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Old 06-12-2012, 06:20 AM
 
10,452 posts, read 10,640,017 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sheena12 View Post
Yes I am. And I'm not sure that there is a model to follow. It is something new to create.

I have visited Eastern European orphanages in three counties. Half were quite good. Decent facilities and a caring staff. Some were not nice - old and decrepit, and a staff that was either apathetic of overworked but not sadistic or abusive. The remainder were pretty bad.

The worst was in Borzna Ukraine and the South of Russia. I can;t remember the name of the city or Oblast. They were for "normal" kids. Borzna was unheated or barely heated - except by a weak coal furnace. The worst one in Russia had a sadistic head Mistress.

I have never been to one as bad as the ones I've seen on television in Romania or the one Nimchinsky speaks about, or the Bulgarian one he posted. I obviously believe his experiences and the videos are obviously true.

We Americans however, have a tendency to think that all bad things happen elsewhere and our ways are right.

The best orphanages I saw wee bright, cheerful, and filled with happy children and a caring staff.

I'd still not use them as role models, but foster care is for the most part, a dismal failure.

I will try to post pictures of these places.

The food was good and wholesome, the care takers brought gifrs from home, the children received speech therapy and psychological therapy.The children were encouraged to play outdoors and there was a relatively homey feeling. the "Mammas" as they are called were doting and protective.

They were also inspected frequently and without notice.
Our constitution and our national feelings about privacy would make spot checks on private homes impossible.

Foster homes are private homes.
I agree completely. I am glad that Lizita has had a good experience, but there is another side of the coin that has to be acknowledged. I'm not saying that all foster parents are evil. But first of all, just the fact of being thrown around from one family to another, or even knowing that the family you're with now could decide they don't want you, is already tough on a kid. Having that abandonment anxiety on the back-burner at all times can be extremely stressful.

Secondly, there is no guarantee that some of the families might be abusive, or at the very least, just awful parents. Of the people I know who were in foster care, the vast majority had negative experiences, ranging from parents who would just leave them unattended for long periods of time, to some of the worst cases of abuse I've ever heard--like being raped and beaten severely on a regular basis.

Sometimes abuse starts up from good people who are put into really bad situations. People become stressed out, and let out their frustrations on their kids. Sometimes one partner in a relationship abuses the other one, and then when a child comes into the picture, the abuse victim suddenly has someone to let their anger out on, and starts abusing the child. I've seen this dynamic happen, where one parent was abusing the other parent, and the other parent turned on the child, and in fact, that child turned on their younger sibling as well.

Not all abuse is completely obvious, such as being molested or beaten. Words, expectations, and neglect can all have adverse psychological effects that are comparable to the more obvious kinds of abuse, and are more likely to go unnoticed or if noticed, swept under the rug. And sometimes abuse doesn't happen from the parents but from "trusted" adults in the parents' life. If a child is exposed to more adults, through living with more sets of parents, and especially if that child has a particular demeanor that abusers pick up on (which is often the case with foster kids who have often lived more than their peers of the same age), those factors make that child more likely to be abused in the future.

I am starting to like your idea, sheena12, of having well-run orphanages that have enough resources and caretakers to provide a truly loving environment. A lot of the things that make many Eastern European countries' and other countries' orphanages so awful can be rectified by:

1) More staff (a higher staff-member to orphan ratio)
2) More resources
3) Special training

More staff would give them more time to care for kids and provide a loving environment. A major problem with the hell holes in EE and other places is that there aren't enough caretakers, so the children inevitably get neglected. Understaffed orphanages also means overworked staff, who can become bitter and frustrated, and children are sensitive to that. More caretakers, more care for the children, and happier caretakers.

More resources would allow for cleaner orphanages, more space, stimulating activities, education, medical care, and other options that would simulate the resources most biological children have. It would give orphans a better life in general. They could also have medical, educational staff on-site, etc.

Special training could help caretakers in how to care for children, especially any children with special needs. At least some of the staff could have a background in Psychology or Childhood Development. For example, a lot of adults can sometimes be too rough with children (such as when changing a diaper) and don't realize that their techniques, while well-intended, might still be frightening to a child. They could also be trained in Attachment Theory and notice if any children are showing signs of not getting enough attention and then change their behavior.

