May 26th, 2008
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A comment on a previous entry said that a family should not consider fostering children until their biological children are raised. The commenter said that the welfare of the biological children is at stake by bringing foster children into the home. Most of the foster parents that I know have biological children at home as well. If no one with biological children at home would foster children, we would probably have to regress to keeping children in orphanages. Let’s face it; few older people or childless people are willing to open their homes to abused or neglected children. Some do, my mother is a foster parent of teenage girls, also a senior citizen on social security. A frequent reader, John, also a senior citizen on social security, adopts only older boys.

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I was a bit disgusted by the comment to tell the truth. Should all infants and toddlers entering foster care be placed with senior citizens? Not that I plan to die soon, my grandmother lived to 86, but it could happen. Would we end up with an entire generation of foster/adopted children orphaned by dying senior parents during their difficult teenage years? Should we expect our adult children to raise our adopted children when we are too feeble?

That wasn’t the only reason I was disgusted by the notion. We are not talking about bringing poisonous or constrictor snakes into our homes. We are talking about children. Living and breathing people, with feelings and needs, who deserve a chance to enjoy childhood.

In some ways, it was easier for the foster children coming in to have children their ages at home. Frequently, these traumatized children mistrust adults. Yet, they are willing to talk, bond, and trust the other children. We didn’t need to think about what the new children should do, we just signed them up for whatever our children were doing. Our foster children went to youth group, took riding lessons, joined 4-H, and played sports.

Did my children ever get hurt or learn something sooner than they should have? Yes, they did. However, birth children hurt each other sometimes too. Children learn things at school, neighbors’, and friends’ houses all the time. Children also have injuries while playing at these places.

My children learned compassion for others. They learned to share with those who had nothing. They know how important it is to volunteer and help others. They know that the world needs reform and they are the next generation.

Photo Credit: 2007 Julia Fuller.

7 Responses to “Will Foster Children Jeopardize the Welfare of Biological Children?”

  1. eomaia says:

    The comment is offensive, but it’s not so much mean as it is ignorant.

    Sure, there are some foster children who have serious behavioral problems, but there is always a risk that biological children will have issues such as ADHD, autism or a mental illness. With foster children, you are usually told about these issues in advance, given a choice and if it ends up being too much for you to deal with, you can ask for the child to be moved. With biological children, it’s a DNA lottery, no one asks if you’ll accept a child who is mentally retarded or autistic, and if you get overwhelmed by your child’s special needs, you will be judged as a bad parent and inadequate human being.

    Of course, the basis of the assumption about foster children having abnormal behavioral problems is the assumption that they got those problems because of abuse, which is based on the assumption that children who get put in foster care have been seriously abused, molested, etc, and thus traumatized in ways your own biological children would never be. The reality is that most children are placed in foster care because of situations that are labeled as neglect but are actually due to poverty.

    So, being a foster parent will mean exposing your biological children to kids who have experienced poverty or worse.

    My kids spent a year in foster care. During that time, they saw an infant who had been neglected and had diaper rash from knees to belly-button and wouldn’t stop crying. They lived with a baby who was on a heart monitor and had multiple medical problems. While I wouldn’t have chosen for them to see babies suffering, I am proud of the amount of compassion they showed.

  2. janine slinger says:

    My three biological children were 11,8 and 5 when we started fostering and mostly saw children from neglectful or impoverished backgrounds (rather than abusive) , which only heightened their awareness of how fortunate they have been in life, made them more appreciative of their own families, and helped them to see past their own needs and wants. The middle child is now a social worker herself…she saw a need and wanted to fill it. The other two, and my younger adopted (from fostercare) children, are totally supportive of my role as a fostermum, and have all developed into more compassionate people for their years of experience being a foster family.

