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I am looking to all of you for feedback....My DH and I are "thinking" about becoming foster parents. As of right now it is just a thought. I know there are "pros and cons" to the whole thing. Just wanted your thoughts on it....
I was thinking maybe a younger school age child and no more than 2 of them.
We are early 50's...have 3 grown children and 3 grandchildren... I am concerned with how much time this will take out of my day as far as the homestead is concerned. I am told they can go to day care Mon- Fri til 6pm if they are not yet school age.I appreciate any input on this.....Thanks
 
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It's a noble thing to do. My grandparents did it for 30 years or so. My wife and I are in our 50s also and have talked about it. Something nice about having small children around, plus knowing you are helping out a kid. The only hard part we can see is getting attached to them. The last 3 my grandparents had were a boy and his 2 sisters. They were 8-10 years old when they got them. The 2 girls married when they turned 18 and they adopted the boy. They all moved away but came home to see them quite often. They were like their own children.
 

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If your dept of social services is like any that I have dealt with, they will call day and nite trying to get you to take more kids and different ages than you have agreed to. Don't let them push you around! You know what you can handle and letting them overload you means you will not be able to adequately care for the children. Also, anything a social worker promises you needs to be in writting with the social worker's signature and if possible with his supervisor's signature. Otherwise you will hear 'I never promised you that'.

With day care, when I was doing foster care I was expected to pay out of my pocket for any day care/respite care. The pittancce that I was given for the babies was not even enough to cover expenses without paying day care. I did not do it for the money, but day care would have severly overstrained my budget.

It is hard work, with few rewards, and little thanks, but it needs doing.
 

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Go to the backwoods home forum www.backwoodshome.com and go to that forum and talk to Aunt Jenny. She and her husband have kept lots of foster kids, adopted one, have two more nearing adoption and are trying to adopt another. She can answer a lot of your questions on foster kids! And she is a great person.
 

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My wife and I have fostered for several years now but we are not going to renew our license next year unless the department and agencies stop acting like idiots. They have gone from tolerable to horrible. And we are the only accountable ones, inter agency agreements are not in place, yet so ******* is gonna hit the fan soon.

-- Tim
 

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I don't know about fostering, but when I hit 40 and had no children, I considered adopting. Turns out we were considered "too old" (he is 14 years older than I am) and did not meet the minimum income requirement. Since we did not have enough funds to fly to China and adopt an abandoned child, we did it the old fashioned way.

So I am your age and have a 9 year old and an 11 year old and can't imagine homesteading without them! They get so excited about every critter and the change of seasons and the accompanying holidays, etc. Country life is a great place to raise kids.

Elementary age is my favorite so far, as babies would take more energy and physical stamina than I have these days. Day care really took a large percentage of my take home pay for a few years there. The after-school program is more reasonable now and they get their homework done before I pick them up (rather like our study halls used to be). Fostering gives the children chances in life they may not get otherwise. The time you spend with the children may make a difference in what kind of adult they become. Best wishes!
 

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Is there a reason that you wouldn't consider children over twelve years? It's hard to find homes for teenagers, in large part because people assume they are delinquint gang members. With your experience, you would probably make good foster parents for kids in that age bracket. You are, I hope, more patient than young parents, and recognize normal behavior and (bad) attitude from deviant.

I would love to foster kids, but my husband is against it. He has a hard time fostering a dog then giving it up.
 

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My wife and I were foster parents. We just had to attend the 10 weekly work shops that the state had through Family Finders in Mobile. My wife thought I would be bored stiff. But I really enjoyed the classes and even volunteered for 80% of the role playing they had in the classes. They came out and did a total of 3 home studies. We got our lisences in Oct. of 2002 and had 2 beautiful little girls, ages 3 & 4 placed with us that same Dec. They had been placed in 3 other homes before they came here. They terminated the mothers parental rights in Feb 2003, and the girls were then up for adoption. I'm here to say, that as of March 23rd of this year, I now have 2 very beautiful daughters ages 5 & 6, that I wouldn't trade for the world. They are my whole life now. And they flat know they have a Mom and Dad that truely love them. And you bet that this daddy spoils them plume rotten. I was skeptical at first because I am in my 40's, but now I'm truely glad we decided to do it.

The state of Alabama payed for them to attend day care here, until the day they signed legal custody of the girls over to us. We never had a single problem with any of the 3 case workers that were assigned to the girls.
 

