Agree or Disagree: Foster Parents receive enough support. A perspective from a former Foster Kid.

There was a time in my life when I was a part of the Foster Care system.

I was in two foster homes. Both were with larger families. One of the families had other foster children while I was there. The other as far as I remember anyway, did not.

This is going back a number of years now, but I remember a bit of the moment this happened. If you don’t mind, I’d like to share this.

I remember coming home from school one day when there was a car pulled up to my house. I remember feeling a little different about that day. A feeling I can’t fully explain except to say that there was a change in the air. My suitcase was packed and moved to my then social workers car. It was then explained too me that I was going to a Foster home. 

I remember staring out. I was numb, but not surprised. There was conversations about this before so I my 8 year old self wasn’t surprised. I just went with the flow.

My social worker drove out to the house. She gave an explanation of this family I was going too. A load of emotions came through my head all at the same time. But, I remember going with the flow.

We arrive at the house and we meet. It was an acreage there was lots of animals. Cows, horse, cats. The family is standing there waiting to greet me. What was odd was one of the kids names was Kevin he was one of the other foster kids, which was my name. I think we changed mine to Mark for the time.

It was an adjustment for me. New house, new  household rules and new ideas. It was also close to the end of the school year and I was also going to a new school with new teachers. There is lots of an 8 year old to adjust too.

That experience ended. But a couple years later, I went to another Foster home. This was a family of 5 with no other foster kids in the house. This being the second foster home, I had some  experience with dealing with the adjustments to fall back on. Again, new family, new school and new teachers and lots of a kid to adjust too.

In both of the cases, I would have to say that my foster experience was positive. The parents were nice, so was the Foster siblings. As a matter of fact, do you remember the kid named Kevin I told you about from the first family? Him and his actual blood sister ended up being adopted into the family. 

The reality is , and this is from my perspective, being a parent of foster children is not easy. Some of you who are parents can give that perspective. The reality is you are dealing with a child that in all tense in purposes was pulled out of a family into another one. There is a small sense of rejection that is hard not to suppress. Kids will handle that very differently. As a parent, that is an adjustment depending on the kid. Some kids are bounced from foster home to foster home. This includes babies.

Looking back, I also think it’s odd that the first meeting between family and child was when I was moving in. I’m not sure of that has changed, but it should. We are spending a long time in a confined space together, should there not be meet and greet before? I know the parents are educated about the child, but that can improve.

The reason that this is I’m sharing this story with you is because there has been some discussion about Foster homes in Alberta.Things like this story here v about the number of deaths in Foster homes. This will lead to an investigation on foster care in Alberta. Which I welcome because it is an important discussion. However, let this not stop people from realizing there are many incredible foster parents out there that are loving and nurturing

If we are going to have this discussion I say we open it with this question. Do you think that the government or agencies are showing enough support for Foster Parents?

My answer is no. There is a psychological preparation from both child and parent that needs to be worked on. 

But that’s a perspective from a former Foster Kid that was in the system.



2 responses to “Agree or Disagree: Foster Parents receive enough support. A perspective from a former Foster Kid.

  1. I don’t think there are enough supports in place. From what I have seen and heard, often foster parents are taken into regard last in decisions that are made. While I understand that kids are the first priority, people who open their homes should not be a last priority.

    I was also in the foster care system (though not in Alberta). I also had a very positive experience and I continue to stay in touch with my foster family to this day. It really annoys me that TV, movies and the media only ever talk about the negative side of the foster system.

  2. As a foster parent I’m join got say a few things. Bear with me. In an ideal world foster kids would meet their prospective foster parents well before they move. This rarely happens. In an ideal world foster parents would never have to pay for anything regarding the foster child with their own money, but they do. In an ideal world, when placements are breaking down the support for both foster parent and child would be endless, but it’s not. In an ideal world a foster parent would not have to be under the thumb of a bio parent who is not even allowed to parent, but they are. In an ideal world, parents would parent their own children and foster parents would not be needed…..

    This is not an ideal world. Shit happens. Some parents suck at their job, some kids are really hard to parent. Life is hard. Kids move around. People blame others for their dysfunction. Sometimes these people are right and sometimes they are not.

    It’s hard living and parenting and attempting to love other people’s children but for me, for a long time, it’s been the right thing to do. I don’t know why you had to go to foster care. I don’t really care why, except that you needed it and for the most part it was positive. This is good enough. In this world, more often than not, we have to operate on a good enough spectrum. Is it good enough? It’s a hard job determining that.

    While in care should your name have been changed? No. Should you have been told more? Maybe. How much could you have possibly understood at that age? Especially coming from a dysfunctional home. Social workers are busy. Yeah yeah yeah, we’ve heard it a thousand times.

    No one is going to have a perfect experience, people are not perfect. People may die or be abused in the system. Does that mean the system shouldn’t be? No, it doesn’t. We all have our burdens to bear. This is one of yours. The real question is, did you learn enough from your experience to go on and be happy in the life you were given, as imperfect as it may have been?

    There is no one right way. It’s messy, whatever path it is. All we can do is our best with what we have. That’s all anyone can do.

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