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  #1  
Old 02-23-2004, 03:00 PM
jweymer jweymer is offline
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Question Effect on Biological Children

Hi,
We are in the process of becoming liscenced for foster care. We have two bilogical children, a 6-year old girl and a 4-year old boy. I am nervous on how fostering will affect our kids. I can see it being a positive experience because I think that they will grow up kinder and more generous. However, I would appreciate hearing both sides of the story from those who have fostered, having younger children at home. We have specified that we want children who are 5 and younger. Should we wait?

Thank you!
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  #2  
Old 02-23-2004, 03:04 PM
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i have been a foster parent for 4 years. initially, i did not have other children, recently i have adopted my almost 3 y/o. i am fostering his 1/2 younger sib. she has been with us for 11 months or so and will be returning to her bparents. this is the first foster child in my home since my son. i am anxious to see how he does and if any one else on the forum has any suggestions on how to make the transition easier on him. thanks for the thread, i can't wait to see what others have to say.
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Old 02-23-2004, 03:17 PM
Lajo'sMom Lajo'sMom is offline
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I think it's hard for Little Ones to understand the Foster Care concept.

I think that it is hard for Little Ones to understand the Foster Care Concept. To me it would be shocking to them to experience the Child's Parents during visitations!

With a Foster Child, they need a lot of one on one time. Your 6 year old would probably understand this, but would your 4 year old?

With the age you are requesting the Advocacy is either Reunification with a Birthparent or Extended Family. What would be your Kids understanding if the child was with you for a week and then moved? Would you want this to be a one time experience or open door?


If the Foster Child had a Older Sibling, how would you deal with this?
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Old 02-23-2004, 11:10 PM
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I had one bio daughter when I became a foster parent. It turned out to be very difficult for her. If might have been difficult if I had given birth to another child also. After all she was no longer an only child. Since you already have two children I don't know how it would impact them having to share your time and attention.

I think a lot of that has to do with the fchild you are caring for also. My fdaughter, who eventually became my adopted daughter, had many problems and special needs. That alone made it very hard for my bio. daughter to accept her into our family. At first she tried to get along with her but rather then getting easier it only got harder because her behaviors were so difficult to live with.

They are both older now and out of my house but they continued to have a very limited relationship.
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Old 02-25-2004, 09:02 AM
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We have a 2 1/2 yr old son and when a foster child leaves we tell them they are going to live with their dad, mom, ect. He will then tell you later that so and so went to live with so and so. It has been a little harder with the 2 that left suddenly and there was no time for him to say goodbye, he would ask to go pick them up and we would expain to him that they went to live with..... That seemed to help. He has a great nack for names as there have been over 40 children in our home in the last 2 1/2 yrs. He knows there name faster than I do I think I think it will be hard but just make sure that you make special time for them and talk to them even if you think they do not understand. They will feed off of your reaction. Good luck and keep us posted.
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Old 02-25-2004, 10:21 AM
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As a bio kid who grew up in a foster home to over 150 kids of all ages, I would say to please be careful. I did not have a hard time adjusting to the comings and goings of the kids, in fact I was kind of proud that we were a foster family. There were times when teens stole and ran away, or when other children acted out sexually towards other kids in the home.

My parents are still fostering and have tried to convince us to foster/adopt instead of going the private adoption route. I personally do not feel lead to do that. In fact, we hope to adopt older children or a sibling group down the road when our children are older. I feel very strongly about keeping birth order intact (my parents did not). Remember that even though you are asking for younger children, they have already been raised or parented in a way that is probably very different from yours (aggressive, foul language, undisciplined). Good luck and I wish you the best.
Tammi
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Old 02-25-2004, 12:15 PM
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I not only foster now but grew up in that enviroment....meaning my mother and even my grandmother were foster parents. My mother fostered young chidren but also did daycare, so I was older than all the children in our home as far as I can remember. I loved it and like browntap said I was also proud. Of course I have followed in their footsteps in becoming a foster parent.
I do agree that it really depends on the child and thankfully I never experienced the acting out on each other when I was young and thankfully my son has not had to experience that either.
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Old 02-25-2004, 12:47 PM
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Thank you for your posts. I am nervous but also excited. My kids are young but seem mature for their age. Originally, I said 5 and under but to keep the birth order in tact, perhaps I will go 4 and younger. We don't have much longer to go before being liscenced. Thanks again and I look forward to seeing everyone on this board.
Jean
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Old 02-25-2004, 02:01 PM
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In my opinion....

