Wednesday, May 01, 2013

6 Misconceptions about Foster Care

We have realized over the past year and a half that foster care is a bit of a mystery to so many people.  We've run into many misconceptions about foster care; some of them crazy, some well-meaning.  I wanted to squelch some of the myths out there about foster care so in honor of National Foster Care Month, here are:

1)  The child's outcome is in our control :
Not every foster child should or will be adopted by their foster family.  If a child returns home, we're not "giving them back".  Everything is decided upon by a judge who is influenced by a social worker, case manager and a guardian ad litem who advocates for the child.  When it comes to fostering-to-adopt, you must know that the state's primary goal is reconciliation with a biological parent or a family member and for the first year minimum the goal is always for kids to return home to their biological parents. If their parental rights are terminated or relinquished, biological parents cannot regain custody of their children.  It is important to note that the bio- or foster- parents are not making these choices.  There is a whole legal process involving many, many factors.

2) The kids are damaged goods : 
The reality is that children enter foster care as victims of neglect, abandonment, or abuse.  Some foster children do need a lot of attention/ therapy/ guidance/ different parenting techniques/ guidelines/ etc. I have learned that all kids have special needs and that children thrive in a healthy environment.

3) We are just doing it for the money : 
Money always seem to come up when I talk about being a foster parent. People seem to think that foster parents are doing it for the money.  On the other hand, I've heard people say that kids are way too expensive and they could never afford to become a foster parent. Neither is true. The state pays a foster family a nominal amount to help pay for clothing, toys, food, diapers, school supplies, whatever. Our state will also pay for your child's daycare if you are a working parent. You can get reimbursed for mileage and receive food/formula assistance. If a foster child becomes legally free and his/her case goes to adoption, the state covers the costs in what's called a public adoption.  (Private adoptions through an agency or overseas are costly).  So, in short, our needs are covered.

4) We have no control over who lives in our home :
No one is going to drop children off at your house without your consent.  That would be insane!  When you are licensed, you set the terms.  For instance, Dan and I are licensed for one child, age birth to 4.  Since we have one child in our home, we are not taking in other children.  When you do receive a call about a child you get all the available information about him/her and then you get to say "yes" or "no".  If we ever wanted to expand our license (age range or quantity) or completely retire we can.

5) You have to have it all together : 
While you do have to pass a background check and complete an application and interview process, you don't have to be a lot of things that you might think you need to be! Race, ethnic background, and income level are not an issue for foster care. You dont have to be rich, married, a homeowner or live in a huge house and you can be a first-time (totally inexperienced) parent.

6) We are better than you : 
We are not saints. We are doing this because it needs doing and we love kids. Some of us hope to expand our families this way, some of us do it for the pleasure of hearing the pitter patter of little feet, some of us grew up around formal or informal fostering – but all of us are doing it BECAUSE WE LOVE IT!

I hope I've helped paint a better picture for you.  Foster care is such a beautiful thing and it's really not as scary as people tend to think it is.  The same rules apply to my last post about foster care.  Ask questions!  If you are uncomfortable posting your questions publicly please email us at lindsy (at) lmrphotos (dot) com!  Thanks!  Happy Foster Care Month!

** I received approval from our agency to post this.


  1. As a former foster child for 6 years, I just wanted to say THANK YOU for this post. And to be honest I'm choking back tears :-) I wish people knew how important a good, stable foster home can be for a child going through the system. It can make a huge difference in the long run whether the child ends up with his/her biological family or somewhere else.

    Lovelovelove this post

  2. Awesome, thanks for sharing sista! Love that being a foster parent helps spread awareness to others!

  3. This is actually my first time on your blog and I came across this post after reading the ones before it. I just wanted to let you know that your story has touched my heart. You have a beautiful family and as a couple you two just seem so full of life. I'll be back! :)

    1. Thank you so much for joining us! :)

  4. This is great! Especially since I've thought about it in the future instead of a private adoption or having our own children; and you're right people always try to disuade me. Rather it be that the child will have problems, we'll get our hearts broken etc. I know it's been a tough journey for you 3 but I'm so happy BB is in your life!


Thank you so much for commenting! I love feedback and I read every comment and would love to respond to you! If you want to be notified of a response, click that little "notify me" box! xo, Lindsy

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