What makes a good foster mom? … … a reader asks.

October 19, 2010 at 9:36 pm 140 comments

One of my readers, Janera, asked this excellent question in a recent comment on my blog.  Although this person is a mom already, it showed a willingness to hear the suggestions “from the other side”  — the foster child.  And I am glad it was asked.

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So, in this post, I provide my ideas of what makes a good foster mother, with examples from my own experiences.

So, in no particular order, because I think they are all important –

1.  Caring and Interest

Show interest in the child.  Ask what is going on in their world.  Ask what they feel.  They may not answer, but show that you are interested.  Showing interest shows you care.  In so many of the foster homes/group homes I stayed in, no-one even asked about school, let alone how I felt or what was going on in my world.  I knew they never cared about me.  Foster kids may act like we don’t want you to care about us, but deep down we do.  We are just trying to protect ourselves from getting hurt again.

Show you care.  Sometimes children in foster care “can’t hear” your caring. You tell them you care and they say “Fuck you.”  Sometimes words mean nothing to a foster kid, because words have been nothing but lies from their bioparents and therefore hold no weight.  Therefore, show you care. This takes more effort, but do it.

Examples:

  • Go out of the way to cook their favorite dinner
  • Ask to see their homework
  • If they did well on a test or an assignment — display it on the refrigerator or go celebrate
  • Spend time with the child doing an activity – walking the dog, playing football, etc.

Sometimes actions speak much louder than words – in a foster kids world.  As trust develops, words become important, but at first it might be actions

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2.  Patience, Gentleness, Steadiness; but Firm Boundaries

I don’t believe in yelling at foster children and I actually do not believe in “tough parenting or tough punishment.”  These kids have had enough “toughness” and hostility in their lives.  I think of a good foster parent as acting similar to how the Taoist describe water.  Water flows gently and peacefully, …but over time is so powerful that it is able to carve through rock.

Display gentleness, steadiness, and firm boundaries regarding what is appropriate and what is not.  Set the boundaries early in the relationship.  When the boundaries are tested, stand firm; not with hostility but explanation.

For example:

  • “LT, we eat at the table; not walking around the house because we don’t won’t crumbs everywhere.  Come and sit down.”
  • “LT, we don’t condone you smoking.  You can NOT smoke in the house.  If you are going to smoke which is not healthy for you, you must smoke outside.  If you smoke inside, we will take the cigarettes.”
  • “LT, sneaking out at night is NOT permitted.  We care where you are and are concerned if you are missing.  One more time and you will spend the next month of weekends with us cleaning the garage and helping out at the community food shelter.”

Notice, boundary is said, explanation of caring and why it is not appropriate to break the boundary, and some discipline if necessary.

Expect the boundaries to be tested.  This is a way of establishing whether you are trustworthy.

Showing anger, toughness, or threats will most likely make the child react “worse” – because they are testing you to take the next step.   Stop this cycle.  Gentleness, firmness and steadiness wins.

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3. Creativity

Find ways to deal with the child’s issues creatively.  Find ways to deal with the child’s feelings creatively.  Find ways to deal with the child creatively.  Think outside the box. Traditional methods do not work and put the child further into isolation.

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Remember my story about the Hippie foster parents…they encouraged dancing as an expression of feeling.  It was a release of both energy and feeling for a kid (me) in so much turmoil.

Other positive examples of creativity:

  • **Talk to the Stars Game. My 2nd foster home did this.  Because I could not talk to “people” and was very afraid of “people,”  they started the “Talk to the stars” game.  When the stars came out, we would go sit outside on a blanket and my foster mother would say something like: “Hello stars – we are glad to see you tonight and we came to talk to you.” Then she would say a phrase like “I am so tired.”  Then each of us would point to a star twinkling and that would be a sign that the star heard.  When we found 5 stars twinkling at us, it would be my turn to “Talk” to the stars.   I would say a phrase and then we would look for the twinkling stars.  Over time the phrases became more detailed and descriptive of my feelings and fears.
  • A food storage container in my room where I could put the food I was stealing and hoarding.  Instead of hiding  food all over the room, I put the food in that bin, that was mine.  Every couple of days, me and my foster mother would go through it to see if anything needed to be thrown away and we would talk about it.  It was my safe space.  I knew food was always there.  No-one else could go into the storage bin without me knowing.
  • “Punishment” that was activities with the family, such as raking leaves.  This actually turned into a fun activity because we wound up“playing” in the leaves which released energy and tension.

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4. Ability to Put Yourself in the “Child’s Shoes”

I guess this is called empathy.  Never forget no matter how “bad” we have acted, that we are children.  What may seem really stupid to you, most likely makes perfect sense to the child.  For example, I am always amazed that beginning foster parents are shocked that foster children eat a ton of food or steal and hoard food.  Many are overwhelmed by this.  But, if you are a child where there was not constant food and you are starving, it makes perfect sense to steal and hide food.

Have you ever been starving?    I don’t mean “oh, I didn’t eat dinner TODAY” starving — I mean you are so fucking hungry that you eat paper to try to stop the pain in your stomach?   or carpet?  Starving where you can feel your stomach eating itself.  That type of starving?   For weeks?   For longer?  Have you?

Have you ever wondered when your next any food item will come– when your parents will put something in the refrigerator? And you give up waiting and search the trash cans, willing to eat bread that is soggy and covered with mold?   Or half-eaten pizza that you find under table trash and cigarette ashes from a restaurant?  Or a banana that well, you can’t really tell what it is….but it smells like something to eat.

This is what I mean.  Put yourself in the shoes of the child…..and it all makes sense.

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5.  Sense of Humor

This is incredibility important.  Humor is at times the best medicine and a huge stress reliever for both the foster mom and foster child.

For example: When I was young, one of my “bad habits” when I was upset was writing on walls—all walls.  In one foster home I lived in, the foster mother purchased all kinds of paper, in all sizes, shapes, colors, in hopes of getting me to write on the paper instead of the walls.  She laid them on the floor, in almost every room. Normally I wrote on every wall in my bedroom, all four of them.  One day I wrote on only one wall and then started writing on the papers on the floor. When my foster mother came in, instead of yelling at me for writing on the wall again, she looked at the floor, laughed and said “Progress LT.  Good job.”  She did not get mad, she laughed.  Then she got on the floor and colored with me.

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6. Willingness to Want to Teach and to Learn

Foster children come from a different life than you are probably accustomed to.  Some of it bad, some of it good, and some of it different.  Use this opportunity to both teach and learn from the children.

For example:

  • I never ate at a table and never knew formal “manners” until I went to foster care.  I had to be taught those.
  • I never brushed my teeth before.  I had to be taught to do that and why.
  • I had to be taught to change clothes every day.  When I lived with my bioparents, no-one cared and I did not have alot of clothes.  I kept wearing the same things.  Then when I went to foster care, there was “lots” of shirts and pants and socks.  I had to be taught to wear different clothes and that clothes needed to be washed.

These may be extreme examples, but the point is that my world with my bioparents was very different than “normal” and I had alot to learn.

But at the same time, the foster parents had to want to learn what my world was like. That included listening to my experiences, hearing my feelings, and trying to understand what it was like for me.  It may be hard to learn about all these things, but it helps aid in empathy and understanding the child.  And it helps the child heal and make sense of things.

In a more concrete example, many foster children are educationally behind or have difficulties. Share your knowledge about the world, your ability to read, and be willing to teach the child — from things like school work, to things about the world, to things about survival.  In my blog I mention many “things” I should have been taught along the way – school, cooking, how to drive, how to get a bank account and manage money, etc.etc.  I also talk about somethings I learned — building fires, appreciation of music, how to make water safe, that it was ok to drop stuff, etc. etc.

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7. Creative Punishment that Forces Engagement, Not Isolation

Punishing foster children so that they are isolated, alone, sent back, etc. is not helping them at all.  They act-out in fear, in anger, to test what will happen.  If you respond as they expect, you prove that they are not worthwhile or are bad…exactly what they want.

Use creative punishment that ENGAGES the child to be with you.  For example from my own experiences:  raking leaves with the family, cooking dinner with the foster mother, building a birdhouse with the foster father, cleaning  and picking up a room with the foster mother, etc.

Foster children are used to being alone.  Punishing them so that they are “alone” again, does nothing but enforce their negative feelings about themselves and the world.

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8. SMILE

Please smile.  Many of us come from worlds where there were no smiles, no soft gentle eyes, no looks of happiness.  Example: When I went into foster care, my first foster mother, Ms. Liz was a wonderful lady.  She smiled.  I was so captivated by her smile that I remember taking my fingers and running them along her lips to the corner… for which she would smile more.  I don’t think I ever saw “smile” that much.

So, freaking SMILE.

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9.  FIGHT For Foster Kid’s Rights.

A good foster parent will fight to get the child what she/he needs.  If you have read some of the comments on my blog, foster parents talk about having to “fight” for the child.  If you don’t fight, the child will slip through the cracks.  You may have to fight for mental health treatment, ILP, less visitation, more visitation, … the list goes on.