In my opinion I would not suggest anyone with young children to do foster care. Although my children are not biological they have been with us since birth. We thought we could do fostering to eventually adopt another child. We also thought it would teach our children caring and kindness and how fortunate they are to have what they have.

My soon to be six year old has become obessesed with something happening to myself or my husband. She is constantly needing to know how her and her sister will be fed and taken care of if we are not able to anymore. Both of my kids had a hard time with other kids in their space and playing with their things. We have had young foster kids and infants. It just did not work for us. When I have spoke with other foster parents it seems most of them have grown or much older children or they are strictly taking legally free children to adopt in the future.

We have since stopped taking any placements. My children's well being and peace of mind is of utmost importance to us and we can not justify continue putting them through the foster care system. I wish you the best of luck
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Old 02-26-2004, 10:35 PM
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Unhappy Great Feedback!

I thank you for brining up this issue as I, too, have two children at home 6 & 9 and my youngest has expressed concerns about no longer being the "baby." We have also committed to younger children (0-2) in an effort to ease the transition on my girls, and have spent time explaining WHY we will foster, the children's situation and the fact that they, as biological children will always be with us, whereas the foster children will have families working to bring them back home.

I am concerned about Sylvester's feedback as I think that is my worst fear. That the girls will somehow be negatively effected by my desire to foster.

I am most interested in the feedback from those of you who come from the foster care environment as children. I want my girls to be proud - I DON'T want to put them at risk for emotional trauma. People always say communication is the answer. Even though you are proud of your family - it sounds as though the overall experience isn't necessarily rewarding or fufilling for the children living in the home. What to do?

I will eagerly check this posting as I am eager for insight regarding balancing being a biological mom and reaching out to help the foster community. I don't want to sacrifice my own girls confidence or emotional adjustment.

Additional comments/thoughts/suggestions are appreciated.
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Old 02-27-2004, 09:00 AM
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What difficult decisions! Our bdaughter is eight and we are trying to prepare her for the addition of three new sisters. After leaving a group home where we were house parents when she was three, we struggled with whether to become foster parents. We finally decided that long-term fostering/adoption was the best option for our family. She had such a difficult time when we left the group home (you could not convince her that those kids were not her brothers and sisters!), she trully grieved their loss in her daily life, that we decided not to put her through those types of transitions again. At the beginning of our current situation, we involved her as much as possible in the decision making process. We continually asked her how she was feeling/what she thought about them coming. For the past month she's been bringing it up on her own in everyday situations. For example, when hanging up her bath towel she commented that is the girls come, we'll need to get more towels.

The girls that we are preparing to foster then adopt won't meet our dd or even see our home until they are actually here (interstate). Preparing them all in the absence of meeting one another is difficult. Fortunately, my husband and I have met them. DD had lots of questions about their personalities. We have put some of their potential issues into language she can understand and asked her how she would deal with different situations. She's come up with some great ideas and I think the reality of some of the changes is sinking in. At first she had overidealized everything (wanted to put three more beds in her room, etc.). While none of us will know how it will all work out, we are beginning to feel prepared. Of course, we might just be naive.

One thing to prepare for are the questions about why the kids aren't with their mommy and daddy. This was one of the first things she asked as a very young child. Our explanation was that their parents loved them, but were unable to take care of them the way they needed right now. We've had many conversations over the years and dd has a very clear understanding of what every child needs and deserves to grow up healthy, as well as a clear grasp of the difference between needs and wants.

With older children you should also prepare for their concerns about their own security. DD needed to hear that she would never leave our home and that we would never make choices in our lives that would put her at jeopardy. This was repeated in all kinds of language all the time, in addition to when she indicates she needs to hear it. At this point, she has no doubts.

