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Foster Teen Parenting

Updated on January 7, 2014

A Glance From Within Before You Enter Their World

Nothing prepared me for fostering teens!! I was given nine weeks of training from the Children's Home Society before taking my first foster child. There was a great deal of information to digest in a short span of time. It left me with the innocent impression that I was ready to tackle the job.

The class was executed beautifully and all was done to teach us as much as possible in a classroom environment. However, until you have actually encountered the 'foster teen', it is impossible for you to really get an accurate view of the situation at hand.

Each child comes with its own individual 'set of baggage' and you never stop learning. Their trust has been broken time and time again and they anticipate that you will be no different. Never think for one minute that, since you raised teenagers of your own, that you are ready for a foster teen. You will disillusion yourself, setting yourself up for failure before you begin.

"OUR GREATEST NATURAL RESOURCE IS THE MINDS OF OUR CHILDREN."

Walter Disney

Eugenia S. Hunt's work is Copyrighted

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How Will The Teenager View You?

Let's Start At The Beginning

The first crucial lesson for you is to realize you will not be thanked by this teenager in your care. Do not expect them to be grateful to have you or anything you have to offer. You are not their biological mother. That woman is the only parent the child really wants and nothing you do will ever take her place in their lives.

Teenagers tend to run away over and over just to get back to their mothers. It matters not how good you are to them, or how bad their mother was to them. She is still their mother.

Allow them to talk openly about their mother. Let them know that you understand you can never take her place and you know how much they love her. Assure them that it is okay to love her.

Lonely Teen
Lonely Teen

The Voice Of A Foster Child

From One Of My Readers...A Former Foster Child

As a former foster child, it was refreshing to read about the perspective of the foster parent. You had some great points, which I wish more foster parents could see. Bless you for your gift to kids like me (21 years ago).

One of the most frequent questions you are asked as a foster kid is... "What did you do to get put in foster care?" EVERYONE assumes that you did something wrong.

When a foster child enters care there is fear, resentment, and loss. I feared yet another change in my life, I resented authority, and I had lost everything I knew and loved. I walked into foster care with a small bag of clothes, having to give up all my animals and most of my belongings. I entered my 2nd, and permanent, home angry. I acted out, trying to get my foster mom to give me up so I could go back to my first foster home (the mom there developed cancer, so I had to go).

I was one of the lucky kids. In the end, my foster dad gave me away when I was married, their son was the ring bearer, their daughter was my flower girl, and my foster sister my maid of honor.

It doesn't always turn out that way for everyone.

Support System

How Much Support Will You Receive?

You will be able to count on the Case Worker assigned to your foster child to visit at first. As time goes by, though they are supposed to come once a month, there will be months when their load is so great that they cannot possibly get to your home. However, if there are problems that arise where you are in need of them, they are just a phone call away. Do not hesitate to make that call.

It will be your responsibility to make doctor's and dentist's appointments. And, though your case worker will set up counseling for the child, it may take some time. Therefore, it is beneficial to everyone to make the calls yourself, take the child yourself, and sit in on the initial session, talking with their doctor when possible, so that you learn how to cope with your child's individual issues.

Establish a good support system with your immediate family and close friends. Interact with them and have the teens interact with them, forming a bond for all concerned. There were many times my friends were there, not only for me, but for my foster teens as well.

Always remember, it is the case worker's job to be there for the child first. They are not going to take your side against a foster child. You have to be willing to stand alone at times when there are problems of the child's own making. You will have to be willing to stand alone for this child, as well, when they need you in their corner. You have to be willing to make decisions in the best interest of everyone within your home. These decisions are not always easy and sometimes you have to be the 'bad guy' to execute the proper choice for all concerned.

As an example, I took a girl who was a runaway, having done so multiple times. She was with me two years the first time. Due to her actions, I finally removed her from my home. I received some disagreeable comments from the case worker but I stood firm because it was affecting the other foster teen in my home.

A year later, she called, begging to come home. So, I gave her another chance. All went well for six months and then she ran again. I refused to continue with the foster teen, removing her from my home for the second and last time. I received a great deal of trouble from her case worker for this but it was affecting the other foster teens in our home adversely. I had to do what was best for all concerned.

This decision was very difficult for I loved the girl and she begged to come back. However, I knew her and I knew the problems within our home when she was there...I had to be the 'bad guy', make a difficult decision and stand firm, even against the case worker and my own heart.

"I FIND THE GREATEST THING IN THIS WORLD IS, NOT SO MUCH WHERE WE STAND OR WHERE WE HAVE STOOD, BUT IN WHAT DIRECTION WE ARE MOVING."

Goethe

Getting To Know The Teen To Be Placed With You

How Much Time Can Be Spent With Them Before Placement?

I was lucky because my supervisor believed in allowing time for the foster parent and the foster teen to get to know each other before the teen was placed in the home. She felt it was very important, in placing a teenager, that there be a degree of compatibility between the foster parent and the child in question.

Whenever possible, I made several trips to spend time with each placement before I brought them home with me. I also compiled and read all information available on each placement so that I knew as much as possible about their background before making the final decision to take the child.

As I said, however, I was lucky. That is not usually the case. Many times the child walks in the door and you have to begin right there, on the spot.

Rules For You To Live By

Helpful Tips

Foster teenagers need the undivided attention more than the little ones do...they crave that attention.

  • If I had to do it over again, I would only take one teenager at a time. My runaway teen was wonderful when it was just the two of us. Her brother was still with me when she ran away. During that two weeks, he was absolutely great!! Our adopted daughter has been much better since I gave up foster care to give her my undivided attention.

  • As I have said, don't think for one minute you can take their mother's place. You have to treat them as a mother treats their child, love them as your own, but establish a friendship with them instead of a mother/child relationship. And you can't be afraid of your own hurt when you have loved them and then have to let them go. It hurts but YOU will survive it and they NEED and DESERVE that love.

  • Remember they are all excellent actors. They will be the model child and you will want to believe the first days are evidence that all is well and they are adjusting within your household beautifully. You will think you have a little angel. Do not believe it for a minute. They have learned at an early age how to manipulate you, the world, and the foster care system to their own advantage. This is known as the 'honeymoon period' and you cannot let your guard down. Once they really settle in, you will know it.