Example: I left foster care at 18 with a bad eating disorder, severe self-harming behavior, and mental illness that should have been treated by therapy.  I left without life skill classes and without finishing high school.  I should have been in a permanent placement early on in care.   Fight for these things — the kids deserve them.

Part of being a good foster parent is being an advocate for the child.   Because most likely, the child can’t or won’t advocate for themselves.  SPEAK UP!

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10.  Be Willing to “Step Back in Time”

Foster kids may be emotionally younger than their chronological age.  It may not be a developmental delay, but an emotional delay.  Don’t be afraid to step back in time with a foster child, because, well, they may have missed alot of “stuff.”

Examples I can think of:

  • Reading to them and having them read to you
  • Playing with toys and games with them
  • Teaching about different foods like what fruits are or how to cook
  • Taking the child to a place like a zoo — where they may never have been

Example: When I went into foster care, one of my favorite games was Candy Land.  I had NEVER played that and I loved the colors and the counting and the candy.  I thought it was funny.  That game is for young children, but I played it constantly.  I also was fascinated with Hungry Hungry Hippos, which is this game where you push the back of the hippo and it opens up to eat the marbles that are rolling around the board.  The person whose Hippo eats the most marbles wins.  I thought it was hysterical and it was about food.  That game was also “below” where I should have been.

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11. Let the Children Have a “Life”

Just because the children in your home are “foster children,” does not mean they don’t need a life.  Encourage sports, music, extracurricular activities that can help build their self-esteem and that they enjoy.  I know things cost money, but if money is an issue, encourage school-based activities or free activities.  I grew up never having any extracurricular activities but wishing I had; because now as a young adult, I have very little clue what I like or what I would like to do for “fun.”  I never experienced playing a sport or the yearbook club or drama club or playing an instrument, etc.   All these things help define a child…make sure the opportunity is there.

**Think about cross-over if the child is moved.  Are there activities that the child can continue if moved to another home?  Sometimes foster parents and workers use the excuse that the kids “move so much” and that is why they are not active…work hard to think about ways to get them involved in activities that can stay CONSTANT.

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12.  Be THE Parent

Just because you are a “foster parent” does not mean you should not be THE parent.  What I mean is attend parent-teacher conferences, attend the science fair, attend the game or the play or whatever else the child is involved in.  Include them in your family events; don’t isolate them away.  Act like their parent; not a friend, etc. because a parent is what the child needs.

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13.  Don’t Give Up!

This is probably the hardest suggestion to give, because I recognize that being a foster parent is not easy.  I also recognize that you may get some kids who “give you a run for your money” and that you want to send back.  My advice is to please think carefully about your decision.  Although we as foster kids may egg-you-on to “send us back” or “to get rid of us” — deep down inside we are really terrified of being abandoned again. And in most cases, we are just testing you to do so.  When you make that decision to get rid of us, in most children, it is very painful because we again feel “bad,” “unwanted,” “unworthy,” etc.

The example I share here,  I am NOT proud about and feel tremendous guilt about to this day; but it eloquently shows what I mean.

Example: Recall the Hippies…one of the best foster homes I lived in.   For personal reasons, they could no longer keep me and made the decision to “send me back.”  I was devastated inside; beyond belief….. but  I cursed them out, acted-out, and set fire to many of their record albums.   My behaviors were so “bad” that they “sent me back” several weeks before the planned time.  Their reaction to me acting-out reinforced how horrible I felt about myself and how “bad” I truly was.

It is like a vicious cycle.  We egg-you-on, you respond how we expect, and it proves exactly how horrible we are. … Break that cycle and don’t respond or react how the foster kid wants.  This builds trust.

If you give up, deep down inside, so does a piece of us. A shattered heart is hard to rebuild.

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14. LISTEN

Please.  Hear us.  Sometimes lending your ear to a child in pain and turmoil is the best thing in the world.  When a child is ready, she/he will talk.  And when she/he talks….PLEASE LISTEN.

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15.  Be HONEST.  Period.

Don’t lie — about anything.  We are lied to enough by bioparents and many other people in our lives.  Model honesty.  Lying will break trust.

Don’t lie about our bioparents, don’t lie about why we are in foster care, don’t lie about yourselves.  If you don’t know the answer, say so; but do not lie.  Foster children tend to be excellent at reading body language and small signals — it is part of being hypervigilant.  If you lie, we will know it….eventually.

The foster parents I respected the most were the ones who told me the truth no matter how hard it was to hear.  For example:

  • “LT, I know you want to see your mom, but everyone has tried very hard to find her.  She is gone.  They will keep trying but if she does not come back, there is no way to see her.”
  • “LT, your dad is going to jail.  The judge made the decision.  You are safe now.  But many many years from now, he may get out.  But then you will be big.  Do you have any questions?”
  • “LT, you have to leave our home because we are moving to another state.  We can’t take you with us.  We only wanted to do foster care and never planned on adopting. “

These examples were somewhat confusing and painful at the time, but I appreciate the honesty.  Lies DO NOT protect….always remember that.

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These 15 items are all I can think of at the moment with the blog post getting too long!  Hopefully other foster kids or experienced foster parents will comment.

Good question!


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140 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Another Time  |  October 19, 2010 at 10:57 pm

    Very well written, LT. Very well written TRUTH and feelings.

    I, too, like the “Talk to the Stars Game.”

    Reply
    • 2. Sonia Hathaway  |  January 28, 2013 at 8:25 pm

      Dear L.T.,

      As a prospective foster mother with a 7 year old son, I have been doing much research to aide me in being prepared to be the best I can for children who come to join myself and my little man. I feel privileged to have access to your reflections and personal expertise stemming from real experience. You should be immensely proud of yourself, I cannot thank you enough.

      All the best,
      Keep writing and sharing,
      Sonia H.

      Reply
    • 3. Sonia Hathaway  |  January 28, 2013 at 8:31 pm

      Hello again L.T.
      I would like to request permission to forward this work to my social worker. I feel that he would find it helpful, and he would certainly contact you for permission to use it in any way.

      Best wishes,
      Sonia H.

      Reply
  • 4. Crumble  |  October 20, 2010 at 12:05 am

    This is the most useful information I have been blessed with in a very long time. It is useful for all relationships in life – as adults would also benefit from being treated with the manners you have suggested. You are able to express your thoughts in such an organised and accessible way. What a gift you have, LT. You are bringing so much understanding to so many.

    Reply
  • 5. Janera  |  October 20, 2010 at 3:18 am

    Wow. Wow. What an amazing article you have written. I seriously and enthusiastically suggest you consider sending this piece to be published in print. Very helpful. Very. Thank you so much, LT.

    Reply
  • 6. Charles  |  October 20, 2010 at 9:37 am

    Great post. Extremely helpful in so many ways!

    Reply
  • 7. Christine  |  October 20, 2010 at 10:19 am

    Thank you so much for this!

    Reply
  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by noel cole, Many Hearts One Beat and OurChildrnsHomestead, kimberly gonzalez. kimberly gonzalez said: What makes a good foster mom? … … a reader asks.: http://t.co/zDCA6mC || Some strong language, but excellent post from a foster alum. […]

    Reply
  • 9. Derika  |  October 20, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    Awesome list with helpful examples–well done! I will bookmark this one for sure. Keep up the good work.

    Reply
  • 10. fosteringidahoteens  |  October 20, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    I like your posts because it’s all about meeting the needs of the child above all else. That is a philosophy that we aspire to live by as well. I’m frustrated that the needs of the state and other involved adults come before the needs of the child.

    I’ve written this reply 10 times – and I can’t get it right. For some reason, I feel compelled to admit that we had a spotless record until recently. After a year or so of testing by one foster kid, we cried uncle and had to remove the child. I am dealing with the fact that we ran out of capacity to do the job before all of the kid’s needs were met. Your blog kept us going even though it was pure misery – we kept our eye on the long term goal. We lost the battle to fatigue.

    I am looking over my records – and there are over 150 e-mail threads with the department looking for answers and help. Somehow, I still think that we missed something, and I hope to piece it together in the coming months. Perhaps we are the wrong people to do this work.

    We hope and strive to do right by you and the current generation of foster children, but we fall short.

    Reply
    • 11. H  |  October 21, 2010 at 1:26 am

      LT – great post, glad you are not allowing your blog to be hijacked. (((hugs)))

      Fosteringidaho – you tried and are still trying to sort it all out to better yourself for next time. Don’t beat yourself up too badly, I know easier said than done but you did/do care, had hopes and that is what makes it painfully hard on you (obvious from your post) but that is also what I think makes you right for the job.

      Reply
    • 12. niki heath  |  September 1, 2013 at 6:00 am

      Hey as a former foster youth i want to tell you something important.
      Sometimes a foster child has to find the right home. Whether thats a high structure grouphome or a foster home. Some of us have to talk out our feeling in a more animated way. Dont worrie u didnt give up u just ra.n out of tools. And when that happens you have to try soething new. If u cared about the child enouhh to stick with them for a year u did better then my foster parents ever did. If u can stay in contact with the child at all then do it. Let them knw u care about them. U just couldnt help them with what they needed. At first the kid might not undearstand but give it time. Sometimes all we need is time. It just sucks cuz sometimes we dont get enough time to figure it out until its too late. Im not trying to speek for the kid but if u had to send them to a higher level of care all u can do is change ur technique for ur next child. Be flexible.

