You Should Just Stop Fostering


06 Mar 2015

Many years ago I sat on the deck of a beach house with my step-brother.  We were enjoying an adult beverage, watching the sunset and catching up.  This brother is the quiet one, so having a deep conversation was never really our norm.  This night was different.  On this night he began opening up just a bit about his volunteer firefighter position.  Though he opened up for only a bit, he shared some graphic scenes that he witnessed firsthand…images he can never un-see.   The stories were horrendous.  These tragic scenes changed him.  Without a doubt they hardened him, kept him up at night and haunted his sleep.

I began to view my brother and firefighters differently that day.  I realized how much firefighters protect us. Yes, they put out fires, but that is just scratching the surface.  They protect us from so much more.  They arrive on the scene of horrific tragedies, take that scene in and it sears into their soul.  They shield the general public from this pain.  They bear the weight of witnessing and handling this thing that 99.9% of the rest of us could never do.  They are scarred protecting us from these images.  Then they do it all over again and again and again while trying to maintain their own sanity.  They are the very essence of heroes.  They’re not just rescuing victims and extinguishing fires, but they are heroes to society whom they shield from the pain of this reality.

There is a darkness with foster parenting that foster parents rarely verbalize. I imagine it’s the same reason firefighters rarely share their darkness. The reason we don’t talk about it is because to verbalize it means to hear from others, “Well, you should just stop fostering,” or “You are too stressed out. You need to focus on yourself and your own kids.” To verbalize the darkness is to invite people to discourage you from doing this thing that you know you are meant to do even though it’s hard.

If you don’t foster, then you just don’t get it.  Sorry.  Truth.

To be a foster parent means to take the brunt of many burdens that others can’t handle. Just the mention of “a little girl with rape wounds,” “a baby with throat injuries due to sexual abuse,” or “a little boy who was stabbed with hot needles” and society cringes and says, “That’s horrible. Someone should do something to help those kids.  But I couldn’t be a foster parent.” That’s three out of dozens of equally horrifying stories I could tell you.  Foster parents shield society from this reality.

The darkness that sets in for a foster parent feels much like that look I saw in my brother’s eyes that evening staring out at that ocean. We are handed these fragile little souls with physical, emotional and psychological wounds and we are asked to love and care for them while their situation is being “fixed.”

Their initial story is terrible enough.  When they begin to trust me and more of their story begins to surface, sometimes all I can do is hold on by a thread.   When I tell you that I have lost faith in humanity many times over, that is no exaggeration.

Their story emerges and when the depth of the damage they have endured becomes apparent, I often sink into a sadness that overtakes me.

When the rest of the world hears a tragic story on the news, their hearts ache for a few minutes.  Maybe they lay in bed and think about it for a night or look at their child and are reminded of this sad story, but to hear from the mouth of a tangible, in the flesh child that you are beginning to love…the darkness hits hard and runs deep.

To know this child is to love her.   She is silly, funny, loving, quirky and full of life.  How in the world could someone who is supposed to love her, hurt her so deeply?  To imagine my foster children enduring the pain that was inflicted on them is something I struggle with.  I can’t always allow my mind to go there.  It would drive me over the edge and I fear I would go all Dexter on someone.  You see, I love them.  They aren’t “that foster kid” or a number.  They are mine.   They are this gift that has been given to me even if for a short moment in time.

So here it is.

Don’t tell us to quit.  Don’t tell us that we are in over our heads.  Don’t tell us that you would “send that kid packing.”    Don’t ever try to discourage us.  We get down.  We get angry.  We may need to vent.  We may slip into a dark place for a few days and we may even appear fragile during that time.

But don’t be fooled.

We can bear this load.

We are strong.

We help change lives.

This is our calling and quitting isn’t an option.

Yes, there is a time and season for everything.   I won’t be a foster parent for the rest of my life, but for now, this is exactly where I am supposed to be and exactly what I’m supposed to be doing.  Please encourage me rather than tell me to quit.  It’s okay that you don’t understand it.  And I know that it brings you pain to see me go through the darkness, but this is my choice.  I own it.

All the sadness, muck and darkness is temporary.  In the end, I help change lives and every ounce of garbage I may face while working to inspire change is worth it if I impact my kids for the good.  And the truth is, I am better for having known each of them.

