Kids adjusting

2kdad

I have two girls ages 2 and 4. We are currently children’s pastors interviewing for Houseparent positions. We have a promising interview in NC. What can we do to make the transition easier for the girls. We have a big play room full of toys, they have lots of friends at church and several playgroups/story times, and of course having to share Mom and Dad with 7-8 other “big kids.”

Any advice on making a smooth transition?

——————————————————————————–

webmaster

My kids were 3 and 6 when we started as houseparents 12 years ago and for them is was an easy transition because we got to do so many new things. Our first week on the job we left for a week of camp with the kids. There were also tons of other activities we were able to do because of our position that we were never able to to on our own. Like camping, horseback riding, skating, movies, rock-climbing (my son started that when he was 7), etc.

Sure they have to share their parents, but it also opens up a whole new bunch of opportunities for them, depending on the facility. Even at the facility we work at now, we have so much built in like a gym, swimming pool, two playgrounds, and more activities that you can think of, kids tend to get used to being entertained.

A lot of time, when you work with big kids and you have young birth children, the facility kids will do a lot to connect with the kids and even become very protective of them.

One thing we did to make up for our kids having to share us, was to do special things with them when we were on relief, or (when our kids were young and not in school) when the other kids were in school.

I have seen a lot of young staff kids come in and they all seem to adapt very well to this life. Much better I think than older kids. I have seen more preteens and teens have trouble adapting that young children.

——————————————————————————–

Launchpad

We have two boys that are four and six and a two year old girl. I have found that the more that you can incorporate your kids into the rest of the house (Like a family) it will be much smoother for you. Don’t worry about the behaviors and language, your kids will see you teaching (And giving consequences) to the kids that are struggling. I am finding my own kids are more mature, have better manors and behave better than kids I see with “Normal” families.

At times I feel like I am really neglecting my own kids, but the truth is that while I’m feeling guilty about doing paperwork instead of wrestling with them, they have five big brothers playing with them. There are issues at times between the kids but they do bond and look out for each other.

Example- My sons first week in his brand new school was a little stressful. The fact that he was the only Caucasian kid in a inner city school also made him a target for a couple of mean little kids. When the other kids in our house found out what was going on, they insisted on walking my son to his class for the next week before I took them to school. Being a first grader with 5 teenage boys that come from the roughest part of town as your personal escort tends to make people take notice. You would have thought my boy was a made man. All them boys made me proud.

I am also home to see my kids and be an active part in their lives. How many men can say that? It’s stressful, sometimes a little dangerous, but the benefits of my kids having my wife and I home for them and active in their lives greatly outweighs the negatives.

I have worked with a couple that decided to keep their kids and the facilities kids separate. It turned into a big dysfunctional nightmare for all involved.

Growing up a HP kid!

seriously

Having our kids at work with us all of the time is scary sometimes. Like this morning when one of our young men was running late getting out of the house. My husband was out the door with all of the other guys. I had gone to the office to complete random paper work. My youngest 2, ages 4 and 3 were near the place where our straggler was finishing up his race to the door.

Through the new silence in the house I heard ,my 4 year old yelling at the top of her voice, “HURRY! GO! HURRY UP! GET YOUR SHOES ON! GO, GO! HURRY UP!”

I was cracking up, but also a little bit sheepish. Did she learn that from me? It’s possible. With 12 kids to get out the door to somewhere each morning, there tends to be some prodding from time to time. 

I have 3 kids who were all born since we became houseparents. This is the only life that they have ever known. We work really hard at integrating them into the home and making sure that they don’t become “little houseparents” and for the most part, that’s the way that they behave. This was one of those times where a reminder (for her and for me!) are certainly in order!

——————————————————————————–

Seamus

My wife and I do not have kids of our own, but we do have a 5 year old in our home that LOVES to learn our language and tone of voice. When we are dealing with our teenagers he is sure to be listening. It keeps you humble though doesn’t it? Having to go back and explain to a five year old that you were wrong for getting frustrated and upset and saying what we said. I have never said anything inappropriate to any kid in my care, but just the little things that you don’t want a five year old picking up – “bossing the others around.” I want him to learn respect from me because that is what I want to give to the kids. It definitely keeps you in check!