      Reply
  • 13. tikunolam  |  October 20, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    Totally awesome advice.

    Reply
  • 14. Jen Mullins  |  October 21, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    Don’t forget Foster Parents – you can always ask for a CASA/GAL for your child(ren).

    Reply
    • 15. Julia  |  November 28, 2013 at 9:51 am

      Hi I’m thinking about becoming a foster family and have no idea what is a CASA/GAL?

      Reply
  • 16. Lori  |  October 22, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    Beautiful! From one former to another.

    Reply
  • 17. abbiek  |  October 24, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    These are just beautiful posts—they need to be handed out at he first training and that is my goal now. Along with my phone number if they should have a questions.

    LT you are very talented—–we met on Yahoo Answers and I KNEW you had it in you. Keep up the good work!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I’m proud of you!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  • 18. janine  |  October 25, 2010 at 6:39 am

    This is such a great post, and one I’d love to share with other new carers whom I help to train and accredit. As I read each point I found myself doing a bit of self critique – “yeah, I’m pretty much doing it that way, but I could put more effort into that aspect of my care”. After 18 years fostering (and two adoptions) I am always striving to learn more and do better, and your blog has given me a very specific viewpoint to consider.
    LT, your examples of ‘good fostering’, from the hippies and some others, made me feel sad for you – sad that not all your carers were able to treat you respectfully and lovingly, and sad that none of those better carers were in a position to adopt you. And sad that the same thing is still happening to kids in care all around the world, and you’re so right that the whole system needs an overhaul to bring it up to scratch. Maybe everyone who reads your blog will do something just a little bit better to help this happen.

    Reply
  • 19. ellaine  |  October 26, 2010 at 11:15 am

    how wonderfully put so much feeling in these words Thank you Blessed be

    Reply
  • 20. Sunday  |  November 14, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    Right on Point!

    Reply
  • 21. Melanie Davis  |  March 18, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    Hi, I am a Social Worker and work with Foster Children. I appreciate your information and if you don’t mind will pass it on to foster parents. I was just trying to help some foster parents understand that isolation (sending them to a room away from everyone) doesn’t do anything more than create more sense of aloneness in the child. Thank you for your words and I am sorry for what you had to go through. Melanie Davis

    Reply
  • 22. Kelltic  |  April 3, 2011 at 11:11 pm

    I am a foster parent. I want to thank you for being so honest and for sharing your experiences. I am getting so much useful information from your blog. I am wondering how you feel about foster parents that only foster. I am wondering if only fostering may be more damaging to fk’s because they may grow attached to this family and then move on to be adopted by another family. Should all foster homes be willing to adopt? FYI..my foster son’s favorite games are candy land and hungry hungry hippo’s! Best wishes.

    Reply
    • 23. Melody  |  August 9, 2013 at 3:52 am

      I have this same question.And a step further – if there are foster homes not considering adoption, is there anything upfront which will help the child to know that they are loved and valued but also help to not get their hopes up? For instance, is it better to include them in family pictures or not? I’m sure this varies some by the situation, but generally… from your experience and those shared with you, it would be helpful to get an inside perspective on this. I don’t want my trying to help to actually make things worse.

      Reply
  • 24. Hurdles of Life  |  April 6, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    Can I just say “Thank You”.. that’s all.. “Thank You”

    I had a rough morning with my 5 year old Foster Daughter. She was miserable (there was a missed visit yesterday.. yet again) and well I was her punching bag (not litterally). I hugged her and held her and told her no matter what I loved her even when she is mad at me. Twice we went through this and I was 40 minutes late for work because of it, but its important that she knows I will NEVER let her go (at least not in my heart).

    Reply
  • 25. Heather  |  April 13, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    LT – you write so eloquently about your experiences in foster care and afterwards… my wish for you is that one day you will find the love and joy in life that you missed as a child. I hate that you missed out on so much growing up and had so much to overcome as an adult. But you have a wonderful voice and are using it in a fantastic way that will help us foster parents be better parents to the kids who come into our care. I only hope that you can appreciate the voice you are giving to other kids who can’t say for themselves the things you’ve so eloquently written!!!

    Reply
  • […] no more rough than what she has had t0 live through (and without). One of her readers asked her what makes a good foster mom, and LT took the time to share.  This is a pretty wise young lady. Here is what she had to […]

    Reply
  • 27. Missy  |  June 1, 2011 at 10:56 pm

    I love this article. I am not a foster parent (yet – we are currently adopting internationally but foster parenting is a long range goal) but good parenting is good parenting, and so many of these can be applied to my bio kids right now.

    Bless you for using your pain to help others.

    Reply
  • 28. katieinwonderlandx  |  June 4, 2011 at 7:59 am

    this was amazing LT. xx

    Reply
  • 29. What Makes a Good Foster Parent? « Our growing family  |  June 21, 2011 at 7:19 am

    […] Here’s what she says about what makes a good foster parent – I especially love and can fully vouch for #2. […]

    Reply
  • 30. Marissa  |  July 9, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    Thank you for this post!

    Reply
  • 31. Lisa  |  July 12, 2011 at 12:34 am

    Thanks for this post. A week and a half ago we welcomed a 6 year old boy into our home who has been in foster care for 3 years, in a number of homes. I went searching for blogs of parents who have experienced something similar, but I am glad I found your blog along the way. Though this placement is moving towards adoption, and won’t be a “foster” situation for much longer, what you say is still relevant to how he must be feeling right now. He was in his last home for a year and a half, and was devastated to leave. Luckily the foster parents from that home are wonderful people who we will continue to have a relationship with, and they continued to love him even when he retaliated for being “abandoned” as he sees it. (He was with them for several weeks after finding out he would be living with us permanently). Sorry to ramble on…thanks again for the post, I’m sure I will be referencing it again.

    Reply
  • 32. Dawn  |  July 28, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    I love this. I’d like to put as much as I can in our newsletter. Is that OK? (I’ve been a foster mom for 37 years. I lead a foster parent support group.

    Reply
  • 33. sc111  |  July 30, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    LT: Why not self-publish this as an ebook on Amazon? It’s the best I’ve seen on the topic.

    Reply
  • […] regarding Foster Dads.   I thought this was a great question, and since I have written one on What Makes a Good Foster Mom (click), I was surprised that I never did this.  But as James commented, perhaps because my relationships […]

    Reply
  • 35. Mary Mahoney Weaver  |  August 3, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    I recently discovered your blog and have (and still am) delving into the archives. There are times that I want to cry and there are times I get mad. Not at you, but at the system. I read the foster dad post yesterday and this one today. We were foster parents for five years. We loved it. We did all of the things you suggested. But we had a county that was out to get us, for some reason or another, and our license was suspended. I get so angry that we were good, loving, caring, interested foster parents yet because of personality conflicts with our worker, we can no longer do that. Not angry for us but angry for the kids we cannot potentially help.

    All of our foster kids still come to visit us (the ones who are now adults) and I keep in contact with their families. They were always a part of our family and always will be, even if we don’t see them or talk to them often. Because we can no longer do foster care, I continue my passion by working in child abuse prevention and have mentored a few teens as they age out of foster care.

    The pain I feel about that being taken from all of us — future foster children, my husband and me, our children — is really hitting me as I read your posts.

    Keep writing, please. As hard as it sometimes may be, this blog is a gift to many.

    Reply
  • 36. ingridtuesday  |  August 25, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    Hi, I came across your blog today, and just want to say what a gem it is. My husband and I dream of becoming foster parents, and my biggest worry is that I will say or do the wrong thing. I really appreciate your willingness to provide your perspective and give some clueless parents the information we need to provide a real home for hurting kids. Thank you!

    Reply
  • 37. Peggy Custred  |  August 26, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    I also just saw your blog and think it is wonderful. I am the adoption recruiter for the foster children in Northwest Florida and I would like to include your article as well as your blog site in the newsletter I send out to about 1200 adoptive families who I think could both relate to what you have said as well as learn from it. Would this be permissable? Thank you for what you have shared.

    Reply
    • 38. LooneyTunes  |  August 26, 2011 at 6:36 pm

      hi Peggy.

      thanks for your comment. feel free to use what you want.
      it is always great to get new readers who are involved with foster care, because they may have insight that helps us all.

      peace.
      -LT

      Reply
  • 39. Linda Kauffer  |  September 14, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    Hello LT! I, too, like so many others, have stumbled upon your blog quite by acident. I don’t believe in coincidences, but that everything happens for a reason. So, I was meant to find you. I, too, like several others, am a foster care social worker, and I would like to use your posts in our foster care pre-service and on-going trainings,

    I am also a foster parent, and my heart aches over the trauma that many of your foster parents caused you. I was shocked to read that your mental health and skill training needs were not met. I am distressed to see that there were too many case workers who were inadequate and indifferent, and neglected your needs. Shame on them, they added to your trauma and inhibited your future healing and development. Shame on them, they give the real social workers of the world a bad name, and make it harder for them to do their jobs. And shame on society for not recognizing the need for sufficient funding, supports, and managable caseloads to attract and keep good social workers. Or to reward those who stick it out.Who are committed.