Don’t get me wrong.  Fostering isn’t all dark and depressing.  That’s maybe 3% of it.  The rest is awesome!  I have wonderful memories that I will never un-see that make it all worth it.

-Seeing her walk across the stage in her cap and gown.  Her falling into my arms after the ceremony, weeping with pride in herself that she did it!  She was told it was near impossible, but she did it!  AND she’s going to college.

-Receiving an email from a teacher stating that they have never seen this child so happy.  She is participating in class discussions, her confidence is boosted and she looks so healthy.

-The A on the Spelling Test…for the first time in her life

-Staying on “green” ALL WEEK at school

-The late night chats

-The quiet 10:30 giggles that come from their room when they should have been asleep thirty minutes ago

-The kitchen full of laughter

-The Perfect Attendance Award for this semester…for the first time ever

-Tears and deep conversation after watching the heartfelt movie

-The random email thanking me for loving her even though she doesn’t think she deserves it

-Five kids and a Mom jamming out in the minivan to Aerosmith’s Dream On

-The first Honor Roll

-The first time she tells me she loves me

-Trusting me enough to tell me that her friend is cutting and needs help

-The first A on her report card

-Receiving a donut from her because she wanted to thank me for helping her learn math and she just passed her first math course ever

-When our eyes met with tears and I realized how much I loved her when she opened her “Home” ornament on Christmas

-The first time she referred to me as her mom

-When she admitted to me that she messed up, and she needs me

-The tears that well up in my husband’s eyes because he is so proud of her

-Hearing how much fun she had at camp along with a tearful smile sharing how much she missed me

These moments will be forever etched into my soul.  These are the moments that refuel me and keep me going strong.

It’s hard and sometimes the journey is fierce.  But it’s worth it.  And when you send her off to college or send her back to her family equipped not only to survive, but thrive, you feel the most immense pride in this thing that you’ve accomplished.

For the foster parent who is reading this…good job.  Keep fighting hard, loving harder and don’t allow yourself to become discouraged.  The darkness won’t last long.  You know this.

Remember…the end result is worth the long journey.

 

Thank a Foster Parent HERE

Thank a DCS Professional HERE

Follow me on FACEBOOK: THE FOSTER LIFE and TWITTER

 

Read More:

THE $100 VACATION PLAN

THE ANXIETY-FREE VACATION

THOSE FRIGHTENING TEEN FOSTER GIRLS

FOSTER CARE: THE FIRST 30 DAYS

YOU SHOULD JUST STOP FOSTERING

I COULD NEVER BE A FOSTER PARENT

FOSTER PARENTS CAN BE CRAPPY TOO

FOSTER FEARS: WHAT ABOUT MY OWN CHILDREN?

I FOSTER FOR THE MONEY

THOSE POOR FOSTER KIDS

THOSE CRAPPY DCS CASE WORKERS

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Jill Rippy

Being a foster mom is one of the biggest blessings of my life. Bio mom of two and foster mom to many, I count myself lucky to be on this foster journey. My mission is to change the lives of children who enter the foster care system and to recruit quality foster parents to join in this life changing work. I consider it a blessing to be a mother, foster mother, teacher, author and inspirer.

Comments

  1. “Please encourage me rather than tell me to quit. It’s okay that you don’t understand it. And I know that it brings you pain to see me go through the darkness, but this is my choice. I own it.”

    This is huge, as we step into the fostering world in the next year, I imagine we’ll be telling this to our families. I suspect there will be a lack of understanding/support sometimes. I hope they surprise us!

    Also, that approach is good in dealing with anybody’s chosen path that includes difficulties – firefighting, fostering, and beyond.