——————————————————————————–

momofmany

One of my favorite questions my 8 year old asks is when are WE off? I have to remind myself that they are “on” too. Not as a houseparent, but as a kid who has to share her own parents.

This morning was especially bad with the residents. I found myself taking my frustration out on my own child. I have felt down all day for doing it. It affected me much more than her. Luckily this is our last day on, so the next 3 she does not have to share me with anyone but her brother (who is older and does not need me as much).

In some ways, it has to be hard. But with the grace of God, we can teach them the importance of what we do. 

——————————————————————————–

conniejean

We have 3 children and this is all they have ever known too. They see the girls as big sisters and don’t get bossy too often. Occasionally they will tell them they are too loud or to hurry up but the girls are very understanding and usually just laugh at them for it. My kids also ask if “we” are off and it cracks me up every time because I used to do the same thing to my parents up until I left for college, LOL.

Newbies w/ young kids searching for advice looking into becoming HPs (with two young kids)

HPwannabe

My wife and I have been married for just shy of three years and we have two children: a 2 1/2 year old son, and a 1 year old daughter. We have been pouring through many of the postings aimed at newbies and the sharing of fears and trials faced by many. We are curious to know how many HPs started off with children under 5 years old or have since becoming an HP have had children.

After contacting the first home to schedule a trip to check out the facilities I was told that my wife and we should wait several years before thinking about becoming HPs. My wife and I don’t think that we are signing up for extended summer camp or anything like that but we would like to hear from those who have been there and are there whether we are this first administrator’s advice was her opinion or a shared opinion by many HPs.

We have both served with children in various roles for a most of our adult life and although we are only 30 years old, we feel that we can be useful and teachable to children if God allows us to do this. We want to be diligent and truly seek God’s will and to also be willing to listen to advice of those who are willing to share it.

Please let us know what ya’ll think about starting off as HPs with young biological children.

——————————————————————————–

Seamus

I am not sure what kind of home you are looking to get into, but I would think that if you really feel that this is what you want to be doing, then a basic care facility would probably be fine for you.

In the way of age my wife and I had only been married 3 years and were only 23 years old when we began houseparenting. There are several others on this forum that were the same age when they began, so I don’t believe that you have to be “older” to make a great houseparent. Having kids does make things tougher.

This job is certainly one that requires 100% commitment. If you aren’t sure that this is what you want to do or you don’t feel that God has called you down this path, then DON’T do it. It will be far worse for your family and the kids at the home if you are just testing the waters to see what it is like. However, just the fact that you are asking these questions and inquiring on a forum, seems to imply that you are serious.

I would continue looking at other places. At least some of them will allow you to come to the facility and take a tour and see how things are done.

Good Luck!

——————————————————————————–

Launchpad

I agree with all Seamus had to say. Many of the HP’s at our facility started their career here having one or two toddlers.

My wife and I had our daughter here. Besides her puking all over the place every couple of hours, it has been pretty smooth.

Seamus is right about a basic care facility. Definitely do your homework- talk with others on the board about potential facilities, stay far, far away from any facility that has a restraint policy (Not good for your family to be involved in that environment, IMO), and talk to other HP’s at the facilities you are talking with.

I hate to push anything that looks like we are trying to hustle you, but the members only services on the main board is very cool. You get email alerts from facilities that are looking, your resume posted online for facilities to view (We hired one couple off of there), and listings of all known facilities in the US. Just cause they don’t post on the job listings site doesn’t mean they are not looking.

Keep in mind some facilities, especially those starting at higher than average pay scale, will want some experience and stability in your marriage before considering you. Then again there is always exceptions (Your 30 years old, married for three years, independently wealthy, etc..) I also believe that if God wants it to be, it will be and there is nothing that will stand in the way of that.

——————————————————————————–

Craig Bridges

Great questions with great input back. Different facilities have different views on bio children. I raised my kids in this ministry and overall it has been very positive. Some issues I would consider:

1) Make sure you understand the word SUPERVISION. This is the key in my opinion.

2) What are the issues of the kids you will be working with and how well does the facility follow their guidelines in this area.

