Post # 1
FI and I have been having ongoing discussions about having children down the line (3-5 years) and the idea of fostering/adopting came up. (We love kids, but I have a fertility issue that may prevent us from conceiving and we feel there are too many kids in need of good homes). We’ve done a bit of research on the guidelines for our state and stuff (there is still a lot to do, think about, and plan for) and realize it will be challenging (and we will do our best to prepare for getting licensed and fostering a child). Ideally, we’d be open to fostering ages 5-16, though we’d prefer 7-10. (I know most people aren’t open to fostering a teenager, but FI has experience in working with troubled teens in a church program setting). We’re open to any gender, race, and most medical/behavioral issues.
So, I was wondering if anyone has experience in fostering or adopting? Was anyone fostered or adopted? What were your experiences? Tips or suggestions? Anything? I feel like it’s never too early to gather information. 🙂
Post # 3
No idea, but I’m replying to hear other bee’s experiences. SO and I have discussed possibly having one biological child and 1 or 2 adopted (mostly because it is really important to me to have the whole pregnancy experience at least once although I couldn’t say exactly why).
Post # 4
Two of my siblings (step) are adopted. Adoption can take a long time and would be worth your while to talk to and interview adoption agencies a couple years before you think about adopting because you could be waiting a very long time.
Also, research very indepth your agencies, especially if they are not american born children or even ethinic children as there has been major scandal and illegal activities surrounding adoptions the last few years.
Finding Fernanda by Erin Sigel is a good book to read and she is an author/reporter who has done a lot of work in the adoption field.
Post # 5
@ThreeMeers: Thanks! I’ll definitely check out that book, though FI and I are more interested in fostering and adopting a foster child if opportunity presents itself.
Post # 6
I’ve never fostered, but I work with kids that have gone through the foster care system – usually the ones with behaviours too wild to stay in a stable foster home – and I think it’s a great idea! I’ve tried to talk my fiance into it, but because he works in a youth refuge, the last thing he wants is feeling like he’s working when he’s at home.
I don’t have a lot of advice, but perhaps see if you can ease your way into it – a lot of foster care agencies (where I live, anyway) look for respite carers. So you might only have a child overnight or for the weekend to give you an idea of a) what to expect or, b) whether this is something you could do full time.
I would also recommend doing a parenting course, or asking the foster care agency whether they run a therapuetic foster care program. Not all carers receive a great deal of training – many just fill out a form, do the interviews and police checks, then start having foster children in their home. Parenting training would help you with behaviour management techniques and give you some information on handling children from traumatised backgrounds (while you’re at it, try reading looking up some articles by Bruce Perry on trauma and how it affects brain development).
Finally, just keep in mind that the foster child’s legal guardian is always child protection. Make sure you keep the lines of communication open with them, and if you disagree with anything they want for the child (medication, school they’re enrolled in, etc.) make sure you do so as respectfully as possible and calmly explain your reasoning.
Post # 7
My MIL has her own foster care agency and has adopted 3 children herself.
Be sure to look up each foster care agency because a lot of them take children with disabilites and the majority of foster kids have some sort of mental disability.
My MIL has had aver 60 foster children and every single one has been pretty difficult. When I first started dating my husband, she had 3. One was raped as a young child and he would sexually moleste any animal or doll. He had behavioral problems and was very violent. the other, who she actually still takes care of has extreme mental disabilities. She adoped 3 siblings and 2 of which do not speak to her any longer and the youngest is almost 20 and is a true BIL to me. Hes a great kid but he has to have about $600 in medication a month to make him great. He has attachment disorder, extreme adhd and behavioral disorders as well.
The more private agencies typically have more children with disabilites as opposed to say, the stark county foster and adoption agency.
Like I said, really do your homework on each agency. Some like to keep children in the system for money, eventhough their homes and parents are more than ready for them to come back.
I see youre in NE Ohio, I am too. You can PM me with any questions. I know a lot about this subject.
Post # 8
We just sent in our paperwork to begin the foster / foster-to-adopt program in Missouri. I am looking forward to other’s responses as well!
Post # 9
@JemmyGee: There are private foster agencies? Are they considered to ‘belong’ to the private agency then instead of the state? Here, I believe it’s just all provincial. It’s something I may consider in the future.
Post # 10
@JemmyGee: Thank you for your help. I will definitely be PMing with future questions, but I did wonder if you have any suggestions for agencies?
Post # 11
@AB Bride: Yes, there are. There are state and county agencies and ones that are privately owned and operated. She just started her own about 2 years ago. However, she does adults now, she got away from children.
They are all put into a portal and then different agencies can contact the guardians of the people on the portal and they guaridans pick an agency to send them to. My MIL has 2 people working for her that she is able to send foster adults to.
Post # 12
@futuremrsndl: County agencies may be your best bet depending on what kind of child you are hoping for. Stay away from Mentor, its a private agency. They are crooks.
Post # 13
Fostering and adoption are quite different, and I would recommend learning the pro’s and con’s of each before making any decisions. Fostering often brings a stipend/support payment but with far fewer legal rights, although you can end the relationship if it’s not working for you.
Post # 14
Fishbone has an excellent point. Fostering, depending on the disabilites of the child, could pay up to $4,000+ a month.
Also, if you are fostering a child with even minimal disabilities, most times once you adopt them, the money and insurance goes away. So make sure if you plan on fostering first and them adopting that your health insurance would recognize this child and their disabilities may even be considered a previous condition and they may not cover it, making all medications and docotrs visits on you and out of pocket.
So make sure you read EVERY.SINGLE.THING.