We are talking about fostering vulnerable children in our future but we have two babies currently. I am wondering what the "rules" are when it comes to birth order and foster care? Are there any great resources that you know of?
The biggest concern with fostering children who are older than your biological or adopted children is the risk that your children could be physically or sexually abused. Remember that many children in the foster care system have been removed from seriously dysfunctional homes; some may also have been in multiple foster homes before coming into your life. In these situations, the children may have been exposed to physical or sexual abuse, whether or not this exposure is known to the agency that places the children with you. Children who have been victims of abuse may abuse others, and especially others who are younger, smaller, or weaker. And even if they have not been direct victims of abuse, they may have witnessed it on a regular basis, and learned, for example, that bullying is a way to get things they want.
If you are going to consider bringing an older foster child into your home, it will be important for you to: a) Get every possible scrap of information about the child's previous living situations, so you have some idea as to whether he/she has experienced physical or sexual abuse or whether he/she has witnessed such behaviors as domestic violence or sexual situations; b) Teach your current children that they should ALWAYS report to you any situation that makes them feel uncomfortable, or any attempts by someone to get them to keep a secret; and c) At least for a few weeks after placement, have an "open door" policy in which your foster child is never alone, behind closed doors, with your current children.
You should also recognize that many foster children will not have learned the sorts of things that you routinely teach your children, and may come into your home with behaviors that simply don't work well in your family. As an example, your young children may be exposed to foster children who use foul language, have no table manners, are used to watching TV for hours at a time, speak to you in a defiant or disrespectful manner, have tantrums or periods of raging, refuse to do chores or homework, and so on. Such behaviors can upset your children, or you may find that your children start imitating the fosters. You will need to teach your children to be your partners in helping foster children adjust to life in your family. Your children will also need to learn that it is rude to comment if an older foster child does not know certain things that they already have learned; as an example, a foster child of ten may not know how to tell time on a clock with hands (not a digital clock), while your own children may be able to do so at a much younger age.
Above all, remember that your young children are used to a lot of Mom-time. When you bring an older foster child into your home, he/she is likely to need a lot of services -- visits to the dentist and doctor, therapy appointments, tutoring sessions, and more. He/she will also need to be taken to after school activities, such as soccer practice or dance classes or Scouts or birthday parties, to help him/her adjust to his/her new neighborhood, school, and so on. Be sure that YOU are prepared for major changes in your current schedule, and that you build in some special time for your current children, as you work at integrating the foster child into your family.
Sharon
Normally or Professionally they highly recommend Families keeping ' Birth Order '..
Some states also say 9 months between children with Infants and or Toddlers...
What I would also recommend is go ' as a Couple ' to the Agency Orientation (s), and get a feeling for the expectations and or the processings.
Natalie;
There is a ' ginormous ' or huge need for Respite Care Providers.
This could be a possibility for ' Getting your Family's feet wet ' with the processing?
Love that idea of becoming respite-certified for over nights. We do tons of babysitting and afternoons and date nights for our foster parent friends. But becoming respite certified would be even more of a help. really good, thank you.