Wednesday, January 8, 2014

5 things I wish people wouldn't ask about foster kids....

  1.  Are all those your kids? Yes, they are all mine. Just like the students in my classroom were my kids for the time that they were in my class, these kids are mine. I may not have given birth to them, but I love them like my daughter to which I did give birth.
  2. What did their parents do to have these kids come to live with you? My nice answer is that the parents have some issues to work on. But I can't tell you the details. The details of their case is protected under the law. Often I am not given a full account of why they were taken away. Social workers paint the case with broad strokes. Drugs, violence, abuse, neglect, mental illness and sexual abuse are all reasons for kids to be taken out from their biological parents. Often it is not just one of these reasons, but a laundry list of issues. 
  3. How long are they going to be with you? We don't know that. Some kids stay a month or two. Other kids will be with us for a year. It all depends of their family, the social workers, CASA workers, attorneys, and judge.
  4. Don't they have relatives who could take them? Why aren't they with a family member? The process for a family member to take them into care is similar to what my husband and I did to become foster parents. It is not automatic that if the biological parents are unfit, that the children will go to the biological grandparents or aunts and uncles. Often there is no one in the biological family willing or able to take care of the children. In any case, the family members must attend classes, fill out a ton of paperwork, be fingerprinted, and have their home inspected before they can have the children come to live with them. 
  5. Are you going to adopt them? Please don't ask this in front of the children. Yes, we want to provide a forever home for a child, but we are foster parents first. The parents have a year or longer to get the kids back, so my husband and I are not even contemplating adoption until we know for sure that the children will be open for adoption. We don't want to break their hearts by making promises that we don't know that we can keep. There are lots of factors to consider when adopting. When it is right and we know that we are going to adopt, we will announce it. Until then, we aren't going to discuss it.