    Your speaking out your soul is obviously very therapeutic for you, and I want you to know how reinforcing it is for me. It gives me faith that the youth with whom I work will eventually be strong enough to face life and themselves the way you are doing. It gives me REAL illustrations to train foster parents. And I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your generosity is sharing it with me, and them. I’ll be around…

    Reply
  • 40. marie  |  October 10, 2011 at 8:50 am

    Hi LT,
    I am so happy you have wrote this! My husband and I are becoming foster parents too and I have a friend that is a foster parent. My friend is truly in it for all the wrong reasons. I know they are only in it for the financial. My friend is so mean and cruel to her foster son and will not buy him shoes or clothes. I’ve had to bat for him to get him things he needs. I can no longer take it and cried over this. They use all the money for their own children and their mlm business. They claim to be Christian but the Devil has got a hold of them and their greed to be wealthy.

    Reply
    • 41. Helen fritzel  |  October 31, 2014 at 12:51 am

      Marie, you need to let the social services department that supervises foster children about what is going on with that family and that child. O see that it’s way past time for that and I hope that something was done to help that child, either by you or by the social worker.

      Reply
  • 42. Sarah Gerstenzang  |  October 19, 2011 at 8:39 am

    Hello,

    I am a foster/adoptive parent in NYC. I also run NYSCCC.org which provides information, support and advocacy for foster and adoptive families. We link to your amazing blog on our website. 🙂

    I am working with NYC to write a manual for foster parents. I want to include “What Makes a Good Foster Parent” in the appendix. Do I have your permission to do so?

    Thank you for all you do in writing this blog!
    Sarah

    PS Do you ever do public speaking?

    Reply
    • 43. LooneyTunes  |  October 19, 2011 at 4:00 pm

      hi Sarah,

      i dont think i wrote a “What Makes a Good Foster Parent??”
      i wrote one called “What Makes a Good Foster Mom” and one called “What Makes a Good Foster Dad.”
      do you mean those?

      i havent done public speaking. i am pretty introverted IRL.

      peace.
      LT

      Reply
      • 44. Sarah Gerstenzang  |  October 21, 2011 at 10:57 am

        Yes, I do mean “What Makes a Good Foster Mom.” Sorry about that! Do I have your permission to use that and “What Makes a Good Foster Dad”?

        And on another note, I just read your most recent post. I am thinking of you and sending you lots of warm wishes.

        Sarah

        Reply
        • 45. LooneyTunes  |  October 24, 2011 at 2:06 am

          yeah, sure, you can use them. usually i just ask that people stick my blog link somewhere.
          peace.

          Reply
  • 46. YW  |  October 21, 2011 at 11:15 am

    Very very useful, thanks for teaching us LT! You Rock! I am going to print this post and I think I need to memorize it LOL
    lots of homework thnaks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    TGIF
    YW

    Reply
  • 47. Darlonna  |  December 28, 2011 at 3:29 am

    Thank you so much for taking the time to write this!! I am so excited to check out other things you have written. Your perspective is invaluable and it is a clear indicator that your life has great purpose!!!

    Reply
  • 48. Lin  |  January 17, 2012 at 2:26 am

    Thank you for everything. You are an excellent writer. I was looking for foster mother blogs, and this is even better. Everyday I try to be the best mother (I am a foster mother only, no natural born children nor do I want any). Most days I am angry at the system. I was in foster care too, but I was lucky and was a baby so I was adopted. I had other siblings that were not so lucky, died, raped etc. I always thought of them growing up. I have a foster child who is a baby now.I know I know everyone wants a baby. I want an older child, not a baby. Due to my age being young I must wait for an older child though, so baby it was! My baby now will be adopted by me, as well as (hopefully) an older child in the future. It isn’t right for society to let children age out of the system. I feel foster children are much more special than natural born children. That is why I dont want my own. I feel I wouldn’t love my own as much. Weird to most, I know. Natural for me. I dont understand how there are bad foster homes. I spend hours picking every detail of my childs room trying to make it just perfect for him. I spend my days loving him, thinking how wonderful and special he is. I wish I could have done that for you. I wish someone had. Someone should have. There is NOTHING wrong with you that would make you unloveable. NOTHING. All kids are lovable. Anyway thank you for your time and advice. It made a difference in my life. Sometimes dealing with the system now, I say to myself NEVER again. After reading this, I know I must do it again and adopt an older child. Thank you.

    Reply
  • 49. new foster mom  |  January 24, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    This is so brilliant… could you have answered your question about how god could let you live through what you have? Maybe you are one of his favorite angels helping the rest of us through your experience.

    Reply
  • 50. Forevermom  |  March 5, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    LT I am a foster parent and I must tell you that your article is beautiful. My husband and I are blessed with three kiddos in our home and we are always fighting….well not just fighting but FIGHTING for them. I blows me away how hard it is to keep kids safe from the system. I am going to share all your information with every foster parent I come in contact with. It is so hard to find a former foster kids perspective on what it is really like for you guys. I have to say that I hope i can find someone like you to help my little ones deal with what they have been through. My husband and I feel like the system has failed our guys and we are only able to buffer the blows. I hope we make you proud.

    Reply
  • 51. Kristi GJ  |  March 23, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    LT…thanks so much for sharing your story. This is really an amazing blog! I work in foster care and adoption and feel that I learn the most from the voices of youth who have experienced this life. Thank you…

    I also wanted to ask your permission to use some of your tips for a calendar we are using for foster parents. Please let me know if this would be something you are open to and how you would like to proceed. Please shoot me a quick email if you have time.

    Thanks again!
    Kristi

    Reply
  • 52. Amanda  |  March 26, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    You are a very gifted and articulate writer!! This is an excellent blog!! I’m sorry you have had to live through so much, but I am glad that you are helping so many people by writing this! I work with foster parents and would be interested in using some of this in a training for foster parents as well as possibly putting some excerpts in our newsletter to reach to foster parents who were unable to attend the training, because I think this would be helpful for all foster parents. In both settings I would love to include that it is your work and how they can get to your blog for further insights from you. Please send me a quick email about if this is ok and if you have specific stipulations for citing your work! thank you again for sharing, so that others can be helped! I also agree with above comments that encouraged you to look into publishing and/or public speaking!

    Reply
    • 53. LooneyTunes  |  March 26, 2012 at 11:57 pm

      hi amanda.

      i hope you get this, as i dont email people (see my blog for explanations as to why).
      thanks for your nice comment.

      you can use my blog. i just ask that people give the blog address and title, so others can maybe come and read it or comment or share their thoughts and expereinces, etc.
      i have tried to add another “Tips” section in the header, but i cant figure out how to do it. when i get chance, i will add some other posts that may be useful to foster parents and trainers, so that people dont have to read through 2+ years of blogs.

      peace.

      Reply
  • 54. Stephanie  |  April 20, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    Thank you for sharing these insights. My husband and I are in our twenties and are looking into being foster parents and then adopting. We are interested in fostering kids before even attempting to have bio kids because we want them to know that we are choosing them and want them! There is so much to learn, and your blog is giving me wisdom and a look into the world of a child who has experienced trauma that he/she never should have. I hope to be a loving, patient, yet firm adoptive parent. Thank you for sharing your heart and advice!

    Reply
  • 55. LovedOne  |  April 29, 2012 at 12:00 am

    Thanks for sharing. My husband and myself are new foster parents and this will lead us to the right direction. Thanks for sharing your experiences. We truly pray that you find peace and continue assisting others that are walking in a similar journey – heartborn.wordpress.com

    Reply
  • 56. richfaithrising  |  May 11, 2012 at 10:03 am

    Love these suggestion! It is as if I was able to look inside my foster daughter & she herself were telling me her needs! Thank you, LT! Blessings ~ jen

    Reply
  • 57. Renee  |  May 15, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    I have worked in the foster care field for almost 15 years. I’m so impressed to read how you express yourself so well and speak such useful truths about how foster parents can be just what a foster child needs. Thank you for sharing your wisdom!

    Reply
  • 58. mrscookie78  |  June 24, 2012 at 2:28 am

    Thank you Thank you Thank you for your blog! We are getting two little girls in a couple of months and I want to do all I can for them . I am so sorry for all you have endured but so thankful you are willing to share to improve the lives of other foster kids!

    Reply
  • 59. Johanna  |  June 25, 2012 at 5:17 am

    This is a great post – these are the skills every parent needs. Thanks for your perspective. 🙂

    Reply
  • 60. Vanessa Rodriguez  |  July 23, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    Thank you so much for your blog, I have found it very touching and helpful…

    Reply
  • 61. Jacque Grimes  |  July 30, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    I am a foster parent and have taken what you have written to heart. I would like to forward your blog to our foster parent support group for their reading too. Keep on writing, it has given me things to think about.

