- These kids are not "bad". They were treated bad and that makes them angry. I would be angry too if someone treated me like that. I would be angry if someone beat me and then the system failed to get me the help I need or told me to wait for it.
- We cannot say the foster children's names publiclly. We cannot show pictures of them. They live with us and are part of our family but we cannot post their name.
- We cannot get the child medical care or even cut their hair without getting the birth parent's consent until they are TPR'd (All parental rights terminated). So, the years that takes sometimes...you need permission to get medical care or a haircut from the birth parents. These are sometimes the same person that abused them, neglected them, etc...yet they still have rights for years sometimes.
- Most of the time the birth parents have a right to know exactly where the child is. So, that means drug dealers, abusers, prostitutes, you name it...they know where we are. If deemed too dangerous this can be overridden by a judge but not always.
- Here is another one no one wants to talk about. Imagine being told all your little life that white people are bad? Then...you get placed with white people? A friend of mine just had this happen. The child told her she was bad because she was white. Imagine how scared that kid was?
- On that note...there are white children in the system as well as any race, religion, etc. Are there more African American children in the system? Yes...here in our area at least.
- Foster parents are constantly told that they should love the children but when you speak up for their needs you are told you are JUST the foster parents.
- You would be surprised about the first/ milestones that the kids have missed that they FINALLY get to do or need to be taught to do. Example: almost 8 year old had never had a friend over to play, never had a slumber party, never had been invited to a birthday party, had never been roller skating, never been sledding, never ridden a bike. Had to be taught how to tie his shoes, how to take a shower, how to use soap/ shampoo, had never seen a toothbrush.
- Foster Parents do not make a ton of money. I hear this all the time. I am not sure what the going rate is. I do know that when my son was in foster care, I got something like $189 a month. His pediasure needed to get his weight up was over $100 alone. Then there are activities, school snacks, all of the expenses that goes with raising a child. No, you do not make a lot off of fostering.
- Going along with the comment above...there are BAD foster parents out there. Do I know any? No...There are though. No good foster parent cares for those because they do it for the wrong reasons...money (I don't get why). Does that mean that all foster parents do? No. I put every penny left over into my son's college account. That was before I knew he was staying forever.
- We have no idea how long we will have a child. People ask that all the time. The answer is...until they tell us.
- Birth parents can get mad, and make false accusations at any time. Due to that, foster parents can document with the best of them. Every fall, every scrape, all has to be documented. Think of a 2 year old and how much they get hurt...all documented.
- You would be shocked to know the level to which our kids are NOT shocked. Example: four year old boy that would talk very non-chalantly about his brother's testicles being stepped on while being urinated upon.
- You would be surprised at the extreme level in which neglect at the infant/toddler ages hampers development and attachment. I think the "kids are resilient" motif, while true in many areas in life, creates a naivete about how much babies suffer from lack of touch and bonding.
- A lot of children coming out of the system have Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). Click here to learn more about RAD
- It is 100% free to adopt through the foster care system.
- Not all of the children up for adoption are oprhans. Some of their parents made a choice to give the child a better life. Some people say this is the "easy" way to adopt. It costs a lot and these adoptive parents have to wait years sometimes all while watching the child promised to them grow up through pictures. This is not "easy".
- You would be shocked to know this process is not as easy as you think. The families need to find a country that will accept them to aopt (as some do not allow certain things), you are dealing with immigration which has callenges, you are also dealing with the politics in that country and sometimes the politics of our country against that country.
- People often think that children adopted internationally are not "traumatized" like the kids in the foster care system. I remember one adoptive mom saying that her son was terrified of an animal coming and killing him at night as things like that happened at night in his country. Trauma is trauma....no matter your geography.
Domestic Private Adoption
- You need to be an open book about your life and comfortable about that.
- You have to market your family. When you create a profile to share with expectant mothers, it's almost like a family resume. Not many other comparisons to building that.
- Making that match then placement is a giant leap of faith. At anytime the birth family can change their mind.
- You can't let that unknowingness impact your attitude. Any doubt will be seen as a weakness.
- Domestic adoption is not always more expensive than international. You can set a budget and will only be shown expectant mothers within that budget.
- A huge myth is that all babies up for adoption have special needs. No. Some mothers just cannot take care of the child and are trying to give them a better life.
- Another myth is that there are "no" children up for adoption in the US. Not true. According to the latest research by the National Council for Adoption, private domestic agency adoptions were at 20,254 in 2007.
Knowing all of this, I am going to close with the words of my friend Daniel Welz, "every adoption is unique. Every adoptive/foster parent is driven by something just as unique. And lastly much of the emotions surrounding our circumstances involve pain and sadness. But much joy and peace comes from the journey for all involved."
So bottom line, it is not easy, but it is SO worth it.