  • Do not expect them to react as your own children. Most of them have seen more than we even think about and each will react in a different way. Many of their reactions have been learned from their experiences. Some can be changed but, more often than not, you will have to learn to save the guns for the big battles and allow the little things to take care of themselves.

  • Again...Never expect them to appreciate all you do for them...they really don't want to be there. That is why, when they turn 18, they explode into all sorts of activity that isn't good for them. They have been made to live with strangers and been pushed around by a legal system which sends them here and there according to the law, not their own individual desires. Even their needs must be lumped into one set of rules for all concerned. They will not appreciate you or thank you...get over it. IT'S NOT ABOUT YOU!

  • You will hear the term TOUGH LOVE...believe it! When our adopted teen decided to move out after graduation, feeling she was grown and did not need rules, we had to let her go. When she had nothing to eat by September, I refused to buy groceries for her. She could come by home for a sandwich, etc, but I refused to enable her outside of that. It was so hard. When she did come home and started calling me names within three weeks and disobeying the rules, I had to ask her to leave. Very Hard! When she called crying to come back, I said no, and had her call her father...she needed to know that I was not going to give in to her again unless she changed her actions. That was so painful. But it worked! Of course, you can't handle your foster teenage quite the same way as we did her...she was adopted and over 18. However, when foster children are with you, it is hard to make them suffer the consequences of their own actions because you hate to hurt them...they have been hurt so much...you won't do them any favors by letting them get by. TOUGH LOVE!

  • NEVER feel sorry for them...and NEVER allow them to feel sorry for themselves. They have you and they have their own abilities. Teach them to use them. There is no need for pity. No one ever succeeded by feeling sorry for themselves because of their present circumstances. If you don't like where you are, study hard, make good choices, and change your life yourself.

  • Try to never introduce a foster child as "my foster child." Just call them by name and that is all anyone really needs to know. Don't make the child feel singled out.

  • If you become angry at the child, send them to their room until you cool off. Don't give them orders...learn to talk to them directly, explaining what is needed and always explain why. Many times, they just really don't understand...they've never been taught. Sometimes the simplest things I would expect our daughter to know and just do, she had no clue about. When her actions weren't as I wanted, many times she would say, "Please, I really don't know what you mean," and she really didn't. Many of them have been taking care of themselves for years and haven't had anyone to really teach them the things our children knew before the age of six.

"GREAT MINDS HAVE PURPOSE, OTHERS HAVE WISHES. LITTLE MINDS ARE TAMED AND SUBDUED BY MISFORTURNE; BUT GREAT MINDS RISE ABOVE THEM."

Washington Irving

Teaching Tools That Apply To Every Foster Teen

Needed For Success Within Their Daily Lives

"You will need eyes that not only see them when with you but can watch them through closed doors."

  • From the very beginning, establish rules, with all consequences, if not followed, and enforce them from day one. If they can be posted in writing, that helps. Give them chores that are their responsibility just like you would with your own children.

  • Establish a homework time and make certain you are free to help them...use the dining room table so that they are interacting with you, not closed up in their bedroom.

  • Talk to them...find out what they are really interested in, whether it is sports, music, art, anything. Then get them enrolled and keep them as busy as possible.

  • When a child is focused, making good grades, happy, and adjusted, strongly discourage the case worker's desire for the teen to be adopted. Unless the teen wants to be adopted, it will only damage the adjustment and trust already in place within the foster home, resulting many times in a runaway teen.

  • Trust is a huge factor for a foster child, especially a teenager. If you say you are going to pick them up at school at a certain time, don't be late, be early. With these kids, the first time you are late, the trust is broken and you won't get it back. Don't promise unless you are positive you can keep the promise. And teach them that your trust is just as important and also hard to win back. One of my girls took money to McDonald's one day and when I received my change from her, it was short a dollar. I ask her why. She said that was all the girl had given her. I ask her why she didn't count it to be sure because she was responsible for my money and I had trusted her with it. Thirty minutes later, I was in my room with the door closed. A dollar bill slipped under the door. Neither of us ever mentioned it to each other but she could be totally trusted from then on with money.

  • Remember how you felt as a teenager about your wardrobe. It is very emotionally degrading to be a foster child to a teen. This is compounded by going to school "looking" different...they already "feel" different. Help them to fit in by helping them buy clothes that are appropriate and still look like their friends. I didn't have anything new myself (took them to the cleaners and prayed they stayed together) for five years, while a foster mother. But my kids always looked the part and made friends easily. Teen pressure is horrible for any teenager but harder for these kids.

  • Remember, a teenager wants to be treated like an adult and it is your job to teach them what it takes to accomplish that.

  • Sometimes it is easier for you to do everything for them, such as washing their clothes, making doctor's appointments, and running errands. However, you do them, nor yourself, any favors when you continue to do for them. Teach them, as soon as they are old enough, to handle their own lives.

  • Open a savings account for them and then give them an allowance out of your state board check. Teach them to put a percentage, agreed upon in advance, into their bank account and then allow them to decide what to do with the remaining money. However, let them know up front that if something comes up of unusual origin such as an extra trip to the movies, etc., that it would be wise to save some back for these unexpected needs. When the statement comes each month, sit down with them and teach them to balance their account.

Training Ourselves To Be Available

Their Needs Must Be Our Primary Concern

When you accept the role of foster parent to a foster teen, you will be their greatest advocate for direction. You are now the person responsible for teaching them the day to day lessons needed to become a productive adult. Take your new position seriously.

  • Be aware of their background. If they throw a tantrum, take that into account. Never give up on them just because they are acting out. Find out WHY they are acting out and help them get control of the problem. Our daughter had witnessed her biological mother having tantrums and throwing things, breaking dishes, etc., all over the house. When she began throwing things in anger, I reminded her of what she had witnessed in her mother. She thought it over and the throwing stopped.

