Print Email
 
Welcome Guest ( Login | Register )
Forums Guide Disclaimer
 
Please help us maintain the quality of these forums by respecting the Terms of Use and by reporting any misuse to the moderator.
 

12»»

Just starting the journey... Expand / Collapse
Author
Message
Posted 9/11/2011 2:33:14 PM
Junior Member

Junior MemberJunior MemberJunior MemberJunior MemberJunior MemberJunior MemberJunior MemberJunior Member

Group: Forum Members
Last Login: 21/11/2011 10:46:06 PM
Posts: 10, Visits: 75
My husband and I are just starting the process of possibly becoming Foster carers. We have only made enquiries at this stage, and haven't been to any formal meetings or interviews, but I have been stalking this forum and reading as much as I can about the process, what to expect, waiting times etc etc and I am a little surprised that I am even still interested, as at points in my reading, I did wonder "what am I thinking?".

I am in my late 20's, my husband his late 30's, we have never had our own children as I can't (long story short, I don't have a uterus anymore), but all my life, all I have wanted, was to nurture children and watch them grow into their own person. I never thought I wouldn't have my own, but from a young age, wanted to adopt/foster in addition to my own children anyway. We just had to skip the "own children" part. I don't work anymore (lucky girl, I know) and we would love nothing more than to help a child (or children) find a safe, loving place in this sometimes ugly world.

Is there anyone like me out there, who never had their own children? Most of you seem to have had your family and did this afterwards, but for us, this would be our family... How did you cope? Did you end up adopting a placement? Why did YOU choose fostering over straight out adoption (locally or overseas)? While I realise this is about helping a child, not fulfilling my needs to be a mother, I have to be realistic in that I do have feelings/urges/needs/wants and I want to be prepared for the reality that I may struggle to hand back a child. How do you cope with that when you so desperately want to keep them? Would shorter term placements be a better place to start to get used to the idea that you may/will have to give them back?

Anyone willing to share in their experiences, it is appreciated!
Post #64343
Posted 13/11/2011 8:08:35 PM
Junior Member

Junior MemberJunior MemberJunior MemberJunior MemberJunior MemberJunior MemberJunior MemberJunior Member

Group: Forum Members
Last Login: 21/11/2011 10:46:06 PM
Posts: 10, Visits: 75
Just a quick update, we have our first meeting/home visit with a case worker on Wednesday! Very excited!!
Post #64402
Posted 14/11/2011 10:49:45 AM
Forum Newbie

Forum NewbieForum NewbieForum NewbieForum NewbieForum NewbieForum NewbieForum NewbieForum Newbie

Group: Forum Members
Last Login: 28/02/2013 10:23:08 AM
Posts: 7, Visits: 17
Hi


My husband and I have been foster carers for just over 3 years now. We are in the minority (like yourself) in that we don't have our own children (and probably won't be able to ever). So we can relate!

We are in our mid 30's now and have wanted to start a family since our late 20's.

After comming to terms with our not being able to have children naturally (I was about 29 at the time) - I started to think about other options.

Unlike most other couples - we never wanted to adopt overseas/ do IVF etc - These never crossed our mind! - There are heaps of local kids out there that needed loving people to help them out and I felt that was what I was supposed to do instead.

Of course I realized fostering was not going to be like having your own kids - these children were going to be lost/confused/angry/behind academically and emotionally/have behavioral issues/the list goes on!

So I had to look deeply inside myself to see if I had what it takes.

After doing some research I made a few enquiries - and took the plunge! - we attended an info session and went from there (this was about 5 years ago now)

We decided on being respite carers intially to see if we were up to this and didn't consider long term placements. Well the Universe works in mysterious ways and one day (18 months after our last interview - yes it can take a while sometimes) we had a phone call - to take on 2 sisters (little girls) full time and long term!

This was a shock of course (not in the plan) - but these girls needed us and I wanted to help!

Anyway here we are 3 and a half years later! - we are now in the process of adopting our 2 foster daughters (another thing we never considered!).

We haven't had any other kids come our way since - so we have been very focused on these 2 kids (and they have certainly blossomed and really are a part of our family!)

Now before you go thinking of fairy tale happy endings you need to be aware of a few things if you choose this journey. (and realize that my fostering experience and everyone elses will be different)


These kids cannot call you Mum and Dad! - that is very important (can be a difficult thing after a long time and especially if they are your only kids) our girls still have to call us by our first names and probably will for many years to come!

You need to remember you are not their parents you are just a carer - you cannot make major decisions regarding these children!

You need to commit to good communication with your caseworker and remember the department will be a big part of your week to week /month to month (it was and still is in our case)

Now the biggest thing that we have had to deal with is CONTACT!

Please make sure (especially if you intend on doing long term placements) that you find out everything you can about the childs contact commitments.

