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Why we don't do foster care any more...

Posted Nov 05 2007 12:00am

We have some good friends who recently had a child removed from their home. They are foster parents and have had him for 8 years, I believe, or at least six. They are very committed to him. He has FASD and is a mess now that he's a teenager, but they have educated themselves and hung in there with him through thick and thin. Recently he threatened them both and injured her and told his social worker that he wanted them dead. They knew that he was having a meltdown and didn't mean it and were trying to set up services so he could remain in their home. But then, BOOM, he's gone. No input from them as to what was best. They just moved him into a new foster home because they decided they should.

This family is a family who remains committed to kids after they age out of their home. They are a permanent family to the kids they foster and they've been doing it for years, decades. And now that this kid is approaching that age, he has been sent to a home where he will unlikely get the same amount of supervision nor the same amount of love. And he certainly won't get the same amount of commitment.

And then there is FosterAbba and FosterEmma's story which defies reason.

When we were to the point where we only had 6 kids under 18 in our home, we had a decision to make. Would we foster children (with the intent to foster children who were not legally free and adopt them in our hearts so they would have permanency) or would we adopt again?

Our conclusion, obviously, was to adopt again. Because apparently it doesn't matter if children who are in foster care have a permanent commitment made to them by an adult...those people making that commitment do not get to make decisions. And those kids can be removed very quickly regardless of the protests the foster parents make.

We have seen it happen with Mike and John and now are concerned about what will happen with Salinda. Once the county steps in to provide services, our decision making power is taken away.

So for us it is a no-brainer. Our best chance in providing permanency for a child is an adoptive placement -- even if later on there are challenges and the county is involved. At least we have the chance of building a relationship that is forever and will be returned to after 18 if we have an adoptive placement.

This certainly may not be everyone's opinion. And I realize that you can maintain a commitment to a child even if they don't live with you. But our life's mission and passion is providing permanence, as much as we possibly can. And we've heard and read too many stories like the ones above to believe that just because foster parents are committed to a child doesn't mean they will be allowed to provide them permanency.

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