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Feelings on Foster Care from a Natural Mom
Authored by
Brenda Alexander

I understand that foster parents are also in the line of fire but it's one of those things you sort of need to take into consideration when deciding whether or not to be foster moms and dads.  While you say that your decision was because you wanted to "do the right thing".  I still think a part of ALL foster parents' decisions is to make themselves appear to be unselfish, loving, and kind.  I also think an even larger part is due to all the money you receive as part and parcel of taking in such children.  Let's face it, most children in the foster care system are deemed "damaged" and therefore "unwanted".  That's rarely the case.  Just read any given newspaper, on any given day, and you'll find where a foster child was horribly beaten, injured or killed in foster care! 

In North Carolina, foster parents get approximately $900 per child each month.  If you have 5 kids in your care, that's more than the average family makes with both parents working.  PLUS, you get free health care, dental care, eye care, and food stamps to offset other expenses. 

When it comes to giving foster children presents, most give them a measly $2 or $3 toy from the dollar store.  IF they get anything at all.  They don't have many clothes or other luxuries children in their age range have.  So please, tell me where all this money you get for taking in these children goes?  Does it help pay your mortgage, car payment, and other personal expenses?  How does it directly benefit these children?  Do you buy them $500 worth of clothes and shoes each month?  One foster child alone should pay your house payment and car payment.  So where does the rest of the money go?   Do any of your "foster" children have a pet?  Do they get to go to summer camp?  Do you allow them to have sleep-overs?  What exactly do you do with $900 per child each month?  How much $$$ do you have in your savings account or your natural children's college fund?  What about trust and college funds for the foster children?  Do you do that for them or is that someone else's problem too. 

I'm not attacking you personally.  For all I know you are God's chosen angel come to earth to save these poor, wretched children that God CHOSE to give to these "biological only" parents.  I just really, really, really want to know what you do with all this money.  You knew the risks when signing up for this job.  I think it's truly awful if you're accused of abusing and/or neglecting a foster child but another question is this, if they're lying about YOU then for that reason alone, you shouldn't believe them if they say their natural parents abused them.  To some kids if you tell them that they can't date at 13, that's being horribly abusive.  The saddest part, some judges and social workers would agree that's horrible and unfair punishment.

Foster families, as a rule, are as dangerous, if not more so, to natural parents than social workers, judges, and the court system in general.  If you get that perfect, blonde-haired, blue-eyed, WHITE foster child, and decide you want him/her, by God you will get your way!  It's all well, fine, and good if the bios WANT to let you adopt, but that is rarely the case.  You go behind their backs, lie, exaggerate, and twist their words all so you don't have to get off your lazy ass and go to work.  You want this money and there's just too much of it to work for it.  Where else are you going to work and get $900 a month for doing as little as possible?  Oh, yeah, I know!  I just remembered.  You get a freaking job working in some capacity for the government.  What difference does it make if the child wants to go home and the parents love and want this child more than life itself?  You don't give a damn because you don't want to do what's right, you want to do what's easy.

Now, I'm using the word "you" because it gets tiresome writing and saying "foster mom or dad, or parent.  So I am not accusing YOU personally of anything.  If you are all noble and righteous, fine.  That's what you are!  I don't care if I get kicked off the group either.  I'm going to say what I've been wanting to say all along.  I do have that right as far as I know.  Yes, I have strong opinions about foster parents.  To date, I haven't talked to one single person that has anything nice to say about the "fosters" (watch I Am Sam). 

Again, this isn't a personal attack against you, but you have to understand OUR side sees you as the enemy.  You are as much of the problem as DSS, if not more so.  When you go to bed with the devil, don't be all surprised when he gores you with his horns.  These children are not objects.  They should not be sold to the highest bidder.  They should not be placed in homes that are in direct opposition of how the bios were raising their children.  For example, you shouldn't put a Jewish child in a Christian church and vise versa.  The same is true for same-sex couples.  While I have nothing personal against gays and lesbians, to some people it is a sin and do not want to instill those values in their children.  That's their God-given right! 