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Thanks to all of you. Everything said here is being taken into serious consideration. The next training class here will be held in January so we have some time to decide. The state here pays for daycare and it doesn't come from my fees. I would be able to do a good bit of my homesteading work then. I spoke with a lady from the agency today and she will be sending me an information packet in the mail. I was told that I could do this and if it didn't work out for us then we could just stop. I feel like I would at least want to try.
At our age it would be very different from when we were younger. I have heard many of the "horror stories" but we are still not deterred. I have a friend here who (in their early 60's) had 7 foster children between the ages of 6 weeks and 17 years. That lasted 5 years. They ended up adopting 3 of them and are no longer fostering. She says it was a good experience for them. I guess we will just keep thinking about it and see what will happen. BTW, we are not completely excluding teens. It would just have to be a good match to begin with. I just thought that younger ones would be easier for starters, then again, maybe not.
 

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we've been foster parents for over 18 years, had about 50 kids through our home, some for just a few days[ newborns being adopted] and one of our first, is in the other room as we speak.We ended up adopting 4, but we are ''mum and dad '' to many more.We take babies, and that means we often are involved with the mothers[ they end up calling me ''dad'' too].
One thing we try to do is defure the emotional situation as soon as possible- the birth mom is often feeling like ''everybody is against her'' and we try and make contact as soon as possible and have her home for dinner, show her where her child will sleep, introduceher to the family, etc and try to extend a welcome to our home..We deliberately distance ourselves from the ministry- telling the mum we are not part of the social service system, our only job is to keep their baby safe and hopefully be a resourse to her.
It's pretty sad, in 18 years of fostering, I have yet to meet one girl with an involved dad in her life-and I put a lot of the problems down to that-these girls don't know what to expectfrom a male , and thatends up with them making poor choices for partners.
We often blame social services for the problems-but the fact of the matter is, the problems didn't start there- we are often dealing with intergenerational issues and lack of parenting that goes way back.
So-if you are so minded- go for it- I haven't done anything so meaningful and fulfilling in my life.I've wept over situations that I can't fix- and all I wanted was for them to have a decent self fullfilled life.We lost3 girls lastyear, one was murdered, one died of Alcohal poisoning, and the other of Aids.All of them called me ''dad''.Thathurts.But- when a child who was not born to you, knows you as the only father they ever had, or will have, that is part of the reward too.I've seen some of the girls grow up and go onto have a good life, productive members of society, married with babies of their own and that makes you fee pretty good.The circle of abuse and substance dependence broken.That particular young lady came into care when she was 12- her older sister had a baby she didn't know was her own father's , her brothers, uncles or boyfriend- and told the social worker the same bunch were doing the same thing to her little sister.So-you see, with some help, it is possible to see lives turned around- and that makes it all worth it.I had the pleasure of speaking at her wedding, and although she lives many miles away, still stays in touch , send pictures of her baby, and when she calls me''dad'' I'm so happy.
So, you see, when you foster, you will have your horizons broadened more than anything else you could do.You'll see the best and the worst, the most heart breaking and the most heartening.And- you' ll never take anythingfor granted again.
 

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I have never been a foster parent, but I know many that have including my sister in-law. I don't know any of them that have had a very happy ending. I have seen all of them have VERY bad experiences both with the children and the system. After watching what they've gone through in 3 different states that was enough to convince me not to get involved.
 
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As a foster parent, i can tell you alot of stories. The worker makes all the difference. I would suggest that before you start actual fostering. Do respite weekends for foster parents. The Foster parents get a day or two days off a month and they need people to do these weekends. The pay is pretty good and its a good easy way to learn the ropes. Sometimes after you get a child and its not working out, it takes a act of god to get them to move them. The stories i could tell you. Its not for everyone. you have to have both parents commited to the idea. Its alot of mental stress and time. Alot of the kids will come in with emotional problems, alot of behavior problems. Some, are way below grade level. The good is great, the bad is terrible. the last thing is, social worker honesty goes down, as the week goes long. Never take a child on a friday after noon, they will stretch the truth, because they want to go home for the weekend. They will omit and stretch the truth and then your stuck for the weekend.

good luck, if you want to chat on the phone, pm me with your number and i'll call back

randy
 

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We adopted one foster child and still foster more from time to time. But you are right, Social services acts like idiots most of the time.

They sent a social worker to our farm to pick up our last kid once the courts got straightened out who the kid was going to live with (we'd taken him on an emergency basis because the poor 2-year-old was living at the hospital for lack of a home).

When the worker got here, the little guy was playing in our yard with our other children. It's a big yard - about an acre - and we live at the end of a dead end road with no other homes in sight.

Later we got a call from a social worker friend of ours to tell us that the one who had picked up the child had filed a report that when she arrived the child was "standing un-accompanied in the middle of a field."