    Reply
  • 62. jess  |  August 7, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    please give me other tips, im a foster parent, and i find it hard at times…..of teenage boys……

    Reply
  • 63. Lisa  |  August 22, 2012 at 10:22 am

    Great, great information. Love it!! How can I contact you to use some of your material for a training?

    Reply
  • 64. Ashleigh  |  August 28, 2012 at 11:11 am

    My husband and I are just now beginning the process of becoming a foster family. I cannot express in words how grateful I am that I found you and your honesty about the foster care system. I have only read a couple of your articles, but I can already tell that you are my new favorite blog! I am so heartbroken for the things that you had to go through, but just know that because of all that, you are the hero now to other children in foster care. I’m sure when you were growing up that you wished you had someone like you to stand in the gap and protect you. You will probably never know the full extent of the impact you are making by simply sharing your story. I want to thank you for being you. You are strong and courageous. I wish nothing but the very best for you, inspite of all you’ve been through. Please continue to share because you are saving children in the foster system all over the world, one blog post at a time!

    Reply
  • 65. Deb Eisemann  |  September 26, 2012 at 12:37 am

    I am presenting at the Colorado Foster Parent Association Confernece in Mid Oct. I would like to use an excerpt or two from your blogs and direct them to check out your site. would that be ok and do you have any specific message for them my presentation is titled “Why are some of these children so hard to reach” and my messge is well they have been hurt and they expect you to hurt them you need to be understanding, listen, love, be firm but kind and fair….
    thanks for being there for others.

    Reply
  • 66. Monet  |  October 16, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    LT!

    Have you EVER considered writing a book???? Your points of view are so painfully full of TRUTH!!!

    And for someone who said they didn’t have extra curricular activities to develop skills, honey, let me tell you something: You are VERY skillful in writing. You articulate yourself SO WELL. I’m hyper-impressed with your ability to get across to us readers the foster-child’s view. Your display of the above reverberates so loud and clear.

    Seriously, you would make a fantastic spokesperson for foster care seminars.

    Honestly, you should consider exploring something along those lines. It might help your past wounds and also give GOLDEN advice to would-be foster parents, current foster parents, and even foster children.

    PLEASE. You have something a lot of us do NOT have. Your experience can walk thousands of miles that many of us cannot even began to imagine taking even ONE step.

    I have read SEVERAL of your posts already, but this one I must say moved me the most.

    You have inspired me all the more so to pursue becoming a foster parent.

    Please keep the blogs coming!

    Thank you for being my inspiration!

    Monet

    Reply
  • 67. Mel  |  November 2, 2012 at 12:56 am

    Wow! Thank you. I am in the process of adopting a 6 year old. This is incredibly helpful to me. Brought tears to my eyes. Thank you.

    Reply
  • 68. angelsinheaven  |  November 3, 2012 at 4:40 am

    I am glad I’ve found your blog. I know nothing of the foster care system. Never knew anyone in it growing up, have not had any friends adopt or foster children. After 3 heartbreaking miscarriages of my own…. and watching some insane “stuff” happen with my great nieces and a custody battle over a child known to our family after his father died last fall, somehow it all has got me thinking about adoption. Not serious down to signing papers.. yet… just googling and mulling things over a little. I stumbled across the adoptuskids.org website and across a video of a little boy that’s enough to make me want to go blindly running out and get him and give him a forever home. Glad it’s a process or I might have been emotionally reactive enough to attempt just that and not have the knowledge to handle the “special” challenges that come with a foster child. But really I’ve spent the days since seeing that video reading blogs about rad. Blogs written by foster parents…. message boards etc. I kept googling and hunting wanting to find a foster alum’s blog, wanting to hear the foster child’s voice to try to see into this world before I dare tred there. Reading your blog is so enlightening. It really helps give insight into the thoughts and needs of a foster child. I’ve lived a sheltered life, can’t imagine not having food or clothes, can’t imagine what you lived through. Part of me wants to become a foster/adopt parent and create a safe place for a child in need, part of me is scared to death of what the child and the experience would be like. I think being a parent to a totally healthy, never abused, vibrant, brilliant child would be a challenge and incredible commitment. It’s a scary proposition trying to fill the void, build the trust, give the guidance and guide someone to be a successful well adjusted adult when so much hurt has been caused.

    I had guardianship of my niece when she was 16 and I was 23, that was hard. Her mother (my brother’s ex wife) slept with her (my nieces) boyfriends if my niece wouldn’t “put out” then her mother did, the mother was on drugs, did not care what my niece did, pulled her out of school to babysit a baby the mother had and was living out of a hotel working as a stripper when I asked her mother to give me guardianship of my niece. To which she said “great where do I sign?”. I was in college myself when I took on mothering my mistreated niece and at least she had a bond with me, always had and still does (she is 30 now). She knows I love her and she did not have any attachment issues with me or do anything to see “if I would send her back”. She ran away from the mom and came to me 3 states away wanting to live with me, which was what prompted me to get her. Yet still… mothering a 16 year old that has been EXPECTED to be promiscuous with guys was an exhausting task. Trying to reteach what normal is, feels impossible when someone has been taught screwed up stuff for 16 years. I still feel like I am trying to teach her what normal is supposed to be as she calls for dating advice regularly and still has too low of standards for how a guy is supposed to treat her. Maybe I’m not cut out for this…or maybe my life experiences have been leading up to this?? I really don’t know yet. But I am thankful for the rare glance your giving me (and others here) into your world and into the world through the eyes of a foster child. Thank you so much for having the courage to bare your soul and help the rest of us try to “get it”.

    Reply
  • 69. YW  |  November 6, 2012 at 2:18 am

    LT will continue to keep coming back to your blog there is so much very useful information on here! You did a great job putting all this together.. allthough I miss your updates on your life your pets your job your healing; know that I think of you and hoping you are making great progress.. oh and be nice to Dr. Val 😉
    hugs
    YW

    Reply
  • 70. YW  |  December 29, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    Hi LT, just thinking of you and hoping you get my messages,
    did you had an ok Christmas ? how is the job how is Dr Val how is KC and Jesse and how are the pets? Hugs to you and all that are around you. Wishing you a great great 2013
    Hugs
    YW

    Reply
  • 71. Deb  |  January 3, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    Hi LT, I have just scheduled this blog entry to appear on our FB page. I saw it referenced on FB earlier today and thought it was incredibly insightful. You can find it on: http://www.facebook.com/fosteradoptivemission tomorrow morning after 8 am Eastern Time. Would love to also use it in my monthly newsletter to foster/adoptive families in CT, with your permission.

    Reply
  • 72. Dawn Davenport  |  January 14, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    HI LT. Like other, I’ve enjoyed your blog and think it provides great information for those considering fostering or adopting kids from foster care. I’d like to write a blog on some of the info you share and many of your blogs. I see in a comment you left above that you said it was OK so long as I link to your blog, which I of course will do. will link to your blog and your site and give you full credit. If this is not OK, let me know. I hope you keep writing and healing.

    Reply
  • […] She has a terrific section on her blog called Tips for Caring for Foster Kids, but the advice is equally applicable for adoptive parents as well. Here are some tips from a post titled What Makes a Good Foster Mom: […]

    Reply
  • 74. lesley.gould@blueyonder.co.uk  |  February 23, 2013 at 7:56 am

    Thanks for the advice, My husband and I are hoping to start fostering this year – we are both looking forward to it – this is really hwlpful. Thank you

    Reply
  • 75. Dawn  |  March 14, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    Wow, I am so grateful for coming across your Blog! I searched Pinterest on anything related to Foster Parenting and came across this. I was raised 10years in the foster care system and at 27yrs of age my Husband and I are looking at being Foster Parents ourselves. Everything seems to hit so close to home that it can be hard to read but beautiful at the same time!! I love that I can share this with my Husband and show him the one on being a Foster Dad, as he will be learning a lot of foster stages through myself and from an 18 hour course we took this weekend. I appreciate your brutal honesty, and I’m proud of you for giving back to a system that can rip you up inside as a child.

    It’s rare to come out of the Foster care system Alive.

    Reply
  • 76. Becky  |  April 5, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    Hi LT! I stumbled across your blog via Rage Against the Minivan, which I also found Forrest Gump-style. You are a gifted writer and I am so thankful you are using your talent to help other foster children. I recruit and train potential foster parents for an agency that works with special needs children. In my opinion (and that of everyone on my team), ALL children in foster care should be considered “special needs” because they need so much more than “normal” children. Just so we’re clear, I hate the word “normal.” Anyway, I am very strict about the parents I approve and try as hard as I can to educate potential therapeutic foster parents about children in foster care. I would like to print and share material from your blog and incorporate it, informally, into my training. I will also be sending potential and current foster parents to your blog to learn more about you and how they can be better foster parents. Thank you so much. You are wonderful!

