Is there anyone here who is a single foster parent AND works full-time (either running a business/telecommuting or working outside the home)? How many foster kids do you have/feel comfortable having?
I'm not a foster parent, but I want to become one down the road, maybe 5-7 years. I'm trying to start my own business and save for a house, so it'll be awhile. Anyway, I've always wanted to have a big family, so I'm just curious as to what you single foster parents feel is "doable".
My biggest advice to you (as a single-full-time working foster-parent) is to start small. Start with 1 and see how it goes. Also, ages make a big impact as well to that decision (can you handle baby or teen stuff with your schedule, etc.). Your support network also should affect your decision (what support or lack of do you have to help if you need it). It's a big adjustment and once you settle in, you will know/figure out the right number for what you can handle and enjoy.
For me, I have a good full-time job that also gives me a reasonable amount of flexibility and have had up to 3 placements but that is max for me and prefer to keep it 1-2 (I kind of like 2, especially if they are sibs).
I also have a single-Mom friend who has 9 (technically 5 she has adopted from foster and the rest are placements) but she works (3) 12 hour shifts (in the medical field) and then also has a lot of family support so that works for her but would not for me. Another single-Mom full-time job friend has a sib group of 3 (and 2 BIOs) but also, her BIOs are older and help out a lot.
Anyway, it is good to be thinking about it but I would first focus perhaps on the age range you want first and start small, trust me, you'll likely be glad you did.
I am single, working full time & have 5 kids. 3 bios, 1 adopted, 1 foster (kinship).
To be honest, for me, there are two major factors:
1. How much you can afford for daycare (here we get no daycare help so my full per-diem check plus a kick in from me goes just for daycare)
2. How much support you have for sick kids.
What I mean by that is, what happens when kids are sick and you have to miss work. I call it daycare syndrome, but there is a phenomena when kids first start going to daycare they get sick a lot. A LOT. Did I mention that they get sick a lot? And daycare's definition of sick is likely not the same as yours. If child has a temp over say 101, they will call you to bring child home. I take no action with that temp.
So, the first two months that I had BE, I used TWO weeks of PTO. Now, my company puts all of our vacation and sick time in one pot. Since I have been here for 15 years, I get a LOT of time off. That was my savior *this* year. Last year, with just Chubbs, and taking off one week for his adoption, I ran out of PTO.
Luckily that calmed down around the 4th month because I worried for my job, just kind of joking. (We have FMLA but I didn't bother to submit for that but wish I would have. I have a kewl boss.) I am a software developer engineer so can work from home two days a week which gives me flexibility for earlier case worker visits and or early intervention. But it is still rough. I cannot work with kids here. A.) It is against our policy and B.) they are just too young and demand attention.
So, this was my long winded way of saying my max is two. I should further note that part of that is because they are both toddlers. I did respite for two little girls in November for 10 days and it was hectic. While we managed, I really felt that I couldn't give each child the attention that I wanted.
The only way I will go above two is if Chubbs gets a bio sibling. Although, BE will be RU likely in 5 months or less and I won't be taking any more foster kids so Chubbs will be a singlet. I can't risk bringing another child into his life who will leave him again. Even bringing in a sib will be risky.
Now, there are a few super mamas on here with even 5 kids. One consideration, a nanny. That solves a lot of the issues I mentioned above. At two kids, it is cheaper for daycare, but three, it is cheaper to get a nanny.
Single, work 3 days in the office (8-5) and 16 hours at home. I have adopted 3 (one has moved out) and have 4 fosters (with a potential sibling to be added at birth).
I agree with pp. start small. You must have a supportive boss/occupation. All my kiddos are special needs to some extent so that means doctor, PT, OT, Speech, specialists, mental health, in addition to visits and phone calls and school and...
I can't imagine being sane/successful without a schedule. I currently have 6 : 5,5,4,4,2,1. So that is 3 schools, 2 daycares and 3 primary care doctors, 6 specialists, and 3 mental health providers.
While it is a motley crew at times, it is too quite if one is gone!
I am a single mom with a more traditional work schedule, typically 9-5. But work in home health so can re-arrange my schedule as needed to accommodate appointments. Much more flexibility. I am pretty comfortable with 2 right now, but it is REALLY nice that they are both old enough to dress themselves, toilet themselves and play on their own with only minor supervision. I think I would be more stressed with younger ones.
It also depends on other factors:
Age of the kids, Health of the kids, personality traits (high strung, temper, easy going etc), visit schedule with birth parents and and appts that need to be followed. I would be stressed with a kid that needed weekly PT/OT/ST or other things. My 11 year old gets counseling 2x a month, and that is even rough with work, homework from school and bedtime routine etc.
You kinda have to learn to have a schedule, but tolerate a more "go with the flow" attitude at times. Otherwise the ups and downs will drive you crazy.
I could probably handle 2-3 at a time max. Plus, only can carry 3 littles in my car at a time, and won't take kids old enough to sit in the front really anyway.
Single mom school teacher here. I am licensed for 3, but have only had 2 in my home at a time (and one of those was unofficially - ffd came to stay often after she moved to relative). Currently, I have one 2 year old. Daycare is covered for foster children here, so that is definitely helpful. If I had school age kids my work schedule is perfect for it.
Temporary Mom is right about daycare and illness. I've used up all of my sick/personal days plus some the past couple of years between illness, appointments, and court. There are tons of appointments especially when a child first comes into care.