3) You ability to be impartial and fair. The “ranch kids” and “my kids” mentality doesn’t seem to work well. These kids need to know they belong and your kids need to be secure, can be tricky sometimes.

4) Considering #3, How well you can work through the resentment both your kids and the placed kids will have toward each other (sure to happen). This can be a great opportunity to teach and make break throughs with both Bio and placed kids. In my opinion this can be a strength of having bio kids in a program. Making sure you have the same or close to the same standards will be helpful.

5) How are bio kids viewed by the facility and admin? Are they included in activities, holidays etc.? It can be hard to manage your own if they feel left out.

6) Use your respite/time off wisely with your kids

7) Understand and discuss the sacrifices your family will make.

8) Once in the ministry keep yourselves and your kids focused on all the positives this ministry has to offer rather than the sacrifices. I have been blessed as a house parent to experience many things in my children’s growing up that I would have missed in my old 9-5.

9) Actually #1 “WHERE GOD GIVES A VISION HE GIVES A PROVISION” Once God has confirmed in your hearts the call trust that He has it worked out.

This is the greatest ministry in the world in my opinion and these kids need passionate, loving, and called messengers of God in their lives!

Routine for bio kids in a family setting??

momof10

I am in a facility where it is family style but they still have single HP’s and HP’s without children. For the families out there with small children, do you have a routine or are your bio kids just having to “deal” with living in a facility.

Right now I hate it because I am trying to have my own kids nap before the residents come home and b/c there have been trainings etc. on random days they have no routine. We stress that the residents thrive on routine but who cares about our own kids! Grrrr… 

——————————————————————————–

webmaster

When we became houseparents my youngest was 3. We tried to have a routine, but the fact was that we had things that disrupted that like training, court hearings, school meetings, etc.

It is the nature of what we do, and the price we have to pay to do. The way that I see it my kids could either deal with the disruptions of their parents being houseparents or have the routine of being in daycare while their parents worked other kinds of jobs.

Houseparent Children is having your own children safe as a houseparent?

emyboy

Hey guys,

My wife and I are interested in becoming houseparents, but we have a 4 year old son. I was wondering how safe he will be, and I do not want to jeopardize our time with him. Does anyone have small children and be houseparents? Am I out of my mind? My wife and I just have such a passion and a calling on our lives to work with this upcoming generation, and we feel the Lord is leading us to be houseparents. Let me know what you think

——————————————————————————–

DH and I want kids badly. So far we haven’t been able to conceive but we hope to and if not we will adopt. Since we feel that houseparenting is our forever career, this is an issue for us too. What level of care are you looking at? We have been hired for basic care, meaning we hardly ever even get CPS kids. You can imagine this is the safest environment for natural kids. Later, when our kids are older, we will probably take on harder to handle kids but I think this is best for now. God really led us here, we didn’t even know this level existed. I would find out what kind of kids will be there before you accept a job. One way that a facility can control the level of kids is by being a private facility. If you get govt funding, you have less say on who is placed. So that’s my 

——————————————————————————–

Launchpad

My wife is four months pregnant now and we are still convinced that this is the ultimate job to have and raise a family. I had my concerns at first, especially coming from a facility that restrained constantly and had staff getting hurt frequently.

My supervisor raised three children as a house parent and did a great job. He put it best when I asked him how he did it, “I’m a full time dad”. You see, my kid will have me and my wife when he gets home from school. I will actually get to be a very active part of his life.

Think about it- you’re a professional parent. You get to learn and study parenting techniques. You will hopefully research and study the latest and greatest strategies in child rearing. Think of the patience you will or have developed after dealing with a multitude of teen drama.

I see it as a positive. I get to be with my family. I make a living being with them, not driving a truck down the road or dodging bullets. It is hard to imagine a different life, especially when I know I will get to raise my kid and be a dad. That’s where it’s at.

How to find a place when you have 5 birth kids

momof5

Does anyone know where we might look to become house parents if we have 4 of our own kids and one coming home from college in the summer and at Christmas? Are we nuts to even think we can find such a place? We are an experienced foster family and have had foster kids for years with our own bio kids but wondered if we might be able to find a program to work for and bring our own kids along to live there… maybe we shouldn’t even consider. Any suggestions?