  2. Donna Seibert Says: March 6, 2015 at 11:47 pm

    There were some very moving points in this post but as a close family friend to a couple that fosters, I was offended by the fact that this seems aimed in a negative way at those of us who are the “support systems” for these familys. Take into account that the family and friends you “vent” to, did not ask for thi darkness or the horrific stories that you seem to take pride in holding closer to Your heart than we do or having it keep You up at night MORE than it keeps US up at night. How offensive, this must be stemming from your boughts of lack in faith for humanity because believe me, everyone you tell those details to remembers! We are not beasts who casually let those details slip into some delete file in our brain anymore than you can. We carry tge burdens with you and just Like you, we feel like we cant talk about it either. So you took this noble and heroic calling that you know is right for you and we are proud and thankful there are families like you out there. But remember that those of us who did not sign up for the darkness and the pain and the stories we can never unhear, are taking on the brunt of that right along with you, only we never asked for it. And instead of being thankful we are here to listen to it all considering we dont want to, the least you can do is tell us what you want. Tell us that you need encouragement today. Tell us you need to let off some steam. Ask us if we want to know gruesome details about these children or if we would rather be spared those such things. Dont just rant about needing encouragement and how we should do a better job of it when we didnt know thats what you needed. Maybe they are assuming because they hear so often about negative things that what you want is to get out of it so they are thinking they are helping ease your burden of taking a break from fostering for awhile. Had you thought of that? Have you thought about if you are verbally saying out loud all the wonderful times and successes there have been to balance out the bad things you have shared? Because if you havent, maybe thats why you get feedback that you should quit or stop or focus on your own family. Communication is what its all about and it goes both ways. So before you write your next post about how you can only get it if your a foster parent, think again. Sorry, truth.
    Because this is life, we ALL take on the brunt at some time or another in life, of burdens nobody wants to know about. Burdens that are dark and impossible to fathom and they stay with us forever. You dont need to foster to experience that kind of pain bearing, you just need to be alive on this earth long enough. So instead of waxing poetic about the woes and burdens only you as foster families can understand, remember 2 things. #1 Communicate what you need from those you are spilling your dark details to, whether it be encouragment or a shoulder to cry on or sympethetic ear. #2 know the audience to whom you are speaking, perhaps they dont want to share the burden of those details. If they dont, thats OKAY. There are other foster families and support within that network who can help and offer the right support. Just because those around you dont say the ‘right’ things, doesnt mean they are wrong.

    • Donna, as a close friend to foster parents, what are some ways you support them in what they are doing?

    • Not nice Donna. Not at all. If you don’t like someone’s blog, you don’t have to read it. There really is no good that comes from attacking the writer and spreading such negativity.

      Many of us enjoy her writing. We enjoy the reality of her journey and we gain understanding through her transparency about her struggles. Some of us who are considering fostering want to get an understanding of what we are going to face and so we look to her for that.

      If you are not one of those people don’t spread hate, just stop reading. Its very simple.

      ……as Mom always said….

      If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all!!!

      • Great response Angela. What Jill shares is such a good source of inspiration for those of us with these kids battling the system. Sometimes I read her stuff and think, “How does she know exactly what I have been thinking and struggling with.” Because she gets it. It makes me feel less alone. So thanks Jill.

        • Jill Rippy Says: March 13, 2015 at 9:57 pm

          You aren’t alone Mitzi. There are so many of us who are in this for the right reasons. We know these kids need us. We just have to support one another. Nastiness or hate won’t help anything. I just can’t engage that. I choose to engage those who need encouragement and who want to grow. Keep fighting for your kids Mitzi! They need you and the foster world needs you too.

          • We should be understanding to both! I have fostered and adopted. I know I shared things with even my family that was hard for them. They didn’t take the classes. They don’t have the resources that we have from our agency or caseworkers. Donna might need to tell her friend that she can’t handle it or doesn’t want to handle it and that would be okay. Maybe her friend is overwhelmed but going to Donna is not helping if Donna only harbors resentment. This is the reason for caseworkers and support groups. People equipped to listen and help us sometimes decide what we truly need. It is tough sometimes but I personally would not trade one moment of it. I am thankful to have had a close friend who also fosters that would hear me and not just hear but listen. For a period of time I would sit in my garage in my car on my cell phone and pour my heart out because we had a court battle for one of ours because we felt like the Dept. was not doing the right thing. Thankfully, all worked out but not without lots of tears. We have to be able to vent and sometimes cry. Thanks for letting me share.

    • Terry Foster Says: March 14, 2015 at 10:41 pm

      Donna, you have no idea what you are talking about. I have never read such a shallow, self centered unfeeling response. Sometimes all you can do is listen, and the best response is to just keep quiet and care.

    • Wow. What an amazing amount of privilege a human being must have to be able to turn away from the hardships in the world simply because she doesn’t like them.

    • So Donna why do you foster? Oh yah you don’t. The darkness we feel is different than you do. I would never say I feel the pain and turmoil a cancer patient feels even if I was their best friend. I often feel alone in fostering and reading this blog gives me gas to go.

