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DawnM

Is there a Foster Care sub-forum/group?

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I see the title but don't know how to request to join.  Is it active?  Anyone one in who can add me?  

Edited by DawnM
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If former foster families are allowed, I'd love to join too.  My kid is now adopted, but I think a lot of the attachment and PTSD issues we deal with are the same. 

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Maybe I could talk to you guys. . . I’ve had some big decisions on my mind, and no one irl with any experience in foster/adoption to discuss it with.  

The case worker spoke to dh recently, saying that we are coming up on a year here (in 2 months) since foster dds were removed and that neither parent is taking steps they should, and asking if we would consider a permanent guardianship.  We would certainly, but we also strongly feel that our two girls and their sisters need to be together.  There are two more girls who have been over to stay with us a number of times.  And the more we talk and pray about it, the more we come to feel that they belong with our family.  

I don’t know how this could work.  We already have six kids in a three bedroom house, with the four girls in one room together.  We don’t have room in the car. I actually always wanted a large family, but I pictured them rather more spread out.  (Eight kids in 7 1/2 years—or seven kids in 5 years plus littlest dd 2 1/2 years later).  The idea of managing that many, that close together, for years, is daunting—and adding in the therapies and youngest dd’s delays and behavior issues makes my logical brain hesitant.  Not to mention long-term questions about giving financial help when launching that many young adults that close together, and the still-unknown of whether youngest dd will be able to catch up completely in time or whether she will be permanently disabled, and will they always feel like two separate batches or will they have true sibling relationships in time? 

But somehow, the more I wonder and worry and pray and question, the more my heart feels at peace with this.  Many months before dd8 came to us, we felt she was meant to come here.  We were prepared in advance well before it seemed there was a cause—even the car that allowed us to seat another kid fell into our laps, as it were.  And then we thought we had been mistaken as months continued to pass and word was that she was doing very well where she was.  Until the day we got a call asking if we could take her right then, and we were ready.  Even as my mind continues to worry and question, my heart becomes more and more convinced that if this is meant to happen, a way will be provided.

But oh my goodness, it’s a bunch—this school year they were in 5th, 4th, 3rd, two in 2nd, 1st, K, and preschool.

A year ago we were considering fostering one baby/toddler.

Edited by Michelle Conde
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15 minutes ago, Michelle Conde said:

Maybe I could talk to you guys. . . I’ve had some big decisions on my mind, and no one irl with any experience in foster/adoption to discuss it with.  

The case worker spoke to dh recently, saying that we are coming up on a year here (in 2 months) since foster dds were removed and that neither parent is taking steps they should, and asking if we would consider a permanent guardianship.  The idea of managing that many, that close together, for years, is daunting—and adding in the therapies and youngest dd’s delays and behavior issues makes my logical brain hesitant.  Not to mention long-term questions about giving financial help when launching that many young adults that close together, and the still-unknown of whether youngest dd will be able to catch up completely in time or whether she will be permanently disabled, and will they always feel like two separate batches or will they have true sibling relationships in time? 

 

There is a lot to consider.  First of all, are you in the US?  You mention guardianship but I would urge you to pursue ADOPTION if you are in the US.  Especially with ones that young, they really need permanency and the same last name, etc.  The guardianship was designed for older teens that didn't want to be adopted but needed a long term stable home.

As to financial stuff......most likely they would all continue to qualify for their foster care daily rate until they are 18 (or graduate highschool).  The youngest would qualify for a higher rate with the special needs (unless this is your bio) along with medical subsidy to cover therapy costs, etc.  All of them should qualify for medicaid until they are out of highschool (and in Michigan until they are 21).   Many states also offer free college tuition to kids who were in foster care.   I never want to make it sound like you adopt FOR the money.  But realistically, the subsidy money can ALLOW you to adopt and provide a stable home. 

 Some parent are also able to negotiate a "care giver" stipend......for example $15/hour for 10-20 hours a week (goes up with inflation) to pay for an additional caregiver/mother's helper so that you can get to the therapy appointments, take care of excess  needs, have someone to watch the one with special needs, etc. 

Is the home where the others are willing and able to keep them and provide continued contact?   Very often it is best for siblings to be together if possible.  There are though times where it is much better for all concerned to have them in their own adoptive homes.  These complexities can be hard to navigate and often there are no clear, easy answers.

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Today is the 18 month anniversary of my son joining our family which is to say that I haven't really been at this as long as some others.

