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Downside to Foster Care Adoptions

Posted by on Sep. 14, 2011 at 10:55 AM
  • 27 Replies

In my opinion, every form of adoption as it's own downsides. My hubby and I have been discussing starting the process to adopt through foster care. We know there is a risk of becoming attached and then the child returning to his/her family. I am currently trying to do as much research as I can before we take that first step. Would those of you with experience in adopting from foster care please share the downsides?

by on Sep. 14, 2011 at 10:55 AM
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Replies (1-10):
rainbowsrock
by on Sep. 14, 2011 at 11:25 AM

I am interested in learning more about this too. Thanks for the post.

doodlebopfan
by Bronze Member on Sep. 14, 2011 at 1:26 PM

The downside is that realistically you CAN have your heart broken over a child being reunited with birth parents or other relatives, but....if your heart couldn't be broken over this, I would question whether you could actually nurture the child/ren in question. In fact, I questioned it for myself, but have learned that I will survive the heartache and I have to be thankful for the time that they were in my care. I think of each one and not how we were blessings to them, but how they were and still are blessings to us.

I'll also say that I haven't taken every placement that I have been called about, but have learned that I don't have to, nor should I. There are several foster families in our area and we all are at different points in our lives (diapers, school age, t(w)eens, all of the above) and even I feel I am growing each day in experience and confidence and can see myself taking care of older children as our son gets older . We have taken the placements that are best suited for our family "at the time of the call", because, as you may have guessed, our family was increasing and decreasing over several months/years when we first started 5 years ago.

It's not something I'd go in blindly into, however, some degree of "rose-colored glasses" can get you through the next set of "growing pains". All in all, we've had more positive experiences than negative ones, and we've made a lot of friends who are going through the same things. Good post. :)  

SarahSuzyQ
by on Sep. 14, 2011 at 1:42 PM
I think one big downside (from a purely adoption standpoint) is how focused the system tends to be on reunification and birth parent rights. The number one goal of foster care is reunification, and that can be hard to stomach when you see the state giving more chances than you think is reasonable or fair to the child involved. The fact is that terminating parental rights against their will requires a very strong legal case, and it can take well over a year to develop that case.

The upside is that you can really become a support person to a parent who is truly inexperienced or in crisis. That wouldn't happen if BPs weren't given a chance. So it's not all bad, it can just be very hard to see what the child has to go through while parents exercise their right to reunify.

As far as giving the child back, I never know what to say to that. The child is the most needy person in this situation. If you can find it in your heart to be the parent they need when they need it, you have done an amazing thing for an innocent child. They simply are not "ours"... But are any kids really ever ours, anyway? Of course it is heart breaking and terribly painful. If you have truly loved the child, how can it not be? But these kids deserve to be loved so much. They deserve the kind of family we can give, for as long as they need it.

If you can't do it, that is ok and totally understandable. Better to be realistic up front. But there are children in the foster care system waiting for an adoptive home. There are kids coming into care today whose foster parents cannot adopt them for a myriad of reasons. Sure, there may be older children or kids with special needs, as some here will certainly point out. But there are also many foster families who have let younger children go because they do not wish to adopt. It just depends on what your parameters are.

Those are a few thoughts, anyway. :)
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coonanmom
by on Sep. 14, 2011 at 1:42 PM

We did foster care for 10 years and went into it to adopt a child. We had 2 already.  We adopted 3 and had one so we now have 6 kids.  Yes your heart can hut but it also gets stronger because you have help a child and a family pull through a hard time.  When our first child came to us we know she had a small chance to go home.  She became ours at just under 2 yrs old.  Our next to adopt also had the same story of a small chance to go home.  His brother came to us at 3 days old andwe know he was not going home.  You need to ask questions, listen, know that the first thing they will try to do is send them home.  Keep a note book for each and fill in the federal time line for each child.  You will feel stressed as each step is taken.  But the out come can be wonderful no matter if they go home our stay with you.  If you want to do this only to adopt ask about pryor history for the family and persentage of chanches of going home.  Don't take a child you are not sure about.  Get to know there case workers and the placement workers and learn how the systum works.  OUr state has online classes you can take to help with this.

SarahSuzyQ
by on Sep. 14, 2011 at 1:46 PM

This is what I was looking for the words to say... And of course doodle has already said it for me. :) I couldn't agree more.

Quoting doodlebopfan:
if your heart couldn't be broken over this, I would question whether you could actually nurture the child/ren in question. In fact, I questioned it for myself, but have learned that I will survive the heartache and I have to be thankful for the time that they were in my care. I think of each one and not how we were blessings to them, but how they were and still are blessings to us.
3gifts.from.god
by on Sep. 14, 2011 at 2:09 PM

This does not really answer your question, but I feel like this piece of advice I received from my friend might be helpful here.