    • It makes me sad that people are attacking Donna for just sharing her feelings, which is exactly what the author was doing. There are MANY jobs/callings that people perform that no one knows the dark side of. And also many that are under appreciated. I think people, in general, need to just realize that they do not know and/or understand every aspect of everyone’s lives. Just because your calling affects you, does not mean that someone else’s calling doesn’t affect them just as immensely. I think a lot of today’s issues come from people wanting to be praised a little more than the next guy, yet not wanting to give a little credit back. Not to mention, a little compassion goes a long way sometimes.

      Before anyone tries to chew me up as well, know that I was a foster parent. I am also a teacher, and trust me, we share those things just like you do. But then again, no one really likes to give teachers credit for what they do either. I think we all need to perform our calling to the best of our ability, because the world would not work without all of us. Sure some people take the easy road in life, but MOST of us have some sort of burden we are carrying that very few other people understand.

      That said, I am glad I read this article. I can see the point of sharing this. I can also see the point in reading and taking in Donna’s comment. Please be kind to every soul you come into contact. You have no idea what is truly going on for them.

    • This article’s main idea was about how it feels when someone tells you to quit when you just needed to vent. There ARE people who do that all the time. And as a foster mom I am shocked every time someone tells me that. They do know how happy this makes me. They do see the 99% of the time there is joy but they do think this life is too much because they are not foster parents. YOU DON’T KNOW! That’s ok. But this article shows the way the foster parent feels. And what the parent wishes she could say but can’t because it’s exhausting to say it all the time. “Hey im going to tell you something gruesome about how I feel but I just need encouragement today not discouragement.” That sounds ridiculous. The writer can write about her feelings all day. You dont have to read them.

    • This is very selfish way of thinking and way too long

  3. Thank you Jill! Your blog brought me to tears. I have been that foster mom you talk about. I have been told “you’re in over your head”. I did not have a supportive family when things were tough. Thanks for sharing!

  4. It is people like you Jill, who restore my faith in humanity. It sounds as though your love is endless.

  5. Jill, thank you so much for putting into words what most of us have thought or felt at one time or another. My husband and I fostered for two years, but after adopting 4 children plus already having two, we took a break. We are about to start this journey again. I’m excited, nervous, but mostly, I’m answering God’s call for my life. This is my calling. I won’t quit!

    I volunteer with The CALL in Arkansas. We work right alongside DCFS. We recruit, train, and support foster parents. I shared this post on our Facebook page. Thank you for sharing your heart with us!
    TheCALLinArkansas.org

  6. I understand a bit of what Donna S. wrote about in that it would be more respectful to ask permission of friends and family before sharing raw or graphic details of abuse that a foster child has endured. Some folks are very sensitive visual thinkers, so when they hear it, they see it in their mind. And as the quote goes, “Always be kind and gentle, because many people are fighting battles that you know nothing about.” Or something like that. Anyway, the time you decide to share graphic details and their mind sees the movie, they may already be struggling with something else that they’re not ready or able to share and therefore, they will probably not be much of an encouragement to you, which you absolutely, definitely need. I get that. And asking for what you need is always a good thing, because it helps the other person respond appropriately and it also gets you what you need quicker.

    However, I also noticed the tone with which Donna S. wrote and it was not one of kindness or gentleness…she is asking for that, but not giving it. We all need to be willing to extend grace, if we want others to extend us the same. You may have heard before, “Treat others the way you want be treated.” That’s good advice.

    • As foster parents we are not to talk about our children’s personal stories as it is no one else’s business. In the case of Jill sharing events in a child’s life she does not disclose a specific child. If someone is sharing a specific child’s story they are betraying the confidence and trust of that child. Tell them to please stop talking.

  7. I want to thank you for bearing the burden of these precious children for all of us. Also thank you for being so transparent with your struggles and successes. You are a hero and an inspiration to many, many of us who deeply respect and admire you in your willingness to make such personal sacrifices for total strangers. I cant thank you enough! I pray that God will bless you abundantly!