I am very hesitant, as the adopted parent of a child who went through significant trauma before he came to us, to talk about adoption in terms of "meant to happen".  If things happen because they are meant to, what does it mean that things that my child desperately needed didn't happen?  If God provides for his plan, what does that mean for a child that wasn't provided for?  My kid really struggles with seeing his siblings (my bio kids) who have had, from his perspective, nothing but good luck, and thinking that there is something about him that makes him less deserving.  

Having said that, one thing we've learned in the adoption journey.is that we, as a family, are stronger than I ever would have thought.  We can do hard things when we have to.  Our journey has certainly not been easy, because of the medical stuff and the trauma stuff, but we've figured it out because that's what families do.

On the other hand, I've also see families that were equally strong, and equally committed, who got in over their heads and ended up disrupting.  So, I'd encourage you to get as much information as you can about the girls from as many perspectives.  I'll also say that you can have all sorts of info and perspectives and also find that the kid looks really different when they are in your house and hearing talk about staying.  We spent a couple months visiting my son in the hospital before he came home, and there is no way I would have predicted the behavior we got in the first few months. 

So, I guess all that averages out to "I have no advice", because I can see both sides.  

The last thing I'll do is echo @Ottakee and ask why you aren't talking about adoption.  It may be that in your state the rules about guardianship are different, but in my area "permanent" doesn't mean forever when it comes to guardianship.  I have taught students who were placed with permanent guardians at toddlers and removed at 7 or 8 because the birth parent might have gotten their act together.  I've also had the experience of my child developing a life threatening condition, and the social worker not giving us approval to take him out of state to see the top specialists in his condition.  So, for me, I wanted the security of adoption.  I'll also ask whether adoption subsidy could, in some way, solve the housing problem.  In our case we have pretty significant mobility needs and got a grant that covered home renovations.  There might be a way to get something similar?

 

 

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1 hour ago, Michelle Conde said:

Maybe I could talk to you guys. . . I’ve had some big decisions on my mind, and no one irl with any experience in foster/adoption to discuss it with.  

 

I would suggest you try for adoption of the siblings you currently have in your care.

Tell the powers that be you would like to adopt all 4 ideally. But I would not make the plans for the two you have contingent on the other siblings. 

Imo, adopting is better than guardianship, though it is a harder process. 

 

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1 hour ago, Ottakee said:

There is a lot to consider.  First of all, are you in the US?  You mention guardianship but I would urge you to pursue ADOPTION if you are in the US.  Especially with ones that young, they really need permanency and the same last name, etc.  The guardianship was designed for older teens that didn't want to be adopted but needed a long term stable home.

As to financial stuff......most likely they would all continue to qualify for their foster care daily rate until they are 18 (or graduate highschool).  The youngest would qualify for a higher rate with the special needs (unless this is your bio) along with medical subsidy to cover therapy costs, etc.  All of them should qualify for medicaid until they are out of highschool (and in Michigan until they are 21).   Many states also offer free college tuition to kids who were in foster care.   I never want to make it sound like you adopt FOR the money.  But realistically, the subsidy money can ALLOW you to adopt and provide a stable home. 

 Some parent are also able to negotiate a "care giver" stipend......for example $15/hour for 10-20 hours a week (goes up with inflation) to pay for an additional caregiver/mother's helper so that you can get to the therapy appointments, take care of excess  needs, have someone to watch the one with special needs, etc. 

Is the home where the others are willing and able to keep them and provide continued contact?   Very often it is best for siblings to be together if possible.  There are though times where it is much better for all concerned to have them in their own adoptive homes.  These complexities can be hard to navigate and often there are no clear, easy answers.

 

Yes, we’re in the US. We would prefer adoption, but the case worker asked about guardianship specifically because she thought bio mom might agree to give us guardianship (she has been very happy with youngest dd’s progress since she came to us, and mentioned sever times to the cw how happy she is with the care they’re getting here).  My guess is that guardianship might be a step on a longer road to adoption, maybe.

The home the other girls are in is not a long term option.  Their foster parents are not interested in adoption.  I am frankly shocked that they managed to pass a home study.

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39 minutes ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

I am very hesitant, as the adopted parent of a child who went through significant trauma before he came to us, to talk about adoption in terms of "meant to happen".  If things happen because they are meant to, what does it mean that things that my child desperately needed didn't happen?  If God provides for his plan, what does that mean for a child that wasn't provided for?  My kid really struggles with seeing his siblings (my bio kids) who have had, from his perspective, nothing but good luck, and thinking that there is something about him that makes him less deserving.  

