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Myths & Facts About Fostering
Myth: Bringing a foster child into my home would negatively affect my own children, and I need to protect them.
Fact: While wisdome is always key for all our life decisions, fear is not. So, we use wisdom. Sometimes people say that children in foster care are “children of loss.” They have lost their birth families, their neighborhoods and schools, their toys and bikes and it makes the children worry that they can’t count on anyone again. These children need adults who they can learn to trust and can expose them to things they have not been able to do before such as afterschool sports, baking cookies or sleepovers with friends. All children have special talents and children in foster care may have not yet had opportunities to follow their interests. We can, with our chldren, be a part of showing God's love by creating a safe place for foster children during their very difficult time. This will cause maturity, growth and selflessness in our children. Very honorable qualities we all need.
Older children don’t need to be adopted; they’ll just age-out of the
system and live their life. They’ll be better off without all the hassle
of adoption. Plus, what could I do for a 17-year-old who probably
wouldn’t care if he had parents or not.
Fact: "Aging out" is the term used when young people become too old for foster care and must live on their own. It is believed that as many as 40 percent of the foster children who age out become homeless. Federal laws in most states mandate them to leave the foster care system at the age of 18. Very few services have been implemented to help these youths make the transition to an independent life. Many foster youths become homeless because they have no resources and no place to live. Others end up homeless because of the specific problems they had growing up. Factors such as physical and sexual abuse in their biological home, substance abuse, frequent moves and homelessness with one's own parents as a young child increase the risk that these young adults may once again end up on the streets. Thirty percent of homeless adults in the U.S. are previous foster children. Homeless adults, who were once foster children, are nearly two times more likely to have their own children removed and placed in foster homes. Homelessness is only one of many reasons why children "aging out" of the system do need a family. For the 60 percent who go on to lead successful lives, they still desire the unconditional love, support and guidence of a family. Who doesn't? Have we ever stopped to ask ourselves who will celebrate their birthdays with them? Where they will spend holidays? Who will they introduce their children to as "Grandma and Grandpa"? Maybe we can begin asking ourselves these questions. Maybe we can begin being an answer to them.
Myth: I'd love to be a Foster Parent, but I would get too attached.
Fact: The fact you feel that way is the first sign you would make a great foster parent. Sometimes, a foster child does not reunite with birth family, if the family is still unfit to be guardians, and then the foster parents can adopt....although that is not 100% guaranteed. "In almost all cases, when children are removed from their parents, parents must be provided help so that they can safely parent their children. Slightly more than half of children who go into foster care return to their birth families. When parents are provided with help and they are still unable to parent safely, their children remain in foster care for 15 of the most recent 22 months. The state then terminates the parents’ rights and the child becomes available for adoption." (http://www.adoptuskids.org/resourceCenter/about-children-in-foster-care.aspx).
However, if choosing to be a foster parent still seems like too much of an emotional attachement there are other ways you can help without being a foster parent. There are many opportunities to volunteer. You can donate your time, money, goods, professional services or household items.There are also agency boards you may enjoy serving on where you can recruit foster parents, find volunteers or help raise funds. Some help develop relationships with local businesses, churches and civic organizations to sponsor families during holidays or for youth graduating from high school who are in need of basic goods and life skills. Mentoring youth who 'age out' of the system is another powerful way to make a meaningful difference. Many of these young adults have no life skills and need the support and advice of a caring adult to see them into a productive life. (http://www.beafosterparent.com/faq.html)
Myth: It is not my fault children are abandoned, so it is not my responsibility to fix it.
Fact: James 1:27 tells us that true and undefiled religion is to care for the orphans and the widows. The truth is the government, though doing their best, is not who God asked to care for the forgotten, it is us, the church… and we are failing.
Myth: Foster Parents are in it for the money.
Fact: Foster parents change lives one child at a time. They believe in investing in the future of our children. (http://www.dshs.wa.gov/ca/fosterparents/be_fosterintro.asp)
Myth: Foster Parents should treat foster kids the same as they would their own.
Fact: The main goal of foster care is reunification, although it isn't uncommon for children placed in foster care to become available for adoption. Fostering/mentoring a child is not the same as parenting a child born to you. Over time, you may need to talk with that child about the birth family, or help the child manage feelings about being in foster care. There are places to attain training and support to help you be an effective foster parent.
Myth: The term 'Foster Child' means the same as 'Adopted Child.'
Fact: No. ...the true role of the foster parent is often to assist in successful reunification with the parent or transition to some other permanent placement. We urge people who only want to adopt to make sure that the parental rights have been terminated and that the children are free for adoption when all possible foster parents or extended family members have declined to adopt. (http://hopeforfosterchildren.org/Adoption-vs-foster-care.html) Foster care is when a child is placed in the home of a state certified caregiver. Generally these care givers are referred to as a foster parent. A foster care parent is responsible of taking care of the child on a day to day basis; therefore they must provide them with food, shelter, health care and clothing. Although the foster care parent is responsible for the child’s daily functioning, the state is entitled to make all legal decisions. Foster care is intended to be a short term placement until the child is granted permanent placement in another home. Adoption is when a person takes full custody of a child. Often adoption is done by a biological family member; however that is not always the case. When a child is adopted all rights are transferred over to the adoptive parent. Adoption can be done through an open adoption, where biological parents and adoptive parents discuss the adoption, or through a closed adoption, where adoptive parents have no connection with biological parents. Adoption agencies are used to clarify the adoption as well as ensure the possible safety of the child. Regardless of whether a person chooses to adopt or become a foster parent, each option can positively help the child. It is important when considering either method to make sure the person is able to handle the complications and struggles of being a parent. (http://family.laws.com/adoption-laws/adoptions/foster-care-vs-adoption)
Myth: Foster Parents are kept hidden from the birth parents.
Fact: It depends. Children are removed from their families due to neglect (such as not providing enough food for a child or leaving a child who is unable to care for herself alone) and/or physical, sexual or emotional abuse. In almost all cases, when children are removed from their parents, parents must be provided help so that they can safely parent their children. Slightly more than half of children who go into foster care return to their birth families. When parents are provided with help and they are still unable to parent safely and their children remain in foster care for 15 of the most recent 22 months, the state terminates the parents’ rights. The children then become available for adoption. (http://www.adoptuskids.org/resourceCenter/about-children-in-foster-care.aspx)
Myth: I can simply become legal guardian, it is the same thing as adopting.
Fact: It is not the same thing. Being a legal guardian means “The child’s last name is not changed in guardianship, as it usually is in adoption. Legal guardianship may be for a limited duration… children can remain in legal guardianship until their eighteenth birthday.
Legal guardianship of a child qualifies the guardian to add the child to health insurance policies. The legal guardian can claim the child on income taxes. Guardians can make medical decisions, including non-emergency decisions. Guardians can enroll children in school, attend conferences, give, and receive information only available to parents”
There are also different types of guardianships: see website http://myfamilylaw.com/library/children-parenting/legal-guardianship/types-of-guardianship-2/
An adoption on the other hand, terminates the relationship between the biological parents and the child. If the parents are still living, they are no longer required to provide financial support nor do they have any other rights and responsibilities regarding the child. Should the parents subsequently pass away after an adoption has taken place, the child will typically have no right to inherit the parents’ estate unless the child was named as heir in a legal will.
Both guardianship and adoption require a formal designation by the court to establish the legal relationship, however a guardianship can be terminated or renewed at a later date while an adoption is considered to be a permanent relationship.”