    • Jill Rippy Says: March 13, 2015 at 6:20 pm

      Angela,
      Your support is so appreciated! Thank you for your words.
      Keep reading and continue praying about fostering,
      Jill Rippy

  8. I am a caseworker in the state child welfare system, and work directly with foster children. I could never do my job without my foster parents. You are my heroes. I say all the time that my job is tough, and I have my heart broken more than I can count. But my foster parents are the ones who have the hard jobs. You are the ones who console sobbing children in the middle of the night. You are the ones to hear and hold their horror stories. You are the ones who love them, as your own, only to have your heart ripped out of your chest when you have to send them home. You are the ones, day after day, night after night, in the trenches, fighting the hard battles. You are the ones they look for the audience, in the bleachers, on the sidelines. You are the ones they run home to when they have a good day, when they finally make a friend, when they finally learn how to spell that word. You are the one they call mom. You are their safe place. You have a job that rarely is understood or appreciated. Today, I thank you. You are my hero.

    • Thank you. So few understand how hard it is to watch a child you love as yours go back to a situation that is no where near what they need.

  9. Bald truth, bold truth, and a beautiful truth. I am a mom of 7 boys and 2 girls, 3 of them are bio sons the rest are mine through God and heart and I dare anyone to try and take them. They are grown now, except for the last bio son, he’s got a couple of years yet. I miss the houseful of giggles, fights, community closets, missing socks,water fights and love.

  10. Its easier said than done. When u get licensed for 4 years and the system just ignores u and u are nothin but a glorified babysitter. Then yea its the end. Not all can keep going.

  11. Donna Slaton Says: March 14, 2015 at 7:19 pm

    #1 – I am not that Donna S. #2 – I am a retired social worker and a former foster child. I have not seen my former foster mother 70 years. Yet when I am alone at night, I still miss her and still love her. No one can ever take her place in my heart. When I was working in CPS, there is no way in hell I could have done my job without the foster parents I knew and loved. They weren’t always perfect, neither am I. But they hung in there 24/7. They didn’t give up on “their kids”, so I didn’t either. CPS work is a soul-killing job, but foster parenting can be a heart-killing job. God bless all those who take it on and succeed. The blessings you give to defenseless children is immense and forever.

  12. my hubby and i fostered for many years. many many kids went in and out of our house.. Was it easy..no!! most time its the parents that attack you..or screw up the kids heads on visits. But i couldnt believe some of my friends that always said.oh man i couldnt take kids in.I couldnt do what your doing. But it never stopped us. WE ended up adopting a little 18 month old girl..whos mom died..and getting a 4 day old girl:) they are 34 and 27 now. they fit right in with our three other kids..i wouldnt change a thing!!

  13. Thank you for this. So much. In the darkness with my now adopted daughter and I am so glad to have read this.

  14. Fostering is NOT for everybody, that’s for sure. But for those that do, I know that they understand when I say that I get more out of it than the kids do. I’m a single carer and I know just how hard it is to be the only one consistent person in my kid’s lives, the one who holds their story in safekeeping for them, the one who holds them in the dark hours, the stranger who says yes, come here, come into my home, I will care for you, learn about you and learn what it means to love you. I’ve sometimes bitten off more than I can chew, but I just kept chewing anyway and eventually got back to some kind of version of normal. BUT, what I love most about this post is that it is about our loved ones, our support network, our village – those who actually care about us and know us and love us through all the thick and thin of our fostering. Support us, be there for us, listen to us, be kind to us, love us for doing what must be done, for doing what you, yourself can not do.

  15. Thank you for sharing. You’re right, we have no idea. We have been hearing some of the same discouragements from a few people as we move towards being missionaries in Haiti. Yes, it’s a broken place and I can’t explain to those who haven’t been why we have to go. Why we’re called. Working with orphans, we’ll be experiencing some of the same kinds of awful things. Keep doing what you’re doing because it matters. Saving even just one matters. Thank you for what you do and for your heart!

  16. I love what you write.
    My mother has been a foster carer for more then 15 years and has fostered over 100 children. I was wondering if you have ever had to give up a foster child as it wasn’t the right placement for you or the child. My mother had to give up two or so children due to it breaking down. Many of her foster children where short term or respite and many went on to lovely homes or back to family or never heard from again. All children were younger then 15yrs. We have many fun memories of having foster children in our home too.
    This story is perfect for the children that it is the right placement for and many foster kids I know have found their right placement and giving them the love and support they need really changes lives.
    I think it’s also important to know when a child is not in the placement that they need to be in, and the support you need to support them isn’t there and the placement is breaking down, it’s important to know that this isn’t failure and it’s not you stopping fostering it’s about what’s doing the best for all the people in the placement.
    I would love to read something about this if you have ever experienced it.