    Reply
  • 77. How to Be a Good Parent in Older Child Adoption  |  June 27, 2013 at 9:09 am

    […] She has a terrific section on her blog called Tips for Caring for Foster Kids, but the advice is equally applicable for adoptive parents as well. Here are some tips from a post titled What Makes a Good Foster Mom: […]

    Reply
  • 78. Nikki  |  July 30, 2013 at 6:42 am

    Thankyou for sharing your thoughts and experiences. My husband and I are going through the Fostering assessment and reading your blog is answering so many questions we have. Please keep posting!

    Reply
  • 79. Ugly Christianity. | Ex Religious Christian.  |  August 28, 2013 at 10:05 am

    […] Photo Credit. […]

    Reply
  • 80. niki heath  |  September 1, 2013 at 5:39 am

    I was placed in foster care at 12 y.o. And to all those fosyer parents getting a new kid to the system keep in mind that this is the scariest thing to happen to us. Going in a newbie with have thoughts like ‘ what if my parents get me back? ‘ ‘what is the easiest way out of this?’ Ect.. these new foster kids havent knwn anything but pain for most of there lifes. Alot of us walk in flinching everytime someone moves tord them too fast. I couldnt figure out how to hug someone until i was 17. For thos ppl wanting to be foster parents, mentors, casas, sw, ect u need to ask urself something..
    ARE U STRONG ENOUGH TO HANDLE THE POSSIBILITIES? If u have a set way about u then u need to reset it. Foster kids are all difrent. So be willing to change your approach at any given moment. The system can suck big time. If u havent delt with being scared and alone in a room full of people then u dont knw how we feel.

    Reply
  • 81. Denise  |  October 9, 2013 at 11:37 am

    Thanks LT. Thanks for letting me where I am doing the right thing for the children in my care and where I need to improve. Love it!

    Reply
  • 82. Wendy Smith  |  October 15, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts LT. I really appreciated this article. The Taoist quote about the water is true and apt.

    Reply
  • 83. Kristin  |  October 25, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    This was so helpful. Thank you for sharing your life with me. We are in the process of becoming foster parents and what you wrote has really re-emphasized our decision. Thank you.

    Reply
  • 84. B.M.O.  |  November 18, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    Thank you, LT.
    I’m a foster mom to a 7 yr old. We are therapeutic parents. Since our kiddo moved in with us, the system has been pushing to reunify the child to birth mom. She has come out of her own treatment and wants to connect to her kid, of course. Problem is, this kid is not reacting well at all to it. It is a struggle to put his/her little pieces back together after a phone call. I wish the state would slow this process down, would give him/her a time to breath. But they feel they need to continue to push it. Our CASA has never even come to our home to see him/her. So we speak, and speak and speak to his/her team. We try to voice what we believe would be best for him/her. Reading your tip on doing just that gives me such support. Just because visits are required, it does not mean they are healthy for the child. Just because there is reunification in sight, that does not mean we push it down the child’s throat. How easily the child can get lost under all these “grown up” decisions!!
    Can’t wait to see my little solider come home from school today and give him/her a big hug!!! And speak for him/her I shall!

    Reply
  • 85. Rae  |  November 19, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    This is the first of your blogs that I have read. I am working to adopt a girl from foster care. This makes me wish I could adopt you as well. Thank you for this blog. I see if being priceless in helping me to understand and bond with whoever ends up being my daughter.

    Reply
  • 86. Fiona  |  February 8, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    Thank you for sharing! I am thinking of fostering and your advice has helped in so many ways xxx

    Reply
  • 87. carol  |  February 23, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    million thanks for sharing. vital information. i am in the process of, I PRAY , of becoming a foster parent.

    Reply
  • 88. Laurie  |  February 27, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    Thank you for posting. I am not a foster parent yet, but my husband and I hope to be. Can I just say that I’m pretty surprised by this post? It would never occur to me to be anything other than what you suggested here. I always thought that I would treat any foster child with the same love, patience, understanding and honesty as I do my own daughter. Heck, there’s times my kid is acting out and driving me up the wall, but I don’t isolate her or yell at her. It just wouldn’t occur to me to treat a foster child any different than I do her. Anyways, thanks for the post. I’m happy to know that our attitude and lifestyle is conducive to being a foster parent

    Reply
  • 89. Ivon Favela  |  March 23, 2014 at 12:13 am

    Great blog. I work with Five Acres Foster Care and Adoptions, I’d love to share your blog posts from time to time to share your expertise. Ivon

    Reply
  • 90. manyofus1980  |  March 23, 2014 at 4:37 am

    I nominated you for the brave heart award…see our blog for details!

    Stand Strong You Are Not Alone
    I call you a survivor, because that is what you are.
    There are days when you don’t feel like a survivor and there are days when the memories trigger your past and it feels like you are loosing the fight – but you are not. Take the past and heal with it. You are strong. I want you to know that the abuse was not your fault. It does not matter what age it happened. You did not deserve it, you did not cause it, and you did not bring it on yourself. You own no shame, guilt, or remorse.
    In your life, you have faced many demons but look around you and you will see there is hope, and there is beauty. You are beautiful, You are loved, there is hope. You deserve to be loved and treated with respect. You deserve peace and joy in your life. Don’t settle for anything less than that. God has plans for you. Your future does not have to be dictated by your past.

    Each step you take you are not alone.
    Stand Strong.

    XXX

    Reply
  • 91. Peggy  |  March 27, 2014 at 10:13 am

    Awesome job L.T. We’ve been Foster & adoptive patents for 32 years, I also train Foster parents and social workers this is a must read. God bless.

    Reply
  • 92. LVasquez  |  April 9, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    I echo the sentiments of others who have commented on this blog – it is a wonderful insight for those who open their homes to children in need.
    May we have permission to include this in our pre-certification training for foster parents?

    Reply
  • 93. Liz Mincey  |  June 4, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    I’m a recruiter with Wendy’s Wonderful Kids and would like to send this to the Family Workers I work with. I think this is wonderful and bursting with great ideas. I especially liked the idea of letting the child keep a food container in their room.

    Reply
  • 94. Misty Martinez  |  July 27, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    Thanks, this was great! I have just begun care for a 15 year old former student. Everything has rolled out in such an interesting way. We’ve developed some trust over the past year before she came to live with me (and I only have her on the weekends right now), but I haven’t done any foster parent training yet & am single with no kids. I am a middle school teacher & have learned how important it is to listen. Looking forward to more reading from the perspective of someone on the other end. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  • 95. Stephanie  |  August 2, 2014 at 1:01 am

    I can’t stop reading your blog. I don’t have adequate words. Beautifully, tragically honest. Thank you for giving a voice to others in foster care.

    Reply
  • 96. Lauren  |  August 3, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    Hi LT,
    I have a lot of questions I was hoping you could answer, but first I wanted to say thank you for taking the time to make this blog and share about all of your experiences. I’m sure it had to have been painful at times, but you have clearly touched and educated so many people about this topic. Over the past couple weeks, I have read every single one of your entries, and it has provided more insight into what it is like for children growing up in foster care than any of the many other foster care/adoption blogs I have read thus far.
    Anyway, for as long as I’ve wanted to be a mom (which is as far back as I can remember), I’ve wanted to adopt kids, and in the past few years, I’ve been seriously looking into adopting older children from foster care. My boyfriend and I are young, but we’ve been together for about 3 years, and I feel like we have so much love, patience, and understanding to give to a child who needs a family. We’ve both gone through issues of abuse and abandonment with our parents (except my mom, who is great), and in college, I studied and worked with children with “special needs” due to a variety of challenges whether they be intellectual/emotional disabilities, growing up in poverty, etc. I am now pursuing a master’s degree in adolescent development, focusing specifically on effects foster care and “aging out” has on development through the lifespan. I really feel at this point, we both have the maturity (both personally and in our relationship), experience, financial stability, and extended family support to begin actually pursuing adoption of an older child within the next couple years. We’re also expecting our first baby this January.
    I was wondering what your view is on young adoptive/foster parents. For instance, what do you think should be the minimum age different between the parent and child? How do you think a child in foster care would feel about a baby (sibling(s) with a large age gap from them)? Or about having parents who are not yet married? I know I could ask a “worker” these questions, but your insight is very valuable. Also, I will not be offended if you say we should wait many years before pursuing this until our child(ren) is/are older, we are married, etc. I just want to do right by our future son(s)/daughter(s)! And I feel in my heart there is a child out there who belongs in our family!!
    Any insight would be most appreciated,
    Lauren

    Reply
  • 97. Pam  |  September 22, 2014 at 6:42 am

    Brilliant!! Please could I have permission to share within a fostering organisation?

    Reply
    • 98. LooneyTunes  |  September 29, 2014 at 9:43 pm

      yup. just credit the blog. thanks. peace.