Another thing, once "fosters" get it in their minds they're NOT giving up all this federal money, reunification efforts stop.  You should never, ever, ever benefit in any way, shape, form or fashion by being a foster parent..  Free medical and eye care for the children is fine, but if you cannot afford to feed them without help from the government, then what the f*** are you doing fostering in the first place?  I mean that's the reason many a social worker claims as reasons to remove a child from their home.  If it's okay for YOU not to be able to afford them then why can't they simply help the biological parent get the food stamps and educate them on how to properly budget for food? 

I apologize if this offends anyone on the group.  Like I said, this isn't a personal attack on you but rather on the foster care system as a whole.  You just got caught up in the crosshairs, just like natural parents get every single day of their lives while fighting CPS.  You and only you know whether or not you abused this little girl.  Accidents happen to even the best of families.  However, abuse is 10 times more likely in foster care than at home so I'm going to do like everybody else does when natural parents lose their children to CPS, I'm going to say that there just has to be more to the story.  They don't just "accuse" you or "take your children" without due cause.  Sound familiar???  I bet it does.  So, you know in your heart what really happened, just like all of us natural parents.  The big difference is, we actually believe you.  We have no doubts in our mind that what you said happened, happened.  We KNOW firsthand that neglect/abuse allegations are almost always a bunch of BS.  We KNOW because we LIVED that nightmare and no matter what the end result is, even ONE day without our children is ONE day too long.  We'll never get that time back.

Please, foster parents, do what you can to support and help the natural parents.  If money is an issue, surely you could take some of that money you're making off of our kids and help us get set up into a nice place or make sure we have proper food, take parenting classes OUTSIDE of CPS so that we can be better parents.  These are not your kids.  No matter how much you love them, no matter how much you want them, they don't belong to you nor will they ever truly belong to you.  You wouldn't steal your neighbor's dog and then stop him from going home, would you?  If so, that tells me a lot about your character.  But if you wouldn't do that to a dog, why do it to a child?  Please, I hope you have the courage to respond to me with satisfactory answers to my questions.  They're genuine and while sarcastic, it doesn't mean I don't mean them.  Answer me by email, if you'd like.  Just click on my name. Sorry if I was offensive.  Kick me off if that's what you want to do, but I am NOT sorry for anything I've said.

Brenda Alexander
All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.

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Visit My Website- http://stolenbythestate.ning.com/

Join Our Group- http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Stolen_by_the_State/join

Related Group- Fix-CPS-----  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FixCPS/join

Related Link-- http://www.LegallyKidnapped.blogspot.com 

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Forgive me if I repeat something that someone may have already covered, but I've been off group for so long and there have been so many posts, that if I even made the time to read every post, I'd probably still end up being behind, lol.  (This will not be there, since Your story is Your Story and NOT a Repeat)

I wanted to give my perspective of foster parent vs biological parent, from the biological parent perspective.  I've been on this group long enough that I would hope that all of you would know that I hold no animosity toward foster parents.  I know that there are children out there who are truly being abused and neglected that need the help of caring foster parents, and I know there are many good foster parents out there.  Jenn had shared that she was attacked by bio-parents on another group who thought she deserved everything she got for "stealing someone else's child".  I don't care whether you're a bio, adopted or foster parent, NO ONE deserves to be falsely accused and to have their lives turned upside down.  I am working to fight for EVERYONE regardless of their parental status, race, creed, or color.  This type of bio-parent also needs to stop and think about how foster care has evolved and that our children have a better chance of being
treated better than they would have 100 years ago or so.  When children were first being put into "the system" they were sent to group homes and/or orphanages where they didn't get the love and attention that they can get in private homes now.    

My personal experience with foster care is one that I don't think I will EVER forget, as there are constant reminders (too many to mention).  I think my children and husband are having an easier time getting past the past than I am.  My children will occasionally mention their former foster parents, the other cities they lived in, the different schools they attended or they will show a gift received while in foster care to friends, new acquaintances, etc and I cringe wondering how they are going to explain (or how we are going to explain).  The pain and humiliation hits me all over again.  My children were fortunate enough to have foster homes where they were not abused, and I thank God for that, but there are some things that I wish my children's foster parents had done differently.  

