The SamePosted: November 9, 2011
When we chose our path down adoption via foster care, my husband and I had a few things that we were always very clear with all members of our family about.
Whatever children were going to be in our home, under whatever circumstances, were to be treated as if they were our own. Period. They were to be treated the same as any of our other kids, and if they couldn’t or wouldn’t do that there were probably going to be issues. We got into foster care to grow our family. Even with reunification in mind, it was always kept as a possibility that these children could also be possible children for us to adopt.
So although we only had one placement before we were called for Mea, when D came home to us, we treated him as our own child. Truthfully, I wouldn’t know any other way. To me, it is the only way. We bought him new clothes, we bought him toys, we had a birthday party for him at Chucky Cheese, we invited his sisters, our grandkids and nieces. He got gifts for his birthday. Santa came to our house for him. We bought him presents for Christmas, as did my parents, and my sister’s family.
Thanksgiving that year, shortly after D came to stay with us, we travelled to Chicago to spend the holiday with my Aunt. It was shortly after she was diagnosed with brain cancer, and it was extremely important to all of us to be with her. Since it was to be the last one we would all be present at as a family. We had family photos taken at that time. There was a bit of an uproar about D being in some of the pictures, but I stood my ground. (This uproar was not made by my immediate family, or my Aunt for that matter.) What if he had ended up being our son? I wasn’t going to have him excluded. A compromise was made, he was in some, and not in some. Everyone could order whichever ones they wished.
Now, on the flip side to this, D’s sisters were placed into a home with another family. I really don’t know why or how they determined to split them up, but the placement workers did. Maybe they felt that 3 kids were too hard to place, maybe it had something to do with the ADHD issues that D had. I honestly can’t tell you. There was never any real rhyme or reason given to us as to why they were placed in separate homes. The girls foster parents did foster care as their “job.” They had six or seven kids in the house, neither of the parents worked outside the home. They didn’t get birthday party’s, they didn’t get Christmas presents, they didn’t get a visit from Santa. I don’t believe they received any new clothes, she had clothes of all sizes available, and what she didn’t have they thrift store shopped for.
This caused some issues between us and the other foster family. The kids were confused as to how things were working between the families sometimes. I don’t blame them, as a child I would have been confused too.
For a long time I had a really hard time wrapping my brain around it. For me, I just couldn’t imagine not parenting the kids in my care, like I would my actual kids, the same. I still have issues with it. This is not a “job.” It takes a lot to be a parent. Being a parent takes much more than just being a caregiver. To me foster parents are called foster parents for a reason. They are still there to shelter, guide, teach and love, just like any other parent. Only harder, because there is always the likelihood that these kids are going home. It can hurt your heart, but it will also fill it.
Really makes me wonder if the foster parents that seem to be in it for the money now, if they were once like we are/were? Did they at one time foster to make a difference, and to build their family? Or did this seem like an easy way to make some cash? Or maybe this was how their biological kids were treated as well?
I don’t know. I just honestly don’t know. I do know that when we do re-license, we will be the same way, with the same expectations of all the kids being treated the same.
I think it’s only fair.