by Kevin Schroeder | 5:43 pm

A year or two ago I wrote a blog post on what it is like to be a foster parent.  Given that this is a technical blog that post has surprised me quite a bit.  That one post is responsible for about 25% of the traffic on my blog, currently, and has been read about 45,000 times.  Why?  Well, I’m guessing that it’s because a lot of foster parents really feel frustrated and used.  But they continue to do it anyway because they hope that they are doing some good.

Many foster parents suffer in silence for that reason.  I don’t know the exact numbers, and the numbers would probably be meaningless if I did, but I believe there are two distinct groups that do foster care.  One group is the hardcore foster group.  For them, foster care is a way of life.  The second group is, I believe, the larger of the two.  It consists of many different types of people. They could be working single parents, infertile couples (I prefer the term INCONCEIVABLE!), and existing families who want to take in a child in need, among others.

I would like to curate the stories of the many different people who have gone through the foster/adopt system, in particular, those of foster and/or adoptive parents who have gone through the state systems, such as Child Protective Services.

I would like, at some point, to write a book about the struggles that foster parents go through as I myself, have gone through several. Oftentimes foster parents go through suffering in relative silence. They don’t want to hurt the children they’re fostering and end up taking an emotional beating as many “normal” people do not see the abnormal things that foster parents go through.

If I do write this book I want it to show people what it’s like being a foster parent. This is not for the purpose of raising foster families up. No, it’s so that foster families would be able to go to their friends, neighbors, and church groups instead of having to rely on the close-knit foster/adopt community. If we truly want to do something that reduces the need to remove children from their parents it must start with the community of unlike-minded individuals, not a support group of like-minded people.

If you have a story like that, good, bad, or ugly (most likely all three), and would like to share, I would love to hear from you.  Feel free to be as honest as you like. As long as you aren’t admitting guilt of a felony I promise, with no strings attached, that it will be kept in absolute secrecy if that is your desire.

Thank you for your willingness to share your story.

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Comments

Amanda

Have you been able to compile the stories yet or is it still a work in progress? I’d be interested in reading them. My husband and I have been discussing becoming foster to adopt parents, it’s something we both feel called to do, my husband was fostered and adopted himself, and very early in my career, I was a CPS caseworker. So I am reading everything I can before we go to the informational meeting next month and stumbled on your earlier post about your experience as a foster parent. We’re also discussing this with friends of ours who have been foster and adoptive parents and I still have contact with a few foster parents I worked with back in the day so I think we definitely have a more realistic vision and expectation of what we’re getting ourselves into while also acknowledging that we can’t and won’t know everything until we dive right in.

Apr 11.2017 | 10:47 am

    Kevin Schroeder

    I have not received any yet. But if your husband was a former foster kid and you used to work with CPS then you are more prepared than almost everyone out there. But knowing what to expect and experiencing what you expected to expect are often different. But it’s still good.

    Apr 11.2017 | 10:52 am

Cc

Coming up on a year with two beautiful girls we’ve just gotten word may be going back after a yeaf of no plan for such. I needed to read your posting. I resignated with alot of your statements. However I will say that here in New York state the stipend is very low, we often laughed at the daycare system gets paid twice as much as we do for the child a week, but alas wanted to Foster care because we were financially secure and thought we could provide nice home for some beautiful children. Money was never a motive, in fact the first few months I felt like we invested hundreds of dollars just to get enough equipment to have little children around.

Jan 02.2018 | 06:47 pm

mi.fo

you really haven’t gotten any stories? not one? that seems kind of odd, but then I’m a former foster parent, I haven’t sent you anything…

Aug 16.2018 | 02:13 am

Alexandria Rayfield

You’re story is the reason I am so excited to become a foster parent. 95% total mess, frustration, disappointment and 5% of utter happiness; and that 5% of utter happiness you can create for a child and experience yourself makes it all worth it.

Jan 24.2019 | 11:52 am

Elizabeth

I’m a new foster mom. I have an interesting perspective because I was a foster kid from an abusive home and was ill prepared to foster kids where drugs were the primary problem. You hit the nail on the head when describing kids from homes where drugs were the main issue (I understand that secondary abuse is common). I was prepared for the broken, hurt child. I wasn’t prepared for a child who acted entitled, arrogant and like he owned the place. I realize now that he’s kid who’s been in charge and has little respect for female “authority” figures. Frankly, on the crap lives scale, I think I had it far worse and I’m having a hard time bonding to a kid who acts entitled and has a mean streak. After reading your article, I get where his attitude comes from. It’s just so different than what I expected and I was a foster kid!
I am wondering if this is the typical scenario. Are most of the kids that come through your home difficult to bond with? Are many kind of mean and entitled?
This is in no way to brag, but as a point of interest. When I was in foster care, the private agency told my foster family I was the easiest case they ever worked with. The thing that was odd was I did absolutely nothing great, but maybe it’s that I did nothing terrible, either.
Please don’t print my email. Also, I’d really appreciate an answer to my question as I’m hesitant to get other kids after this. I’m also wondering if kids like this change and they become more relational? The boy fits what I’ve read of attachment disorder (mild form). I just feel he’s the type that if I’m nice and try to bond, his respect for me lessens and he sees me more as his servant. Have you seen this type of kid really change as they get older. He seems like a narcissist.

Jul 27.2020 | 09:37 pm

Kevin Schroeder

To be honest, I’d have to say that the type of kid does not change as they get older. My family has recently gone through a crisis as a result of that. Well, I shouldn’t say that they don’t change, but rather that the need to change doesn’t seem to be sufficient enough *without* some form of crisis. But the effects of this crisis will probably go on for another two years or so. But I have been told that when kids come out the other end of this particular type of crisis that they are changed people. I hope that’s the case. But that change comes at a steep price.
As for narcissism, I also have some recent experience concerning that in a non-foster situation. It ain’t pretty.

Jul 29.2020 | 03:30 pm

Mimi Nguyen

Hi Kevin!
Thanks a million for your article about foster care. Very touching. I just needed to ask you about your beautiful blue-eyed baby girl that your fostered. You said in the article that “The one family member who I was most worried about was the one who had come forward,” but then, at the end, you said you became friends and keep in touch with them. Are they the same family? Also, why was your home “the wrong home for her” ?
Otherwise, are there as many demands for foster parents for babies/newborns than for older kids?
Thanks again for all your help, and God Bless you and your family for all that you do.
Take care,
Mimi

Nov 21.2020 | 11:16 am

    Kevin Schroeder

    Yes, they are the same family. The reason I was worried about them was because there was nothing wrong with them. Because CPS always puts blood relatives first that meant that we went from being at the front of the line for her to the back.

    I don’t recall saying that our home was the wrong home for her.

    “Otherwise, are there as many demands for foster parents for babies/newborns than for older kids?”

    No, but most people want babies. That means that the supply pool to place babies is quite large. So if one hopes to have get a baby they will be going against a LOT of other people.

    Nov 21.2020 | 04:48 pm

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