One of the foster moms told my two youngest girls that ramen noodles and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches weren't healthy for them (interesting considering the school system offers PB & J sandwiches as part of their lunch program), so when my two girls came home from foster care, they informed us of what their foster mom had said.  At times we have to buy what we can afford to feed our family & these two items are items that we occasionally have as a meal or as part of a meal.  Even if all we could afford was ramen noodles and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, those would be better than no food at all.  Our children eagerly attended church twice a week while in our home (Sunday school & Church and Wednesday night youth group) but did not attend church or youth group while in the foster home because the foster dad was a trucker and the foster mom rarely left her home.  I'm not saying that the foster parents should have been made to start
attending church, but they should have tried to maintain the girls spiritual growth by making arrangements for them to be picked up by someone who could at least get them to Sunday school or even a church youth group.  Nebraska's own CPS policy manual says that "The child's religious beliefs will be respected by the out-of-home care providers.  This includes providing reasonable opportunities for the child to practice his/her religious beliefs".  Some of these may seem like little things, but it can be enough to affect your relationship with your children, because in essence they undermine your authority as a parent.  You've already had your parenting ability questioned by "the system" and society with the removal of your children, and then it is further questioned by your children when the foster parent tells your child something that makes you look like you are making bad choices for your children.  You also have your parent/child
relationship interrupted enough that you lose some (or even much) of your parental authority and the child gains control over you and how you parent.

The other foster mom asked us to limit how much we talked to our other two children because all they had were cell phones and the state didn't reimburse them for their cell phone bill.  She eventually changed her plan so that our number wouldn't cost her minutes, but we missed out on many phone visitations with our children because we didn't want to upset the foster parents.  She also wasn't very approachable and I later found out that she had made some judgments about my husband and I based on what she was told by CPS and my oldest daughter.  It wasn't until my daughter started acting out in their home the same way she did in ours, that they were ready to send her home.  My daughter ended up with 7 weeks of grounding, one week for every offense (7).  We ended up receiving an apology from the foster dad (the foster mom never apologized) for judging us and he admitted that they had been "buffaloed" by my daughter.  We could have chosen to
end her grounding when she came back into our home, but it was important for us to show consistency and to teach her that choices have consequences, so we informed the foster parents and the CPS worker that the grounding would be finished out in our home.

This probably doesn't apply to those of you on the group who have experienced the Nightmare first hand, but I guess what I am asking of those foster parent untouched by the Nightmare, is please don't judge a parent or their circumstances unless you know everything that is going on from every side.  We all know that CPS lies and we all know that angry teenagers lie with no thought of what the aftermath will bring.  When a child is removed for "neglect" you need to question whether the parent is poor and is doing the best they can to provide for their child/ren because they can't get services, or if the parent has a substance abuse problem and cares more about their drugs/alcohol, than providing for their children.  When a teenager comes into your home and starts telling you how horrible or overbearing their parents are, you need to listen to everything they are saying and see if it seems credible.  Judge Judy says she has "a built in BS
detector" and I believe all of us also have that "built in BS detector" if we are truly paying attention to what we are being told.  When a child is removed for "abuse" you need to question who's definition of "abuse" was used and who might have made the allegations.  Is it an an angry neighbor who's trying to get back at the children's parent/s, an ex spouse/partner who is trying to get custody of the children from the other parent, or a credible witness reporting a child that is actually being abused and/or neglected?  Also, if you have a personal opinion about something that is different in the bio-parent's home than it is in yours, just tell the child "I'm sorry, but this is how we do it in my home.  When you get back home you can do it the way mommy and/or daddy wants you to do it. "  That way you are enforcing what you need to enforce in your home, but you are not undermining the child/ren's parents and what they do in their home.  We
all need to keep in mind that when we say something negative to a child about one or both of their parents, we are telling them that half of them is not okay.  Many of you have already said that you do what you can as foster parents to maintain the child/parent bond and that many of you have gone above and beyond for parents, including ones who may not seem to deserve it.  You need to remember to treat the parents as you would want to be treated if you were in their shoes, which I believe all (if not most) of you on this group have done/are doing.