Backstory: My friend was adopted by her aunt and uncle after she spent 2 years in a foster home with loving parents who wanted to adopt her and her little brother. The county decided that they needed to be with biological family, and despite hers, and her foster family's requests not to, she was sent to live with her aunt and uncle, who spent the next 10 years of my friend's life abusing her and her brother.

The Advice she gave: "I spent two years in that foster home from the age of 6 to 8 years old, then went on to live with my abusive bio family. Everything I do as an adult now, every decision I make, the love I give to my children, every moral dilemma I have, EVERYTHING in my life is based on those two short years I lived with my foster mom and dad. Most people have a conscience that sounds a lot like their Mother. Mine sounds like my Foster Mom even though after social services took us away from her we weren't allowed to see or hear from her for 10 years Her love, and the things she taught me never left me. Any amount of time  you have a kid in your home, they will FOREVER be changed for the better. In 2 years, 2 months, even 2 weeks you could give a child the one experience that gets them through the rest of their life."

And THAT advice she gave me is the ONLY reason I am not completely lost and broken by the loss of my youngest son, who we wanted to, but never did get to adopt. (See my journal entries if you want the backstory on him.)

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Blessdwith5
by on Sep. 14, 2011 at 2:15 PM

I agree with everyones post and really needed to hear these answers today.  We haven't adopted (yet) but let me tell you, It's very hard being in limbo with no true idea of which way your childrens case will go.  I've had a very tearful day today for no real reason other than being frustrated with the lack of communication from DHR and not knowing what their intentions are...team meetings don't really mean anything because so much is left to the discretion of the CW.  I frequently feel like everyone has two faces...one for the foster parents and one for the biological parents and no one knows which one is real, if at all.  I am thankful to have a no-nonsense licensing worker who will tell me like it is and set my expectations.   

@Coonanmom, I've seen your suggestion to complete the federal timeline before but I don't know what that means.  I'm aware of Federal funding provided to the state if they begin the termination of parental rights process at that 15 month mark for children who've been in foster care 15 of the prior 22 months; however, my state rarely ever follows that rule because they are just not that interested in the funding.  

SarahSuzyQ
by on Sep. 14, 2011 at 2:33 PM

Thank you for posting this. While my heart breaks for your friend, and this is such a good example of the brokenness of the system, at the same time... As a foster parent, I think this is what we all hope and believe. That whatever amount of time you can love the children in your care, they will take it with them. That whether it's 3 months, 6 months, 2 years, or a lifetime, that the time spent in our home has made a difference in a child's life. That is why I get up each morning, why my license is still active, why I signed up to foster rather than just straight adopt.

Yep, now I'm crying.

Quoting 3gifts.from.god:

This does not really answer your question, but I feel like this piece of advice I received from my friend might be helpful here.

Backstory: My friend was adopted by her aunt and uncle after she spent 2 years in a foster home with loving parents who wanted to adopt her and her little brother. The county decided that they needed to be with biological family, and despite hers, and her foster family's requests not to, she was sent to live with her aunt and uncle, who spent the next 10 years of my friend's life abusing her and her brother.

The Advice she gave: "I spent two years in that foster home from the age of 6 to 8 years old, then went on to live with my abusive bio family. Everything I do as an adult now, every decision I make, the love I give to my children, every moral dilemma I have, EVERYTHING in my life is based on those two short years I lived with my foster mom and dad. Most people have a conscience that sounds a lot like their Mother. Mine sounds like my Foster Mom even though after social services took us away from her we weren't allowed to see or hear from her for 10 years Her love, and the things she taught me never left me. Any amount of time  you have a kid in your home, they will FOREVER be changed for the better. In 2 years, 2 months, even 2 weeks you could give a child the one experience that gets them through the rest of their life."

And THAT advice she gave me is the ONLY reason I am not completely lost and broken by the loss of my youngest son, who we wanted to, but never did get to adopt. (See my journal entries if you want the backstory on him.)


clvahlberg
by on Sep. 14, 2011 at 4:10 PM

 Thank you ladies for all of the beautifully worded and sincere advice. This has backed our previous thoughts and heightened our want to take this route to build our family in the future. We do want to adopt again, but we would also like to just foster. Although, we would have to stick to short term placements until DH retires. We would hate to have to disrupt a placement if he got transferred and we had to move.

Blessdwith5
by on Sep. 14, 2011 at 4:40 PM

@3.gifts.from.God, Thank you and please tell your friend from the bottom of my heart, Thank you for sharing!!  This is definitely a roller coaster ride and sometimes we need to be reminded that we can and do make a lifelong difference in these babies lives. 

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