      Reply
  • 99. tina  |  September 29, 2014 at 1:56 am

    I am very grateful to come across your blog, i want to thank you for sharing with us. I love that your voice is being heard and making a difference in so many people lives,, you are very good at getting your point across and you differently should think about doing training class for foster parent’s and I also think you could make a difference in the training for case workers to . I been a foster mom for 15 years and have been to many trainings, till you lived it ,that when you truly can change it ,you have something very special to share with many people , I love you blog, I really feel this is just the start of many wonderful things for you and the people you touch ,you are making a difference and that how things get change, thank you for blessing me and everyone you touch

    Reply
  • 100. Raychel  |  October 8, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    LT please put a ‘donate’ button/link on here. You should be paid for this stuff. I have donated to many blogs featuring people who have overcome something and have advice to share. I do not consider it charity as if they wrote a self-help book I would perhaps buy it so by paying them a small amount through their website I see it as if I am doing the same thing.

    If you do not have a family situation going on then you could probably do with some extra financial back-up I would expect.

    Reply
  • 101. Summer  |  October 26, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    I have been thinking about adopting a teenager from the foster system, which is why I came across your blog. I want to do it, I want it to work, but I’m scared that I’m not good enough. I love the ads that try to tell us, “you don’t have to be perfect to be a perfect parent,” but the truth is that after these kids have been through so much, my imperfections might do more harm than good, right? We’re not talking about over-cooking dinner . . . which I do . . . but I can’t say I never yell. I would love to say I never yell, but I do sometimes. Sometimes I snap at my kids, and sometimes I argue with my husband (but we always work it out right away.) How do I know if I am good enough to take on a child that has been through so much? I’m sure I could get approved, but how do I know if I am really good enough?

    Reply
  • 102. Ellen Merrell  |  January 27, 2015 at 7:50 pm

    I would love to use this blog in one of my classes I am doing for my medical foster parents. ellen

    Reply
    • 103. LooneyTunes  |  January 28, 2015 at 12:03 pm

      ok. just provide the link to my blog as reference
      peace

      Reply
  • 104. Linda  |  February 26, 2015 at 11:56 pm

    Wow, this has been the most helpful information I have read and I have been doing LOTS of reading as we prepare to adopt children from foster care. We have just been approved and are waiting for the final write up and then the matching begins. Your specific examples make so much sense and it’s great to hear a real persons experience in foster care and not just theories from social workers.

    Reply
  • 105. Michaela  |  March 2, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    This is such an amazing blog post. Can I share this for foster parents to read in Lincoln, Nebraska?

    Reply
  • 106. Debra Benjamin  |  March 2, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    i would like to request permission to share this information with my foster parents

    Reply
  • 107. Erin Stillson  |  March 4, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    You are a beautiful soul to lay your wounds out in order to help others in need, and I’m so grateful you did, because I feel like I have a strong sounding board of instruction now. The social workers do so much and have so much going on, so many children to help, and so many parents to deal with, papers to file, and they have to follow state regulations and guidelines- so even the best social workers can’t possibly give any Foster parent everything they need to help the children comfortably enter their home. You are a beautiful resource and i feel so much more confident that I will be able to offer them the best help i can give. I’m hopefully going to be fostering to adopt and I have a few more questions if you can answer them: 1. i was thinking of having each one of us in our family write her a loving letter (placing no expectations, just welcoming and telling her how excited we are to have her join our family) and leave them for her on her pillow for her to read the first night home after she has gone to bed… my thought behind that, is it seems like that might be the scariest moment… First night in a new place,the excitment of the day has settled down and now there is just the silence of your own thoughts, worrying if its your last stop or not… i thought it might be nice to have something positive there if she chose to look at them. does that sound overwhelming or helpful? secondly, about he food hoarding, would it help if I always kept food out or gave her her own fridge? Thank you again for your thoughts and I hope I hear from you soon!

    Reply
  • 108. What Makes a Good Foster Parent? | CTWorkingMoms  |  March 5, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    […] Here’s her list of what makes a good foster parent: caring, interest, patience, steadiness, creativity, ability to put one’s self in the child’s shoes, humor, willingness to teach and learn, advocacy, smiling, close listening, honesty… […]

    Reply
  • 109. Cissy W  |  March 6, 2015 at 8:39 pm

    This is amazing information. I’ve never been in any part of the foster system. I am teaching a class about coping to a group of foster parents for my nursing school assignment. I’d love to share this article with the proctor families…

    Reply
  • 110. Tracy Dee Whitt  |  April 2, 2015 at 6:54 pm

    Wow, these points are EXCELLENT and I plan on linking to this in my post next week.
    Will also be sharing on social media. Thanks!

    Reply
  • […] Show interest in the child. Ask what is going on in their world. Ask what they feel. They may not answer, but show that you are interested. Showing interest shows you care. In so many of the foster homes/group homes I stayed in, no-one even asked about school, let alone how I felt or what was going on in my world. I knew they never cared about me. Foster kids may act like we don’t want you to care about us, but deep down we do. We are just trying to protect ourselves from getting hurt again… TO SEE MORE great advice, click here: What Makes a Good Foster Mom/Dad – Tips from a Former Foster Child […]

    Reply
  • 112. Cathy  |  April 17, 2015 at 11:02 am

    This is just great! I am an adoption recruiter and produce a newsletter for prospective adoptive families who are interested in adopting kids from foster care. I would love to print this blog in my newsletter, with your permission, and of course will give you credit as the author. If this is OK with you, please let me know how to word the credit. Thanks so much for writing and sharing this.

    Reply
  • 113. Karen Hutcheson  |  April 27, 2015 at 8:26 am

    I agree with you, patience and gentleness is very much required to be a successful foster mom. I am Dr. Karen Hutcheson, a clinical psychologist. During my practice, I met with different foster parent who lacks these qualities. I helped them to develop patience while treating their child and today all are happy parents. Once again good post…Keep Posting!!
    Thanks
    Karen
    http://www.drkarenhutcheson.com

    Reply
  • 114. Rita  |  May 7, 2015 at 12:39 am

    I wish there were more caring souls such as yourself. We need more resources that supports foster families.

    Reply
  • 115. Rita  |  May 7, 2015 at 12:40 am

    http://www.wearefamilymagazine.net

    Reply
  • 116. Jen  |  June 2, 2015 at 10:05 am

    This is a great article. I am fairly new to fostering for some family members and this was extremely insightful. I will definitely be using many of these ideas, especially the Talking to the Stars game. Thank you so much!

    Reply
  • 117. Casey  |  June 2, 2015 at 9:47 pm

    This is amazing. I’ll be back for more. We are in a huge struggle with our 10 year old (with us 4 years, adopted for 2 of those). Your perspective is exactly what I need.

    Reply
  • 118. kiani68  |  August 12, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    I am overwhelmed and thankful for your blog, which I just found today. I have cried several times reading some of your blogs. Reminds me of an older family member who was in foster care and what she has shared. Because of her I have always wanted to foster or adopt. We just became certified recently and are waiting for that phone call. I wonder if you have any advice that you could share for my 14 year old, who is looking forward to having another child in the house? I try not to overwhelm her, as I do not want to scare her, but at the same time I try to be honest sharing that children coming in may be difficult and require more patience/understanding.
    I am truly amazed at your ability to share and describe things so well. I am heart broken that you and so many others have had to endure these horrible experiences. I am grateful that your sharing will help other people. I hope you have peace.

    Reply
  • 119. Leticia  |  October 2, 2015 at 11:55 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this.

    Reply
  • 120. daniel knotts  |  December 8, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    i am a 17 year old foster child and everthing you have said is the truth. thx for understanding.

    Reply
  • 121. daniel knotts  |  December 8, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    we dont only do that stuff to test but show what environment we have grown up in. that is how we were raised to behave.

    Reply
  • 122. Anna Berg  |  February 4, 2016 at 9:35 am

    I very much enjoyed your blog on what makes a good Foster mom. We just finished our home study yesterday and your insights from the perspective of a child are so very helpful to me starting out – excited but also afraid of the unknown and how to really be there for the child. Hugs from your new friend. -Anna

    Reply
  • 123. Still trying my best  |  February 9, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    Hi Thank you for sharing your life and experiences.I have been a foster Mom for 8 yrs.There is one issue I need some insight with…..I am a happy,kind grandmother who likes to laugh with whatever child is placed with me,I have a consistent structure at home and am always advocating for the child I am caring for.
    How do I deal with the lying??? Even when I am present,this present child interrupts conversations and blurts out ‘how mean I am to him.”
    I have never been MEAN to any of the children in my care.I care for each one deeply and do my best for them in any way I can, My heart sinks every time I hear this and I never know how to respond……How do I address this in the most positive way possible?

    Reply
  • 124. FM  |  February 23, 2016 at 3:20 am

    Wonderful post and so well-written. I am a foster mom and it has changed my life for the better in so many ways. Some of your advice is what is taught with Trust Based Relational Intervention (Karen Purvis) and also some of the initiative related to the Adverse Childhood Experience Study (ACES – http://www.cdc.gov/ace).
    Now that I’ve discovered your blog, I’ll have to go have a look around at your other posts. Thank you!