 ——————————————————————————–

JonNDeb

That I don’t know – most of the group homes that my husband and I have looked at in the Southeast US limit kids to 2 or 3 max… I’m not sure where you’d look… sorry I’m not any help!

——————————————————————————–

Launchpad

There seems to an unwritten rule in this field when it comes to your own children- 2 is all that most facilities will consider. But, there are some that will consider three and I even heard of one facility that has a couple with four. (I will pm you the facility name).

The problem is that your house/ cottage will have at a minimum six children with various degrees of issues. With five of your own children plus you and your husband your up to thirteen in the house. That worked great back in 1890 but it is frowned upon nowadays.

I personally would reconsider what I do now if I had more than two of my own bio with me in the house I would seriously consider a change into another related field. I just believe it is extremely important to be there for all of the kids and to provide the the best quality of childcare- physically and emotionally, that you can. I really do not think I have that much stamina to keep up with that many kids without snapping and turning into a Drill Sargent.

However if God is putting a calling on you to do this- he will open the doors for you. 

——————————————————————————–

webmaster

The vast majority of facilities will not even consider houseparents with more than two birth children.

 I know there are facilities that will hire people with more, but you have to be willing to accept in most cases: lower wages, less time off, less benefits.

I personally would never consider being a houseparent with more than two birth children and in fact I am almost looking forward to when my birth children graduate so that the conflicts created with having birth children and being houseparents is alleviated. Not that I am in a big hurry to get rid of my birth children, because I enjoy being with them very much, but their growing up and leaving is inevitable and they are getting close to that age.

On the other hand I am not you, and don’t know what your calling is. I do however pray that you will be led in the correct direction.

——————————————————————————–

dmitchell_00

How do you feel having your own children in a houseparenting situation affects your job as a houseparent. We don’t have any bio children but are hoping to adopt our foster child by the end of the summer. I was just talking to my husband the other day, how it would affect him when we decide to embark upon houseparenting.

——————————————————————————–

webmaster

Let me preface with saying that none of the issues are enough to make me want to quit being a houseparent and I have dealt with them for over 10 years, but I am definitely looking forward to not having to deal with them anymore.

1. My birth children are not included in Christmas lists and they have at times been discouraged to see home children receive huge amounts of Christmas gifts and they don’t. I quickly learned that I did not have the resources to compete with what the home children received. I have made it much easier on my birth children by explaining to them that they receive stuff throughout the year, when we are on relief and vacation that the home children don’t receive and now that they are almost 14 and 17 it is much easier for them to accept.

2. It is hard for my home children when we go on vacation and relief and they are left behind. We work with children that have very little family ties and we are their best representation of family. They have a hard time understanding that we take our birth children and not them when we leave once a month for relief and those times we leave on vacation.

3. Administration has often made a distinction between home children and staff children which has caused them to be excluded from activities that they would have liked to attend. Choir, camps, trips, etc.

4. Home children are discouraged that our birth children are allowed to get cell phones, and drive when they are 16, and get other privileges when they are not or have much stiffer restrictions on what they can do.

Working in a residential foster care facility exacerbates the situation, because you are supposed to be living like a family. It is just hard for both sides to accept the family concept when so many things are different, however I don’t know if there is a solution. I do know that working in a therapeutic program is easier in this respect because there is a clear distinction between birth children and home children. However it opens itself up to a whole new set of problems, like your birth children being exposed to behaviors you really don’t want them being exposed to or the possibility of them being bullied.

——————————————————————————–

dontlietokids.net

Mike

Major kudos to you for admitting it’s tough being a HP with personal children. I know many who do a GREAT job with their own kids, but I’ve always known it has to be more difficult! Many won’t admit that though, which I find odd.

——————————————————————————–

dmitchell_00

Very Interesting information, thanks for sharing. One more question, Do you feel that starting when your children are younger will make a difference? Maybe they will feel that this is just the norm as oppose to starting when they are grade school age and already have a view of the way things should be in a family. How old were children when you and your wife decided to become house parents and if they were old enough were they part of the decision process of this life change? Me being nosy, sorry.

I guess it teaches your children sacrifice rather want to learn about it or not.

