"The System"

The foster care system is a bit of a hodge podge across the USA.  It has been designed to protect children and remove them from harm's way.  There is definitely a challenge surrounding how to identify which children really need that protection.  As a society, we don't want to be in the habit of removing kids from their mom's and dad's for no reason--having this happen is a traumatic experience on so many levels.  Children often blame themselves for the bio-parent's inadequacies. 

They don't understand "normal" thinking that:

2009 - Looking Into The Future

My wife and I started batting around the idea for this site in early October 2008. We had been looking specifically for resources related to Foster and Foster/Adopt parents who needed support. Parenting is tough and parenting kids of trauma takes parenting to a different plane.

Reactive Attachment Disorder

When children, such as those in Foster care, are not given the chance to have a stable home life and find themselves traumatized physically, sexually, or emotionally they can learn that there is no-one they are able to count on. The world is a place full of threats and adults can't be trusted. A Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) kid puts on emotional armour to ensure that he/she is safe from harm. These children learn to rely on themselves and themselves alone. No one is to be let in and no one is to be trusted.

Destructive Kids

Destructive behaviors are very frustrating. These can range from tearing apart one's bedroom, to ripping pages out of books, to writing on walls, to damaging doors and windows.

It seems that these kinds of problems escalate. There are cycles that get worse and worse. The child looks to increase the stakes until a desired negative response occurs.

What Books Have You Found Helpful?

One of the things we're trying to compile is a list of helpful books. So far we've got 10 books listed in the books section of the site.

What books have you found helpful in raising your child?

Foster Care and Trust

Imagine for a second that you're a little kid. Your life is filled with chaos. Perhaps your parents are drug users.

At best, you aren't really sure where your next meal will come from--sometimes your parents are gone for days at a time. So you hide things that will keep in your closet, under your bed, in places that are safe.

At worst, you hide from your caretakers because you get hit if you get in the way. Perhaps there is an adult in the house who does things worse than hitting. Dark corners where there is no yelling are good places to be.

Anniversaries and Regression

Anniversaries can be a painful time for fosters and adopted kids and those times are passed onto the caregivers and parents.

These can the be anniversaries of all kinds of events.

  • Birthdays
  • The day the child was removed from an abusive/neglectful home by social services
  • The placement or removal of a child from a foster situation
  • Adoption Day
  • First day of school
  • In short, any event that has significance to a child

Guardian Ad Litem

When a child is taken into protective services and is placed into foster care the kid is often assigned a case-worker, therapist, and a lawyer. The lawyer is called a "Guardian Ad Litem" (GAL) and is assigned to look out for the best interests of the child. While this lawyer is the child's representation, he or she doesn't necessarily represent the child's wishes when the wishes fly against what is safe for the child.

Emotional Age

When kids are abused or neglected at a young age they will tend to emotionally halt at the age the trauma began. A child won't begin to emotionally grow again until they are in an environment that they feel safe.

This is a challenge. Sometimes our kids will act their age and sometimes they act so much younger. When your seven or eight year old is acting like a four year old, it is really hard to remember that you need to parent them at that level.

Trauma Triggers

Kids who are adopted from previously neglectful or abusive backgrounds often have deep seated fears--fear that can't really be expressed. These fears can manifest themselves in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms much in the way combat soldiers are affected. These "memories" are burned into the person under unrelated circumstances and can cause physical reactions in a person when elements of the original circumstances are present.