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Old 11-11-2012, 04:21 PM
 
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I think that many kids in foster care are normal. You hear about RAD...and other issues because of the sensationalism. I have worked with many families who have adopoted older foster children, and it has worked out fine. Sure...a few bumps...but all families have that.
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Old 11-12-2012, 09:25 AM
 
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I think you have the right idea to wait until you are more settled in life and then reassess. I think once you reach that point in your life you'll have a clearer picture of what you feel you can handle. I also agree that being a foster parent first and then moving to foster to adopt is probably a good plan too.

I never thought I could be a foster parent and we adopted our kids as infants internationally. but now that I'm in my late 30s and my kids are in elementary school, my husband and I have started thinking about becoming foster parents after our kids go to college or move out. I know now that we can handle a lot and that we have a lot to offer and I think it would a rewarding experience, but ten years ago I wouldn't have felt like that at all. So give yourself a little time, I think it will become clear.
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Old 11-13-2012, 07:11 AM
 
Location: Ontario, NY
2,697 posts, read 6,174,917 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lizita View Post
Since I know I can't handle these kinds of problems that so many of adoptable foster kids have would I be a fool to adopt from the system at all?
The same could be said about any child, when you have your own children, you don't know what problems may develop in the future with your child.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lizita View Post
Or is there any way to ensure that I get matched with a kid that I can effectively parent?
Assuming the older child is adoptable soon as you receive them, it still takes several months for the adoption to finalized, so you will have time to see if you can handle the child, you have until the judge legally makes the child yours to back out if you do not think you can effectively parent the child.

If it's a situation where the child is taken away from there parents due to neglect/abuse, it takes at least a year for the courts to terminate the birth parents rights (22 months in NJ), before you can even begin the adoption process, again if at any time you do not free you can properly parent the child, you can give the child back and the state will place the child elsewhere.

Generally at the very most it takes 2 weeks for them to do this. You can't call up on night cause you had a really bad day with the child and expect the state to pick them up the next morning. They have to have time to make new living arrangements for the child.
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Old 11-13-2012, 05:36 PM
 
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No one may like this analogy, but it seems similar. I adopted an older cat, he was quiet, sort of ignored me for months. I was sad, thinking I should have gone with a kitten...but I really did not want a kitten...I wanted a grown up, adult cat. Well, it has been about 2 years now, and he is doing great. He no longer isolates, or ignores me.

It just took time. That is how I see adopting an older child....give it a few years. There will be better days, and maybe some off days...but after about a year, you will know if the placement is working. A week or a month is not enough time.
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Old 11-29-2012, 02:13 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasper12 View Post
No one may like this analogy, but it seems similar. I adopted an older cat, he was quiet, sort of ignored me for months. I was sad, thinking I should have gone with a kitten...but I really did not want a kitten...I wanted a grown up, adult cat. Well, it has been about 2 years now, and he is doing great. He no longer isolates, or ignores me.

It just took time. That is how I see adopting an older child....give it a few years. There will be better days, and maybe some off days...but after about a year, you will know if the placement is working. A week or a month is not enough time.
That is an off analogy, as nobody is talking about a child that is just withdrawn.

What would you do with a dog after constantly defecating indoors and rolling in it, chewing all the furniture, peeing on the furniture, humping everybody, and biting you and your children several times, and spending tens of thousands of dollars in vet bills and specialists for him, but not seeing any improvement, and your marriage and children are greatly suffering from the stress?
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Old 12-05-2012, 05:05 PM
 
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That type of extreme behavioir would have been identified prior to placement in a foster home. And is not an indication of RAD. That sounds like severe neglect, or mental disability. And in a case like that, that extreme, I would know I was not the correct placement.

But, a child that is withdrawn, or aggressive, may be acting out emotions, and we are discussing a "normal" child, without severe cognitive or neglect issues. A normal child may take time to adjust. As would anyone.
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Old 12-27-2012, 01:29 AM
 
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To the OP, you need to contact your local foster care program to see how they do it. There are federal and state laws which regulate how all programs are administered and then there are practices (and likely state/local budget realities) that shape how it really happens. My bet is that your county or local authority will have info sessions which will start to answer some of your questions. And then if you pursue an initial screening/application process, you might do the classes that would be required to get licensed. Those classes are where most of your questions about health, placement rules, etc get answered - but reality is that you won't know til you try.

I say this as someone who's gotten through my county's lengthy education and screening process. (We had to delay the first placement due to health issues on my end.) We looked at doing a neighboring area's foster program (I live in an place where that's possible), but the other was so restrictive in terms of the foster parents' choices that we passed. Their agency and contractors also have a dismal reputation in terms of tending to kids and parents. (I've spent years talking about this process with a friend who's a family ct judge in that system.) Our county, though, seems better funded and allows us to set our own parameters (age, development, etc). They'll warn you that if you set it too narrowly, you'll never get a placement (those "white babies available for adoption only" people)... and they warn that they'll likely call you to see if you will take a kid outside of your parameters if they can't find another home available. But generally, you may be able to say that you would prefer, say, a kid who is in elementary school and who doesn't have extreme emotional disabilities. A placement specialist should try to stick with that - and you can always say no when they call you if a kid doesn't fit that bill. (There are programs where they'll kick you out if you say no too often but you may not be in one of those areas.)