  3. osquirley1 says:

    I want say all of this in the most loving manner that I can. SO please know that my tone is calm and loving. I am the Biological child of foster parents and it did jeopardize me. Let me list a couple of things that I saw happen in my family and happened to me. I had holes drilled in my walls so that a young man could watch me undress; he stole my under wear and at one point punched me in the face. He crushed up pills and put them in my food. One child busted my father’s toe. I watched as my mom’s heart was broken time and time again by kids she adopted and brought into her family told her that she was not their mother and all the wanted was to be back with their “mother” the one who raped them and put on shows for her friends so she could get drugs. I watched as they would tell people she was abusing them just so she would get turned in for abuse because they were mad at her. Recently one of the girls we have had since she was 18 months old punched my mom in the stomach (she is about 15 now). THEN SHE GOT TURNED IN FOR ABUSE AND HAD TO APPEAL IT AND GO TO COURT TO TRY TO GET HELP FOR THIS YOUNG LADY; I won’t even tell you how that turned out!!! These things would have been a lot easier to handle if every time a social worker walked into my house they did not tell me that “You just need to understand what they have gone through; you have had a good life and a good family; they have been abused.” I felt like because I was hurting I was a selfish person. I LOVE MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS (not foster, not adoptive; they ARE my family and that is why we never gave up or give up) but as a teen I could not handle not being allowed to feel hurt by kids who were hurt. I am becoming a counsoler and I want to open my own group home, community center and practice. I will most likely one day be raising my two youngest brothers and I am looking forward to that day. I understand what you all are saying but it can be very difficult for Biological children and YOU CAN NOT JUST DISMISS THAT….because I was dismissed I ran to Pot for 4 years of my life. Just to numb the pain of the abuse my family received as the hand of the abused. Once again I LOVE MY SIBLINGS AND WOULD NOT TRADE THEM FOR THE WORLD! But please don’t just dismiss something like this because you have never experienced it. And if you take a kid with behavioral problems in you cant just send them to another house because it is to much for you. Do some research before they come or you will be doing much more damage then helping…they are not toys to be passed around

  4. scorpian505 says:

    I am the foster parent of my neice and nephew; My husbands brother’s kids 7 and 10. They have been in foster care for 5 months. We’ve had them for 2. We have 2 bio kids 13 and 17. Recently my bio kids want nothing to do with their cousins and do not get along. Especially my 13 yr old. I am torn between the two sets of kids. I know that its hard on my bio kids having to suddenly share every aspect of their lives. I also know its hard on my foster kids too. Any suggestions?? We love them all very much!

  5. Victor Lewis says:

    This is a hard question to answer for lot of reasons, First you need to consider the age of the biological children involved, sometimes children at a very young age often approve of anything the parents will do because they do not know any better. A child who has been alone and now may get a new sibling could be shocked by the whole idea. Also to consider the the state of the child mentally and physically. Is the child having problems in school, is the child social and outgoing? The parents need to consider what kind of child to adopt or foster care for. Age differences and sex differences are a concern, also the number of adopted kids to bio kids has been a problem. Later on in life the biological kids may not approved of or feel neglected by the adoption of the kids or the foster care makeup in the house.

  6. abc123s says:

    you might want to find out if the birthparents rights were terminated based on bullshit and try to do the right thing and help the children live the life they deserve with the people who chose to be parents when they were born

  7. kathymurray55330 says:

    My husbands parents did foster care his whole life and he turned out great. He was hurt physically and mentally at times by foster childen and has no hatred towards any of them. His best friend to this day is a past foster kid his parents had in their home. He does not feel like he was neglected of anything in life. We started doing foster care as a family two years after we got married as it is something he always wanted to do after watching his parents take in and help children in need. We have had all kinds of kids from different walks of life. We also have two childen that we adopted from foster care and as long as we make sure we have our one on one with our own kids from time to time away fom the foster children your kids shouldnt have resentment towards foster kids and your kids will know that they mean more to you. My daugher is 10 and thinks its wonderful that she can help some of these kids by just being nice to them and sharing her stuff. Of course not all the foster kids are nice to her but we do our best to make sure our kids are treated right and if not we correct the issue immediately. I feel if you dont have kids how are you going to have the experience to help any foster kids. It’s not always easy being a foster care provider and every kid is so unique in their own way.

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