Under the posts about reservations of our partners to doing care, Mrs. Butter B comments
I remember being SOOOOO Pissed when we decided to foster/adopt, and my dad got upset and didn't want us to. He wanted us to ask our other kids if they "would mind" having strangers' kids in the house or if they "would mind" having younger sibs.
I remember telling him that nobody asked me if I "Minded" having a younger brother, etc. Biology does not equate with preferential treatment. I know No-One who asks their bio kids if they're ready for more bio sibs, yet foster/adopt is apparently a discussion issue. I don't get it.
Now I am pondering this, because I am committed to talking to everyone in the home before taking in a another foster kid. It is the we work. I talk to them about how they feel, but they know the decision is mine and Roland's. This would include talking to current foster kids about whether to take a new kid. And we did in fact include Andrew in the discussion about having a second baby, but that may have been because he was campaigning for a younger sibling before we were seriously thinking about it.
Of course a lot of pregnancies are unplanned, even if they are greeted with joy. There just often is little discussion in advance for kids to participate in.
But we have always involved the kids in discussions about new kids. We haven't always done what they said they wanted. Andrew was clear that he did not want Ann to move in, but we did it anyway. Both Andrew and Brian really liked a boy we had for one weekend whom Roland and I decided we were just not up for. So it isn't really that they get a vote, but it is that they know we will listen to what they want to say and that will be a factor in our decision.
Now, I want to say that all current family members should have some say in whether new members foster kids are added, but I'm not sure I can defend that. I don't mean, by the way, that the whole family should be voting on or even given an opportunity to discuss particular kids. I do think though that foster care is so demanding in so many ways, that people already living in the house should have some say in whether to bring more in.
Now the counter argument is that if I were to find out that I was pregnant with a high-needs child and was considering whether to terminate the pregnancy, I wouldn't ask the kids. [Well...I realize now that I think about this from the perspective of being 45 and seeing how much care my mother needs and is going to need, that if I was carrying a baby with Down's my biggest worry would be whether I could guarantee that someone would take care of my kid when I no longer could. I would be worried that that would fall on my boys and that that might not be fair to them. I might talk to them about it, but it still wouldn't be their decision.] And of course, people don't always know that a child by birth is going to be high needs. It just happens.
And maybe that is part of the reason I am inclined to think that it is appropriate to include all current families in decisions about fostering. Fostering doesn't just happen. You don't have do something fun and find out a month later that your getting a foster child. It is a deliberative decision. So when you bring a foster kid into the house, the other kids know you made a decision that will affect them and probably in some major ways.
And just to be absolutely clear: I don't think that families should be asking things like, "Do you think Susie should live here?" But I am inclined to think families should be asking kids things like, "We're thinking about doing foster care/taking another long-term placement, and I want to know what you think about that."
What do you think? Do you or would you talk to current kids about taking new kids?