Guest Blogger | 4 Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Began Fostering

Thanks to Rachael Walker for allowing me to share this post with all of you! I am always interested in other’s perspectives!

Becoming a foster parent is definitely one of the most rewarding things I have done in my life, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. However, it is also one of the most difficult and draining!

Before we began fostering my husband and I went to a lot of classes, training and meetings with the agency we foster with. While our agency was certainly helpful and informative they can’t prepare you for the way you will feel and the everyday reality of being a foster carer.

It certainly isn’t for the faint hearted, but I am so proud of the difference my family and I have made in children’s lives.

If you are considering fostering, these are some points that might help you. These are four things I wish I had known before I started to foster:

How it would impact on family life

Of course I realised that having another child in my home would make a huge impact on my family life; my husband Tim, teenage son Jack and myself, but I didn’t consider just how much.

When you put yourself forward for short term placements you have to accept that you will have to drop everything at the last minute – for instance when we accepted Lyndon we had planned a trip to see relatives for the next week that we had to cancel. The child comes first in these situations, but I have certainly had less opportunity to see extended family since we began fostering.

How I would feel about my foster placements

I was worried that I would fall for every child that I cared for, but luckily this hasn’t been the case. While I have felt a bond with all of them, some children are harder to let go of than others.

Some placements are very short term, and this makes it easier to mentally detach yourself from feeling too close to the child on a personal level. Some older children are also easier to part from, as they don’t need you to be maternal towards them in the same way. However, my first foster daughter Lucy is certainly a very special little girl to me, and I hope to keep in touch with her for the rest of my life.

That I may have to experience rejection from a child

I hadn’t considered before we began fostering that a child may not want to live with us, and may have been happy with their previous foster family and not wanted to leave. I naively assumed that if a child had come from a difficult home life they would lap up the attention and affection we gave them, but of course most situations are a lot more complicated than this.

If a child felt that their last foster placement was their family and they were happy there, they are going to be angry that they had to come and live with you. And even if their biological parents were addicts or abused them, that they still loved them and this was their home. This is completely understandable.

No matter how perfectly you set out a bedroom for them and how many cookies you bake, be prepared to meet with ‘get away from me, you’re not my mommy!’ If you expect to go into fostering and receive a child that is grateful and in awe of all you do for them, then you are making the wrong decision. That is not a reason to foster.

That I had realized how much these children had lost

I obviously knew that the children I would care for had lost their home and parents, but of course it runs much deeper than that. These children have lost their neighbors, their friends, their family pet, and the blanket that they like to sleep on at night.

Their school may have been the only continuous stability in their life, so if they have moved schools this is even more difficult. You have to accept that most children you care for will be missing the life they have lost, and will cling to you or feel animosity towards you as a result.

If you are wondering whether fostering might be for you I would recommend that you have an informal chat with somebody from a fostering agency or request some further information; the agency I foster with offers a chat function on-site which is a little less intimidating than making that first phone call.

Fostering is so rewarding but certainly not for everyone; it is so important that you get as much information as you can before hand and really consider whether you can handle the emotional pressure that this special job will involve.

guest bloggerRachael Walker is a foster parent, wife and biological mother of one from Birmingham, UK. Read her blog here: http://www.rachaelwriting.blogspot.co.uk/

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Daffy’s Story

This is the third in a series of Guest Posts by other Cast Members here at Foster Adoption. I asked Daffy to share her version of events from the time she first learned about our family through the hearing when we finally determined her adoption date. 

IT’S A PLANE OLD DAY AT THE GROUP HOME. ONE OF THE STAFF MEMBERS CALLS ALL THE KIDS IN FOR SUPPER AND THEN CALLS FOR EVERY ONE ELSE BY RINGING THE HOUSE BELL. AT DINNER ME AND DONALD GET BROUT INTO A MEETING! ME AND DONALD WERE KIND OF NERVOSE AT FIRST BUT THEN I SAW A SMILE ON OUR CASE WORKERS FACE SO I WAS FELT BETTER I DONT KNOW ABOUT DONALD? THENE THE CASE WORKER BRINGS IN A $1,000,000 AND THEN A NOTHER $1,000,000 I’M JOKING. SO ANYWAYS THE CASE WORKER PULLS OUT A PEAS OF PAPER AND ASKS US A FEW QUESTIONS LIKE….HOW ARE YOU? HOWS SCHOOL? WHAT DID YOU LEARN AT SCOOL?……THEN SHE PULLED OUT ANOTHER PEAS OF PAPER AND SAID VERY PROUDLY “DAFFY AND DONALD YOU HAVE A NEW FAMILY” DONALD AND I WERE SO HAPPY WE JUMPED OUT OF OUR SKIN AND SHOUTED FOR JOY!!!!!! THEN SHE SAID WE WOULD MEET THEM TOMORROW. I WAS REALLY EXCITED. DONALD WELL HE JUST SAT THERE WITH HIS MOUTH OPEN! I ASKED IF HE WAS COMING TO EAT BUT HE SAT THERE FOR ABOUT 15MIN AND WENE HE CAME BACK IN HE WAS JUST IN TIME FOR DESSERT. I COULDN’T GO TO SLEEP THAT NIGHT CAUSE I COULDN’T STOP THINKING ABOUT MY NEW FAMILY. THE NEXT MORNING I SPRUNG OUT OF MY BED AND WENE I FINISHED MAKING MY BED I HELPED THE OTHERS WITH THERE’S! WE DID OUR REGULAR CHORSE THEN I FINALLY GOT TO SEE THEM WENE I FIRST MEET I FELT NERVOSE BUT AFTER WE PLAYED GAMES AND DID OTHER FUN THINGS LIKE DRESS UP….AND THEN THE DAY CAME IT WAS A TUSDAY AND A very Very VEry VERy VERY SPECIAL DAY CAUSE I WAS GOING TO LIVE AT MY NEW FAMILY’S HOUSE! THE DAYS PASSED AND I LEARND ALL OF THE RULES AND MET NEW PEOPLE IN THERE FAMILY’S AND THEY ARE MEETING MINE!

