge heart for children and their well being. Not just anyone can be a special education teacher. Go for it with your eyes wide open. I feel you'll do a great job.
Jun 27, 2012, 6:00pm   #12
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I am a foster mama! Our intention in fostering is adoption, and we have had our current babe from 3 days old. We are in the process of adopting him. He's almost 10 months old. We fostered 2 babes prior. I am happy to share experience via PM!! Also, diaperswappers has a subforum for fostercare/adoption and it's so wonderful!! there is a wealth of information/forums on adoption.com too!! please feel free to pm me!!
Jul 5, 2012, 2:06am   #13
Crystalina's Avatar
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Thank you everyone for your wonderful information!

I think to start, we'd be taking on short-term fostering assignments. We'd prefer taking toddler age or older (just not babies).

My current students are anywhere from age 6-13 and I'd be comfortable with any of those ages.

We need to get into a larger home, though. We are currently in a one bedroom condo and we obviously won't be able to proceed until we find something larger with 2 or preferably 3 bedrooms.

As soon as that's handled, we are good to go!

Thanks again for all of your wonderful input, ladies. I will be sure to seek some of you out for more advice as we get closer to having a child assigned to us.

Jul 5, 2012, 9:01pm   #14
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You and your husband sound like an amazing family!!
Jul 9, 2012, 8:53pm   #15
hanana's Avatar
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I don't have experience with fostering children, but I work with students who are in foster care or should be in foster care and I know what a need there is for good foster parents. I think it's wonderful that you and your family are considering this. I'm sure it's frustrating dealing with the state, but the positive impact you can have on a child is so worth it. I really hope it will work out. Please let us know how it all goes for you!
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