  • Our foster son, who was 12, was ADHD. I never sent him to the doctor with a case worker...I always went with him and worked with the doctor myself to find the best meds for him. Once we found the right combination, he made straight As and had no further behavior problems at school or at home. The case worker does not know the child like the foster parent does.

  • When a foster child goes to visit with their parents, don't send them with a case worker or a driver...go with them, just the two of you, so that they can talk about their visit and their feelings on the way home. They need the comfort of knowing you care about what they are going through. They could talk to the case worker, too, but again, she doesn't live with them and deal with their daily emotional and physical needs as you do.

  • Always remember they are teenagers and need their space...be sure they have a place to be alone when they need to be.

  • When they need to talk, make yourself available NOW, not later. Choose a private section of the house that is quiet and set apart for their "talking place". Let them know it is available and all they have to say is "can I talk to you in that place," and you know they have need of you as soon as possible, in private.

  • Give them your trust. When they abuse this gift, take it away and make them earn it back. But give it back in due time. You may have to repeat this process many times before they realize the importance of this gift from you and find they no longer want to lose it. After numerous chances, our daughter finally said, "It is harder to get your trust back than it is to keep it in the first place." Now, that was what I wanted to hear.

  • Plan a vacation from time to time together as a family. They need to get away just like you do. You can get permission from the state to take them on vacation. They need to feel as much a part of your family as they can and time having fun together will be good for all of you.

  • Take them to church. If you don't go, start going! If they want to join a youth group, that's great. But understand they may not want to. They know the kids in the youth group will not relate to them in the same way...they have never been confronted with what these children have to live with every day. But take them to service and sit with them...answer their questions and discuss God with them openly. Every one of my foster children were baptized while living with us, of their own choice, with exception of my 17 year old. She was with us in the Independent Living Program for two years. The year after she moved out, she and her husband came by one night to tell us they had both just been baptized. She now takes her little boy to church every Sunday. You never know...the time you give them in church may be the only Christian background they will receive.

"WE HAVE, ALL OF US, SUFFICIENT FORTITUDE TO BEAR THE MISFORTUNES OF OTHERS."

La Rochefoucauld

Never Ending But Ever Growing!

What Can We Do For America's Children?

It has been proven that when a child is left in an unfavorable environment, growing up with parents who, too, were raised in the same environment, they will, most always, follow the same path. Thus, the problem exist from generation to generation.

Simply removing the child from the environment does not necessarily break the chain. The old habits have to be removed, replaced by new values, and new ways to live must be learned. If this is not accomplished, the child will simply return to their old way of life once given the choice. Without education, they have no way out of the never ending circle of life, as they know it.

The Department Of Children And Families have developed a case, to a point, and won state affiliated education beyond high school for the children who want it. They have also created a program called Independent Living for those who wish to remain under the state's care, after the age of eighteen, when they "age-out" of the system, while attending college.

Incentives are now offered to foster parents to aid in adopting the special needs children who are placed for adoption by the courts. The child continues to receive Medicaid for medical expenses and is offered four years of paid tuition to a state affiliated college. The foster parent continues to receive eighty percent of their original board check from the state until the child reaches the age of eighteen to help with expenses. However, once of teen age, a child often has no desire to be adopted and either acts out to cause removal or simply runs away from the placement home.

Unfortunately, so many choose not to remain in Independent Living, as well, because they want to be free. But free to do what? Flounder from one dead end job to another, eventually barely able to feed themselves, much less the children who always come to these situations. And the cycle begins anew.

At the age of eighteen, the "aged-out" foster child is removed from foster care, where they have had total financial support, with someone else making all decisions in regards to their lives, and sent out into the world alone. How many of us could totally support ourselves with only a high school diploma, no help from anyone, and attend college full time? Not to mention, carry with us the baggage from the childhood these children have endured. Most do not make it even if they have enough courage to begin.

I do not pretend to have an answer to this never ending but ever growing problem in the United States. Even with our guidance and help, our adopted foster daughter has encountered so many pitfalls both in her relationships and her life choices that boggle the mind. She is lucky, however, because she has us to fall back on when she fails and a natural desire to succeed, trying over and over, until she achieves her goal. But there are so many others in need of our prayers and support.

If only the little ones could be adopted sooner, once the courts have established the need. Then maybe so many would not be lost in the system. It happens every day because there are more and more little ones in need of new parents like you and I. There are not enough hours in the day for case workers to handle the rising numbers alone.

I always remember Jesus' words, "Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God." How would He handle this problem? What would He say to us? What would He have us do?

"WHEN WORK AND SKILL WORK TOGETHER, EXPECT A MASTERPIECE."

Ruskin

"Aged-Out" Foster Care Teens Need Our Help To Establish Happy, Productive Lives.

Opportunities Of Help That Could Make A Difference

With just a few hours of your time, you can help foster care teens successfully enter the adult world.

Each of these suggestions can have a big impact on the life of an "aged-out" foster teen. Decide which opportunity to make a difference works best for you.

A. BECOME A MENTOR

Mentoring gives foster care teens a listening ear and a friend to guide them through their struggles. Mentoring relationships begun while foster care kids are in their mid-teens can be beneficial as the kids become more independent. Consider these mentoring possibilities:

  • Mentor through the internet. VMentor.com allows mentors to form relationships with a foster care teens aged 16-23. This virtual mentoring system matches teens and mentors according to their interests and career aspirations. Each week, mentors communicate with their teens completely through email.

  • Mentor through a local organization. Many local foster agencies provide mentorship programs for kids in foster care. These programs are often flexible, and allow mentors to set their own appointments according to their schedule. Simply call your nearest foster care agency to find out what opportunities are available.

  • Mentor through a college program. College can be a challenge for foster care teens that don't have home support. Ask the guidance office of your local college if the school provides a mentoring program for incoming foster care freshmen.

B. SUPPORT EDUCATION

Many foster care teens desire to go to college. But, few have the resources to succeed. Try one of these easy ways to help foster teens succeed in higher education:

  • Encourage your community to start a foster scholarship fund. Write or call your community leaders and encourage them to set up a college fund for local foster care teens. If your state already has a tuition waiver program in place, scholarship money can be used to pay the living expenses of studying foster teens.