Regular inspections could make sure that conditions are up to code and that the staff are doing their jobs well. The children could be observed closely for any signs of abuse or neglect. Then the staff would have to pass an annual/biannual/quarterly evaluation, much in the same way restaurants have to be checked for sanitation annually.

 
Old 06-12-2012, 06:45 AM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,485 posts, read 43,819,649 times
Reputation: 47263
I visited 4 different orphanages in Vietnam and I was quite impressed. I saw music lessons, organized sports and play, but most of all caring attendants who were hands on and personal with their attention.

Of course there are dismal warehouses for "unwanted" children everywhere on this earth but some countries manage to have smooth running programs. I'm sure it could be this way in this country as well. Many years ago we did have orphanages but they have been phased out in favor of foster care which I fear is not as successful as we would like.

The answer lies in providing sex education and free birth control, safe abortions, prenatal care and parenting education so we have fewer "unwanted" children to have to support in one way or the other.
 
Old 06-12-2012, 03:11 PM
 
Location: Chicago area
1,105 posts, read 2,916,135 times
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Sure, a good orphanage is better than a bad foster home but as someone who has been in both I prefer foster homes hands down. We have moved away from institutions for kids in the west for a reason. It's a very unnatural way to grow up and I believe that children, especially small children, need the consistency of a home and one or two main people to attach to. No matter how good and caring the place is fact is that things will change from day to day depending on who's working and you don't get the security and one-on-one attention you get in a home. It never really feels like a home and there is no consistency with so many different people in charge and you constantly lose adult you care about when they quit and move on to other jobs and you have to get used to new ones when new staff starts.
The solution should not be more institutions but less bad foster homes and I think that can be achieved with better screening and education of the foster homes and a lot more case workers who can check on the foster homes and foster kids regularly. The problem in the US is that that's not done. Our case workers are so overworked they even manage to lose kids, having no idea where they are. It would not at all be impossible to do spot checks on foster homes. It's done in other countries. But fact is that our system is very broken and letting that system (the same states that lose children) run orphanages would lead to a disaster. We have a very good orphanage in Chicago - Mercy Home - but it's ran privately. The state always fail miserably when they play parent.

One big problem with raising kids in institutions, even good ones, is that they grow up in an artificial world cut off from mainstream life and inevitably feel different from other kids. They end up leaving poorly prepared for living in the real world with even fewer roots to grow from than the kids who grow up in good foster homes.
You also shouldn't assume that living in institutions provides permanency. I was moved 15 times from age 13 to 19 and the majority of placements were in institutions. Abuse can happen in institutions as well. I was never abused in any of the three foster homes I lived in but I was treated very badly by some staff members in some of the "homes" I was in. In one place in particular a female staff member made my life miserable, hitting me, kicking me and degrading me whenever she had a chance, laughing when I started crying. She loved every minute of it. A male staff member traded oral sex for drugs with two other girls. I can tell many more stories of what happens in institutions, aka "children's homes".

Arguing for more institutions for kids shows a lack of insight into the system and how the kids themselves experience it. There are a lot of things that may look like a great idea looking in from the outside but the only thing that really matters is how the child experiences it. I think that Sheena12 either don't know or don't care what the child goes through. She thinks that kids from homes in trouble should be taken away and never get to see their parents again. How do you think that feels for a small child?
 
Old 06-12-2012, 03:14 PM
 
Location: Chicago area
1,105 posts, read 2,916,135 times
Reputation: 2106
Quote:
Originally Posted by no kudzu View Post
Many years ago we did have orphanages but they have been phased out in favor of foster care which I fear is not as successful as we would like.
That's a common misconception but not entirely correct. There are a lot of orphanages in the US. They are not called orphanages anymore. They're called "children's homes" but it's the same thing. Yes, foster care is preferred but there aren't enough foster homes especially for larger sibling groups or for kids with behavioral and severe medical problems.
 
Old 06-12-2012, 09:22 PM
 
Location: The New England part of Ohio
18,678 posts, read 23,279,104 times
Reputation: 48876
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lizita View Post
That's a common misconception but not entirely correct. There are a lot of orphanages in the US. They are not called orphanages anymore. They're called "children's homes" but it's the same thing. Yes, foster care is preferred but there aren't enough foster homes especially for larger sibling groups or for kids with behavioral and severe medical problems.
That's true Lizita. "Orphanage" is a bad word. It brings up Dickensian images and footage of Romania in the 1990s.