Now that five years have pasted and we have a little perspective, we see how dd's early experiences helped shape her personality. She was exposed to alot of behaviors that most three year olds don't see. But, she loved those kids despite the problems and has developed great compassion and empathy. Recently, she was telling me about one of her friends annoying behaviors then added, "He is a really good artist and has great ideas, so when he's acting like that I find something else to do. Even when he acts crazy, he's still my friend." I was pleased that she demonstrated an understanding that we all have strengths and weaknesses, good and bad behaviors and that's okay. Hopefully, when she struggles with her own identity, she'll be as forgiving of herself.

Now that I've completed my book!!, I will say I think it depends on your children's personalities, but with good communication with your child you can really create a positive outcome for them.

Good luck on your decision. - Cobb

Last edited by Cobb : 02-27-2004 at 09:03 AM.
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Old 02-27-2004, 01:13 PM
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My bios were 2 and 8 when we became foster parents. It was a great learning experience for them, and they loved "being a safe home" for a child who needed it. Our first foster child arrived at 2months and stayed 2.5 years. When she left, it was heartbreaking for all of us. My youngest could not remember that she was not his bio sibling. He simply could not remember her not being with us. My older boy was absolutely heartbroken. He could not eat or sleep he was grieving so hard for her. That was traumatic.
We've had 20 something kids, and only two were a relief to let go... and those two were both within 6 weeks of my younger son's age. I would recommend that you NOT take kids that close in age to yours!!
My kids have learned things that I would never have thought about. I think it has made them more compassionate, but I wonder about the grief...
There is no easy answer!
Best wishes on your journey!
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Old 03-02-2004, 02:32 PM
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I am so glad that someone else asked this question. This is my mom's only concern - her grandson (my 8 yo). She has been less than enthusiastic about us being foster parents and so far, she has not been exposed. This amazes me bc she did respite care when I was younger Go figure!

My son's bio dad also has expressed some concerns. I always just respond that if I would never knowingly harm my son. I will never put him in any situation that he can't handle. After all, I'm not the one who took him to a keg party when he was 5!!!!!

CK
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Old 03-02-2004, 10:45 PM
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What a good conversation! We have a bson (6) and a son who was foster to adopted at 2 days old (now 16 mo.). We kept our foster lisence and at this time only foster short-term newborns - those that are being adopted immediatly but need a few days of foster while the paperwork is finished (private agency). He've had one placement that lasted 3 weeks (longer than expected - some problems with the adoptive placement arose). Our bson enjoyed her being here but missed her when she left. Our hope is to foster older kids from the county system when our two sons are older.

When we started the foster-to-adopt process our bson was 4. It was hard for him to understand, but we used the terms first family, foster family and forever family. We went over it alot. Now at 6 he understands much better. I have heard it both ways on the birth order thing - some have had good experiences keeoing the birth oder, others say it works just fine not to keep it. Each family is so different, I think it just depends on the situation.

I'm interested in hearing more from others with this situation or who grew up with foster children in their home.
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Old 03-03-2004, 08:37 AM
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We've been doing foster care for 5 years and I have 2 bio-boys ages 6 and 3. It has been a great experience for my kids, but I truly believe it depends on your children's personalities. There are a few things I have learned the hard way. I will not take any boys over the age of two now. Last year we had 3 foster boys ages 3, 2 and newborn and that was the longest year of my life. I think my 6 year old felt they were trying to replace him. Now we have two girls ages 9 and 1. My kids get along great with them. The nine year old and my six year old are best friends. Even after having the girls for close to a year, they rarely fight. I'm so pleased at how sensitive and caring my son is. His teacher is alway talking about his willingness to help others and how he is the only kid in the class who is friends with everyone. I truly believe this is because we have been foster parents.

I would also suggest being very careful about the children you take. I will not take any child if I feel there is a chance of them being inappropriate with my kids. If I get a child who begins to show inappropriate or agressive behavior that I can't control, I don't ever feel bad about calling my worker and having the child removed from our home. Fortunately, this has only happened a couple of times. But my worker knows that I have to put my children and their physical safety and emotional health first.

Finally, we make an effort to make sure our two kids understand that they are our birth children and they will always live with us and we will always take care of them. Of course we don't talk about this in front of our foster kids, but at times, I might sit in bed with my boys and remind them that they are my forever kids and nothing can ever change that. We also talk a lot about the fact that God wants us to help others and we do this by helping take care of kids when their families can't care for them.

So far I believe that fostering has been a real blessing for us and our kids.
Lisa
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