  17. Jill, this is beautiful! It brought tears to my eyes. Would you allow me to put a printed copy in my newsletter to foster parents? I could of course site your blog. Thanks!

  18. I was a foster mom for almost 5 years and had 19 children. Until one day my world was turned upside down. I was “indicated” for something I didn’t do. I want to be a foster mom again but I don’t know how to go forward. I can’t afford a lawyer. I loved every child we ever had as I would our own child. And I did NO harm to the infant that they said I hurt. I want my job back. God bless all the Foster parents and there families.

  19. Thanks Jill for the great article and encouragement – I was so happy to find your site! I am a pastor in a large church in Manitoba where I was originally hired as a youth pastor for jr. high students. I was shocked in those first years when I found that very close to 15% of my youth group were foster or adopted kids. It changes the dynamic of a group pretty dramatically. I have since found out that our region has one of the highest concentrations of foster families in Canada (I hope I’m being accurate in saying that.) Being a youth pastor also led us to start fostering a young lady from our church about 5 years ago – we are currently working on adult adoption so that she has a place to belong forever. Last year we also took in three young brothers so our family has grown to 6 kids – didn’t see that coming!

    When I read your article yesterday I could so relate! I have chronic energy challenges and people’s first response is ALWAYS, “Well of course you do, you have six kids.” Actually no, the kids give me purpose and life – doing your calling always does. They may be TIRING but that is different! So yes, many people have wonderful advice, yours is better.

    I posted your article to my Facebook wall and it got pretty immediate responses. Thanks for your work.

    Thom

  20. Jennie Rosendahl Says: April 2, 2015 at 12:10 am

    It’s like you are reading my mind!!! I love this blog, thank you for sharing.

  21. Mary Hoyt Says: May 29, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    Thank you for this post.
    It’s beautifully written.
    Thank you to your brother for his dedication.
    Thank you for taking the time to share your journey and reflections with us.
    We are in process now to start fostering in the fall. I’m terrified but can’t not try this.
    The sense of calling is deep.

  22. I really enjoy reading your posts, Jill. As a caseworker, I often feel like you described. The pain and stress can feel unbearable and those who love me will offer encourage me to get another job. I know it’s because they love me but it’s also not what I want at least at this time. I am so thankful for all the great foster parents we have. They are a great gift. I know that my job is worth it when I see that 14 year old get excited about his grades and that mom who has experienced domestic violence stop turning to drugs to cope and and that premie baby have stable health no withdrawal symptoms. Thank you for sharing your precious memories! Keep fighting when it gets dark.

  23. I read your blog with tears running down my face after Google-ing “Giving up on Foster Children”. I’m so ashamed to even be considering it, but I’m so overwhelmed!
    Our situation is kind of different. I met my foster son through my job as a Youth Center Director for the Salvation Army. His temporary foster mom told me a bit of his story. He was 7. He had 3 older siblings. 2 were in college 6 hours away and the other was a junior in high school. He was the sole witness to an act that left his mom with completely debilitating brain damage and his dad on the run from police.
    I was immediately drawn to him, but I wasn’t a foster parent, so there wasn’t much I could do. When their temporary foster mom told me that she was pushing for more permanent placement for the 2 boys, and that the 16 year old would be forced to leave all of the friends he’s had since grade school in order for them to be placed together. I asked my husband if he would consider fostering. He prayed about it and said that we could look in to it. I stated the process and within 2 weeks they were moving in!
    The 16 year old has adjusted well. The now 8 year old is a different story. It’s a constant battle. He’s so smart, but gets in trouble in school EVERYDAY, to the point of being sent to another class 3 to 4 times per week. He and a friend got in trouble last week for filling the urinals up with toilet paper and flooding the bathroom. Every comment is something hateful, well not every comment, but so many that it’s expected. This morning he told me that has no reason to be good. That we don’t do enough for him, for him to want to be good. The fits, throwing things, yelling, threatening and breaking things sends me to my breaking point.
    We took him to a counselor, but he really didn’t connect with him, so we’re looking at a counseling center that specializes in children. We don’t get much support from his case worker. He’s says ours is an easy case, so he kind of forgets about us.
    There have been so many days when I want to quit. When I feel like a failure. When I feel like I’m doing more harm than good because I’m broken. I don’t want to quit, but somedays I feel like I can’t keep going. Today is one of them… and to top it off, they’re talking adoption. I love them, but I’m tired.