    Reply
  • 125. Shannon & Thomas  |  February 24, 2016 at 5:44 pm

    LT It sounds like you have grown to be a very caring and loving adult. You should be very proud of yourself . I have been a foster parent for awhile and your blog was very touching and informative. My husband and I really like your idea about a food container in your bedroom by your bed. We will be using that idea. Thanks!

    Reply
  • 126. Nathan Tipton  |  May 12, 2016 at 11:11 am

    Hi LT. I was hoping we could use this blog entry on our Facebook page. We are a specialized foster care program in Mississippi offering placement and parenting training for special needs kids in foster care, and your blog post is both informative and inspiring. Would love to hear from you, and look forward to reading more! Thanks.

    Reply
  • 127. Barbel Osburg-Trahan  |  August 8, 2016 at 5:51 pm

    Hello, I work for a foster family agency and would love to share this with new foster parents. Please let me know if that is okay. Thanks, Barbel

    Reply
  • 128. Casey Wardian  |  September 2, 2016 at 4:49 pm

    A black and white ensemble is the ideal chic get up for any occasion, social or professional. All black is certainly sophisticated slimming but can appear funeral at times, while all white is definitely reserved for brides. Combine black with white to make an attention getting fashion statement.Black Friday and Midnight Sales at California Outlet Malls

    Reply
  • 129. Amanda du Plessis  |  November 5, 2016 at 11:25 am

    Dear L.T.
    There are many blogs written by foster and adoptive parents, giving advise to other foster parents. Valuable advise. But you lived our children’s stories. You experienced what they did. I did not and neither did (most?) of the well meaning bloggers.
    I am part of a support group for foster parents and compiles a monthly newsletter for our group. I would like your permission to publish your articles in our newsletter, with full credit to you. We can learn so much from you.
    Thank you for sharing your life and advise with us.
    Amanda

    Reply
  • 130. Anna  |  November 10, 2016 at 4:44 pm

    Awesome blog. Great tips for any parent or care giver.

    Reply
  • 131. Bijion Brooks  |  December 4, 2016 at 10:18 pm

    I am a former foster child (adopted now) and I still feel the pain of being alone. It saddens me to say that my parents didn’t love me, but I’ve learned to accept the truth. I have been through things I cannot possibly forget. I have had my past intentionally altered by manipulative people who never want me to know the true extension of the damage I endred as a child. As a teenager, I have been told that the way I act and dress is all wrong, that the music I listen to is unacceptable by the people in my “family”. (I’m a black emo girl and everyone else likes to be normal). I have self harmed in the past as well, and I have only been clean for a couple of weeks. When my mom found out, she told me it was stupid and made me feel even worse. I’ve never felt love, not even now. Somehow it seems as if she loves her other adopted children more than me, but I’m the one that actually tries to be good and maintain a 4.0 GPA. I’m the only one that actually cares about her, but the feeling isn’t requitted. Even when I try to show her affection, she always says something along the lines of “yeah, okay” or “you know you’re ugly”. The sad part is, I believe every wprd of it because I was only taught to be submissive and afraid. I was never allowed to show emotion; I was scolded ad whipped for crying. Thus began my masochistic tendencies. I’m trying hard to cope but no one cares for me, and I can’t do it alone anymore.

    Reply
    • 132. Teresa  |  December 24, 2016 at 2:20 pm

      I am so sorry for your experiences and I wish it could have been different for you. You have a purpose and a plan specifically designed for you in this world. No one has the right to call you names or be unkind to you. I hope you can give yourself the gift of love and peace that you missed out on in childhood. Our Creator did not make mistakes. Your bravery and pain in showing your soul will help to lead you to peace. Thank you for sharing your story today. Carpe diem “this is Latin and means seize the day”.

      Reply
  • 133. SAL  |  December 14, 2016 at 7:39 pm

    Wow thank you. I’m interested in becoming a foster mom and appreciate your perspective immensely. I hope that I could be half as great as some of your better foster parents.

    Reply
  • 134. Teresa  |  December 24, 2016 at 2:15 pm

    Thank you for your writing and your blog. Your bravery in writing about your experiences is a wonderful gift to others. My husband and I are considering adopting an older child (maybe 12-14 years old). We are nervous because we know there is so much trauma and loss for kids in the foster care system. Your blog helps me to see things from the kids’ perspective which is so important to understanding them as persons and human beings. Is it ok if I share your tips on how to be a good foster mom with a foster and adoption group on Facebook? I will leave your link to your blog. Thank you again for sharing. I think you might even have a book inside you!!! Peace and love,TO

    Reply
  • 135. April B  |  February 26, 2017 at 9:48 am

    I have a question about #13 – my husband and I received our first placement 10 months ago, and brother and sister, who are still with us. They are now 6 (girl) and 7 (boy). They came to us in April and had some minor behavior issues, which was of course expected. Through lots of hard work by the end of the Summer they were both ANGELS. Bio mom was in jail and they had zero contact with her. By the end of Sept. she got out and immediately started visits and phone calls. The kids’ behavior slowly yet steadily slipped back and became even “worse” than when they were first placed with us. We expected this and have continued to work with them and love them through this. However, in December the boy started becoming very aggressive and violent towards his sister and even me on one occasion. It has been increasingly getting worse and worse and spilling over into school and after care as well. We have spent hours upon hours talking to him, working with him, trying to help him. However it has gotten to the point that we truly feel it is no longer safe for him to be in the same home as his sister because he is so angry at her and constantly takes his anger out on her in an aggressive and violent way. It breaks our heart to have to send him to another home. Do you think this is a situation where it truly is necessary, for the safety of his own sister?

    Reply
  • 136. Jodie  |  March 15, 2017 at 9:13 pm

    L.T.,
    I just stumbled upon your blog. LOVE these thoughts. As a foster mom, and therapist, these tips are so helpful in helping us (as parents AND professionals!) better love and serve kids. I especially liked your tip about punishment being engaging instead of isolating. It’s so hard for people that don’t personally have a trauma background to think through tips like that!

    Thanks for your thoughts!

    Jodie

    http://www.fosteringloveandfrugality.com

    Reply
  • 137. ConcernedFriend  |  April 4, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    One of my closest friends wants to become a foster parent. Although I know it would be a wonderful thing, I’m worried that her intentions to her may not be all together sound. First she has been unable to carry her own children or conceive, so she has gotten obsessed with wanting kids, on top of that she goes through bouts of serious depression and just bought a new house which is not up to code so no money to take care of herself mentally.
    In all just wanting children is fine, becoming a foster parent to fill a hole in the hollow of your soul isn’t the right direction.
    My known experience through family fostering and through my friends who were foster kids with my family. MY knowledge of fostering from my family and friends is it is no cake walk through the park. It is A JOURNEY.
    There are a lot of things I don’t think My friend realizes a lot of circumstances the child(ren) went through depending on the severity if they need counseling, if they have been abused in any form, there are boundaries that should be setup or precautions to be taken very seriously for the child(ren) and fostering parents safety.
    If she is already going through major emotional issues, how is she supposed to be there for the child(ren). There are other things like her and her husbands jobs. They are very busy. She travels and He does his main job, has other side jobs so they see each other more than they used to, but I don’t think it would be enough time for foster children to take care of their needs.
    I did try to explain this to her, granted this is very minor detail that I’m sharing with you. She wasn’t to happy about what I said and dismissed what I said too.
    In all though I’m VERY concerned Not only for Her, but the mistake of jumping and rushing into something that I don’t believe she is ready for at all.
    She would make an Excellent Foster Parent and her Husband too.
    Just at this point, I believe she needs to be settled before any real decision is made, but I don’t think she will listen.

    What do I do? I don’t want to dash her dreams or be terrible or seem like I’m holding her from happiness. I want her better.

    Sincerely,

    Concerned friend

    Reply
  • 138. letitbeforyou  |  July 4, 2017 at 12:09 am

    ❤️❤️ Thank you for sharing. My husband and I are foster/adopt parents. We began just to foster and help kids while in transition to long term care. However, we have adopted an 18 yr old and currently have a 13 yr old permanent. Your words hit home and help me to understand a few things. Thanks again.

    Reply
  • 139. Nicole  |  July 21, 2017 at 8:27 pm

    ❤️ You are amazing, your advice will help so many families.

    Reply
  • 140. trtule  |  July 22, 2017 at 11:33 am

    LT your ability to sort out the mess and offer clear facts and detailed advice reveals wonderful skills as a leader and task manager. On my end, after having 7 children grow up and move into the world as functional adults, I want to bring a teen or preteen into my home who just needs the chance to be real and find her way. Most Foster parents in my area choose young children. What I don’t think would work is 2 placements in this teen age group at the same time. I think the negative (mostly consipiracy) would hinder my efforts at the positive. Your thoughts?

    Reply

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I know that means you can't take my writing without my permission. If you do, something can happen.
Plus, that is just a real shitty thing to do -- take someone's thoughts -- so don't do it!

I am happy if you want to use my writing to help those involved in the foster care system, but please, leave a comment asking if it is ok and letting me know.

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