I am sorry about the experiences that you had. I feel certain that you are as passionate about children and their care as I am.

I think that we need to look at these issues - as a forum and as a nation and a global community.

We are all on the same page. We care.
 
Old 06-14-2012, 07:27 PM
 
18,852 posts, read 31,746,980 times
Reputation: 26119
Less expensive way to aadopt? Yes. Become a foster parent. And find a child you bond with...and adopt that child. I have a friend who did this, they placed twin girls in their home. Cute as buttons. Newborns. African American. They adopted these two cuties.....yes.....there have been some issues...the Mom was a drug addict...the girls are small, and currently in Special Education pre-school for some small developmental delays....but because these girls were identified as, "special needs" they adopted them and receive a stipend for their care.

These girls are cute, and will be fine. They were preemie. Just need time to catch up. Lucky little girls....and their parents adore them.
 
Old 06-15-2012, 05:54 PM
 
Location: The New England part of Ohio
18,678 posts, read 23,279,104 times
Reputation: 48876
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasper12 View Post
Less expensive way to aadopt? Yes. Become a foster parent. And find a child you bond with...and adopt that child. I have a friend who did this, they placed twin girls in their home. Cute as buttons. Newborns. African American. They adopted these two cuties.....yes.....there have been some issues...the Mom was a drug addict...the girls are small, and currently in Special Education pre-school for some small developmental delays....but because these girls were identified as, "special needs" they adopted them and receive a stipend for their care.

These girls are cute, and will be fine. They were preemie. Just need time to catch up. Lucky little girls....and their parents adore them.
My guess? The parents feel even luckier!

But Fost to Adopt is not for everyone. They begin as legally at risk adoptions and not all end happily.

Some people do not want to be put in this situation.

It's not a matter of having a big heart. It may be that having a hear broken from wanting a child makes people cautious. Before judging, ( and I am not saying that you are) people should think of the MAIN reason why people adopt.
 
Old 06-16-2012, 02:43 AM
 
Location: Springfield, Ohio
12,201 posts, read 10,431,779 times
Reputation: 11220
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lizita View Post
Not all parents of kids in foster care are abusive. Most are not. The majority of kids are in foster care due to neglect which is a very broad term. Not all of the parents are bad people who harm their kids. It's not that cut and dry. Some are drug addicts or alcoholics who can be wonderful parents once they are in recovery. Others are mothers who are in an abusive relationship herself but can be a great mom once she's no longer in that relationship. Some even have to put their kids in state care due to a physical illness because they don't have help. It's not fair to assume that all parents of foster kids are abusers who shouldn't get their kids back.
My husband's niece had her baby taken away after he was abused by his father. He's a monster and is now in prison where he belongs. But she is not an abusive or bad parent and there would have been no reason why she shouldn't have been reunited with her child.
A lot of parents whose kids go into foster care are not bad people but are people who find themselves in a bad situation that can be turned around with some help. The goal with foster care is to make that happen when possible. If you don't support reunification you really shouldn't be a foster parent. Foster care is not a good solution for hardly any child. The state makes a horrible parent. Our prisons and homeless shelters houses the evidence of that. If it's possible for a child to be with their parents that's where they should be.
You are both correct and incorrect. There are many parents who lose their children who are not abusive, but many are...and the majority who are abusers do get the children back (only to re-abuse again, in many cases). There are those who go through detox programs, and are able to find work, who deserve to have their children back, but let's not ignore the fact that the majority are either terrible parents who choose drugs & alcohol over their children (without the intention of quitting), or molestors/physical abusers who have permanently scarred their children yet still are given the opportunity to earn them back.
 
Old 06-16-2012, 02:55 AM
 
Location: Springfield, Ohio
12,201 posts, read 10,431,779 times
Reputation: 11220
Quote:
Originally Posted by sheena12 View Post
My guess? The parents feel even luckier!

But Fost to Adopt is not for everyone. They begin as legally at risk adoptions and not all end happily.

Some people do not want to be put in this situation.