    • Jenn, your boy needs someone who specialises in child trauma. Keep looking till you find one! If you can’t try to find someone for yourself. You need all the support you can get to care for him. Just remember – it’s not personal. You are the safe place where he can let out all his anger and despair and frustration. It’s hard to be the target, the punching bag, but hold on tight to the big picture of helping him through this difficult time.

      • We had 3 good days in a row at school! He’ll be starting a mentoring program in the next few weeks and we FINALLY got the medical history and referrals that we needed to get him into a counseling center. His first appointment is next week. Fingers crossed!

  24. Kudos for your honesty. We often got strange comments, curiosity and few friends truly understood our attachment disorder challenges. I love that you listed some of the highlights of nurturing these special children. Continued strength and love to you!

  25. Thank you. I needed your final words tonight. Just…thank you.

  26. I am in the dark abyss of foster parenting right now! Single dad with one biological daughter and two foster sons. I have been a foster parent for 3 years. My two foster sons were students of mine. When they were removed from school and placed into foster care I stepped forward. This job is almost unbearable for a couple to do together, being single and trying to manage all of the therapy appointments, dr’s appointments, homework, cooking, cleaning, behaviors, stealing, lying, addictions to porn, unwillingness to help with chores around the house is really making me second guess my decision. Never get a break, even when I ask for respite care from DSS it isn’t guaranteed. I foster in a very small county with limited foster families. I have definelty learned that nurture does not win over nature. Ready to run away.

  27. Ahaparenting.com is a great resource for all parents. When u go to the website you can search y kid’s age group or by topic. I have been rwading it for awhile and it has changed my understanding and approach to children and myself. Try it out please, it seems like so many morhers/fathers have had tremendous help by reading dr. Markhams helpful site.

  28. My foster cousin punched me in my face when I was 15 for refusing to steal from a bank and his motive was that he assumed that nobody cared about me because I was a Foster child. My Foster cousin that punched me in my Face when I was 15 was aged 19 at the time back in 1996. I never knew that I could report the incident so I took revenge against his younger brother by setting up his younger brother to get robbed. On 1 occasion my Foster mother used the excuse of saying that I must clean her house to get my pocket money so that she can stop giving me pocket money if I don’t clean her house according to her standard. I assume her motive was to eventually give my pocket money to her grand children that were jealous my designer clothes. I reported my Foster mother for trying to use such a pathetic excuse to stop my pocket money to my social worker and my social worker demanded that she give me the pocket money that she owed me, but I never knew that I could report the fact that my foster cousin punched me in my face because I was also afraid that I would become homeless and my schooling would become disrupted if I had to regularly move between different foster homes like other victims in foster care. When I was 17 when I left my foster mother because she was protecting her grand son that tried to fight me. I also became homeless when I left Foster care. I’m now 35. Today I suffer from Post traumatic stress disorder caused by a culmination of bad experiences that occurred during my child hood. During the 1990s most children did not have mobile phones and the mobile phones that existed were contract phones. Pay as you go mobile phones did not exist in 1996, so it was harder than it is today to report abuse in Foster care. 1 of my old friends was beaten up by his foster father so he later took revenge and burned down his Foster parent’s house and he even went to prison for the burning down of his Foster parents home. A Foster child is a target for exploitation because envious people that are related to the Family of the Foster carer often assume that nobody cares about children in care. Teenagers in Foster care are at risk of not being able to differentiate between friend or foe because they can be deceived by their foster family that only pretend to care about the Foster children in care. Foster carers can be manipulative and abusive and violent towards their Foster children. Foster homes are also not good for freethinking teenagers because Foster homes are often used as places of recruitment for religious cults. Foster care deceived me into thinking that my foster family cared about me when they only wanted to destroy me. The sooner an individual learns that nobody cares about that individual the safer that individual can become. Good advice for children in care is to stay close to people that care about you, that may include members of your original family and also the creation of support groups. Also associate with other children in state care but make sure that they have good morals.
    My support group in addition to my original family was my child hood Gang Even though it may be a bad idea for a child to be in a gang. My childhood gang on 1 occasion humiliated the younger brother of my Foster cousin that punched me in my face. (Unfortunately my childhood gang betrayed me so I had to separate from my child hood gang).