  • Donate school supplies. Foster teens need pens, paper, calculators, backpacks, and other supplies. Contact your local foster care agency to see what items are most needed.

  • Give bookstore gift certificates. College textbooks can cost hundreds of dollars each semester and are not always covered by financial aid. Giving foster students college bookstore gift certificates can be an easy way to help students succeed in college.

  • Provide tutoring. Students "aged-out" of the foster system need help developing learning skills and study habits. Volunteer to help tutor foster care students in any subject you're comfortable with.

C. PROVIDE TRANSPORTATION

  • Few "aged-out" foster care kids have a car of their own. Rides to medical appointments, job interviews, school functions, and places public transportation doesn't service can be a huge help to these teens. Call your local foster care agency to find out which foster care kids are in need of a ride.

D. DONATE SUPPLIES

Foster care teens may have lived for years with only a couple suitcases worth of personal belongings. When they begin living on their own, they'll need supplies to set up house. If you want to donate, try one of these options:

  • Donate household goods directly to the foster care agency. Contact the foster agency before you begin collecting to see what the teens need. Consider donating household items that you want to replace, but that are still in good shape. Cookware, beds, and furniture may all be useful. Try exploring yearly retail dorm-room sales (usually in late August) to find deals on household furnishings.
  • Send care packages to "aged-out" teens. Work with a friend to put together boxes, or donate through a formal organization. The Orphan Foundation of America accepts large donations of goods, as well as individual donations of gift cards to national chain stores. They also enable donors to include an encouraging note with the gift cards they send.

E. DONATE SERVICES

  • Whatever your profession, consider donating your time and talents to help foster care teens. If you're a dentist, provide free or discounted dental care. If you're a copywriter, offer to make brochures asking the community to support foster care scholarship funds. If you're a restaurant owner, distribute gift cards. If you're a banker, help foster teens set up a savings account. If you're a manager, consider hiring foster care teens that may have a hard time finding work. Whatever your talents, please use them to make a difference.

The system is what is it...a system...it really doesn't work as we wish it would. Too many foster children do not have people who care enough to fight for them. Those of us who have fought, wore out quickly from the raw emotion of what we have seen.

Eugenia S. Hunt

Books Of Interest - Tool For Added Success and Understanding

Who Is Mom To The Zoo?

My Bio

Born in the small town of Pendleton, South Carolina, in 1950, I was the oldest of two, five years my sister's senior. It was a wonderful place to grow up where the entire town raised its children. I was always surrounded by people who loved and looked out for me. I graduated from High School with the same people who were in my kindergarten class. At 58, my childhood friends are still my friends. I feel so fortunate to have known such a childhood.

After college, I worked at Clemson University until May 1972. At that time, I married and lived in Glyfada, 22 miles from Athens, Greece for two years...via USAF. We then moved to North Dakota for another two years before returning to South Carolina.

We divorced after 16 years and two children. I remarried two years later and moved to Florida in 1988 and together we have raised my husband's son and daughter and my son and daughter...one federal officer, one pastor's wife, one sixth grade school teacher, and the other, after working for Florida Power and Light since age 19, is now with AT&T. In 1996, I adopted my stepdaughter. We are blessed with four grandsons and one granddaughter.

In 1999, we became foster parents with the Children's Home Society and had a number of children under our roof in the next 5 years. In 2001, we adopted a 13 year old girl, whom we first met at the age of 11, and is now 21. I also have spent more time in a courtroom than I care to think about, fighting for the rights of the children in our care. In 2004, I turned in my license so that I could be a full time Mom to our special needs daughter and keep our infant granddaughter five days a week while her mother was teaching.

Bill, my husband, is a retired USAF Air Traffic Controller. He is now working out of the country, on Ascension Island, with Computer Science Raytheon, as their chief controller, contracted out of Patrick AFB, Florida. This enables him to continue to do the job he loves, air traffic, and aid the military. He flies in and out on furlough and I handle things here at home. I jokingly call myself a Single Married Woman.

Actually, I am a retired Accountant/Credit Manager, now a housewife, where I enjoy writing, singing, piano, and sewing. I have had numerous poems and short stories published and have sung in churches and for church organizations for years, as well as weddings, a couple of variety shows, and even at my daughter's, and later my son's, weddings, one of the hardest things I have EVER done. We are members of a Baptist church where I am a soloist and sing in the choir. I am also a member of the Women's Bible Study Group and work on the Mission's Committee.

And, last but not least, we have two singing dogs, Raven, a thirteen year old Skipperkee/Chow with bucked teeth and attitude and Whisper, a nine pound poodle, who thinks himself a Doberman.

My life has involved many changes and avenues that I would never have dreamed of and has given me challenges that I never thought I was equal to. But, I have found that God has a plan and, if you follow His lead, you can handle anything he puts in your hands. However, you have to first learn to listen to Him. No matter what we want from life, it must come in His time. He has given my husband and me more than we could have began to imagine back in high school and we have found that what we thought was so important for our futures back then was nothing to what we have done so far. At 58, I have learned from our foster children, to look forward to the future and the next challenge with enthusiasm and excitement. If they can trust and love us after what the world has dealt them, we can surely tackle whatever lies ahead with ease. Life is a series of learning experiences and I continue to find life to be both a challenge and a joy which grows with each passing year. I learn more and more about myself with each passing day!

Jeanie

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    • profile image

      Amya 21 months ago

      This is a great article!! I'm 25 and have been starting to consider fostering once I get my life settled and this really made me think about things. Thank you very much for this great resource and wonderful thoughts!

    • Momtothezoo profile image
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      Eugenia S. Hunt 3 years ago

      @JustineKnott: Thank you, Justine. Foster parenting was an experience like no other and nothing like I expected but I wouldn't take anything for the experience. I wanted to share what I had learned so that, maybe, it would help someone else with their task. My foster children are all grown now and we are all on Facebook where we share our lives with one another daily. I love them all dearly! https://hubpages.com/family/Audreys-Story

    • JustineKnott profile image

      JustineKnott 3 years ago

      What a wonderful article. Thank you for sharing.

