May 13th, 2007
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I am always being asked why more foster parents do not want to care for infants or young toddlers. There is not an easy answer to this question. There are a number of reasons why a foster family may not take babies.

A number of babies in foster care are drug babies. Drug babies need more care and attention than other babies. You will have a number of sleepless nights while rocking a continuously crying baby. You may be faced with a baby that becomes stiff when you are holding her or has major muscle tremors both due to drugs. Fostering drug babies can be a major family commitment. We received a newborn infant straight from the hospital at three days old. She was a drug baby and needed a lot of extra care. She did better with having contact with someone, so my oldest daughter and son helped with her a lot with rocking, swinging her in the cradle, or my daughter pacing back and forth with her. With all the extra care, we all got every attached to her quickly.

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Infants can also be short term placements since more family members are more apt to want to care for an infant. Babies are also easier to get attached to for the foster families and the thought of letting go can be too much at times.

A foster parent will receive the same reimbursement for an infant as a school age child. That could mean if a foster parent does choose to foster an infant they will most likely end up having to cover a lot of expenses. You have to purchase clothing every few months, diapers, baby wipes, bottles, baby food, formula and all the other little baby things. Most foster families also have to purchase all the major baby equipment that infants need, which is a major expense. The major thing is child care for the foster families. Yes, some places do have limited funds for the cost of some day care expenses. These funds are limited, meaning not a guarantee! Most of the time there is a waiting list for the funds; the trying to find a daycare that will accept it can take time. If a foster family really needs the help with daycare due to working full time, then most likely they do not have the time to wait. Working through the system for daycare funding can be a lot of work and a headache.

Another big reason is that a number of foster families are a two parent income and have to be to make ends meet. All of the above issues can make it very difficult for foster families were both parents work to provide care for infants in foster care.

Related articles at adoption.com:

Drug Exposure

Adopting a Substance-Exposed Child

15 Responses to “Infants In Foster Care”

  1. Kelly says:

    Those are the children I would love to take in. Read my post from yesterday about how much I love to hold babies, even crying ones.

    It always amazes me that people don’t want to take in babies. I just love them. I want to volunteer in a hospital to hold the little ones that are sick, drug addicted, or preemies. I’d be in absolute heaven, and they’d get some good bonding.

  2. 6ofus says:

    I would take in the babies also.
    In my state we don’t have many babies.I live in NC and most of the foster children are teenagers and we want a baby.
    We would take in 2 or 3 babies

  3. llambros says:

    We are in the process of adopting our FS who we got directly from the NICU at 14 days old. He was very premature, drug addicted and positive for an STD. When we first brought him home he was too weak and too used to being poked and prodded to even cry. He fit in my husbands hand. It was incredibly wonderful and incredibily heartbreaking. My advise is….if you every get the chance, do it. He is 10 months old now and 25 pounds of crawling, bouncing, babbling wonderful and probable the best experience I have ever had.

  4. llambros says:

    Hi, again. Since my last comment we have also received a three day old cocaine positive infant. He will most likely be a strictly foster situation as Mom is working to get him back….so far. For those of you looking for a baby, my advise is be flexible with the agency, maybe do them a few favors by doing difficult respite cases or short term fostering. They then seem to see you as a more immediate resource. My agency knows they can call in the morning and I’ll pick up the baby that afternoon….really. Also, take some classes on drug exposed babies and infant CPR, ect. Let the agency know that you are taking them….maybe volunteer to be a “cuddler” at your local hospital. You can get your baby “fix” and be the first to know when that next foster placement is born. It never hurts to have an inside track ;)

  5. rgarland says:

    I am the foster parent of a 22 month old boy who I have had since the age of 5 months. I had another one who was exactly the same age as him ( a girl) but she went back to her birth mom. I am a single woman who takes only infants. I enjoy it very much and would not take older kids. I enjoy hearing from other foster parents.
    Robin

  6. tarafaith says:

    I am very interested to hear the stories of others in foster care. I am starting classes next month. I am a single 30 year old woman, who fully expects to foster to adopt. I would like to have an infant, but this is all very new to me. All suggestions are appreciated.

