A couple of years ago, we had a sweet little boy in our home. I'll call him Ricky. He was only 16 months old, and it was his first removal. He had allegedly been harmed by his mother's boyfriend. He was my first CPS case, so when it was time to take him to his first family visit, I was nervous. The waiting room was completely full of people there on other state business, but I quickly picked out his parents, awkwardly sitting together and talking quietly. It was winter and I was worried about all the coughing in the room, so I took him to an isolated corner to wait until called. The spot I chose to wait happened to be close to the window where the CPS visit check in… [more]
I realized this morning that we are living in a time when compassion and sacrifice are truly making a difference. When minds are being opened to the reality that children can be rescued- lives are being restored. Many of you who read my posts may be thinking, "Oh no, here she goes again. Pollyanna is blogging again." Yet, I do believe with all of my heart what I say in my blogs. I believe that there is a pervasive good in the world that people are grabbing a hold of and I love to talk about it. I have met so many people just this week who have stated their interest in foster care and/or foster care adoption. They see a need in… [more]
My social worker came by last week for our monthly visit. Our little "Puddin'" got a little stressed out. It was our second interface with the agency in a couple of days and it worried her. A few days earlier, we'd met a photographer in the bluebonnets. Puddin's worker met us there too, and when Puddin' saw her, she said, "Look. Mommy and Daddy are here with me." In other words, "Don't take me. I belong here." These little encounters are heartbreaking for me. I cannot imagine being three years old and your strongest connection is people you've only known a few weeks. Her worker and I reassured her that we were just going… [more]
“Is it worth it?” she asks. Sleepless nights, endless to do list, judgment from people who have no right, Loss of time with friends, husband, children…self. Lack of money as you add another to the table and in line at the amusement park. “Tell me please, I have only just begun. Is it worth all this? Do you help anyone?” The question weighs on me “Sure it is,” is what I want to quickly reply. You are helping a loss soul, a child who has no one. The need for parents like you is immense. The answer stills on my tongue as I pause to respond. Looking back over the years I had to consider, is it really worth it? Interacting with parents who rarely appreciate your commitment to their child. The idea that… [more]
Being raised in the foster care system between the ages of 5 and 18 was a great rehearsal for what is transpiring in my life today at the age of 46. I am traveling to foreign places, trusting that the people I meet will appreciate and love me, sight unseen. Often, foster children see their situation as unusual and unfair. However, it is in moments of uncertainty, which have filled my life all too often, that I understand that my upbringing has uniquely prepared me for the challenges that have come my way. I am frequently reminded that I must see the possibilities in all situations and circumstances. We will leave from London via a tour bus to the Netherlands, from… [more]
I absolutely love being a foster mom...most of the time. I work with a group of caring, admirable caseworkers...most of the time. My plan is to keep doing foster care until the day I die...most of the time. Today is not a "most of the time" day. I want to be done! I want to walk away from all of it and never look back. After all, I have done my part, haven't I? We have been foster parents for over 11 years to over 40 children. I have had birth parents call me horrible names, caseworkers go behind my back and act unprofessionally, and kids who have ensured I have nothing of value left to break in my house. I can walk… [more]
I recently came across an interesting blog post. Well, it is quite an old blog post—from 2007. But it is still just as relevant. It details what foster parents wished social workers knew or did. I won’t copy and paste his whole post—because it is quite lengthy—but I’ll give the main points. Foster parents wished that social workers told them if the teen used drugs or was sexually abused.
- Stop lying to foster parents; both foster parents and social workers should be on the same team. But sometimes, it seems that they’re not.
- Inform the foster parent about the teen’s religious beliefs so the foster family can be respectful and tolerant.
- Most foster parents aren’t in it for the money. But, are
Three weeks ago our five year old foster daughter returned home to her birthmother. We have spent the 16 months of parenting her developing a strong relationship with her birth family. Not just developing a relationship with her parents, buts aunts, uncles, significant others, and grandparents as well. We worked on building this relationship for several reasons. First, we had parented this child for nearly a year when she was one and two years old. Therefore, we love her, we have known her for most of her life, and she feels like a member of our family. In addition, we adopted her 10-year-old birth cousin with whom she had lived as sisters. Her return home was very difficult for her cousin to accept. However, we promised… [more]
How many times have you heard a foster parent complain about their children’s foster care worker? If your state’s foster care system is anything like ours, then probably too often, unfortunately. It has been our experience during 14 years of foster parenting that foster care workers do not stay at their job for very many years. Many are young, fresh out of college, without children of their own, when they start. They are full of ideas about changing the system or making a difference. They are confident in the parenting techniques they have learned at college and expect you to follow. Then reality sets in. Within a couple of months, their caseloads are filled to an overwhelming capacity because of government cutbacks, vacancies, leaves, and transfers… [more]
If you have been a foster parent for a few years then you may have noticed that there is a lot of turnover in foster care workers. I understand why, but it doesn’t make it any easier on the children, the foster parents, or the families. Foster care is an incredibly stressful job that really doesn’t pay all that well. I have seen help wanted advertisements for foster care workers, requiring a master’s degree, offering less money than a nurse or an accountant would make with an associate degree. What could possibly be more stressful than knowing a child’s future, possibly his life, hangs on your decisions and case management? If you terminate parent’s rights, they call screaming, stalk you, and sometimes threaten to kill you… [more]