Welcome back to Taylor Talks!
Have you ever met someone and instantly bonded with them? I felt like that today. My aunt's best friend lives only fifteen minutes away from us here in Florida, and she came over to visit for the first time today. I actually met her for the first time at my aunt's funeral, but I was only four years old and I don't remember that. Today, it was so great to get to talk to her, and hear stories from when she, my mom, and my aunt were younger. I'm excited to have a relationship with her now that we're living in such close proximity, because not only was she a lot of fun to hang out with today, but I feel like I'll hear so many more stories about my aunt when she and my mom get together. I feel like I already bonded with her today, and I know that my mom was so excited to see her again. They kept calling each other sisters and saying how great it was to be living near family; it was really nice to experience that.
Since it's Friday, I have another Foster Parent Friday interview to showcase. This foster mom wished to remain anonymous, but was willing to share a little about her experiences.
How long have you been a foster parent?
Do you do respite, short-term, or long-term care?
"Respite & short-term."
How many children have you taken in over that period of time?
Do you limit your care to a certain age group? If so, what ages do you take in?
"We started off saying no teenagers because of teenager behaviors, but [the] first 2 kids we had were teenagers [and] we could have easily taken them on full time. Then we dropped our age to 10, but emergencies and lack of carers saw us taken on an 11-year-old, so then we dropped our age to 7. We have now said we will stay with the younger children because those really difficult and destructive behaviors are evident or as severe in the older children and we aren't getting any younger."
Have you ever adopted any children? If so, how many?
"[We] have never adopted any children...would have loved to have though!"
Did you have any biological children when you started foster care? If so, how many? How old were they at the time?
"[We] had 3 bio children when we started fostering, but they had all finished school, were off at [university], OR moved out of home before we started."
What were your biggest concerns as you started your foster care journey?
"[We were concerned about] the destructive and difficult behaviors that children without direction often demonstrate."
What is the biggest lesson you learned from being a foster parent?
"That it's not the easiest task I have ever undertaken, and to ignore the little annoyances and celebrate all [of] the successes. The department treats carers with contempt, and communication from them is very rare."
Is there anything you would change about your experience as a foster parent?
"Not a thing!"
Do you have any words of wisdom for future or new foster parents?
"Make sure you are doing it for the right reasons. You have to love children and want to make life better for them. You have to be able to work WITH the department and understand that you will NEVER understand why some decisions are made because they certainly don't seem to be in the best interests of the child. NEVER belittle or run down the bio parents in front of the foster children... their parents are always their parents. Document every conversation with everyone you have concerning the child. [It's] always best to have [a] diary for each child."
While I completely respect her experiences and opinions, I do want to mention that not all teenagers in the foster care system exhibit behavioral problems. In fact, I would guess that just as many younger children exhibit destructive or difficult behavior as older children do; by the same token, I would guess that just as many younger children exhibit no destructive behavior as older children. You can't really generalize, because each child and each case is very different. It all depends on what the child has been exposed to in their home life, and how they are able to deal with it. That's why foster parents are so important as a support system for these children, to help them understand that they are loved and safe, and to teach them how to deal with their feelings in a healthy way.
Are you a foster parent who is interested in doing an interview for Foster Parent Fridays? Send me a message through my Contact page and I'll give you the details! I'm looking forward to sharing more interviews in the future to showcase the perspectives of other foster parents!
Thank you so much for your continued support! I look forward to sharing more stories about my experience with foster care, and hopefully hearing from readers who have questions or similar stories to share. I'm always willing to answer questions and hear about other experiences! Please don't forget to like and share my Facebook author page as well!
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My family has been doing foster care since I was three years old. I'm the only biological child in my family, though I now have five permanent siblings. Having nineteen siblings over the course of my lifetime has been an incredible experience, and I'm hoping that by sharing some of the ups and downs of being the only bio kid in a foster family, other foster families or people looking into doing foster care will be able to learn a bit of what life can be like. I also like to share what life is like on my journey to becoming a published author, as well as where my schooling and career choice are taking me.