Thursday, July 24, 2008

Translation of Photolistings

Torina has a good post about how to translate the "code" of photolistings. I thought I would add to it.

Child would benefit from a family who can help him refocus and broaden his interests.
Child has OCD and may perseverate on one thing for days until you will want to scream.

School has been emotionally difficult for this child.
Child may be labeled "emotional disabled." Is unable to attend a normal classroom without a one-on-one aide to help him control his emotions. Child may rage or throw tantrums at school. If you have a job, plan on leaving it two or three times a week to deal with behavioral issues.

Child has been exploring self-identity in counseling and has a strong interest in gender roles.
Child is GLBT.

If you can postpone your need to have your love returned while trust is built, this could be the child for you!
Child has a severe case of Reactive Attachment Disorder. She may never trust you, be frightened by your love for her, and attempt to destroy any possibility of a relationship by screaming things like, "You're a f*cking b*tch! I hate you!" in places like the grocery store, church, or family reunions.

A supportive extended family and respite care plans would be a plus!
This child would exhaust a saint. It will help if you have a friend who will listen to you cry in exhaustion. The fact that you used to sleep for seven hours in a row in one night will be a distant memory.

Parents will need to access community resources
Child has a major disability we are not going to name here.

Child needs a family that can provide safe boundaries.
Child does something, acting out sexually, setting fires, hitting other children, which is unsafe -- but we're not telling what it is.

Oh...I quoted these from photolistings of children I know in real life. I know what they meant.

11 comments:

  1. I love reading those and trying to decipher what's being camouflaged. I don't have any foster kids (although I'm starting to think about it) but I'd already caught on to "must be the oldest/only child" and the other day I found one that said "has a difficult time with stating the facts in different situations".

    I can't imagine how insanely difficult it must be to try to write these profiles; some of the writers have taken the task of handling difficult material into an art. I should hire them to write my resume.

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  2. I love reading those and trying to decipher what's being camouflaged. I don't have any foster kids (although I'm starting to think about it) but I'd already caught on to "must be the oldest/only child" and the other day I found one that said "has a difficult time with stating the facts in different situations".

    I can't imagine how insanely difficult it must be to try to write these profiles; some of the writers have taken the task of handling difficult material into an art. I should hire them to write my resume.

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  3. These posts crack me up. I used to be a residential camp counselor and part of our job was to write postcards to the parents of each of our campers each week. One summer someone wrote a translation key for these and posted it in the staff lounge. Things like:

    "Your child is starting to adjust to a communal living environment" = Your child has clearly never in her life had to share a space or possession, or do any kind of chore, and is quite indignant that I expect her to do these things at camp.

    "Your child does miss home, however she is enjoying each day's activities" = Your child is fine all day, but as soon as the sun goes down she starts sobbing and wailing at the top of her lungs.

    I've been assuming the photolistings are done in a similar way - glad to hear I've been on the right track!

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  4. These are great! You're so funny ...

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  5. i did not know photolistings were so encoded with such indirect language, instead of being upfront. i'm curious, do you think this is a good thing or not? does it entice capable people to foster parent who otherwise would've been scared off, or do you think it instead doesn't give the proper information that potential foster parents would want right from the initial stages?

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  6. These are so very true! You are funny. I should try writing one up...

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  7. This was my least favorite part of adopting. Knowing there was a code to listings and trying to decipher it. There were times we were drained from reading these.

    I hate the fact that kids are reduced to inuendo.

    Thanks for posting these. If I can challenge people to truly get these, if you have bio kids.. describe them in terms of an adoption listing. It is amazing how it reads.

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  9. Anonymous8:13 PM

    This was so scary, but necessary. My husband and I are new to this. Of course, we were not so naive as to think children in foster care would not have issues and we want to provide a loving home with stability. But we want to know what we're getting into and have the resources on hand--emotional and otherwise to deal with things before adopting a child. I don't like this feeling of having something pulled over on us. That's not fair to the children. or the prospective parents. The children will need what they need. And I don't like the idea of messing up other kids in the home because of sugar coated information. It just seems best to tell the truth. I don't expect it to all be in a public photo listing. (That's not fair to the child), but there can be ways of just checklisting info so that the parents should be familiar with such and such, or therapy will be needed or something. I really thought, needs attention meant we should be extra conscientious about hugs etc. I wasn't thinking ADD and not knowing about certain sexual issues you might have to deal with is just plain frightening.

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  10. Anonymous8:18 PM

    I had a question for the board..if you don't mind. Is it just possible that many of these kids really, really want a loving home and will respond to the kind of "normal" structure and loving that many of us are just so willing to offer? These comments made me read over many of the listings and wonder if any of the children are ready for adoption and what does that mean? I expected transition would be needed, but it sounds like most situations need a big trial/adjustment period or something with three therapists on hand. I'm a bit baffled. Is that an over reaction? What is the more "realistic" situation to expect? Or isn't there one.

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  11. To anonymous, try being the kid having to deal with the sexual issues, if you think the idea is frightening. I have dealt with them my whole life having been molested from ages 4 to 8; I am 34 now and still struggle with them. It's not to say that it's not frightening for those helping the kid work through it but I'm pretty sure I'm right in saying it is magnified for the kid a million times over.

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