Most foster children must maintain contact with their birth families (court ordered) - and the amount of contact varies - I think (and other carers can also help with this) the normal amount of contact for a child in long term permanent out of home care is once a month or once every 2 months for a couple of hours.

Children that are in short term care and expected to return to their parents (I don't think this is something that you will be doing anyway) usually have weekly contact.

When we got given our girls we really got caught up in the excitement of it all and didn't question anything. It really became an issue for us and the girls when the girls had to visit their birth family 6 times a month (on the weekend).

This has made it hard for the girls to "attach" to us (they see their birth parents weekly) and also normal family weekends are something we have had to sacrifice for the past 3 years.

This is now in the process of being changed (through the court system) to once per month.

- but If I had known then what I know now I probably wouldn't have said "Yes" to taking these particular children because of their particular contact arrangements (please see the forum on "contact" it will shed some more light on this matter)

Now the other thing is with the adoption of foster children - I am new to this so I can't really say much other than it is going to take quite some time and be a very rocky road (there is a good chance the birth parents will not consent to it). After having the girls for 2 years we started making inquiries about adoption - it is up to the department to decide if it is in the best interests of the child to be adopted - so not all long term placements can be adopted!

If and when we adopt these children there will still be a contact plan in place- so you must be able to assist your adopted foster children to have some sort of contact with their birth parents each year.

We would like to look at taking in one more child in the future (long term ) - but in many cases it is sibling groups that require care - so even though you may only have one child in mind - if the department came to you with a baby and its older sibling - you have to ask yourself if you could separate them? - We personally couldn't and would take on the whole bunch if we could!

One child would be ideal when you are just staring out (and don't have your own children) but in many cases there will be more than one child to take in.

I think you should go for it! - just make sure you put you and your husband first and ask as many questions as possible! - try not to get swept away and remember there will be a "honeymoon" period for the first 3 months or so when you have a child placed with you (and then realty sets in).

Take care and keep us posted on how its all progressing!
Post #64426
Posted 14/11/2011 1:17:41 PM
Junior Member

Junior MemberJunior MemberJunior MemberJunior MemberJunior MemberJunior MemberJunior MemberJunior Member

Group: Forum Members
Last Login: 21/11/2011 10:46:06 PM
Posts: 10, Visits: 75
Hi Nanny,

Thanks for your honest and wise advice. Most of what you said wasn't completely new to me.

We have been made well aware of the likely hood of a sibling group, and to be honest, it would probably be better in some ways (they would have eachother as support and company), but realise too that it will be hard work!

I have read many a horror story about contact, so I will be sure to *try* to remember to ask about that before getting swept up in all the excitement!! Can't guarantee I won't get swept up though.

But the thing that I am a little confused about, was the part about not calling you "Mum & Dad". I have been told the complete opposite by other carers and also our agency. Not sure if maybe your kids were different, or maybe because you are with a different agency, but we were told that with permanent placements, they encourage the children to call you Mum and Dad, I assume to help the children adjust and make them feel like they are part of the family, which with permanent placements, I believe they are? Does anyone else have any feedback on this one?

Again, thanks for your reply Nanny, it really helps to hear that despite all the ups and downs, in the end, you still feel as if it's all worth it!!

Storkless
Post #64446
Posted 14/11/2011 8:37:11 PM
Forum Member

Forum MemberForum MemberForum MemberForum MemberForum MemberForum MemberForum MemberForum Member

Group: Forum Members
Last Login: 8/11/2013 11:55:52 PM
Posts: 35, Visits: 83
Congratulations on beginning the journey, it is very rewarding and stressful at times but the small mile stones you reach with the kids you will have in your care will make it all worth it.

I also wanted to comment quickly on the calling you Mum and Dad thing, I know many carers who have long term placements and the children call them Mum and Dad, often they choose to do this as many really want to have parents they can name. A lot of the kids know full well you are not their bio parents but actually want to identify their carer as that person. I believe there is nothing wrong with it, but I do not encourage it, the child must come to this conclusion on their own. I have been asked by children in my care "What can I call you" I reply " Well my name is xyz but you tell me what you're comfortable with" I have also had kids call me Aunty and others Mum, but often just my name. I find its more what they call us in public, some are embarressed and want the general public to think you are their mum or dad.

Fostering has lead me to study child protection and I really love it...all of it. Just remember to be flexible, expect the unexpected because these kids upbringing has been far different from most of ours and they will often teach you a thing or two. Good luck with it and I wish you well.
Post #64466
Posted 14/11/2011 10:52:06 PM
Junior Member

Junior MemberJunior MemberJunior MemberJunior MemberJunior MemberJunior MemberJunior MemberJunior Member

Group: Forum Members
Last Login: 21/11/2011 10:46:06 PM
Posts: 10, Visits: 75
Hi Mummm-n,

Thanks for your reply. I agree completely that it's up to the kids, and I perhaps should have worded my other post differently. When I said they "encourage" the children calling you Mum & Dad, perhaps a better way to phrase it, would have been they "support" them calling you M&D. I was curious and in my initial inquiries I asked what kids called their carers (in permanent care) and they said generally M&D, but they did clarify that at what point is different with every child. For some they want to straight up, for others, it is a while before they decide they want to. I must also point out too, that we are looking at a younger age group (0-4) as we haven't had any prior parenting experience, so the agency said it's more likely that they will naturally just start referring to you and M&D.

