Monday, December 5, 2011

What is foster care?

From SC DSS:

Foster care is the temporary care of children whose families are having problems and the child can not safely remain in the home. Children, in the legal custody of the Department of social Services, are placed in a licensed foster home or group care facility that can best meet their needs while their parents work with the Department to resolve their problems.

Yep, foster care is meant to be temporary.  It is not supposed to be long term.  When we started foster care we did it with the intention of helping children and families in need.  After adopting internationally we felt that we should contribute locally.

When we received Anthony and Larissa we were told that they would be a short term placements.  They didn't have to do much...just jobs and housing.  Well, when you have other issues involved, something that seems easy is not so.  Three years later the kids got TPR and shortly after that we became parents to 7 kids, which we thought was plenty.

Life has a funny way of showing us that we know nothing.  After continuing to be foster parents we figured that we needed more stability for the two youngest so we did a homestudy for adopting from foster care.  Many foster children are adopted by their foster parents if they do receive TPR.  So we knew that if we did straight adoption we would probably receive children who are more difficult to handle.

While waiting for our homestudy to be completed we got a call for a teen foster child.  We don't normally take teens.  They told us that she was a runner and wouldn't stay.  Hmmmmm, not quite.  That teen has stuck like glue and wants a family.

Naturally it was then that we received a call for two girls.  Whew, they had 6 other placements.  We knew that this was going to be a challenge.  They also do not have TPR so it was a legally risky placement as well.

So, right now we sit with three kids in our home, none of them with TPR and all of them needing adopted.  Are you doing the math?  If we do adopt all that would put us at 10 kids.  I would have never imagined.  I used to tease my husband about cheaper by the dozen.....not any more!  If I mentioned dozen to him now he just might find a deserted island.

All this to say that we don't look at foster care as a sure bet to adoption.  When we receive our foster children we try to work with the parents.  We try to help with reunification.  Some parents have wanted help.  Some have allowed us to mentor and they have gotten their children back.  They worked hard to correct whatever needed correcting.

I posted my last blog post on my facebook.  One of my parents responded:
 "Felicia i still admire you till this day and i thank God that you and John ended up with my kids when they wound up in foster care you two are thegreatest in the world not only did you take them in but kept them together and went beyond all measures to make sure i as a mother didnt lose faith or strenghth i needed to get them back i still think the policy of 1 visit every 2 weeks sucks but thank goodness for mcdonalds and thank God for you"

Those words mean a lot to me.  they show what an impact we foster parents can have.  It is possible for parents to learn new skills and take care of their children.  When parents are able to make the needed changes, it is in the best interest of the children.

It is about the children after all, not our wants and desires to adopt.


  1. Love this post! When we started fostering we had no intention of adopting. We just thought there was a need for foster parents and we would fill it. But every placement has ended up staying and our family keeps growing. It's a crazy journey for sure!!

  2. I'm with you a 100%, foster care is *meant* to be temporary, and reunification is the goal...however, it is very frustrating when you feel like you're taking that goal more seriously than anyone else on the team (bio parent, caseworker) is my current case :(

    Side note: I think God has a funny way of showing us things, I'd imagine that whenever you first began thinking about adoption again, you thought younger children would be easier than older children, and yet it would appear that the teen has been less challenging than the other two.

  3. Funny is that we were trying to fill our gap. We have a huge gap in ages between Anthony's 8 and Sarah's 18. Didn't expect to fill it at both ends with 5, 6 and 16. Silly us! We still will have a gap between 8 and 16. (No, we have given up on filling it, really, honestly)