    God Bless – Faith

  7. heathersk1022 says:

    I would be very interested in finding out more about caring for infants in foster care. My husband and I love kids, have two of our own and I have a home daycare as well as direct the nursery at out church. I am having trouble finding out more info on how all this works. Any info would be wonderful. We are in NC on the coast. :-)

  8. amybb says:

    My husband and I have been foster parents for almost 2 years. We have had 11 children in those 2 years. Our first placement was a 14 day old baby girl who was born addicted to heroin and coccaine. We have also had another 2 1/2 month old infant that was born addicted to methadone and coccaine. We adopted the first in June and we are about to adopt our second in May. I just wanted to clarify that not all children born addicted are going to be fussy and cry all night. Neither one of my daughters was fussy or cried a lot. Surprisingly, our second daughter is the happiest and most laid back child I have ever seen. All of the children that we have had have been under 18 months. Yes it is hard to give them back, but we believe that God will make sure we get to keep the children we are meant to keep and help the children we are meant to help. If anyone needs any information on the foster care system in Pennsylvania, please feel free to message me. I run the foster care support group for my local agency!

    • annabeth says:

      amybb,
      I am from PA and hoping to get into foster care.
      I am really interested in babies only at this time. By babies I means 2 and under- older syblings as well. I have five school age children of my own. 6-12.
      Is this even possible?
      Any advice would be great, thanks,
      annabeth
      PS really appretiate your blog

    • jenn1 says:

      Amy, My husband and I have been foster parents for a year and a half with no placements. We are extremely interested in infants and are considering changing agencies since we never get calls from our current one. I don’t know where to start to look for a new agency. We’re torn if we’re just trying to hurry God’s timing.
      Jenn

    • heidi says:

      Hi Amy! I am hoping that you still use this site and will get my message. I am currently fostering a 7 month old precious little girl. We are so in love with her and I am not even able to imagine how we will stay sane if she leaves us. I LOVED what you said about believing God will make sure you keep the ones you are supposed to keep and help those you are meant to help. So much truth to that…I am just already bracing for the pain of letting go. There are no local support groups in my area and I am trying to connect with those who have fostered babies and who have an understanding of the emotional impact and toll it takes on a person. If you have the time to communicate with me I would love to hear from you! I am not sure how to privately leave you my contact info though… :)

    • mocha89 says:

      Hi not sure if you still look at this post but I now live in Blairsville Pa. And my husband and I would love to become foster parents! We would like new born to age 4 at this time. Please if you can let me know more about how to become a foster parent. That would be great you can email me at lamochastone@gmail.com

  9. lovebug09 says:

    We are about to adopt our third baby that we got right out of the NICU. I never thought that this is how I’d get my children, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Our babies are the most wonderful, happy, healthy children now. Yes, one of the has sleeping problems, and some sensory issues. We have had to have them all in physical, speech, and/or occupational therapy as well. One has had eye surgery. But really, it hasn’t been anything that abnormal. The process was difficult. There is a lot of uncertainty in the child welfare system. We lost our first baby for a few months when he went to live with bio mom, but we got him back and are adopting him soon. We still get calls for newborns, and will take more once we recoup from having taken three within 8 months. I wish we could take them all!

  10. breezelines says:

    I adopted two drug addicted babies in 2003, they are my life and I would give anything to have the chance to adopt again! MY little girl and boy are doing just fine and with all the love and support out there you really can make a difference in their little lives!

    If someone could help me to the right people I would love to give a loving home to at least 3 more babies. My husband and I are more financial now then ever and could adopt from all over the world but our hearts are with the ones who need us most.

    Thank you,
    Cindy
    Madison, Alabama

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