    • Momtothezoo profile image
      Author

      Eugenia S. Hunt 3 years ago

      @Bartukas: It is fairly prominent in America. However, too many do so to get the money from the state rather than for the benefit of the children. This is sad. But not all are like that and really have a heart for the children. We just have more children in the system than parents to foster them. :(

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 3 years ago from Canada

      Good foster parents are beyond value. They can completely change the life and attitude of a child in need.

    • Momtothezoo profile image
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      Eugenia S. Hunt 4 years ago

      @Bartukas: Thank you, Valdas....it is just a shame that so many are needed in America. It is a difficult job but very rewarding, as well.

    • profile image

      Bartukas 4 years ago

      Great think to do to become foster parent but in my country not much people decide to become forster parents

    • Momtothezoo profile image
      Author

      Eugenia S. Hunt 4 years ago

      @sittonbull: Thanks, John...after my years as a foster parent, I needed to say these things as much as they needed to be said...

    • sittonbull profile image

      sittonbull 4 years ago

      I have a number of friends who were raised by foster parents and a few friends who are foster parents and what you have written here of your experience ... few could hope to express so articulately with such clarity, truth and love from the heart. Beautiful lens calling attention to a heartbreak that children should never have to endure ... as well as the unique and candid perspective of your own challenges/successes which illustrate how a strong, giving foundation of love and determination can truly make a positive difference and bring new love to both those children and to those like yourself willing to risk so much of your own heart ... and that of your family to reach out and make that positive difference for a child.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 4 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      My husband's parents had foster children back in the 70's and we recently heard from one of them on facebook. Nice to revisit this page

    • Momtothezoo profile image
      Author

      Eugenia S. Hunt 4 years ago

      @WhiteOak50: Thank you for sharing, Eva. I totally understand and know that it was not your fault. The fault lies in the fact that you had to grow up in foster care in the first place. It is never the fault of the child! I have three other articles you might like to read, "Child of My Heart, Audrey's Story" http://www.squidoo.com/Audreys-Story; "A Second Chance" http://wizzley.com/a-second-chance/; and "Fostering A Miracle" http://wizzley.com/fostering-a-miracle/ They reflect the lives of others who have experienced your pain and my experience in knowing them.

    • WhiteOak50 profile image

      WhiteOak50 4 years ago

      Wonderful job on this page. I was a foster kid and unfortunately in my case it was wonderful at first but carrying the baggage that I had ruined everything. I will say in my case my foster parents were a God send, I was the one that messed up the whole situation.

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      Eugenia S. Hunt 4 years ago

      @Michey LM: Thank you, Michey!

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      Michey LM 4 years ago

      Come back to bless this beautiful lens. Thanks Jeanie.

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      Eugenia S. Hunt 4 years ago

      @Cari Kay 11: Cari...thank you for sharing my lens. Foster care was a very rewarding experience as was adopting our foster daughter 12 years ago...she is almost 25 years old now. It is as difficult as it is rewarding as I tried to convey in this lens. But you will never do anything more worthwhile! Good luck!!

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      Kay 4 years ago

      I would love to be a foster parent! I so admire what you do and love this page. If I ever get the chance to do this, I just know this will help so much. Blessed!

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      Eugenia S. Hunt 5 years ago

      @LizMac60: Thank you for stopping by to share, Liz!

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      Liz Mackay 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Great lens, so full of helpful advice from your own vast experience. Blessed.

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      Eugenia S. Hunt 5 years ago

      @Echo Phoenix: Thank you for sharing my article on foster parenting. If you have time, read about our adopted foster daughter, Audrey...her story is pretty amazing...it begins with her birth and ends with finding her family, encompassing several articles: https://hubpages.com/family/Audreys-Story

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      Echo Phoenix 5 years ago

      WOW! Foster parents are Amazing and so is your lens! thank you for sharing your story and great tips on being compassionate with Foster Children, I loved your Rules to Live By:)

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      Eugenia S. Hunt 5 years ago

      @thehouseofinfo lm: We adopted our foster child in 2001...Audrey is now 24 years old and lives in New York near her bio sister whom we found in 2008. They had not seen each other in 14 years, so her moving to be near is logical. She was just home for a week for Mother's Day and we had a wonderful time together. We have searched together to find her mother and family and just recently found her father's family...he is deceased. She has shared all of this with me...I am so pleased. The years were difficult but I wouldn't change them...I'd do it all again for I love her dearly. Her story is written in four volumes at https://hubpages.com/family/Audreys-Story Come and share our adventure when you can. The best of luck with yours! :)

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      hamster1960 5 years ago

      Great, Great lens, really helpful for those considering becoming a foster parent. I believe there is no greater calling than to give your life towards impacting young people!

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      thehouseofinfo lm 5 years ago

      My sweet child is adopted out of the Foster Care System. It has been 5 years, and there have been many tears, much laughter, and a lot of praying!

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      Eugenia S. Hunt 5 years ago

      @hamster1960: Thank you for sharing this lens with me. I agree with you...where can we find a greater need or a greater victory than to impact our young people? But, when you work so hard and still can't get through to them, it is heart wrenching. For every one you touch, there are three you cannot reach. What America has done to their children is so sad. We really need some good foster parents...it is a shame there is such a need but there it is.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      Greetings Foster Parents!

      Thank you for your hard work and continued commitment to caring for adolescents in need. I invite you to take part in a research study that will help to understand how foster parents are thinking about the care they provide. Understanding how you think about your parenting tasks will help foster care professionals and community members to be able to support you in better and more effective ways. You deserve support and training programs that will help build your satisfaction with providing foster care and help you to continue to do the important work of foster parenting.

      Purpose of the Study: This study will measure the relationship between beliefs about foster parenting, parenting behaviors, and satisfaction with foster parenting.

      Description: Your participation in this research study will involve completing 5 questionnaires about your foster parenting experience on a secure website. Your responses to the questionnaires will be completely anonymous. The questionnaires will take about 30 minutes to complete.

