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I'm a 22 year old female child psy major, elementary special ed minor. I have known I've wanted to foster for a very long time. I don't plan on fostering until at least a year from now, probably more. I think they will reject my application because of my age though. I mean, in spite of my education and experience with special needs kids. Part of this I can understand, but I feel like I need to being doing this now. I feel like now more than ever more babies, young adults, and children are being placed into foster care. Research has always shown that as the economy goes down, unemployment goes up, child abuse goes up, and more kids enter the system. As this happens, less families apply to become foster parents. I read stories of child abuse, murder, & neglect in the newspaper, on the TV, and over the net, and I want to help so badly it hurts in my heart everyday. Like the story of the 3 year old little girl, Caylee Anthony, who went missing in FL last summer and the found her body last month in a swamp. She was murdered by her mother.
I see things like that all around me & I know that if someone would just let ME help, things could have been so much different. It aches more and more in me everyday. I can't describe it. I want to see some little infant (born addicted to drugs) that no one else would want to foster grow up in a better life under my wing. I want to watch some little girl (who was molested in her previous home) grow to be a happy, confident, well adjusted, little girl with my daily love, patience, and attention.
I'm not even sure why I'm posting this. I guess I just need to vent.
You might not be able to foster right now, but have you considered working as mentor and possibly with CASA or some other of that type organization. Obviously your heart is in it! If you cannot do it because you are too young right now, do something like that.
Are you single? Have you considered the things you'll have to deal with as a foster parent such as taking time off work for doctor's appointments, sick kids, visits, home studies, etc.? Also, what kind of a support system do you have? Can you afford to support children and yourself right now?
I've always wanted to foster. I would have done it at 19 if they'd have let me, but obviously I wasn't in the position of life that I could yet. I'm glad I and my DH are more established in our lives before we started fostering. It is still very hard, but we can handle it because we know ourselves and our family well.
You might not be able to foster right now, but have you considered working as mentor and possibly with CASA or some other of that type organization.[/b]
They aren't hiring, along with most of the rest of the country. Funds for programs like that are being cut. Even the non-for-profit organizations are having to shut down or drastically decrease in size do to lack of sponsorship from donors and lack of funding from the state & federal gov. I live in the state with the worst economy, MI.
Are you single?[/b]
Have you considered the things you'll have to deal with as a foster parent such as taking time off work for doctor's appointments, sick kids, visits, home studies, etc.?[/b]
It was one of the very first things I considered !
Also, what kind of a support system do you have?[/b]
I have very supportive friends! My parents are not supportive, not about be fostering in the future, just in general. The rest of my family is very supportive.
Can you afford to support children and yourself right now?[/b]
No, which is why I'm not doing it "now." In 1 year (MINIMUM, probably more like 2 to 3 in actuality), once I'm farther along in my education, I want to start.
It sounds like you have your head in a good place. I'd call your local DHR or foster care agency and ask if there is anything you can do to help. Our DHR allows people to become trained to help supervise visits and such. This is NOT a paid position, but then neither is foster parenting... LOL. I was thinking all those things I'd mentioned on more of a volunteer basis, not paid. So I don't know how the economy would hinder them, but then I guess it could.
I only ask all those questions because I am a member of another foster/adoption message board. There are so many people on there who are single, young, and gungho about fostering and then get a child into their home and realize they can't do it. They don't have enough support, don't have a job that is willing to let them off 3 days out of every week, don't have anywhere to put the child on the weekends to do normal stuff like shopping and such, and end up disrupting the placement. But, for your encouragment, there are also a number of single folks on there who are foster parents and have been for many years. Some of them have as many as 6 kids in their home.
I hope you can find a way to make a difference in kids' lives while you wait to become a foster parent!