——————————————————————————–

webmaster

My Daughter was 3 my son was 6. We had been foster parents for two years prior to becoming houseparents. As far as affecting children, I don’t think it really matters; I have come to believe your children will be who they become regardless of many of the choices you make. Both of my children have been raised under the same conditions and with the same expectations and have turned out very differently. My daughter is very committed to her faith, does well in school, and is very devoted to the family and the ministry we have been called to. My son, although he is a very good person, is very worldly, couldn’t care less about school, and in the past year has come to resent having to live with us caring for other children.

As far as including them in the decision I guess I have to say that we always valued their opinion, but the final say was ours. Not too many children have a say as to what their parents profession is going to be, and although we consider it a ministry it is most certainly a profession.

I have seen many new houseparents start with children of various ages and there is no hard and fast rule. I have seen kids that grow up to go to college and are very successful and kids that have ran away with home children and end up in jail. For the vast majority it doesn’t really matter because for most people being a houseparent isn’t a career, but turns out to be a transitional position. Even those that don’t intend it to be.

For me I’m OK with that, if more people would commit to be a houseparent for just a year of two, there would be less facilities desperate for staff and it would be easier to get rid of staff that shouldn’t be houseparents.

 ——————————————————————————–

dmitchell_00

Our little guy will be close to three by the time we are ready to embark upon this journey so he wouldn’t be old enough to really understand the houseparenting concept but he will go from being an only child to having lots of children around. I think if God places this desire in your hear then your kids will be ok. But like you said a child’s personality plays into it as well. Thanks for sharing a little of your history with us.

Bringing in baby… …we are due in a few weeks

JonNDeb
Anybody had the experience of having a baby while being houseparents? We are due in June, and will be taking about two weeks off (and of course, it will be brand new relief as our regular relief will be in Brazil… which means the house will be crazy). How have you best found incorporating the new “foster sister” into the household? Jonathan & I are very firm that we will not treat our own biological child different from our other kiddos, and they’ve been involved in my pregnancy from the start; ultrasound pics and videos, feeling the baby kick, setting up the nursery, etc. What else can we do to help make this an easy transition?
–Debbie


Launchpad
Congratulations!

Our daughter was born almost a year ago now. I have found it to be much easier than I thought. Our daughter actually enjoys being at the cottage better than when we are off duty.

Of course you don’t leave the boys alone with her, but they give her lots of attention, love playing with her and take enormous pride in the fact that most of them have been there from the start. Right now they are all trying to help her walk,

A big difference is my wife does the majority of the baby duties while I do the bulk of keeping the boys in line. She still works with the boys regular and yes, she still makes me change diapers.

A couple things that are a must- Baby monitor (With video if possible) and a pack and play. That pack and play works great for when they start walking and you need them to stay in a spot while taking care of some issues, it has been a lifesaver for us.

Again, congratulations!!! 


JonNDeb
Thanks, Launchpad! We are very excited, and our kiddos (mixed boys and girls ages 2-6) are very excited. We actually have one that is going to be adopted before we deliever and he’s upset that he won’t be here and is begging for us to send pictures. We had a great experience last year when they placed a 4 day-old newborn with us and had him for six months, but I’m expecting it to be different as I’m actually having this one, am nursing, etc. We’re trying to prep them as much as possible and will probably not take all the time off we are being given after her arrival; this is our house (we don’t have a separate house or apartment that is ours; there is a small 2 bedroom duplex that we share with other off-duty houseparents if we choose to stay in the area over relief) and we will be looking forward to being in our bed with our nursery, etc.

Thanks for the advice!


seriously
Congrats on your expected arrival! Since becoming houseparent we’ve had 3 babies of our own. Our oldest is now 7 and our youngest is 3. I agree with what Launchpad said. We have found that defining our duties made the transition easier. Of course my husband and I both changed diapers and I did (and still do) spend a lot of time with the children in our home. But I handle baths and bedtime with my own children while my husband monitors study time and showers in the home.

Having a monitor is a must. From my own observations I really believe, though, that it’s much easier to have a baby when you’re already a houseparent than to become a houseparent after your own children are school-aged and then transition them into the lifestyle.

It sounds like you have given a lot of thought to the transition and I admire the way that you have already included the children in your home.