I have one (plus 2 kids by birth) will probably eventually go up to 2, but not for awhile. I am sooooo glad I only took one for my first placement.
Also, I specifically asked for school-aged kids since they will not get sick quite as often-I don't have a very flexible job. Age is definitely important, and you should think about your job and what ages work with it. I know one single mom who only takes teens and swears it's the best, several who take babies and/or toddlers, and another who takes school agers. They all can't imagine taking any other age group than the one they do. Working around work was/is my #1 concern in a lot of ways.
Single momma, work full-time outside home M-F, 9 to 5. What saves me is my job is flexible for appointments and an occasional work from home day. I have a good support structure for after-school care and currently don't use any daycare because all my kids are school age. I did spend a couple thousand this summer sending everyone to camp during the day.
I have six right now ages 12,11,10,8,8,7. Three adopted and three foster. I get judged ALOT because people don't get how I can do it. But the reality is I just do it. If I didn't have the support structure, flexible work schedule, big van and/or parenting skills for six I wouldn't take six. I definitly support the notion of starting small. I had one for awhile then jumped to three with a sib pair and then usually linger around four five.
I have had up to 4, one mine and three fosters. It so much depends on the kids and their ages as well as needs. I do much better with teens and find them a lot easier than young kids as they are more self sufficient. When I had four it was my son, a teen mom and her 2 year old and her 8 year old sister. They had a lot of family visitation, which I did not have to do anything for, but the 17 year old had several medical appointments and other obligations requiring transport. I too have a full time, generally flexible job, but quite demanding. Now I have my sons and my fd who will be moving soon. Due to the behaviors associated with her, I am finding this hard to manage because of the effect on others kids. I recommend starting with one and adding as you feel comfortable.
Wow, I can't imagine ever having nine, and I can't believe how many of you have five or six!
I like to think that I could have lots of foster kids, but I guess it's not really that realistic. I'm not counting on having any support, unless there's an emergency or something. I don't drive, either, so that would complicate things.
The day-to-day stuff doesn't phase me a bit (I know, I say that now, right?), but transporting everyone to visits, court, appointments, etc... does, but I'm thinking it wouldn't be so bad if everyone were siblings. That way I'd only have to worry about one set of visits and court dates. So I'm thinking I'd be fine with either just one child at a time or one sibling group at a time.
As for the ages, I think I'd be open to pretty much all ages, from infants to teens. Okay, well maybe only up to 13 or 15. Even in 5-7 years I'll still be pretty young, and I don't want to feel like I'm in the same generation as my foster kids.
Thanks to everyone for helping me think through this. I know I'm still quite a ways off from needing to make a decision, but I figure it's never too early to start preliminary planning :)
Single mom. I work 9-5 but I commute, so I'm gone from 7 to 7. My support system is iffy. When my mom was alive, she would watch the kids when daycare was over or if they were sick or suspended from school. I use vacation days for doctor appointments. My range was newborn to 12. I had a teenage foster son who was 14 when I got him. Visits were on the weekends. The problem I had was I didn't keep their world small which impeded their healing. Go with your gut; I didn't have the fortitude to deal with a teenager and I should have said "no".
Single here-usually had 2 at a time (just kept getting sibling pairs). Right now I have 4 kids 1-bio 3-FK and expecting last sibling to arrive within a week! I never imagined having 5 long-term but have done respite and total kids was 6...
I work full time for a company that considers 32hrs FT so I have 1 day off each week great for handling appointments. I get to create my yearly schedule to match my kiddo's school schedule too!
I am a single foster mom to 5! 2 I adopted and 3 are placements! I am ready to add another placement if needed! I have had 9 before total- from respite and previous placements that come to visit! 8 is comfortable for us! When I had 9 I felt like there was always one who was "being left out" so to say! Played by themselves, hung around for added attention at bedtime!
I have a great support system and a lot of energy!!
I agree with previous posters- start out small at first! You will know when you are ready too add more kids!
Good Luck
I am a single parent, work full time, at least 10 hrs of overtime a week, and have to travel on occasion. I currently have 3 kiddos with me....a 8 year old boy, a 5 year old girl and an 11 mo old girl!!! It was crazy at first going from single to 3 but I got the hang of it now
School age kiddos have to do before and after school care done on site at the school which is nice and baby is at a daycare that is open from 530 am to 12 midnight.....holy crap!!! and we get to choose any 10 hours and allow you to do overtime hours if needed
I use respite for weekends I have to work, travel to MI to visit family monthly sometimes 2 times a month and have no real support system as far as other family here in KY. For days where kids have no school, I take vacation days for until I run out and then I just dont get payed after that.
My boss is also a foster parent and we did the training together so that is nice since he knows. I am able to adjust schedule if needed and do any appts I might need.
Is there anyone here who is a single foster parent AND works full-time (either running a business/telecommuting or working outside the home)? How many foster kids do you have/feel comfortable having?
I'm not a foster parent, but I want to become one down the road, maybe 5-7 years. I'm trying to start my own business and save for a house, so it'll be awhile. Anyway, I've always wanted to have a big family, so I'm just curious as to what you single foster parents feel is "doable".
I'm a single mom. I work full time outside the home. I have two daughters that I've adopted. I've had as many as 3 foster children at a time. At one point, my kids were 1, 2, 3, 4 and 9. That was hard. Getting back and forth to the car was hard. I never had enough hands.
I usually have at least 2 foster children at a time, though.