Despite what some people may think, I believe foster parents and biological parents CAN unite to fight CPS and the corruption, as long as they are willing to let it happen.  Many years ago I told my step-children that my dream was for their mom, their dad and I to all get along the same way my dad, my mom and my step-dad did.  My oldest step-daughter said, "Well, that will never happen because mom won't let it."  Guess what?  She was right.  My husband and I were willing to do the right thing, but the children's mom wasn't (and still isn't).  If foster parents and biological parents are unwilling to unite, then it's going to take a lot longer to take Goliath down.  "United we stand, divided we fall."  It's our choice as individuals, as to whether we are going to let hard feelings and rash judgements fuel Goliath's wrath and agenda.             
 
Gina
Family Justice Advocate
Parents for Justice and Equality
 
Advocate
Foster Parents Legal Solutions
National Foster Parent Coalition for Allegation Reform (NFPCAR)

DISCLAIMER: I am not an attorney and cannot give legal advice. I am a citizen and parent who has experienced our broken system, and I have done extensive research on that broken system. I am here to share what I know and have learned from my own personal experience. Anything I share with anyone within this group, or outside of this group is for educational purposes only, and not to be understood nor taken as legal advice.

 

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Christmas Thoughts From a Foster Care Giver for 43 Years
12/17/2009

 

1a.

Some happy surprises surrounding the Holidays

Posted by: "peggybean" pebe@satx.rr.com   peggybean

Thu Dec 17, 2009 3:22 pm (PST)



I thought I'd tell about some happy things that are happening for me. Most of you know that I've been a foster parent for 43 years now and can't possibly have kept up or even know about all the kids who have come and gone in the past. However, in the last few weeks, one of my baby girls who is now 24 years old and I found each other on Facebook and have been in touch daily. She will be coming to visit right after Christmas. Then the day after Thanksgiving, the adoptive mom of another little girl who had lived in my home for five years and was adopted almost four years ago, suddenly reached out to me, again through Facebook, and I have been able to hear about that little girl and see so many photos. When she was adopted I was told that I would never have any contact with her again and would never hear anything about her. She lives in another state, but the child herself has now emailed me and told me that her mommy said they would come a visit me soon.

Then a few minutes ago I received a phone call from the adoptive mom of a child who left my home 18 years ago. They live about 200 miles from me and over these 18 years I have seen him at least a dozen times when they have made a trip back to our city on vacations. They will be at my home on Saturday for a visit, the first visit since he was 18, and he is now 21.

These are special needs children, and you can't imagine how wonderful it is for the parents to bring them for a visit. These children, two of whom are adults now, seem to know that they have belonged here, even though they couldn't possibly remember their years here. The little girl who left a few years ago remembers vividly being in our home and she is so excited about maybe getting to come back.

So for you foster parents who are going through some trials and heartaches, and maybe are wondering if it's all worth what we go through, believe me IT IS WORTH IT, especially when a child returns to be reconnected with a part of their past that they don't even remember, but is important for them and their family.

This has happened over and over again through the years, when one of my "children" has found me again -- several have contacted me when they were 20-30 years old and were looking for some answers.

Another of my former babies works in the children's hospital where I go several times a week with my current family of special needs foster children. She actually registers me at the hospital for the kids' outpatient procedures they have frequently. I am blessed every time I see this beautiful wonderful person so successful in life, who started out her life in my home for her first year.

I could write a book about the experiences I've had -- and there were an awful lot of bad, sad, and not-so-good things, and some unfounded investigations,too, but the good outweighs the bad -- always! And the children we care for will have the benefit of the love they received with us and the care, even if they can't remember it. It has made a permanent impact on their lives, and that's all we can hope for.

I hope all of you have a wonderful Christmas and New Year, and that your homes continue to be bustling with the sounds of children who need you.

Peggy B

Presenedt by:

Copyright 2002

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