I had been out there with them, but had stepped inside to change a diaper. I'm peeved that the worker called our yard a "field," especially since we had just mowed! :)

I think the Social workers spend so much time with the dregs of society that they become so jaded that they see abuse around every corner. But you can hardly blame them. There is so much of it out there - a friend recently got the two younger sisters of a sixteen-year-old girl who was found to have been kept in a cage in the basement and called "monkey boy" for years. The little ones (ages 2 and 4) were horribly sexually molested by their father. Incredible. The depths of human depravity are limitless...

So, suffice it to say, even though the system is stupid sometimes, the need is so great that we choose to get involved anyway. And I can tell you, there's nothing noble in it - we get much more blessing from those little ones than they get from us.
 

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i foster, just one child, because i know that's all i can handle. part of it, is knowing your own limits and what YOU can handle. he's been with me since he was 10 months old, and is now an 8 year old, doing very well in school. he has problems- with impulse control, and anger, and is a child for whom ritalin is a miracle drug. it helps him so much, he asks for it. he loses the ability to form words and say them, to write, or any task at all, without it. he's a challenge every day. yes, his mother was 14 and drug addicted, probably mentally ill, and unsure which of 5 men of another race might be the father. but he is loved, and he knows it, by a large group of people who care what happens to him. we all have the satisfaction of knowing that we have truly made a huge difference in one, very lost, childs' life.
 

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We have been foster parents and have had a group home. We has 11 children in our home at one time. I have to agree with everyone, it is hard to deal with the "system" . the more you do, the more they will ask you to do. My biggest thing is...you my own kids, in with foster kids. You have to be really careful that way...i do understand that you do not have children in the home but if you have your grandchildren, you would have to watch them. Most of these kids have some real baggage and it is "shared" among the other kids in the house and will rub off.
I will tell you that a good worker is really key, with out one, you could be lost.
We have had over 40 kids and we are no longer active foster parents. We have one biological and one adopted and we needed to stop. My adopted was having fears of haveing to leave "like the other kids"
The state doesnt always make the best decision for you, the children or the parents and that is very hard to handle over time. I have had case-workers actually lie to me. We were trying to adopt another child and were misled about the "problems" he had lived through. Sexual abuse was the problem...and i was very clear about it but it was over looked and we moved this boy in, we transfer custody and were waiting our 6 months waiting period before finilizing and at about 5 months, it was so bad that we backed out of the adoption for the sake of my dd's saftey.
It does take more time than you might realize, there is transportation to and from visits, and with younger children, it can be several times a week, there are dr. visits, dentist, specialist, counceling, family support team meetings, hearings and so much more. We had to transport for all of these thing. It doesnt seem like a lot but these children are not alway healthy and need to go to apointments a lot.
We still have kids that call us and we are so happy for that. it is very rewarding but difficult too. We were also blessed with our son...He was our very first foster child and after several years, we got to adopt him. There isn't anything better than that...but i have to say, i wish i would have had the knowledge to get more on hand info from other foster parents before i had started...i would have saved a lot of headaches. Good luck with your adventures of foster parenting.

Belinda
 

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I see that Social Services is providing the day care.

If you have little ones in your home, your plan of providing foster care to the little ones only might be the best. Some of the kids may have been abused, and sometimes an abused child will hit others. There is a lot of size differance between a toddler and a teen.

When our 2 kids were first placed in our home (we adopted), their foster Mother told us that it was harder to find foster homes for toddlers than the older ones. She had her living room set up as a toy room, and she only took little ones. The kids all played todether and had a good time.
 

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You might want to start off being a weekend "respite" provider first. These are folks that take care of kids on the weekends to give the full time parents a break. Get your feet wet without a major commitment.

Eric
 

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I have a great deal of admiration for anyone that endures to be a foster parent.
We also live in Ky. Today my daughter came home from school and told my husband and I that one of her friends in school just found out that her mother had signed her and all 10 of her siblings over to the state. She told my daughter they were going to live in a childrens home. I don't know the people personally and don't know what the situation is but it's heartbreaking. I can't imagine how these children are coping. I know it will be unlikely without an act of God for the state to find them a home together. remember these children in your prayers.
 

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I want to bring this to the top to emphasize the need for prayers for these Children. My daughter said the Children discovered this news accidently and the Mother isn't aware they know that they will be wards of the state Nov 1.
 

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We fostered for 7 years and ended up keepig the last three (siblings). We went through a Private Christian Foster Agency and didn't have to put up with the county stuff I knew could/would be involved. If the county called our home we where only to say contact so and so from our agency. With that said, we enjoyed fostering, the hardest part is the attatchment you get with the children and then they go back home and sometimes you know its not a good situation it makes it hard. Remember, you'll have someone (a child) living with you for 3 mos or three years and you may never see them again after they leave can break you heart. Also, after 14 children and most being molested by a parent and in one case both parents you tend to loose any hope for mankind.
 
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