 

I do not think that what happened to these girls was meant to happen.  I think their parents were allowed their free agency and used it for evil.  But going forward from this point, I feel that God is asking us if we will care for care for these children of his—that this is what he means to happen in the future, if we are willing.

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IME, guardianship is generally asked about first. It’s an easier process for social workers etc.

but the permanence of adoption tends to be better for kids, IME.  

 

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2 minutes ago, Michelle Conde said:

 

Yes, we’re in the US. We would prefer adoption, but the case worker asked about guardianship specifically because she thought bio mom might agree to give us guardianship (she has been very happy with youngest dd’s progress since she came to us, and mentioned sever times to the cw how happy she is with the care they’re getting here).  My guess is that guardianship might be a step on a longer road to adoption, maybe.

The home the other girls are in is not a long term option.  Their foster parents are not interested in adoption.  I am frankly shocked that they managed to pass a home study.

Just be aware that many workers are pushing guardianship as it easier on them but it is NOT necessarily a path to adoption.  Depending on your state and the exact wording of the guardianship you might lose all financial support AND the birth mother could still come back in 1, 2 or 10 years and want custody back.....and have a right to do so.

Guardianship does have its place but I see it more and more presented as an option so they can avoid having to terminate parents' rights.   Problem is, it does not give permanency to the child, doesn't give them your last name, etc.   

I would highly suggest talking to other foster/adopt parents in your state, esp your county, to get a boots on the ground review of how it is working out in your area.

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1 minute ago, Pen said:

IME, guardianship is generally asked about first. It’s an easier process for social workers etc.

but the permanence of adoption tends to be better for kids, IME.  

 

YES.  Easier for the workers but often NOT easier for the foster parents or best for the kids.

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16 minutes ago, Michelle Conde said:

 

Yes, we’re in the US. We would prefer adoption, but the case worker asked about guardianship specifically because she thought bio mom might agree to give us guardianship (she has been very happy with youngest dd’s progress since she came to us, and mentioned sever times to the cw how happy she is with the care they’re getting here).  My guess is that guardianship might be a step on a longer road to adoption, maybe.

The home the other girls are in is not a long term option.  Their foster parents are not interested in adoption.  I am frankly shocked that they managed to pass a home study.

 

Guardianship could just as likely be a step toward parent regaining custody.  Which may be part of why parents are more likely to agree to it.

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12 minutes ago, Ottakee said:

I would highly suggest talking to other foster/adopt parents in your state, esp your county, to get a boots on the ground review of how it is working out in your area.

 

And a lawyer.

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16 hours ago, Carrie12345 said:

I would love to be included! We’re supposed to be licensed in the next week or two.

That's wonderful that it's so close!  

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51 minutes ago, Michelle Conde said:

I do not think that what happened to these girls was meant to happen.  I think their parents were allowed their free agency and used it for evil.  But going forward from this point, I feel that God is asking us if we will care for care for these children of his—that this is what he means to happen in the future, if we are willing.

I think that I didn't do a good job of writing what I meant to say.  

I think that it is likely that you are right that God is asking you this.  I think that God gave me the peace and strength to take my son home when that was a very scary thing for me.  But in my experience as DS10's parent, something can be the will of God, and really hard terrible things can still happen in the journey.  

It might be easier to see, because in our kid's case there are lots of things that have made his journey hard, not just the actions of one or two people. There is his medical problem, and the drunk drive that killed his parents, and the dementia that basically left him parentless.  When people say to him that God took care of him by giving him to us, I think he wonders why He didn't take care of him then.  

I'll also say that my experience is that even if I'm doing something that is good and right, terrible things can happen.  The fact that my son belongs in my family doesn't mean that things will become easy or possible.  I think that just as my kid's life before we adopted him was impacted by the brokenness of the world, so to has his life been after he's with us.  I wouldn't expect it to be easy or possible, even if it is meant to be.

 

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I'd like to be in that group too.

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If there isn't a group, can someone start one?  I don't mind if I can figure out how to do it.

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9 hours ago, Michelle Conde said:

Maybe I could talk to you guys. . . I’ve had some big decisions on my mind, and no one irl with any experience in foster/adoption to discuss it with.  

The case worker spoke to dh recently, saying that we are coming up on a year here (in 2 months) since foster dds were removed and that neither parent is taking steps they should, and asking if we would consider a permanent guardianship.  We would certainly, but we also strongly feel that our two girls and their sisters need to be together.  There are two more girls who have been over to stay with us a number of times.  And the more we talk and pray about it, the more we come to feel that they belong with our family.  

