Monday, May 21, 2012

Favorite Fostering Ages?

I have a question for all of you seasoned foster parents out there, and I'm not patient enough to wait until the 2nd Friday of June for "Foster Friday Q&A" to get the answer.  So...  I'm asking today!  :-)

I'm moving into my bigger and better place in just over three weeks, and I'll be able to once again say, "Bring on the kiddos!" when my agency calls about a placement.  Along with the big move and the fact that I continue to have Monkey four days a week also comes some decisions.  I find myself re-evaluating my age range when it comes to foster care, and I'd love to hear from all of you!

I've only ever fostered infants/toddlers and one teen.  With summer coming up, part of me is thinking that a preschool or young elementary school age child might be a great fit for our family right now, but I just don't know.  Babies are easy when it comes to their emotional needs and behaviors.  I've never parented an older child from a hard place before.

So my questions to all of you (if you will pretty please humor me) are:

"What has been your favorite age to foster and why?"


"What has been your most challenging age to foster and why?"

I'd really love to hear your input!!!


Charlene said...

I'm not fostering yet, but I can hardly wait to see the answers you get. We are just starting out and plan to do foster-adopt. We're debating between requesting an infant/toddler placement or a sibling set (ideally infant and toddler/preschooler siblings). I'm so curious to see what people have to say about preschoolers and young elementary. I have an almost 8 year old, so we're pretty much wanting to cap at 5, but aren't sure if we want to go that old. Thanks so much for asking this!

Attempting Agape said...

My favorite age is the 12-24 month range, just because they are so much fun, learning new things every day and because so much healing can be brought to their little heart in a short amount of time.

My two most challenging kids have been in the 8-9 year old range. I think its been tough because although they are mature in that they attend school and can do a lot of things on their own - they are also immature and demanding a lot of time. It is fun and challenging as they are grown up, but not yet.

drivesideways said...

Do you want to lose sleep or lose your hair? Those are the two choices. :)

We have only done 4 and under; mainly because, personally, adding school into the mix of all the appointments, changes, etc, would be extremely difficult. Like you said, the younger they are, the less emotional needs they have, but physically, babies can be equally needy.
Every age is fun and hard in it's own way, and God will give you the strength and wisdom to help each life that comes your way.

The Campbell's Journey said...

Our oldest placement has been 4 our youngest 2 days old, 12 out of 17 of our placements came to us between the ages of 2 days old and 3 weeks old. I will tell you, for me the 2, 3, & 4 year olds have been HARD! I won't take any older because our two bio girls are 7 and 9 and they are not ready to be exposed to the "potential" abuse that older kids may have experienced. Our current soon to be 2 year old has been my absolute hardest placement. He didn't sleep the first 48 hours he was here. I had to go out and purchase a $60 crib tent just to keep him safe at night. He and his 3 year old brother have clearly been through some tough stuff. The 3 year old won't talk and the 2 year old has major anger issues. For me, newborns are "easy". Yes, I lose sleep at night. But, I am big on schedules. I get them on a feeding, awake, sleeping schedule as soon as they come through my door. They may not sleep through the night right away but I "train" them to go back to sleep.
I am out of my comfort zone with any child coming into my home over the age of 2 years. Like you, I was getting the "itch" because my two girls had been here since birth and they are only 18 months old. I wanted to take another placement so I had to go over the age of two because we can not "legally" have more than two under 2 (unless you take a sibling group). So I got two boys, almost 2 and just turned 3. Yep, lesson learned. We love them but boy have we had to learn to live with the emotional turmoil of whatever it is that they came from.
The boys will be placed with their brothers soon and I will go back to waiting patiently for my girls to turn 2 so I can have a baby again :)

Mandy said...

I have fostered ages baby through 9 yrs old. The hardest to date have been the sibling group I have now. they arrived at 4 mos, 20 months and 30 months. Oh my! They had been through a lot, and the behaviors have stretched me almost to breaking. We are doing better, but I will say the 2 year old age range is hard no matter what. Add trauma to that and it is a whole lot worse. Of course, maybe I would think differently if there was only a single 2 year old to care for.

Mama P said...

I refuse to answer this question, because each age we've had has been exactly what age needed us at that time. :) 3 days old to 16 years old, and every one of them has been my favorite.

I am partial to the newborns, because for me they are easy, easy, easy. I adore the exhausted newborn, baby wearing, snuggly stage. Of course, I am a SAHM which makes it easier.

You're going to get a call for exactly what you need, regardless of what you tell them you want, LOL! You'll know it's right. ;)

Mie said...

We're only licensed from 0-6. All of our kids have been under 4 when they came and only 2 of them were 3, the rest were younger. I definitely prefer 3 months to about 2 1/2. For some reason the 3 year olds have driven mie crazy! Of course 1 was RADish but my bio son drove me nuts at 3 too so I think it's just the stage of life they are in. I love having my older son who is 5 but maturity wise about 7-8 but for fostering so far I love the littles.

Denver Laura said...

We prefer 18-24 month olds. The 5 year olds are nice because they sleep well, eat on their own, no diapers etc. Babies are a challange just becuase they're babies. We had an exchange student and beside the whole not speaking English part, he wasn't a problem at all (I know it's different with foster care).

Diane said...

I have taken kids that were 2 days old to 4 1/2 years old at the time of placement. I have also been involved with the older siblings of some of my placements. Personally I like under 2 at time of placement, simply because there tends to be less emotional baggage. I thrive at dealing with the developmental issues of very young children, but I get stressed out with the emotional issues of some of the older (it's all relative) ones, especially as I get older. Age 4 has been the hardest for me because it is so hard to comfort a child that is old enough to know what is happening but not old enough to reason with to try to explain it. The children that come to me at 15-24 months and leave around age 2 or 3 are the hardest ones to let go, because they really know you as mom in a psychological sense and it breaks my heart if they aren't well bonded to their parent(s). I almost think an infant, 4-12 months is the easiest foster placement. If you can deal with the lack of sleep / round the clock feedings, include down to newborn, but without help, that is really hard for a working single parent.

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