      Benefits of Participation: You may learn about your foster parenting beliefs when you complete study questionnaires. You will be contributing to the knowledge about foster parenting so that support and training programs can more effectively meet the needs of foster parents.

      If you have any questions, please email cua-fosterparentstudy@cua.edu to contact:

      Primary Investigator: Barry Wagner, Ph.D.

      Student Investigator: Catherine Rathman, M.A.

      Please follow the link below to access the online survey:

      https://surveys.cua.edu/fpb

      Please feel free to forward this flyer to other foster parents you know who may be interested in participating. Many thanks for your time and consideration!

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      Greetings Foster Parents!

      Thank you for your hard work and continued commitment to caring for adolescents in need. I invite you to take part in a research study that will help to understand how foster parents are thinking about the care they provide. Understanding how you think about your parenting tasks will help foster care professionals and community members to be able to support you in better and more effective ways. You deserve support and training programs that will help build your satisfaction with providing foster care and help you to continue to do the important work of foster parenting.

      Purpose of the Study: This study will measure the relationship between beliefs about foster parenting, parenting behaviors, and satisfaction with foster parenting.

      Description: Your participation in this research study will involve completing 5 questionnaires about your foster parenting experience on a secure website. Your responses to the questionnaires will be completely anonymous. The questionnaires will take about 30 minutes to complete.

      Benefits of Participation: You may learn about your foster parenting beliefs when you complete study questionnaires. You will be contributing to the knowledge about foster parenting so that support and training programs can more effectively meet the needs of foster parents.

      If you have any questions, please email cua-fosterparentstudy@cua.edu to contact:

      Primary Investigator: Barry Wagner, Ph.D.

      Student Investigator: Catherine Rathman, M.A.

      Please follow the link below to access the online survey:

      https://surveys.cua.edu/fpb

      Please feel free to forward this flyer to other foster parents you know who may be interested in participating. Many thanks for your time and consideration!

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      Eugenia S. Hunt 6 years ago

      @Ann Hinds: Thank you so much for stopping by! I hope you will enjoy some of the others as well!!!

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      Ann Hinds 6 years ago from So Cal

      Great lens, great topic. Angel blessed and all that other stuff. Now I need to spend time reading your other lenses.

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      Eugenia S. Hunt 6 years ago

      @darciefrench lm: Thank you so very much for sharing with me your thoughts and for taking the time to share mine. It was a difficult job. I left foster care to raise our adopted foster daughter, Audrey. Thank you, too, for your Blessings!

      https://hubpages.com/family/Audreys-Story

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      darciefrench lm 6 years ago

      Good foster homes are so essential if we are going to remove children. It doesn't make sense to me to put a child from one fire to another. I worked in supervised access for many years with foster children and their bio parents. In most cases, the foster parents were fabulous, in all cases the children were incredible gifts to be witness too. They taught me a lot- it was my favorite job hands down. I've contemplated fostering over the years, but health issues prevent me from being a stable offering. I would want to be able to give 110% to these kids. Much love and an angel blessing, and a feature on November Blessings under ways to improve mental health.

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      Eugenia S. Hunt 6 years ago

      @Michey LM: Thank you, Michey. I agree with you...it is a very difficult thing to do, when actually, all the teen really wants is their own parents, regardless of the home situation. By the time they get to your foster home, there is already so much damage done to a child's relationship with adults, no matter whom they are.

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      Michey LM 6 years ago

      This is a very important, informative, and educational lens. The kids need to grow up in a loving family environment. And foster parenting try to correct the absents of love and proper education, and it is really hard to do it, but they save some kids for a free fall in life. We shouldn't create this situation in the first place.

      Excellent lens Jeanie.

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      Eugenia S. Hunt 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Thank you very much...your blessing is as good to me!! So glad you enjoyed my lens!

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      A poignant lens, if I was an angel I would bless this lens.

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      Eugenia S. Hunt 6 years ago

      @OhMe: Thanks, Nancy and thanks for the suggestion! :)

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      Nancy Tate Hellams 6 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Congratulations on that pretty purple star. Well deserved.

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      Eugenia S. Hunt 6 years ago

      @VarietyWriter2: Thank you again for the nomination. I just received a purple star for Foster Teen Parenting! :)

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      Eugenia S. Hunt 6 years ago

      @VarietyWriter2: Oh, my goodness! Thank you so very much! It means so very much coming from someone who has been through the system and really knows what the kids go through! The teen girl we adopted is now 22 years old and ask me to write her story, which I have done in four lenses. (each will take you to the next) She hopes that her story will help others found in her circumstances to have hope for their future. I'll give you the website just in case you might like to read about her trials due to the bad choices others made in her life. Thank you again so much for the nomination! https://hubpages.com/family/Audreys-Story

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      VarietyWriter2 6 years ago

      I nominated this lens for a purple star. I hope you are awarded it.... you deserve it and foster care topic. As a former foster child, I thank you :)

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      Eugenia S. Hunt 6 years ago

      @resabi: Thank you so much for sharing my experience with me. If you are interested, you can follow one of my foster children, Audrey, to adulthood, beginning when she was little and living with her biological mother. I have the full story because, after taking her in at the age of eleven, we adopted her at thirteen, raising her through her difficult teenage years. Once she was grown, she ask me to write her story. It took four lenses to accomplish...she is now 22 years old. The website is: https://hubpages.com/family/Audreys-Story and this one will take you to the other three. So many get to lense two and stop...it is difficult but three is so rewarding. I hope these lenses will lead others to take in our foster teenagers...they are the most difficult and yet, the most needy.

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      resabi 6 years ago

      This is a very thorough and insightful lens on a subject that doesn't come up much but is such important work. Thank you for sharing your experiences. Blessed by a SquidAngel.

