There wouldn’t be this drama… if foster care had been a good mama.

August 9, 2018 at 8:05 pm 18 comments


So, here is the deal.  I have two therapists… Dr. Val who I have been seeing forever and moved away from because I got a new job.  Then there is Dr. Sam who is the “newbie” and I am supposed to be transitioning to see her in my new city.

I know you all don’t want to read about my therapist drama,…..

…. but seriously, read the title and think.confusion-master-isolated-images-fdp-etpr

If foster care had done it’s job all the years I spent in it, I probably wouldn’t need any therapist as an adult…   Or not so much therapy… Right?

I can’t recall spending much time in therapy as a child. I can count a HANDFUL of times when I saw a therapist. One particular therapist I remember because she used a sandbox to show me the concept of “coming” (push the sand towards me) and “going” (push the sand away from me).  But I sure as hell didn’t get enough help for all the years of abuse I had.  And I sure didn’t get help for issues that developed in foster care…more abuse, cutting, eating stuff…etc.

I bet if I asked the question  if the foster parents reading this blog actually had foster children get help, most of you will tell me “yes” as needed.  But I think you are all the outliers… maybe the good foster parents out there.  (As long as you don’t throw your kid in a transporter to pick him/her up after therapy…right)


I can’t remember most of the kids I met on the street having “therapy” while in foster care… what’s the deal?

Isn’t just being in foster care enough of a reason to be in therapy?  It is not a normal situation…


What a screw-up.


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Ah dammit. The foster mother asks a fucking dumb question…and i fucking tell the answer

18 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Lisa  |  August 11, 2018 at 8:11 am

    It is a constant battle for anything with my children. Therapy is very hard to get and as others have said there is a wait list. In some children, therapy has been brief, like cognitive behavioral therapy directed at a specific issue. I don’t feel this gets to the root of the problem. Children need long-term therapy so that they can develop a relationship with a counselor to talk through their feelings and learn to trust. It is not about fixing “behavior.” Sometimes as a foster parent, I get tired of the battle, but I keep fighting. It’s very sad.

  • 2. ritalee8383  |  August 10, 2018 at 10:11 pm

    You are a warrior LT.

  • 3. Jim  |  August 10, 2018 at 12:14 pm

    As a adult who grew up in care and now a foster parent i believe that all children coming into care need therapy. i was taken into care because of an abusive parent. I was told from an early age that i was nothing, useless stupid and this had a lasting effect on my self-efficacy. I believe that there was no point in trying at anything as i was bound to fail. It also effected my self-worth as i believed that i as less of a person than others.These issues were not created overnight and It took me years of therapy to overcome these beliefs. If i had an assessment carried out when i came into care and these issues were highlighted my life could have been so much easier. Foster parents, teachers, social workers would not have seen me as being lazy or uninterested, but as having issues and proper supports could have been given.
    I don’t care who you are if you are in care you have suffered a trauma! Whether it was abuse that you suffered or the ambiguous loss you feel from being separated from your family we all carry our scars with us. The best way to confront these demons is to talk about them and to always remember that it was never your fault.

  • 4. Suzy  |  August 10, 2018 at 6:33 am

    Therapy is very hard to get for my children. There seems to be a hierarchy. I have been told at times that my children do not meet the criteria for therapy (i.e. less abuse issues but children who comes from drug homes). There are not enough therapists and case workers are so overloaded that they don’t really get to know the children or their needs. It is a sad state of affairs.

  • 5. strangelings  |  August 10, 2018 at 3:17 am

    i was in foster care, although it was only the last year before i was 18. i was in therapy with Children Youth and Family Services- it was an hour a week which was- laughably little, given the situation but- it was something. i’m not sure how that happened- possibly because i was a “theraputic” foster kid who had had a suicide attempt right before i go into care and several (horrible) stays in the local county hospital when i was in limbo, so…

  • 6. Tara dSL  |  August 10, 2018 at 1:17 am

    Hmmm, I think that the circumstances that caused the child to go into foster care along with the separation from their birth family are usually traumatic enough that most foster kids would need therapy at some point. Every foster family I know has had their kids in therapy. My son, who I adopted at age 2, is now 11 and sees a counselor. So I don’t think it’s that unusual that you would need treatment.

    As for your experiences in foster care, I like to think that those are the exception rather than the rule… but who knows? You have endured an incredible amount of hardship and abuse – I really admire you so much for the strength you’ve shown in surviving and growing stronger and stronger… and for sharing your wisdom in such a way that others have benefited and become better parents as a result. I know I have. Thank you.

  • 7. Anonymous  |  August 10, 2018 at 12:49 am

    I am not a foster parent – but have custody of my niece (she came to me at 13 when she was removed from her mom – she’s 17 now). Getting her to go to therapy has been a fight. She didn’t like the first therapist I found and it was a weekly fight to get her to go. Once I gave up and let her stop going to therapist one it took me over two years to get her to agree to try again.

    I didn’t understand trauma when she moved in – I wish I had prioritized her mental health over other issues – even issues involving her physical health, and especially school.

    But we live and learn. She likes the new therapist and she seems to be helping my niece work through some things – at least I hope she is. Therapy is expensive but it’s worth every penny. I am grateful I can afford this – being her guardian and having my niece on my private insurance helps with so many things – I don’t have any of the red tape foster parents have to deal with. My insurance is great for physical issues – unfortunately the mental health coverage sucks.

    Thank you so much for sharing your life – I read your blog before and I found some of your tips very helpful when my niece first moved in – especially the advice about food – she had a bin in her room for over a year. It’s been an adventure for us and I greatly appreciate former foster children who post about their experiences. I can’t ever thank you enough.