TexPop
Our little boy is almost 16mos now and I agree with Launch that he enjoys our time “on” more than our time “off”. He really doesn’t understand why he can’t always go see his “Bubbas” on the other side of the door when we’re off duty. I also agree that you have to be intentional about dividing your duties between monitoring the cottage and caring for the baby. My wife and I take turns doing each whenever possible, but breastfeeding limits somewhat.

Overall, I’d say it is a wonderful experience for ALL the kids. Our own is becoming very socially adept, and our cottage kids are seeing and experiencing how a family is supposed to work.

What a BLESSING!!


glidenhi
Congratulations!!…..Jon & Deb. We always treated the kids like our own anyway….you probably do too….so the adjustment shouldn’t be that difficult. If you had teens, and wanted to insure their virginity til marriage, I would say invite them into the delivery room. Just kidding….


webmaster
This is webmasters wife and we never had newborns born after we became houseparent’s but our children were young our son was 7yrs and our daughter was 3 . We worked b-mod so it was a little different but the kids in the house loved our kids. Now we work basic childcare with kids that are at times peers and even feel like siblings. When they were young they hated going on relief because they were bored but now that they are teenagers they love the quiet. But I have known a lot of houseparents here that have had babies and the family just adapts to the new little person with a lot of the same emotions that traditional families go through, jealousy, tiredness and a lot of love. I will be praying for you all and I know that God will bless your new little family.

 

Homeschooling your own children

bakersdozen

Hi, My name is Chris and my husband and I have been houseparents for 10 months. We were called by God to leave our home and go into this ministry. Having 5 children of our own (ages 1-9) we have had many ups and downs over the past 10 months. Just the move of 1000 miles, leaving our church and friends and the lifestyle change has been a rollercoaster! To put another twist in this call, we homeschool. We always have and know that this is what the Lord wills for our family. This past year did not go well. I try not to be too hard on myself knowing that the Lord has taught my family so many things beyond the textbook. I am now looking at starting a new school year, and am looking for anyone else who homeschools as well. Any advice that you have would be helpful. I have some specific questions, but right now I would like to find out how many others are homeschooling, if any, and then I will post some more specific question. Thank you for all who take the time to answer this post. I know your time is valuable, and I appreciate you sharing it with me.


webmaster

My wife and I pulled our daughter from school at semester break last school year. We home schooled her for the one semester. Her needs were not being met at the Private school and we used that semester as an intensive program to get her caught back up to where she would need to be to get back into public school. I might add that we were in direct violation of our facility’s rules, but because I was in the process of transitioning into a new position and we were moving out of the cottage they overlooked our situation. With my new position comes a new school district and she will be back in school next month.
I would like to add, that with appointments, staff meetings, work days, etc. It was a very difficult situation with our one child, who was in the 4th grade and we were able to leave her to complete her work on her own on several occasions.

I honestly believe that if we had to do it long term, it would be nearly impossible to effectively educate our children at home while serving as houseparents. I am sorry if this is discouraging, but for us that’s how it is.


CaringCouple
Just managing the care and treatment of 6 teenage boys is more than a fulltime job for my wife and I with no children.

I cannot imagine trying to provide an education at the same time others, especially my own. Either the care provided or the quality of the education would suffer and neither should be acceptable.

Good Luck.


bakersdozen
Hi. This is Rob, Chris’ husband. Whether to homeschool or not for us is not an issue. We will always homeschool. Most people who make that life choice do so for reasons I choose not to debate at this point. Many large families do homeschool and succeed at doing so. What we are looking for is whether there are those who have been called to this field and are committed to the boys as well as their children’s homeschool education. The God I know is pretty big and where I am weak He is strong. I also believe there is not an acceptable loss, that’s why we know that our success with our children and the boys will come through God’s strength leading and will be His will for all of us. Thank you for your responses. We look forward to hearing from those who are succeeding with houseparenting and homeschooling. God’s peace and blessings.


CaringCouple

I was not trying to judge.

Simply offering an opinion that providing and education to your own 5 kids has to be a full time job in and of itself.

I don’t know. I don’t do it.

But I do run a Group Home and deal with the needs of Teenage boys and that takes most of both my wife and my waking hours all by itself.

