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Old 07-22-2008, 09:43 PM   #1
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Wondering abt pros/challenges of fostering....

Hello,
I have been lurking here for a couple hours trying to figure out if bringing in foster children is the right thing for my family. I have been thinking abt it for quite a while now, but only mentioned it to my husband for the first time today. He seemed surprised and reluctant. He said he is not sure if we can handle any more kids. We have two girls a 3.5 year old and a 10 month old. Both girls are very laid-back, well-behaved, happy and fun. I am a sahm. I have been feeling lately like I need something more in my life, like I need to do something more for the 'greater good'. My SIL has been a foster parent for abt a year, she had a teenage girl for abt 7 months and now has two sisters aged 7 & 9. I have spent a little bit of time with these girls and I am in love with them. SIL told me today that they both love me. I have asked a little abt their situation and what I hear just kills me. I just can't understand the abuse, the neglect, the horror. I want to help.

Here are my concerns:

-I sometimes have a hard time getting in the one-on-one time I need with each of my children to accentuate and appreciate their positive differences.

-I already have a hard time finding 'me-time'.

-I worry that I wouldn't be able to give my baby the attention she needs.

-I worry about the foster child possibly abusing my children.

-I can be a pretty sensitive, emotional person, may become attached.

-I obviously need to have my husband on board.

There are so many other issues to consider, my mind is spinning a little. I just know there are beautiful children in need. I know not all of these kids will be as sweet as my SIL's girls, and others have far bigger issues, but I feel like I have a pretty stable home and lots & lots of love to give. I guess I worry most for my baby. Maybe this is not the right time?

I am looking for some pros & cons to fostering. and from what I have listed if you think my family could be ready for a foster child.

Other things worth mentioning - my husband and my sil were both adopted as babies, they are not biologically related.

Also, we took in my sisters family for 2 months this year when she was leaving an abusive relationship. She has 3 kids aged 14, 8 & 6. It was hard, but we did it, we made it work.

TIA for any help & advice anyone can give

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Old 07-22-2008, 11:54 PM   #2
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Re: Wondering abt pros/challenges of fostering....

Honestly, your intentions are wonderful! They NEED foster parents so badly, but IF I WERE YOU, with two small LOs I would not do fostering right now. It is such an emotional drain on you and your children, and they need to come first. Many of the kiddos in foster care have significant emotional trauma and will act out because of it; in ways that can either impact your LO's negatively, or 'teach' them how to act out, too.

You have a HUGE heart, God bless you for that; but if I were you I would wait until your LOs are older and can defend themselves and have had a little more time with basic upbringing without the chaos.



My experience... foster/adopting 4 kiddos, and another who we had placed elsewhere beacause of self injurious behavior (she was 2). Fostering is beautiful BUT IT ISN'T in any way easy. To be completely honest, I sometimes wish we had gone slower so that I had time to cherish 'mommy-hood' instead of chaos.
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Old 07-23-2008, 08:47 AM   #3
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Re: Wondering abt pros/challenges of fostering....

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Originally Posted by Primm_n_Proper_Baby View Post
Honestly, your intentions are wonderful! They NEED foster parents so badly, but IF I WERE YOU, with two small LOs I would not do fostering right now. It is such an emotional drain on you and your children, and they need to come first. Many of the kiddos in foster care have significant emotional trauma and will act out because of it; in ways that can either impact your LO's negatively, or 'teach' them how to act out, too.

You have a HUGE heart, God bless you for that; but if I were you I would wait until your LOs are older and can defend themselves and have had a little more time with basic upbringing without the chaos.



My experience... foster/adopting 4 kiddos, and another who we had placed elsewhere beacause of self injurious behavior (she was 2). Fostering is beautiful BUT IT ISN'T in any way easy. To be completely honest, I sometimes wish we had gone slower so that I had time to cherish 'mommy-hood' instead of chaos.
Thanks for your advice. I guess I kind of knew everything you just said, abt waiting til LO's are a little older and not bringing chaos into the house at this time. We actually don't do that well with chaos - we are pretty laid back here. I tend to have serious insomnia issues when things get awry. On the flip side, we have a lot to offer here in this household. A tight, loving family with a large, loving extended family & friend base. Many, many open hearts. But maybe the timing is not good - except that I am home right now, which gives me the opportunity to help and in a few years I will need to go back to work. But as you mentioned it would be an emotional strain on the whole family and my kids would be subjected to behaviors that could severely impact them. When my sister's kids were here, they have many behavioral issues and it definitely affected my older DD.

There really is so much to consider which is why I came here for advice. Thanks so much.
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Old 07-28-2008, 03:57 PM   #4
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Re: Wondering abt pros/challenges of fostering....

Hi,

We have been doing foster care for about 1.5yrs now. Aside from being a parent, it has been the most rewarding thing I have EVER done. BUT, my children are older. They are 19, 18 (almost) and 11. We only foster infants and toddlers, but have provided respite (temporary) care for 5 & 6yr old siblings to the twins we have now.

One of the things they told us in training, is to only take children younger then your youngest child. It's best to keep the 'birth order' as natural as possible. Another concern with young children in the home...they will not understand children coming and going and may begin to become insecure about whether or not they will leave too. IMO, it's best to wait until the children are old enough to understand that aspect of foster care.

