Today is Friday, the end of the school week... oh man, we're going to have to start saying that around here soon enough. Only a few more weeks until the summer is over! The move took up so much of the summer this year, but the good news about moving to Florida is that it'll still feel like summer long after school has started! Today also marks three weeks since we moved into our new house, which seems insane! I can't believe how time has flown by since we arrived here! With all that's been going on over the past few weeks, I've actually skipped a couple of Foster Parent Fridays. With things somewhat more relaxed around here, I wanted to feature another interview tonight, this time from a foster parent who wishes to remain anonymous.
"We have been foster carers for 24 years."
Do you do respite, short-term, or long-term care?
"We do it all. At the moment we have 1 long-term [and] 3 medium-term waiting for long-term carers to be sourced for them. We [also] do occasional respite and short-term/emergency care."
How many children have you taken in over that period of time?
"I don't know how many, probably about 200. I don't like to count as I don't like the idea of the children just being numbers and the real work is in the ones who stay for a while, not just the one or two nights kids."
Do you limit your care to a certain age group? If so, what ages do you take in?
"We try to limit it to younger than 5, but some of our kids have aged into adulthood and teens with us. Most of our respite is school-aged children because they are generally kids who were previously placed with us until long-term carers were found. The kids we currently have with us are 20- & 18-year-old boys who have aged out of care with us, 12-year-old girl, 10- & 6-year-old brothers, and a 2-year-old girl."
Have you ever adopted any children? If so, how many?
"Yes, we adopted a child from foster care. He came to us at 3 weeks old and we adopted him at 17. It took 10 years to process the adoption."
Did you have any biological children when you started foster care? If so, how many? How old were they at the time?
"Yes, we had 4 bio children aged between 4 and 9 when we first started. At this time we only did short-term and respite for about 4 years, then had a newborn placed with us so [we] did no other caring for about 5 years. Then as our bio children started moving out of [the] home, we got back into care and have been pretty much full since then."
What were your biggest concerns as you started your foster care journey?
"We didn't have too many concerns, though we were pretty selective about who we accepted and if they would fit into our family. We naively thought we would be able to cope with it all."
What is the biggest lesson you learned from being a foster parent?
"To parent in a different way [than] what I did for my own children, and about how trauma and what these children have been exposed to affects them."
Is there anything you would change about your experience as a foster parent?
"No, I don't think so. I used to think I would have like to have taken on more long-term children, but now I am really enjoying the short- to medium-term as I find it the most rewarding; you see huge changes in the kids when they first come into care."
Do you have any words of wisdom for future or new foster parents?
"Sometimes you just can't 'fix' these children; they are damaged and may never fully recover. Never say yes to a placement if you feel it may not work for your family. Go to all the training you can and find a support group. These fellow carers will be a wealth of knowledge to you; they will understand when your family and friends don't, they will know just what you are going through, they will have experience and support you, and they will never say to you 'I don't know why you are doing this' because they will understand."
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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