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      Eugenia S. Hunt 7 years ago

      @anonymous: Thank you so much for your "soap box" speech...I totally agree with you!!!!! Bravo for your efforts!!! If you get a chance, read my story about the little girl we adopted while foster parents...she is 22 now, too! :) The story is in four parts...part one will lead you to the others.

      https://hubpages.com/family/Audreys-Story

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      anonymous 7 years ago

      I started with teens because my son was only 8 at the time of our first placement then switched to younger kids when my son became a teen himself. He is now 22 and we are still foster parenting. Everything you say is so true and yet so much more than you could possibly convey. Working with foster children (many with special needs) is an emotional journey with so many ups and downs and it is hard for non-foster parents to really grasp the pain and angst that "the system" is full of. All I can say is that we need help from everyone - these kids need help. The old saying "it takes a village" is very true. Maybe you don't want to commit to taking on this social burden but you can help in some small way - come on folks - children ARE our future and they need you now to help them get there. The foster parents out there could use occasional relief - take a kid out for an afternoon or get trained to be a respite provider so the foster parents can get some time away - even an evening out can help !!! The foster parents that do step up suffer burnout when no help or relief is given. Open your hearts just a little .... it will go a long, long way !!!! (Sorry about the soap box speech but this issue is so near and dear to my heart !!!) Great lens !!!!

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      Eugenia S. Hunt 7 years ago

      @sukkran trichy: Thank you, Basha. I wanted to write everything down that I had learned in the hope that it would be helpful to others. I began foster care with very little information, thinking, because we had raised four of our own, we were well qualified. It did not take long for me to realize we were incorrect...we had so much to learn. After five years, I was emotionally burned out and, since we had adopted one of our special needs foster teenagers, gave up my license to divote all my attention to her. She is 21 years old now and living on her own but it was a long road of trying to fill ten years with the 18 years of knowledge she would need to be a functioning adult. I say this not to discourage others but for them to realize the magnitude of the undertaking...they can't take on the task thinking it will be simple.

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      sukkran trichy 7 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      thanks for this wonderful informative lens. i bookmarked it. 5*

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      Eugenia S. Hunt 7 years ago

      @OhMe: I just added something else...I reread my comments and found one from a lady who was in the foster care system. I added a new module. I have also written her to see if she would like to add more to what she had to say.

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      Nancy Tate Hellams 7 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      The quotes are really a nice addition to this already great lens.

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      Spook LM 7 years ago

      Just coming back to say. Blessed by an Angel.

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      Eugenia S. Hunt 7 years ago

      [in reply to MsSnow4a] Thank you, Carol...I wrote all of it down in the hope that it would be helpful to someone just beginning my journey.

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      Carol Goss 7 years ago

      Very nice lens :)

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      Eugenia S. Hunt 7 years ago

      [in reply to puzzlemaker] Thanks, Paige. Those were some of the things I learned by doing...and, too, I have raised our four first and two were girls. It is so important to teens to look the look so that they feel they can be themselves in other ways. How well I remember my own teen years. Foster kids are no different in that respect but the state can't always afford to supply that sort of thing for them. They do good to clothe and feed them because there are so many in need.

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      puzzlerpaige 7 years ago

      Wow! What a thorough lens. You've covered it all. If I ever know ayone who is to become a foster teen parent, I will certainly forward this lens to them. You've mentioned things I would have never thought of like being sure they have clothes that make them feel comfortable and also only having one foster teen at a time. You are a remarkable foster parent.

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      Eugenia S. Hunt 7 years ago

      [in reply to AdrienneJenkins] Thank you, Adrienne. The information is compiled from my own experience and opinions but I so wish I had acquired a list like this before i began. The lessons were hard in coming and difficult to fly blind through.

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      Adrienne Jenkins 7 years ago

      Great useful lens. Good job outlining the issues a prospective teen foster parent might face.

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      Eugenia S. Hunt 8 years ago

      [in reply to strayspay] Thank you, Carol. I am sure some would not agree with me...I had case workers who faught me. But not one of them had ever had a foster teen live with them 24-7...they had taken the training in school and visited foster children and been in charge of their placement but they had never raised one month after month after month. Until you have been in my shoes, a person cannot possibly understand. After raising my adopted foster daughter (and I had already raised four of my own), I realized the vast difference of a special needs child who comes to you literally broken. You can't put them back together totally because parts are permanently missing but the molding is much more difficult than with a child who has not been through such a child's life. Thank you for sharing my thoughts with me. Audrey's story in three parts: https://hubpages.com/family/Audreys-Story

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      strayspay 8 years ago

      Wow! You're my heroine! God Bless you for the wonderful work you do even though all may not agree with you.

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      Eugenia S. Hunt 8 years ago

      [in reply to daviddavid200] Thanks, David...so glad you enjoyed my lens! Lots of information obtained the hard way...hand on...hope this will help someone else "before" they walk in my shoes.

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      daviddavid200 8 years ago

      Wow great information 5 starts!

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      Eugenia S. Hunt 8 years ago

      [in reply to LoKackl] Thank you so much, Lois, for sharing my lens. I am so glad you enjoyed it. I am going right now to "Begin Again" and start reading!

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      LoKackl 8 years ago

      Wow ! I hope this lens finds its way to many many othr foster parents. It's great for me to know someone who has real talent as a parent - love, insight, persistence, dedication. I need more of all those things! Thank you for sharing your amazing experience so well. 5* and lensroll to "begin-again."

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      Eugenia S. Hunt 8 years ago

      [in reply to Spook] Kevin, thank you so much...I really appreciate your praise and understanding of the importance of what I did with the children. I only wish I could have started when I was younger so that I would have had the strength to continue longer. After five years, I was drained. And, too, we had adopted Audrey and were still raising her...she had so many needs that I finally had to just center my attention on her. She is 21 now and on her way. Thank you for sharing my lens and thoughts with me!

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      Eugenia S. Hunt 8 years ago

      [in reply to jmsp206] Thank you, Julia. There were a lot of difficult times but they do not outweigh the wonder of the children and their strength to withstand their plight...I learned as much from them as I taught!

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      Spook LM 8 years ago

      Exceptional. You have no idea how impressed I am with this, but more importantly, with you. The world would be a better place with more people of your calibre.

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      Julia M S Pearce 8 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      Great lens Momtothezoo! It takes great dedication and care to be foster parents! More power to you!