I applaud your efforts. I just can’t imagine how the care for the children entrusted to you can help but be compromised by the needs of your own children.

Good Luck to you.


beth
Hi! My husband and I are hps as well with 3 children 5 and under with 1 on the way. We do not homeschool yet but plan to homeschool our 5 yr. old this yr. I work with our boys (we have all boys) though on Biblical school work even now. Our 2 oldest know more than most as they go into school. I don’t say this for any reason but that I don’t know any other profession that gives me AND my husband so much time with our children. Our children not only will learn from myself but my husband as well! It is up to you and your husband to set boundaries with the kids in care. When they know that is YOUR time I believe they will respect it. Our kids in care do.
I respect you for choosing to go against the grain.
Beth


bakersdozen|

Beth,
Thankyou, thank you, thank you!! I am so encouraged by your reply. Although you won’t be able to answer my specific home school questions, I have been blessed by your desire to serve YOUR children as well as those in your care. I can fully understand how some people can’t do this job with kids of their own, just the same as there are people who couldn’t do this job period. I respect that. But I also know that my kids are not taking away from the care that my cottage boys receive. In fact, we have several boys that were on their way out the door here until they were placed with us. Our large family provides a strong role model to these teenage boys. They see how we interact with one another and that we treat them with the same love and respect. Your advice about setting boundries between my time and their time is so true. We have done that, and not everyone on our campus has agreed with us, but it is working. The boys here respect my kids and most of them love them as well. I would do anything for any of the 13 children we have. My husband and I work so hard at teaching them how to be a family. And when you are a part of a family, the “me first” attitudes disappear. I am not saying that it happens fast, or that it is easy, but they really understand what it means to help each other out. When we first got here, the boys were not happy we had so many kids. They wanted us to spend every waking moment with them and cater to their every whim. Now I have boys begging to be the one to clean the baby up from the high chair, or bring the three year old into church or hold a hand across the street or in the store. I have had 2 boys ask us privately if they could be part of our family (neither has a family). We love what we do and I believe with all my heart that our large family has done more for these boys than any point system or reward system could ever do. How will any child really grow up and know how to take care of a family of their own unless they are taught? All the boys (and my kids) have expressed how they love being part of a family with 13 kids!

With all that said, I still cannot forget that there are 5 precious children that God gave me first. They deserve every part of me that I can give. Homeschooling (although started before we began this ministry) is a way for me and my husband to teach them and take advantage of that gift of TIME!! All too soon they will grow up and be out of our protection. If I could keep all 13 home with me, I would. My biggest opposition is the home we work for. My phone never stops ringing, and there is always someone at my door. We have expressed our concerns, and some changes were made at the end of the school year last year. I think people here respect our desire to homeschool, but don’t really understand that it means time to do so. Attitudes are changing, and that is a good thing. Now I have to re-do a lot with the way I teach and what I use, so I am using my limited time wisely.

Beth I also want to be an encourager to you. My husband lit up when I read your message to him. You will never go wrong with a big family. Cherrish your time with them, for they grow up too fast. They will grow up with a servant’s heart, and that is a great thing!
If I can be of any help to you as you start your homeschool career, PLEASE let me know! I can email you privately with suggestions and encouragement.


beth

Hey Chris,
Thank you so much!! Your encouragement to me brought tears to my eyes. Now you can decide if it’s the pregnancy hormones or my understanding of how quickly our children grow up ( ;
I would love to get advice from you.  We are leaving to go off duty for a week. YEA!!!!
I will be back to this e-mail on the following Tues.
Thank you for your response. You seem like a person I would love to be friends with!!
Beth


visionstork777
I have found the A Beka program really good for homeschooling. I have taught in public schools, homebound, and currently private.


bakersdozen

Thanks Jay and Angie (not sure who posted!)

I have also taught in the public system and am in my 7th year of home schooling. I currently use A Beka for language arts, and I really like it. Right now I am not using a *boxed curriculum*, but I may need to go to that. Thank you for posting!


kitarae
Rob and Chris,
Don’t give up!! It can be done. I’ve been a HP for over 6 years. I have 8 boys in addition to my own four. I homeschool all four of mine and cannot even imagine doing anything else. Our first few months, my two eldest were in a private school. Bringing them home was the best decision I ever made. My eldest is now shopping colleges, my youngest is only 5, but reading on a 5th grade level. YOU CAN DO IT!! It has been my experience that everyone (even the boys) benefit because of my decision to HS. If you want more info, please feel free to e-mail me directly.