Having said all that...it does take about 6 months or more (took us 9mo) to get licensed for foster care. It's not a quick process...so when you do decide to get started...plan for that. One of the things that helped my dh decide to agree to this (he had reservations at first too) is that we can choose to accept a placement or not. You don't have to take everyone they call for. You have the right to say no. Yes, it's hard to turn a child down...but you need to know your limitations. It really helps to make an easier transition when you accept a child that fits your family.

Good luck, what ever you decide.
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Old 07-28-2008, 09:22 PM   #5
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Re: Wondering abt pros/challenges of fostering....

We are just about done with the licensing process. Like you it was something we thought about, but weren't sure of the timing. A few years ago we chose international adoption over foster care, because we had fears of the emotional pain of losing a placement without having children of our own. So now we have our daughter and we didn't want to bring foster children in until she was old enough to sic up for herself and communicate any issues to us.
She's 4 now and we are open to placements that are younger than her.
As Kay said not disrupting the pecking order helps.

We have learned with the hole adoption process that if your heart is open the timing will fall in place. God knows when that will be. Until then there are things you can do. Call your local foster agency and see if you can be a mentor. Or if there are other opportunities to volunteer. That way if the time does come you'll have a good idea of what you're in for.
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Old 07-28-2008, 10:30 PM   #6
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Re: Wondering abt pros/challenges of fostering....

As a pp said, the certification process takes a while, so you have plenty of time during it to think things over. Plus, you do not ever have to take kids when you dont want to. An option you could try, if youre not sure about full-time fostering, but want to help, is to provide respite care for other foster families. You still need to go thru the whole certification process, but you take in other families' foster kids for a few days to give that family a break. CYF is super-picky about who can watch foster kids, so it is hard for families to find sitters, esp if they need to go out of town and cannot get a court order for the foster kids to go, too.
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Old 07-28-2008, 10:36 PM   #7
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Re: Wondering abt pros/challenges of fostering....

I was thinking about foster care also. This insight is very very helpful. I too have a hard time getting my husband to agree. Problem with me is I am not done having my babies yet so I probably better wait until I am done having my own kids and wait for them to get bigger huh.
I figured though, there are so many kids who need a good home even if I do not have the perfect home for them at least we can give them something to help. I don't believe I would get that attached because I have my own kids but I would enjoy fostering during the time I have with them.
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Old 07-30-2008, 01:23 AM   #8
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Re: Wondering abt pros/challenges of fostering....

We also decided to wait until our kids were a bit older. we started the training when my kids were just 5 and almost 3, and took our first placement at 5 1/2 and just over 3. So far we've just taken newborns, but we're considering right now if we'd like to foster a 3 year old.

To the poster just above me: it's unfair to the foster child to say you won't get that attached. it's not babysitting. You are effectively the parents to the child. If you take a newborn or young baby, it's CRITICAL that you attach to the child, just as it is for your own children. Attachment is a part of development. For an older child, treating like a babysitting job will probably leave you burned out and frustrated a lot of the time. Just something to think about.

Another kind of foster placement we've considered is a teenager who is pregnant or just had a baby.

Start looking into it now. Contact your county, ask them if they have any reading material for you while you consider it. I do agree that you might want to wait until your baby was older.
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Old 08-01-2008, 11:50 AM   #9
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Re: Wondering abt pros/challenges of fostering....

I'd say go for it! At least look into it! We called the Human Services dept. here and requested an information packet about fostering. We then decided to proceed and do the homestudy and become licensed (after some required training).

Andy is 3 and we never even thought about the implications of bringing in a foster kid while Andy was so young (we are only taking care of kids that are younger than Andy though). So, when our current FS showed up at 20 months old, it was quite an adjustment. We've had him for 2 months now and finally things are getting back on track. The boys are almost exactly 2 years apart.

Some of the habits that the little boy came in with (screaming/screeching) Andy quickly picked up. We got this under control when time-outs were implemented every time Andy screamed (no warning) and the little boy would get one warning and then a time-out if he continued.

Our FS taught Andy how to fight. This is not all bad since before this Andy wouldn't even "stick up" for himself (i.e. let other kids take toys away from him and just move on to a different toy, etc.). We are getting this one under control by talking to Andy a lot about how it's not nice how to hit/kick/trip, etc. people and that they hurt, etc.

It was a rough 2 months, but, I can say that it is extremely rewarding looking back on the last 2 months and seeing the change in the fs's behavior and also Andy's compassion/kindness rising.

Hopefully, this helps!
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Old 08-01-2008, 12:40 PM   #10
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Re: Wondering abt pros/challenges of fostering....

One thought about what to do might be to see if you could just take the foster parenting class. At least here in OK it was full of great information, and gave you a good idea of if it would work for you. And taking the class doesn't require you to actually foster. I'm think for regular foster placement you have to take it before you can be approved. (I'm not sure of that because we are a kinship placement)
Just an interesting side note. Five or six years ago my husband and I were in FL and there was a family in our church that had two LO's going into the foster system, and we seriously considered doing this but finances and life situations just didn't make it work out for us. Three years ago we moved to OK, and within 9 months had a kinship placement through child care center I work at! Now we have first foster daughters new baby sister.
So even if now is not the right time for your family, it may work out in the future in ways you could never imagine.
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