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      Eugenia S. Hunt 8 years ago

      Thank you, Rita...I am glad you enjoyed my lens and you, of all people, understand the true meaning of my words after your experiences with the system. I know you miss Dino and I am sorry for that but I understand and back you in your decision. Thank you for sharing my lens with me and for your comment. Jeanie

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      anonymous 8 years ago

      [in reply to Momtothezoo] Thankm you for the lens....itruly believe in keeping your quality time with the children when you promise something fall through with it...I miss my son ,,,,,,now....

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      Eugenia S. Hunt 8 years ago

      [in reply to sittonbull] Thank you so much, John! I really appreciate your praise of my work. Yes, Michey is my greatest fan! :~) What I learned from foster care was learned "hands on" and through hours of work and sleepless nights of worry about them. But as I see Audrey's ability to work and support herself and make good choices in her life now, I know it was well worth my time. I also keep up with two others who were with me for some time. They are adopted and straight A students at Merritt Island High School, one in the Theater Dept., dancing, singing and acting, and the other wants to go to Med School. I am so proud of all of them! Thank you again!

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      sittonbull 8 years ago

      Jeanie... you really do have the gift of "a beautiful soul" as Michey says and of lucid communication. I've always heard (and after almost 65 years have confirmed) that the most difficult thing you must learn to do well is to communicate clearly and listen sincerely and it's obvious from all of your work that you have mastered both exceptionally. This is surely a masterpiece guideline for anyone considering the massive responsibilities and benefits of foster care.

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      Eugenia S. Hunt 8 years ago

      Michelle, have your read Audrey's story...our adopted foster teen? If not, here is the website for part one...it will take you to parts two and three.

      https://hubpages.com/family/Audreys-Story

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      Eugenia S. Hunt 8 years ago

      [in reply to DoozieMom] ichelle, thank you so much for sharing your experiences with me. I know how hard this must have been. My heart goes out to you. It took me ten years and my health to get Audrey on the right path but, if she has a good life, then it is totally worth it to me!! I am glad you found a good foster home in the end and I pray your life will reflect your heart...you deserve to be happy. Thank you for sharing our story with us. Jeanie

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      DoozieMom LM 8 years ago

      As a former foster child, it was refreshing to read about the perspective of the foster parent. You had some great points, which I wish more foster parents could see. Bless you for your gift to kids like me (21 yrs ago).

      One of the most frequent questions you are asked as a foster kid is... "What did you do to get put in foster care?" EVERYONE assumes that you did something wrong. When a foster kid enters care there is fear, resentment, and loss. I feared yet another change in my life, I resented authority, I had lost everything I knew and loved. I walked into foster care with a small bag of clothes, having to give up all my animals, most of my belongings. I entered my 2nd, and permanent, home angry, trying to get my foster mom to give me up so I could go back to my 1st home (the mom there developed cancer, so I had to go). In the end, my foster dad gave me away when I was married, their son was the ring bearer, their daughter was my flower girl, and one of my foster sisters wa

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      Eugenia S. Hunt 8 years ago

      [in reply to mysticmama] Bambi, thank you for accepting my lens!!

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      Bambi Watson 8 years ago

      Welcome to the Sharing Hearts Group!

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      Eugenia S. Hunt 8 years ago

      [in reply to lollyj] Laurel, thank you...I am glad you enjoyed my lens. I wrote it in the hope that others may benefit from what I have learned.

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      Laurel Johnson 8 years ago from Washington KS

      Excellent, informative lens!! Well done.

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      Eugenia S. Hunt 8 years ago

      Thank you, Rhonda. I am of the hope that this information will be helpful to someone venturing where I have trod. I went into Foster Care basically with the shirt on my back, so to speak, armed with very little. It was a bumpy ride, at best, with the teenagers, though I had raised four of my own. Anyone planning to foster a teen needs all the assistance they can find. The kids are wonderful but in need of so much both in training and love...you really need to be prepared fully. Glad you enjoyed my lens...thanks for sharing!

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      Rhonda Albom 8 years ago from New Zealand

      Beautifully written, great information. Thanks for sharing this piece of you life and knowledge.

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      Eugenia S. Hunt 8 years ago

      Thanks, Betty...my foster teens took and and I both for quite a ride....thanks for hanging on with me!

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      anonymous 8 years ago

      Well written, knowledgeable, and insightful. The pictures are lovely. You have so much talent!!!

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      Eugenia S. Hunt 8 years ago

      [in reply to Joan4] Thank you, Joan, for the kind words and the angel blessing! I think it is called "gift of gab!" LOL My five year old granddaughter has inherited it and never takes a breath! I am so glad you enjoy my meanderings!

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      Eugenia S. Hunt 8 years ago

      [in reply to Michey] Thank you very much, Michey and thank you for all the help, training and friendship!

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      Joan4 8 years ago

      Excellent lens, Jeannie! As usual for you! This one is an education in itself. I am always impressed and amazed with your ability to put your experiences into words -- and teach us all along the way! Blessed by a joyful angel!

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      Michey LM 8 years ago

      Jeanie this is very special! Very useful lens, excellent presentation, I wish all parents read this lens

      Thank for a great content, and your beautiful soul.

      Michey

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      Eugenia S. Hunt 8 years ago

      Thanks, Nancy...what on earth are we doing up so late! LOL Glad to have company! And glad you liked my lens. I originally put a lot of this material together for the Director of Placement in Chesterfield County, VA. She is an old friend of mine and was starting a class that was specifically for teenage placement. I sent this to her because I have added to it since then...and now it is organized! :~)) Hey, I DID just publish it! LOL

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      Nancy Tate Hellams 8 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Oh me, Jeanie! This is such valuable information and will be so helpful for Foster Parents. You need to publish this. Great job.

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      Eugenia S. Hunt 8 years ago

      Gracious, I thought I was the only one of us who stays up half the night! LOL I was so surprised to already have a reader. And thank you so much for the wonderful praise! I do hope this information will be helpful to someone. It would have been wonderful to have had this when I first started. All of this had to be learned "hands on." Thank you so much for visiting my lens and sharing this with me!

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      missbat 8 years ago

      This is a fantastic lens! What great information for people looking to be foster parents, which the world needs a lot more of! Great job!