I don’t know how this could work.  We already have six kids in a three bedroom house, with the four girls in one room together.  We don’t have room in the car. I actually always wanted a large family, but I pictured them rather more spread out.  (Eight kids in 7 1/2 years—or seven kids in 5 years plus littlest dd 2 1/2 years later).  The idea of managing that many, that close together, for years, is daunting—and adding in the therapies and youngest dd’s delays and behavior issues makes my logical brain hesitant.  Not to mention long-term questions about giving financial help when launching that many young adults that close together, and the still-unknown of whether youngest dd will be able to catch up completely in time or whether she will be permanently disabled, and will they always feel like two separate batches or will they have true sibling relationships in time? 

But somehow, the more I wonder and worry and pray and question, the more my heart feels at peace with this.  Many months before dd8 came to us, we felt she was meant to come here.  We were prepared in advance well before it seemed there was a cause—even the car that allowed us to seat another kid fell into our laps, as it were.  And then we thought we had been mistaken as months continued to pass and word was that she was doing very well where she was.  Until the day we got a call asking if we could take her right then, and we were ready.  Even as my mind continues to worry and question, my heart becomes more and more convinced that if this is meant to happen, a way will be provided.

But oh my goodness, it’s a bunch—this school year they were in 5th, 4th, 3rd, two in 2nd, 1st, K, and preschool.

A year ago we were considering fostering one baby/toddler.

I thought and pondered how to write.. I hope I come across OK and not too negative . I do have dyslexia and tend to write very abruptly

I am only writing from my experience and not giving you any advice.

 I attended a seminar that had Dan Hughes and Jon Baylin. They both said that it is best not to reunite siblings as it works out better if they see each other often but live separate. I ignored this advice and took on the older sibling of the twins. I felt sorry for him, he had lost his placement and was split up from another sibling. 

It was a complete disaster. it was devastating for not only Dh and I , who felt like we had completely failed a child, failed ourselves and destroyed relationships with our own bio-children

 It was a disaster with the twins as it put them back 18 months of therapy and specialized work

 It was a disaster for my 3 bio kids who were still at home. one left home,  2 withdrew into themselves , and one didn't speak to me for a good 12 months. Fostering and adopting children with high needs steals time away from our other children. 

It was completely devastating for the other child as when the placement fell through we were yet another set of adults who failed him, who made him not trust other people , who added to his trauma and attachment problems

It is easy to talk yourself into things and feel that you are doing the right thing, feel that you are using logic etc... but afterwards you realise you were tricking yourself

each and every foster child has quite a lot of trauma and needs lots of time, lots of therapeutic parenting  and often lots of specialist help. After the twins sibling left the twins psychologist told me that adding another child would have lowered the bar of what the twins would have been able to achieve in all regards. 

when we were placed with the twins they were 3 1/2 we were told that their  significant delays and behaviour difficulties were just because of neglect, feeling unsafe  and lack of stimulation. they made very rapid growth and development for a time - one wasn't even walking yet... but after a while the progress slowed down.. they were later identified as having Intellectual disabilities, RAD, FASD  and a long list of other disabilities. I have since found out that Global Developmental Delays is really a code that all these conditions and more are flagged as there by doctors. 

 

 

Edited by Melissa in Australia
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5 hours ago, DawnM said:

If there isn't a group, can someone start one?  I don't mind if I can figure out how to do it.

Alright, I made one.
It is “closed”, so I have to approve requests (if I’m remembering correctly.). I’ll be back and forth online today to try to make sure everyone gets in.
 I forgot to grab the link, but it should be easy to find if you sort clubs by date created.

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10 minutes ago, Carrie12345 said:

Alright, I made one.
It is “closed”, so I have to approve requests (if I’m remembering correctly.). I’ll be back and forth online today to try to make sure everyone gets in.
 I forgot to grab the link, but it should be easy to find if you sort clubs by date created.

 

Thank you so much.

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Ok, now I have a really stupid question......how does one post on the sub-forum?

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4 hours ago, Melissa in Australia said:

I thought and pondered how to write.. I hope I come across OK and not too negative . I do have dyslexia and tend to write very abruptly

I am only writing from my experience and not giving you any advice.

 I attended a seminar that had Dan Hughes and Jon Baylin. They both said that it is best not to reunite siblings as it works out better if they see each other often but live separate. I ignored this advice and took on the older sibling of the twins. I felt sorry for him, he had lost his placement and was split up from another sibling. 