Thanks again everyone! Still interested to hear from anyone else with advice/feedback.

Storkless
Post #64472
Posted 15/11/2011 10:19:06 AM
Forum Newbie

Forum NewbieForum NewbieForum NewbieForum NewbieForum NewbieForum NewbieForum NewbieForum Newbie

Group: Forum Members
Last Login: 28/02/2013 10:23:08 AM
Posts: 7, Visits: 17
Hi guys

Would be good to get other carers thoughts/experiences on the calling you Mum & Dad thing.

Maybe our situation is very different and unique but our agency has always told us (quite firmly) that these children must not call us Mum and Dad!

The girls have always been afraid to do this for a number of reasons:
1)one of the reasons they were removed from their previous placement was because the carers made the girls call them Mum & Dad.

2)Also, the girls see their birth parents weekly and tell us they must call their birth parents Mum & Dad not us! the girls tell us "we already have a Mum & Dad" and that they don't feel comfortable calling us that even though we have cared for them for over 3 years.

We of course would love to be a Mum & Dad one day for these girls but the fear of God has been put into us and the girls by our agency if we let that happen.

I guess if we get to adopt them - maybe then we can start the gradual process of changing what the girls call us.

The girls also are happy to call us by our names in public - doesn't seem to bother them and when they are talking about us and their birth parents to friends/family they refer to their birth parents as their "real" Mum & Dad and we are just their carers!

If they are happy with that - then that is fine with us - sometimes it is hard and confusing when in social situations but we all manage.

If your agency says its OK then go with that.

We have always been a bit worried that we could lose the girls if they started calling us Mum & Dad (the girls worry about that too)

It would be interesting to hear what other carers get told.

It can be so confusing sometimes.
Post #64480
Posted 15/11/2011 1:41:07 PM
Junior Member

Junior MemberJunior MemberJunior MemberJunior MemberJunior MemberJunior MemberJunior MemberJunior Member

Group: Forum Members
Last Login: 21/11/2011 10:46:06 PM
Posts: 10, Visits: 75
Nanny, if you adopt them as you plan, you become their full legal guardians, in other words, their parents and no one can tell you (agency/government or otherwise) what they call you! So one would assume that you would be "Mum & Dad" then?

At the moment, I realise you are still their foster parents, but it's interesting that your agency advised you that way, when I know plenty of others that have been advised differently, perhaps it is a unique situation? I understand that they still see their parents, and of course they are still an important part of their life, but so are you! I don't really see it as you are "just their carers", you are so much more than that, to the girls too, I am sure.

Btw, do you mind telling me which agency you go through?
Post #64483
Posted 15/11/2011 4:13:16 PM
Forum Newbie

Forum NewbieForum NewbieForum NewbieForum NewbieForum NewbieForum NewbieForum NewbieForum Newbie

Group: Forum Members
Last Login: 28/02/2013 10:23:08 AM
Posts: 7, Visits: 17
Hi Storkless

We deal with DoCS!

Yes - when (and if) they are adopted we can discuss with them about calling us Mum and Dad - it will be a big step for them as they have told us they are not comfortable with this.

Hope that helps

Take care! we will be thinking of you tomorrow - best of luck!!!
Post #64484
Posted 15/11/2011 4:42:23 PM
Junior Member

Junior MemberJunior MemberJunior MemberJunior MemberJunior MemberJunior MemberJunior MemberJunior Member

Group: Forum Members
Last Login: 21/11/2011 10:46:06 PM
Posts: 10, Visits: 75
Thanks Nanny! I am excited about tomorrow!!

Maybe DoCS gave you this directive purely because they knew the girls weren't comfortable calling any of their foster parents, Mum & Dad? From what you have said, it sounds more like a preference by the girls, than an actual policy of DoCS. And if the girls are old enough to understand the situation, then they probably feel a sense of loyalty towards their parents and calling you Mum would be hard in that case. In any case, what they call you really doesn't matter, it's just a name! I even know a few people that call their bio parents by their first name, and they are still a very close family!

Take care! I will report back tomorrow afternoon!!

Storkless
Post #64485
« Prev Topic | Next Topic »

12»»

Permissions Expand / Collapse

All times are GMT +10:00, Time now is 2:02pm


Important! The content of these forums is not quality-assured by the Raising Children Network. Please help us maintain the quality of these forums by reporting any misuse to the administrator.