In our month-long licensing class, we did Q&A with several longtime foster/adoptive parents with nightmare stories (about the kids or their families)... and some with stories that cause tears of joy. The county discussed developmental disabilities, services provided to foster parents and foster children (including regular counseling for the kids, whether psychological or for learning/emotional disabilities), made us do exercises to stand in the shoes of the kids (so we would understand some of those emotional challenges), segments on infant and child brain development (why those challenges start so early in life), discipline permitted in our state, etc. They also discussed what the rates of adoption are and how the process works from the day a home is investigated to the day a child is reunited or adopted (or stays in the system forever). Fabulous training that made the whole thing scarier and less scary at the same time. But imo, it was essential to give a foster families the dose of reality that they need. (I've found that not every county actually provides that before placement. Check, but your program hopefully preps you well so you don't feel like you're getting thrown in without knowing what to expect.)

Bottom line is that few kids are adopted out of foster care since the primary goal of foster care is to reunite the kids with their families. A kid may be with you for a few days or weeks or months - but rarely years. (So re: your question about what they know about the kids before placement: It depends on when they're placed with you. If it's from day one in the system, they'll likely know little. They may never learn much more but for what occurs in the foster placement. These kids don't tend to have previous medical care and may not have been in school regularly. Or maybe they have been in a few homes so the placement worker can see that a kid isn't a match.)

The child must be in your care for 15 of 22 mos per federal law before a second, parallel track for adoption by a foster family can be pursued. (Not sure if this was in effect when you were in foster care) In those 22 mos, the parents may get their acts together, another relative may be IDed, kid may want a new foster home, etc. You may fall in love with a kid, not get along with one (perhaps like your scary quotes above), see a kid reunited either way... But if you and the kid are a match and the family situation can't be worked out, the process for adoption can start. That can take years.

Anyway, what i'm getting at is that 1) there are horror stories but you should be able to choose to opt out of a specific kid or placement (horrible to think that you're saying no to a kid or worse, "returning" one, but if they're threatening you or if you simply can't give them the care that they require, that's probably reasonable), 2) there's a very long road between fostering and adoption so you will have bonded with the kid and vice versa before (IF) you ever get to the point where you're moving towards permanency. (i.e.,chances are slim that you'll get a kid from day one who's supposed to be your adopted child. The authority, in most cases, can't even consider that for years. You'll have the chance to opt out or drop out, if necessary,)

I'm sure that some of this doesn't describe every program. I am well aware that our county is better organized than others. Foster parents are better screened and the effort to place/reunite the kids isn't a disaster. (My home state is notorious for losing foster kids, finding them dead, etc. Easy to guess which one that is...sadly.) And I am well aware that i haven't experienced it myself - yet - so there's still this gap b/w reality and what they've told us. But because of that painfully non-sugarcoated training (including all of the foster parents that we've met through it), I've learned enough to say that there are gonna be good stories and bad ones. You will likely have a little of both and you simply won't know til you try.

Good luck!

Last edited by ibisgirldc; 12-27-2012 at 01:40 AM..
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Old 12-27-2012, 01:48 AM
 
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btw, a foster parent, when asked about all of those nightmare posts on the internet, reminded us that people who complain (legitimate or not) tend to find one another. That the bad stories get concentrated in the same sites... and the good ones rarely get told. You've got to figure with 250k kids entering foster care each yr, there would be a helluvalot more posts if most of the stories were as bad as the ones that we've all seen.

Again, you just won't know til you try?
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Old 03-16-2013, 02:26 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lizita View Post
I've been planning to adopt from foster care in the future. My goal is to start the process within the next 3-4 years once I'm done with my degree and is a bit more settled. This has been my plan for years and having been a foster kid myself adopting from the system has always been a given. However, the more I read the more I wonder if it's really something I should do. To be honest reading blogs from mothers of kids adopted from the system I get a bit scared that I will get myself into a situation that I can't handle...

Would it be foolish to adopt an older child from foster care if you know you're not able to deal with these issues? Or is there a way to avoid it? I could use some input from others who are familiar with these kinds of adoptions.
Adopting a child from foster care, especially an older child, is not a predictable event. No one can offer advice on how to avoid issues with ANY child, let alone a foster child. These children often have been moved around a lot, come from backgrounds that vary from severe neglect to abuse that literally has left some children disfigured for life. For the most part, they are not in the system because their parents needed a break from parenting. They were removed from their homes, for very good reasons (which are almost always awful in nature). Having said that, most agencies today remove children quicker than in the past to avoid the situations you are terrified about. Parents no longer have forever to torment their child and make them suffer indefinitely. Rights are usually terminated within two years.

I'd recommend reading up on Attachement Disorders and Bonding with Older Children in Adoption. The process of bonding with an older child is very different than with an infant or very young toddler. One thing I found interesting when doing research years ago, is that many APs are ill-prepared for the inititial "rejection" they sense from an older child when adopted. However, it was pointed out that these children often have memories (good and bad) that they are constantly required to supress due to changing environments, etc. Children are resilient, but we are all human. Humans can only take so much before we "crack", so to speak. Attachment and Bonding are tricky. Not really cut and dry, and vary by child and circumstance. Could you handle not immediately being "loved" by a child?

If you really want to adopt an older child, I would suggest you examine your personality and self-esteem. Because they will no doubt take a beating in the first few years with your child. I have seen even seasoned foster parents tap out! Can you handle this? Emotionally and physically? The child is likely not going to immediately see you as his/her "savior." This will take time, and therapy. Depending on the child's situation, you will have to deal with feeling unloved and under-appreciated for a while. It's not permenant, but it is a reality when adopting older children. Then again, as others have pointed out, this also comes with parenting in general.
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