It's not a matter of having a big heart. It may be that having a hear broken from wanting a child makes people cautious. Before judging, ( and I am not saying that you are) people should think of the MAIN reason why people adopt.
Well, there is risk in all situations when you're unable to have your own children: the risk of not being able to adopt the child with whom you've bonded as a foster parent, the risk of a parent backing out at the last second when they give birth (private adoption) and the fact many adoptive parents don't have thousands of dollars for the priviledge, or the risk of living the rest of your life childless because the first two situations were too much risk for the person/couple involved.

The wife & I have gone the foster-to-adopt route, and have had our hearts broken once already (the mother worked to get her baby back, and she deserved it), but are giving it a second chance with a newborn we've had for two weeks now. The prospects look good for us, as the baby literally has noone else but the mother (all other biological family are unfit or unwilling), and the mother has no interest in turning her life around. In life their is always risk & heartbreak, but life is most miserable when one drifts through it without attachment due to the risk of heartbreak.
 
Old 06-16-2012, 12:21 PM
 
Location: The New England part of Ohio
18,678 posts, read 23,279,104 times
Reputation: 48876
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lizita View Post
Sure, a good orphanage is better than a bad foster home but as someone who has been in both I prefer foster homes hands down. We have moved away from institutions for kids in the west for a reason. It's a very unnatural way to grow up and I believe that children, especially small children, need the consistency of a home and one or two main people to attach to. No matter how good and caring the place is fact is that things will change from day to day depending on who's working and you don't get the security and one-on-one attention you get in a home. It never really feels like a home and there is no consistency with so many different people in charge and you constantly lose adult you care about when they quit and move on to other jobs and you have to get used to new ones when new staff starts.
The solution should not be more institutions but less bad foster homes and I think that can be achieved with better screening and education of the foster homes and a lot more case workers who can check on the foster homes and foster kids regularly. The problem in the US is that that's not done. Our case workers are so overworked they even manage to lose kids, having no idea where they are. It would not at all be impossible to do spot checks on foster homes. It's done in other countries. But fact is that our system is very broken and letting that system (the same states that lose children) run orphanages would lead to a disaster. We have a very good orphanage in Chicago - Mercy Home - but it's ran privately. The state always fail miserably when they play parent.

One big problem with raising kids in institutions, even good ones, is that they grow up in an artificial world cut off from mainstream life and inevitably feel different from other kids. They end up leaving poorly prepared for living in the real world with even fewer roots to grow from than the kids who grow up in good foster homes.
You also shouldn't assume that living in institutions provides permanency. I was moved 15 times from age 13 to 19 and the majority of placements were in institutions. Abuse can happen in institutions as well. I was never abused in any of the three foster homes I lived in but I was treated very badly by some staff members in some of the "homes" I was in. In one place in particular a female staff member made my life miserable, hitting me, kicking me and degrading me whenever she had a chance, laughing when I started crying. She loved every minute of it. A male staff member traded oral sex for drugs with two other girls. I can tell many more stories of what happens in institutions, aka "children's homes".

Arguing for more institutions for kids shows a lack of insight into the system and how the kids themselves experience it. There are a lot of things that may look like a great idea looking in from the outside but the only thing that really matters is how the child experiences it. I think that Sheena12 either don't know or don't care what the child goes through. She thinks that kids from homes in trouble should be taken away and never get to see their parents again. How do you think that feels for a small child?

I don't believe in privatizing child care any more than I believe in privatizing schools or prisons.

How dare you infer that I do not care about children?

I think that Children's Homes should be supervised by the GOVERNMENT not a big business with a profit motive.

Lizita, your information is from personal experience. You are emotionally involved in this. Have you studied public policy or child and family systems?

I think that foster care as we know it in America is a miserable failure.

I also think that your allegiance to the parents from whom the children were taken comes were removed makes little sense - and it comes from your personal biases.

Most people adopt children for the same reason that people give birth! We are not the "designated martyrs" of the world nor do we want to clean up the messes of others.
We want a FAMILY. Our own family. Our OWN kids!

There may be some people who would be open to a relationship with the people who gave birth to THEIR CHILDREN - but I'm not one.

I am an advocate for CHILDREN - and NOT for failed families, abusive parents or reckless teenaged "mothers".

Our so-called progressive laws geared to the preservation of the family at all costs - HURT CHILDREN!

By the time these kids are available for adoption, they've been abused, confused and shuttled around.
That's why so many of us adopt internationally.
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