Saturday, November 22, 2008

If you've thought about it, now's the time

If you've thought about becoming a foster parent, now is the time to do it. If you haven't thought about it, start thinking.

There are lots of reasons why foster parenting might not be for you. Maybe you don't live somewhere that meets licensing requirements, or maybe you are partnered with someone who doesn't want to do it. Maybe you just know you can't deal with kids with issues. The usual recommendation is that you should probably not foster if your children are under ten and almost certainly shouldn't if your children are under five. It is also recommended that the foster children be younger than your birth children. (I of course broke those rules and didn't regret it).

So maybe it isn't for you, but if it is, now is the time to act.

You may have heard that there is a financial crisis going on. People are losing jobs, and more people are going to lose them. Those who don't have them are going to have a difficult time finding new ones. That means families in crises, and that means more kids in foster care.

It's hard work. Really hard.

But it is work worth doing.

And you are needed now.


  1. Just wanted to second that. I wish everyone could experience it. I have ZERO regrets about fostering, we have had a wonderful experience and have loved every little minute of it.

    As for the all the horror stories you hear, I can say that we experienced NONE of it. Our DCS workers were awesome, considerate, respectful and encouraging, even very honest. Our agency, although its had some personnel changes (the usual turnover, I'd say) has been great to work with. The children- absolute delights.

    I think its important to recognize that its ok to say as a foster parent, exactly what you're " up for ". If you know you aren't able/ready to deal with teens, then only offer for school age or younger. Or toddlers or younger. The agencies may call you and ask if you'll take older especialy if its an emergency (heck, might as well try) but if you stick with your guns, they will place you with children you can handle.

    The only thing I dislike about foster care? Redundant, red-tape paperwork- signing and initialing a million times for the same thing. Its a pain. A real pain.

    The one misconception I wish I had known was false before I fostered? That kids with ADHD, autism, developmental disabilities, speech/language disorders, etc can't be fixed- one on meds, always on meds. IT's absolute BUNK. If you're committed to helping that child- the child will make progress, and you may find yourself completely stunned at how much.

    One piece of advice for potential foster fams: Remember that "normal" is a different setting for everybody. Milestones and predictions sell books, but they're completely useless long term. Nobody asks an adult at their job interview, "well, when did you first crawl? babble? memorize multiplication facts? learn the state birds?" The important thing is to make sure the children are loved, that they develop a strong work ethic, and can do the basics- Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic. Everything else is just gravy.

    Fostering Rocks and We Love It!

  2. I still want to foster someday, and am starting to think the time might be sooner than I thought. Your blog and the adoption awareness ceremony I just witnesses are keeping it at the front of my mind this week... I just need to age my bio kids (3 & 5) a little bit more, and figure out how to rearrange our 1280 square feet to fit more people!

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. You got me thinking. It's not really feasible for us, currently, but you certainly got me thinking. :)

  5. LOL We've just started the process. And my daughter will be under 5! But we won't do it full time until she's almost 5 (heading off to 4 year old kindergarten, something somewhat unique to WI). [Will start with respite for a few months first.] I hadn't heard the advice about your kids being under 10 or 5, but that's probably because most of my foster care stories come from DH, and his family started when he was 2 (and didn't quit till he was 36!). His rule is just the last one you gave--your kids should be the oldest in the family.

    When we contacted foster care about this 5 or 6 years ago, we were told we'd have to be open to kids 0-10 if we didn't want teenagers. What a huge age range that is! Luckily, this time around, they didn't say that and were okay with us saying (at least so far, just had initial contact) under our daughter's age.

  6. Foster care is not for everyone, it's true, but it is more possible, and more rewarding, than most people believe it is. Can you imagine what it would be like if most homes were foster families? Wow.

    Thank you for your efforts to raise awareness and advocate for a very much needed commitment!

  7. Anonymous12:23 PM

    How would you recommend dealing with "partnered with someone who doesn't want to do it." That is my biggest stumbling block.


Comments will be open for a little while, then I will be shutting them off. The blog will stay, but I do not want either to moderate comments or leave the blog available to spammers.