It was a complete disaster. it was devastating for not only Dh and I , who felt like we had completely failed a child, failed ourselves and destroyed relationships with our own bio-children

 It was a disaster with the twins as it put them back 18 months of therapy and specialized work

 It was a disaster for my 3 bio kids who were still at home. one left home,  2 withdrew into themselves , and one didn't speak to me for a good 12 months. Fostering and adopting children with high needs steals time away from our other children. 

It was completely devastating for the other child as when the placement fell through we were yet another set of adults who failed him, who made him not trust other people , who added to his trauma and attachment problems

It is easy to talk yourself into things and feel that you are doing the right thing, feel that you are using logic etc... but afterwards you realise you were tricking yourself

each and every foster child has quite a lot of trauma and needs lots of time, lots of therapeutic parenting  and often lots of specialist help. After the twins sibling left the twins psychologist told me that adding another child would have lowered the bar of what the twins would have been able to achieve in all regards. 

when we were placed with the twins they were 3 1/2 we were told that their  significant delays and behaviour difficulties were just because of neglect, feeling unsafe  and lack of stimulation. they made very rapid growth and development for a time - one wasn't even walking yet... but after a while the progress slowed down.. they were later identified as having Intellectual disabilities, RAD, FASD  and a long list of other disabilities. I have since found out that Global Developmental Delays is really a code that all these conditions and more are flagged as there by doctors. 

 

Thank you for your voice of caution and for being so open.  I need to think on this more.

My first thought is that I already have the one with the most severe issues, but then of course you never really know that, do you?  You never know what DHS isn’t telling, or what will crop up later on.

Dd3 regressed and had severe behavior issues following dd8 coming to live here—you know about some of that.  But after dealing with a very rough period, she is doing so well now, and has benefited from being reunited with one sister.  (Her nightmares that used to wake her screaming 8-10 times a night have steadily declined since her sister came, to where she now sleeps through the night more often than not for one thing).  But I guess you never know.  I suppose if you foster kids for a time without talking about it being permanent, you can see how reunifying siblings goes for them.  But you probably wouldn’t see RAD issues until you were talking permanency, right?

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I've also seen several times that biological siblings sometimes do much better in separate homes but keeping a relationship.

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4 hours ago, Michelle Conde said:

 

Thank you for your voice of caution and for being so open.  I need to think on this more.

My first thought is that I already have the one with the most severe issues, but then of course you never really know that, do you?  You never know what DHS isn’t telling, or what will crop up later on.

Dd3 regressed and had severe behavior issues following dd8 coming to live here—you know about some of that.  But after dealing with a very rough period, she is doing so well now, and has benefited from being reunited with one sister.  (Her nightmares that used to wake her screaming 8-10 times a night have steadily declined since her sister came, to where she now sleeps through the night more often than not for one thing).  But I guess you never know.  I suppose if you foster kids for a time without talking about it being permanent, you can see how reunifying siblings goes for them.  But you probably wouldn’t see RAD issues until you were talking permanency, right?

 

I just wrote out a whole reply to this, and then realized that of course the reason why we started the group was to talk in private.  

Would you rather we discussed this there?  I think I would, because I think I tend to overshare and I'd rather protect my kid's privacy a little.  

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I just requested to join the group. I am not a very active poster ( and had to re register with a new user name)  but am a long time reader of the boards and am in the process of adopting a two year old. My next youngest child is 18. So it is ....interesting and  I would love a place to discuss with people who hopefully understand how we got to this place.

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7 minutes ago, porque? said:

I just requested to join the group. I am not a very active poster ( and had to re register with a new user name)  but am a long time reader of the boards and am in the process of adopting a two year old. My next youngest child is 18. So it is ....interesting and  I would love a place to discuss with people who hopefully understand how we got to this place.

 

That is me too!   I have 22,20,16, and now 2!  All boys.

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46 minutes ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

 

I just wrote out a whole reply to this, and then realized that of course the reason why we started the group was to talk in private.  

Would you rather we discussed this there?  I think I would, because I think I tend to overshare and I'd rather protect my kid's privacy a little.  

 

I think that's a good idea.

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1 minute ago, Michelle Conde said:

 

I think that's a good idea.

OK, if you want my thoughts,  just post something and I'll answer.  If you don't that's fine too!  

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3 hours ago, DawnM said:

 

That is me too!   I have 22,20,16, and now 2!  All boys.

It is strangely comforting to know I am not the only one!

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