Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Reader Gets It Wrong. Foster Caregivers Should NOT Have Kids Call Them MOM or DAD

Some things just need correcting. I would not publish the comment that follows without a response.

Reader...You are just wrong. Adults teach a child what they are to be called. Auntie, Grandma, Pam or "______." It is cruel to let a child call you "Mom" unless you are the mother...or unless you adopt the child. You set the child up for just exactly what you say you would want to avoid and more.

What a terrible loss for the child when he/she is reunited with their parent and feel they are leaving their mother and father. No wonder some will kick the floor and scream.

And, how confusing to the child it must be to have many "Mothers." What kind of cruelty is that? In and out, in and out, in and out of familial relationships always tentative with the label of mother or dad.

Reader writes:"Raising a child from a baby, they're going to call a foster parent what the other children call them. Unless you start telling a child "you can't call me that", which would be cruel. These kids already feel isolated enough that they don't need to be purposefully isolated more. I don't think fosters should encourage it, or make them, but if a child starts doing it on their own there shouldn't be a problem with it. Or with continuing it. I seriously doubt that Poca thinks of those foster parents as anything other than "mommy and daddy"."

The goal is always reunification with the biological family. That is the law. We should work toward making that transition as easy as possible if it is to occur. You are right about one thing. Poca does feel that her foster caregivers are her parents because that is how they have taught the child. Think of it this way...what IF Poca had a family that could take her home? What if she had grandparents or an aunt? How would you feel if the foster woman in the Stuth Case told the Stuth's grand daughter that she must be called "Mommy"? And in our second study case...should the foster person in the life of little Lily be called "Mother?" Isn't that confusing to the child and maddening to the biological family? Tell the child the truth. Losing Santa is hard enough.

(The real focus on the story of Poca is that CPS is retaliating against the foster parents and in doing so are hurting the child. The sin is that CPS prefers to show its power for the sake of it. The sin is that again...the child is not the first consideration.)


Anonymous said...

It is tine for King 5 to do a piece on "Lily". The title could be "What happens if you are both a grandparent and a foster parent." By the way, "Lily" has been moved again... has had her 5th transporter...was in emotional shock last Friday and yesterday her mother's motion for her rights back was denied. Happy Mother's Day. Her family is devasted and no one seems to care in the DSHS system. They can't even get a proper home study. They were contacted however, by Brian Ross investigative reports and are considering going national with this story.

Anonymous said...

Hi Pam, Look the problem is we have an out of controll goverment agance that is steamrolling over the top of people in court and taking their children away when no crime has been commited no neglect or abouce it is all about the money the state gets from the fed's over $100,000. per child in system per year!

Anonymous said...

For sake of discussion:

Some of the most emotionally developed people come from cultures with multiple mothers. I am talking where the woman that gave birth, and the one who gave birth to her and any other females born from the older woman are all considered 'mother'. Meaning Aunt, Grandma, Mother are all Mommy. (cousins are all considered siblings) This system protects generations who have to survive the harshest of environmental extremes and poverty. Anthropologically speaking, Mother is defined by culture, not always by biology.

Children can have more than one mother... and still have it be healthy. It is a shame that our current system doesn't allow for it! (well some programs do, but they always get underfunded or bastardized beyond recognition)

Speaking as someone who has been in foster care, it is hard to let go of attachments as your placement changes. (This includes peers, but that is another discussion that I wish folks would pay more attention to.) These attachments can happen at any length of stay.

In foster care utopia, I believe that the foster parent - child relationship shouldn't end at reunification. The birth family will more likely than not need a support system in the future. It is a win-win situation.

Perhaps a compromise could be mommy Jane and mommy Mary.

No matter what the child calls the foster parents, the adults need to have an understanding that foster care is temporary and not a really nifty cost effective way to shop for babies to adopt. When I mean adults I mean caseworkers, fosters, CASA's, JUDGES, and so forth.

Currently we have a system and culture that teaches foster parents to hate and despise birth parents. The foster care industry thrives on it. There are biased attitudes involving class, and religion and so forth that also play into this. The propaganda against birth parents is seductive... most people in the system believe they are saving children.

Better training and better screening of foster parent applicants could eliminate most of this. Birth parents should be involved in the training of foster parents.

If the grown-ups in the system would start behaving like responsible compassionate people, instead of jealous emotionally deficient curmudgeons the children will be better off.

Anonymous said...

I agree Pam, adults teach the child what they are to be called.

I have two grandchildren I am fighting desperately for that are currently in foster care, and they called the foster parents Mom and Dad. It took a few months of contacting CPS and speaking to the foster parents, but they finally had the kids stop calling them Mom and Dad. The fosters are NOT mom and dad, regardless if other kids in the home call them that. My daughter and son-in-law are their Mom and Dad. They will be the only Mom and Dad. Period.

As for the goal of reunification with the biological family .. it *should* be that way, but we all know it isn't. I've been fighting for two years for my grandchildren, and I will keep fighting for them. CPS had no business taking them and no business trying to put them up for adoption without seeking extended family first. It's absolutely ridiculous what these people get away with.