    My niece’s story is different in many ways from a foster kid – when she was removed from her mom she came directly to a home and people she was familiar with and knew she was never leaving once she got here – but the life she lived before she came here was pretty horrible. And it was a very different home than she came from, with structure and rules – things she was not used to.

    My niece should have been removed years ago – I will forever live with the guilt of my part in that. My sister has a long history of drug abuse and mental illness, and I did my best to help my sister for too many years – which was simply enabling her.

    I tried to be there for my niece when she lived with her mom – but taking someone shopping for new school clothing or paying for her phone isn’t a replacement for a parent who takes care of your basic needs. I didn’t realize how bad things were when she was living with her mom.

    I hope one day my niece understands how much I love her and did my best even when she was with her mom – but the same could be said of her mother, and her mother’s best was pretty bad. My niece deserved better from all of us.

    Somehow my one quick comment on therapy turned into a longer story – it’s probably too wordy but if you are reading this I want to say thank you. You have helped me in trying to help my niece in so many ways.

  • 8. Kathleen  |  August 9, 2018 at 11:48 pm

    Heh, I tried like hell to get therapy for my foster kids and was blocked by everyone, including the bio mom. It was the main reason I stopped being a foster parent – it became clear to me that I wasn’t allowed to get the kids help. I was just a babysitter.

  • 9. Ashana M  |  August 9, 2018 at 11:29 pm

    I honestly think society generally sees children in foster care and the adults they become as totally separate beings. No sense that the children who grow up without the support they need struggle later.

  • 10. Steph  |  August 9, 2018 at 10:26 pm

    But as others mentioned… there’s a huuuuuuuuggge shortage of therapists and not everyone clicks so if the kiddo doesn’t want to see that one again (we went through 3 in 6 months)…then it can take a long time. So many balls to keep in the air, but yes the kids absolutely need someone. It’d be awesome if they were assigned a therapist when they get the Guardian Ad Litem and the caseworker.

  • 11. Steph  |  August 9, 2018 at 10:21 pm

    Agree. We have a new kiddo (well he’s 19) and been through some terrible stuff! He’s never been to counseling (he also says he doesn’t want to go…so I’m working on that 🤣). Foster care is enough reason to have consistent counseling!

  • 12. Maryellen  |  August 9, 2018 at 10:13 pm

    No doubt.. maybe foster care started with real good solutions and I know that there are still wonderful people in that system for sure. But the battle to get kids what they need even in an organization that supposedly advocates for children is mind boggling.
    Today I still make calls and fight for help with therapy and change.. sleeves rolled up..
    it’s for the kids..
    Sorry you didn’t get the help earlier.. it’s really really hard trying to get it even today..

  • 13. Anonymous  |  August 9, 2018 at 10:02 pm

    I’m almost certified and planning to foster to adopt an “older” child. Thank you for your story. I am terrified but I really want to make a difference. I hope I can be the foster parent that you should have had.

  • 14. helen hewett  |  August 9, 2018 at 8:53 pm

    Why do we keep doing something so wrong in an area that is so important. I’m sure most people go into the system with the intention of being good foster parents, though we should be able to say all. Why are there bad foster parents and why does the system allow them to stay? Does the system breed bad foster parents? Do they go in with loving maternal and paternal intent and get bitten by a difficult child which then causes them to take back their care. Do they ring and ask for a child to be removed or does someone in the Dept decide it is best to move the child or children? Do foster parents insist that children as siblings stay together or do they find it too much to have a mini gang in their midst and insist on not having siblings? Can foster parents treat children as their own or are they looked down upon if they do. Are foster parents allowed to take children to their appointments or does the Dept insist on transporters being used. Is it possible for foster parents to foster relationships with the child’s natural family or is that not encouraged. Are foster parents allowed or encouraged to continue contact with the fosterchild after they leave or is it discouraged or are they completely overwhelmed by the continual flood of needy children coming through their door that when children move on they are just physically not able to keep track of them and keep up with them and have to let them go from their heart as well as their home. Children are too important not to find the answers to these questions. If a child is in a really bad home environment, shouldn’t going into foster care be like the best thing and give a child a second chance at growing, developing, being educated, taking up an interest in sports, music, language, travelling, getting a driver’s licence, going to university or further education if they want, opening a bank account having help with getting money into it for the future,helping them negotiate the dating minefield, graduating, the school prom, and finally getting their own place and starting their own family. If this is a fantasy then what is the purpose of the Foster care system?

  • 15. Sally H  |  August 9, 2018 at 8:52 pm

    Yes, LT. You said it eloquently.

  • 16. Tammy  |  August 9, 2018 at 8:45 pm

    Much of the problem stems from the fact that there are not many providers who take Medicaid. The time it takes to get in to see a therapist can be long. As the other poster said, it can take months and sometimes the children are gone before a spot on the wait list opens.

  • 17. Anonomous  |  August 9, 2018 at 8:24 pm

    Our foster kids have therapy. I live in Western Massachusetts and am in a support ground which includes about half of the foster/pre-adoptive parents. The “good” ones, making an effort. I don’t know about the others . . . they might just be introverts and not interested in a support group. Or in their own world and don’t know it exists.

    Anyway, what I see here is that the wait lists for therapy are insane. 6-9 months. So there aren’t enough therapists to meet the existing demand, as it is.

    I think most of the kids from the foster parents I know have therapy. If those I don’t know don’t have therapists, then we’d need a lot more therapists in order to serve them. We need more as it is.

    It would help if therapists were paid more. The entry level in-home clinicians make scandalously little. But I’m not sure that’s the fundamental issue.

  • 18. Foster Mom in Training  |  August 9, 2018 at 8:16 pm

    You are 100% correct. It’s a shame.


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