    Foster homes have also got a bad reputation because Foster homes are often used as places of recruitment for religious cults. No teenager should go into Foster care if they desire to be a freethinker. If a teenager is growing up in the care system then that teenager is safer living in a group home. The first group home that I was in the staff were very good to me and the Group home was supervised 24 hours a day. The reason why Foster homes can be dangerous is because they are more secretive and secluded. If anything happens inside of a Group home then every one of the staff and all of the children will know about it and that’s why Group homes are safer than Foster homes for children in care. It is easier to discover the abuse of children in-group homes than it is to discover the abuse of children in Foster homes. My friend was put in a Group home and the staff allowed hum to play his music as loud as he wanted to but when I was living with my Foster mother she complained about the noise of my music by banging her fist on the wall. My other friend that was in a Group home was allowed to have pets too. I feel that Group homes are better than Foster homes, but the problem is that Group homes can be expensive to operate and that is why I was encouraged to go into Foster care. I’m now 35 and I left the care system when I was 17 back in 1998. Foster care is not good for teenagers because if a Teenager wants to bring his girlfriend home to have sex with his girl friend the Foster parent will say no and complain but when my teenage friend was in a Group home the staff allowed his Girl friend to visit the Group home so my friend could have sex with his girlfriend. Foster care is not for teenagers that enjoy freedom.

    I am not denying that Good Foster parents exist, but most Foster parents are involved in Foster care for the money because they are too lazy to go to work and get a job. Foster care is appealing to mothers that enjoy staying at home. A lot of Foster carers are miserable and miserable people hate being alone so miserable people like to infect other people with misery. Some Foster carers are good because they cannot have children of their own so they choose to Foster children or adopt children and that’s a good thing. The fact still remains that most children that go into Foster care get abused and most of the incidents involving abuse of foster children by their Foster family go unreported to social services. Anybody that desires to be a Foster care must do so for the right reasons.
    Here’s another story about an abusive Foster mother that murdered her Foster child that was a baby. This story is from my country the United Kingdom:
    Kandyce Downer sentenced to life in prison for ‘barbaric’ murder of 18-month-old:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFoG_JZBYLs
    http://www.itv.com/news/2016-05-04/foster-mother-kandyce-downer-sentenced-barbaric-murder-of-toddler-who-suffered-200-injuries/

    Foster care can be a good thing but too many times the Foster carers take out their frustration on their Foster children. I know that fostering children is not easy especially when the Foster carer is fostering teenagers. When I was a teenager in Foster care I got arrested by the Police numerous times and I admit that this caused stress for my Foster mother that had to collect me from the Police station because I was below the age of 17 so I was not allowed to leave the Police station alone. I also used to stay out late on the street and I did not come home until the next morning. I once returned home so high of smoking marijuana that my Foster mother had to remind me that I left the key in the front door. So I am going to be fair because I know that being a Foster parent can be a very stressful job but that does not give Foster parents the justification to use violence against their Foster children. My Foster mother tried to threaten me with violence when I was complaining to her to her about her grandson punching me in my face for refusing to steal from a bank. My foster mother threatened me with violence the day before I left her by calling another one of her relatives that was a body builder to intimidate me because she feared that I may take physical revenge against her grandson that punched me in my face because I refused to steal from a bank.
    Of course I was not afraid of her relative that was a body builder because I knew that if he had assaulted me I could get revenge against him either by reporting him to the Police or I could use my friends and cousins that were armed gangsters to injure him severely. The next day she was crying and attempting to apologize when my social workers appeared in the morning to remove me from her home. Now I’m 35 years old and I know her grand sons are afraid of me and they do not have a clue where I live and they live in fear that I may take physical revenge against them. I have already gotten revenge against 1 of her grandsons by telling my friends to rob him back in 1996 the same year her other grandson punched me in the face for refusing to steal from a bank. I have never been to prison but I did get arrested during my teenage years for numerous minor offences including Graffiti vandalism and small theft. Foster care can be good but Foster care is usually dangerous for teenagers.

  29. I needed this right now. As I read this I cried. I may not be a foster parent but I just took in my nephew and niece from a bad situation and the struggles have been hard. Learning the neglect they have been through and what our whole family is going through I have 3 kids and this is a huge adjustment. For today you Gave me strength and we will get through this and we will keep going and they will know a mother’s love. Thank you

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