Andi... Again said...

I usually agree with you, and think you're doing great things to bring light to CPS abuses, this one I happen to disagree on some points. Thus is the nature of opinions. I'm glad we have you, to bring to light what CPS is doing and helping look for solutions to the problem. It absolutely is a shame that CPS abuses the power they have, hurting children and families in the process.

JHolmes2009 said...

Spokane Mom Here!
I agree Pam. I am tangled in the web of CPS and what they don't offer to society. Having a daycare issue, I have been dealing with CPS for 30 days now. My daughter was placed with my parents for 30 days, and it's up on May 9th. I pray to god, and my right as a mother, that I am granted my parental rights back. She desveres to be home especially because she's only 8 months old. My son is 2 1/2 and and always asks, where she is. It's hard on my parents (thanking god that they have her right now) because I was their youngest, and that was over 24 years ago, of being with a little one. I could not image her, my son, or both for that matter being taken from me, and put into foster care, where I am no longer mommy. That is my god given right. I birthed my children, I love, nurture, and care for my children. I am not saying that a foster parent could not, or would not do the same. But, I am mommy, and I will always be mommy. IF this matter goes any further, and they are put into the home of someone I don't know, I'll make it clear, that I, Mother Nautre, and God believe that they are my true flesh and blood, and they should know what happened, the truth, and how CPS is. That it's not mommy's fault, and it was never suppose to happen, AT ALL! Pam, thanks si much for speaking out. It makes me confident knowing that their are concerned people out there, and how the so called 'system' works!
Regards, Young MOMMY in Spokane!

Christy said...

Children under no circumstance should ever be told or encouraged to call foster parents mom or dad.

Lovingfitfather said...

When is the pres going to do an expose on CPS regarding the fraud that they perpetrate against parents.
It seems that parents are always portrayed as mentally ill, homeless,drug addicts,with domestic violence issues, criminal histories, inappropriate relationships, and unwilling to improve themselves or do services.
When in truth this is the exception rather than the rule.

Anonymous said...

There is a couple desperate to have a child. She cannot and they have been fostering a soon to be 2 year old boy.
They correct him when he doesn't call them Mommy and Daddy. Go give Grandma a kiss. Thing like that. I feel very uncomfortable around them. Biggest problem is that she is the President and CEO for the VOA and should know better.

Anonymous said...

As a foster mom who is actively supportive of the birth families and reunification, I'd like for you to clarify your position. Our bio kids call us Mom and Dad. When the foster children call us the same thing, since that's what they hear, what would you have us say? A toddler, for example, living in our home since she was an infant and speaking no words when she arrives. These kids live with us for around a year. We may be the only family they remember. Day after day, month after month, we kiss them, hug them, put them to bed. Are they are to have no mom and dad for the months on end that they may go without any visitations with their birth parents? You say it's cruel to allow them to call us their parents. I say it's cruel to force them not to. And I don't practically understand how you would execute such a plan on a daily basis. Very young children cannot understand this nuance.

Kids have more than one mom or dad for so many reasons. Foster kids do too.

Mendy Dew said...

Are there any studies or reports that anyone can lead me to in regards to this issue? We're experiencing this very situation with my nephew who was placed in foster care with his 2 half siblings, and the judge in the case has been delaying any custody with biological family members (who have passed all requirements by the way). We've been fighting since day 1 for custody, and won't stop, but I'm looking for any research or studies I can use to help solidify my arguments. One of the many issues, is that the children are being encouraged to call the foster parents mom and dad, and although they want to keep these kids, they each have approved biological families who have been fighting for them. It has seemed to us that this is going to do nothing more than cause further confusion for the children. Any assistance would be appreciated. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I have a comment my granddaughter is in foster care. her foster care parents are insisting that she call them Mom and Dad she is 16 and she doesn't want to. So to punish her they took the parts off her jeep. (it is in her name and she paid for it) when she found it would not start her brother came over and fixed it. later they found out the foster dad took the part off the jeep. She moved the jeep to her brother's home and in the middle of the night they had it towed to their home Her brother reported it stolen. Now she has to pay them for the tow plus they want to sit in her private counseling meetings. What do I have her to do?

Tawna Yrigoyen said...

Thank you so much for this post. My nephew was placed in foster care and they new I wanted him from the day he was born his mom and dad also wanted me to have him. But being out of state I did everything I needed in aug I came out to the court date to find that his foster parents wanted him and teaching him mommy and daddy. Witch I was told you never to do. They just got their less then a year and this was their 1st kid. He was 4 months when they got him and now he's 11 months. So basically instead of adopting cuz the money they did this to take the cheap way out. It's wrong on so many levels the social services out in Cali is crazy to let this happened. Know I had wanted him and family comes first and they should make me fight for him. But I'm doing that and won't give up he will know he's loved and I fought and paid so much money to do it.