-DAFFY, AGE 9

Pluto’s Story

This is the second in a series of Guest Posts by other Cast Members here at Foster Adoption. I asked our son, Pluto, to share his version of events from the time we decided to pursue foster care through the hearing on Monday when we finally determined an adoption date for Daffy. 

The first day I met the kids they seemed ok but I think that was because they didn’t know us. When we visited them they would be on edge and fighting with eachother but could keep normal. Once they started staying with us over the weekends at our house, Donald would get crazy. One time I was on the computer and could hear yelling but then saw my mom restraining Donald. It got worse after he moved in. Right before the kids moved in Donald wasn’t listening to my mom my mom sent him to go out side and play in the snow. He was still mad and I think that might have made him more mad. He then hid one of the sleds that we were using and found a stick and put it in the dogs butt. After we all came inside he seemed less tense but if someone said something he didn’t like he would have probably freaked out. Another moment when he freaked out was after he met his teachers at school. In the car Daffy and Donald were suppose to be sharing the game boy but Donald didn’t share. When we got home he didn’t want to get out of the car so my dad stayed there with him. That was the first day I heard him swear. There was a few really scary times. The first really scary time was when he was in his room screaming and swearing. He came out near the balcony and starting throwing some bag with books in it at the dogs and cat. I was near watching and saw him throw it I got the animals and put them on the basement to be safe. Once he said “the basket is coming down next” he turned around and my mom restrained him. The other scary moment was when Daffy and her friend were playing in the closet and Donald was in there. He got mad for some reason and started punching a window in there. He grabbed a doll Daffy was playing with and she got out and was sitting on the couch and he threw it at her and hit her. She says, whenever we talk about it, that she passed out for a second. Now we all have been happy that he has been gone. I have only seen him once since he left. But when my parents told him that we are adopting Daffy, he was very angry, he didn’t answer any questions. He threw books and ran. Now everyone in the house is excited and cant wait for Daffy to get adopted in October.
-Pluto

Tink’s Story

This is the first in a series of Guest Posts by other Cast Members here at Foster Adoption. I asked our daughter, Tinkerbelle, to share her version of events from the time we decided to pursue foster care through the hearing on Monday when we finally determined an adoption date for Daffy. 

From the beginning and still to this day, I am in love with the idea of fostering and then adopting children. Everyone needs a loving family. Not just with the people they are born to, but when things don’t turn out right, they need the next loving family to take them and love them the way a child should be loved. I remember the first day that I was told about the idea of becoming a foster family; I was so in love with the idea. Words couldn’t describe how happy I was. I had always wanted a younger sister. And then the day my mom showed me the picture of Donald and Daffy, I fell in love. I cried with tears of happiness because I was so happy that we could help these kids. I couldn’t wait to meet them and for them to move in and spend their lives with us.

My parents met Donald and Daffy before I did, and I remember them coming home and showing us all the pictures they took and told us all the stories from the night. They told us about the other children living there as well. The day that I first met Donald and Daffy, I wanted to take them home with me and never bring them back. They kept a smile on my face the whole time. But along with all the happiness, I had fear because you could see in their eyes that [they thought] we were going to hurt them, which we never would. I also remember meeting all of the other kids and falling in love with all of them, because I felt so bad for them and how long they had all lived there [in the group home].

When they first started having sleepovers with us, it was still fun. I loved sharing a room with Daffy, even though she was a slob. Both Donald and Daffy were always testing us. They wouldn’t eat food, they were always fighting with each other and all of us. The day that we went to pick them up to move in officially, I bawled my eyes out so hard because I was so sad for the other kids still there that still do not have a family. That day was so hectic but it was still one of my favorites and will never be forgotten.

Since they moved in, Donald is now gone to a different foster home [rtc] because he was a monster and continually tried beating the girls up in this house. Daffy is the sweetest little sister anyone could ever have. I feel so connected to her. It was so kind of her when she told me that every night she reads the poster I made her saying “I love you lil sister” that she hung above her bead. My favorite memory I had with her is when we went up to my grandparents lake house for the 4th of July weekend, and she fit right in on the boat. It was so adorable when we all connected while I painted everyone’s nails and toenails. I love when Daffy lets me paint her nails and do her hair because I feel so close with her. I loved the day when she let me dye the underneath of her pink because it was something I did in the past, and I thought she did it to copy me.

We found out that we are adopting Daffy on 10/11/12 and I cried so hard because I was so happy that she will finally be in a home where everyone loves her. I can’t wait for her to become a part of our family. It is a great feeling to help previously neglected kids. I know when I get older, I will definitely want to adopt kids with my husband.

-Tinkerbelle