Houseparenting and large families

jayandangie

In the Old Forum there was a question about houseparenting and large families. Recently I have found locations that will allow houseparents to have four, sometimes even five total family members.
…and there are facilities on the other extreme that do not allow any kids.


sparrow
No kids at all, marks the contradictory nature of houseparents. You want a stable married couple, completely devoted to children and yet with no children of their own.


webmaster

I have two children that have basically grown up in childcare (my daughter was two when we became foster parents and three when we became houseparents, my son was 7 & 8)

I can honestly say that in a therapeutic houseparent setting it is sometimes very difficult to have your own children. They are exposed to things you really don’t want them to see, although I believe it is easier when they become older. We started in a Behavioral Program and I know my children saw things I didn’t want them to.

However in a basic care setting I believe it can be a very good thing most of the time. They tend to be a reflection of you, and many times model the behavior you are trying to help the other children learn. Also they allow you to model appropriate family affection to the children in your care. We have worked the last 6.5 years in basic care, and our children have many times had a calming effect on the cottage just by the behavior that they modeled.


sparrow
1. – How did you cope with your children being exposed to bad things?

2. – Did your kids benefit for being ‘houseparent kids’, if so how?

Homework due for tomorrow


webmaster

QUOTE
How did you cope with your children being exposed to bad things?

The worst thing my children have had to experience was a returning run away girl that ended up coming down off a 4 day meth binge. She became violent and trashed her room. She punched a mirror that was on her wall breaking it into several pieces while at the same time cutting her hand and getting a good amount of blood everywhere. Her climax was when she picked up a chunk of mirror and started walking around the house describing to my wife how she was going to slice our children’s throats. Shortly after that the director and counselor arrived and removed her from the house for two days so that she could come down in a more private setting. One week later she ran away again and ended up in the State reform school.

We almost stopped being houseparents THAT NIGHT. Instead, we calmed down, sat our children down and explained to them how meth changes your personality and causes you to do things you normally wouldn’t. We also explained that we would never have allowed her to hurt them, and that we were going to start looking for a different situation. Two months later we moved to a basic care home in Texas and have been doing basic care ever since.

In other less severe situations, we would always sit down with our children and debrief (I was nine years military) the situation and explain to them how the behavior was inappropriate and why people should not copy it. We were always open and honest with our children, and although this may have taken away from their innocence, I think they understood what was happening around them.

QUOTE
Did your kids benefit for being ‘houseparent kids’, if so how?

Yes, I believe they have a better understanding of our modern culture. I also believe it has made them more compassionate. They have lived with hurting children most of their life. They have seen how abuse and neglect affects the innocent victims: the children. They view the kids we have cared for as brothers and sisters. My son (now 14 and in high school) just finished a school project that required a family photo. The photo he chose to use was not one of his birth family but of his entire cottage family. He could have chosen to use a birth family photo, because we usually do one every year at Christmas for the grandparents.


jayandangie

Those last experiences sound similar to what kids see at school. I am a full-time teacher, and when I used to teach in public schools, my daughters saw many things I wish that they never would have.


Jazzy
My husband and I work at a Christian boy’s ranch and we have 5 children whom we have adopted. We were welcomed with open arms and open minds here.

FREAKING OUT!!!

ser44

Hi again, ok, reading some of these posts are giving me serious doubts!!! We have 2 boys, 2 1/2, and 11 months. I would NEVER forgive myself if something ever happened to them (abuse). I need some serious reassurance that my kids will be ok. I don’t want to take his job, and be on edge every second thinking something bad is going to happen to them. Also, how the heck is my 2 year old supposed to adjust? All of a sudden he goes from his happy little life with mommy and daddy and baby brother to his world being turned upside down. I believe that we can really make a difference, but don’t your biological kids need to be your first priority? How can we possibly give them the attention that they need at such a young age, and also be effective houseparents??? Part of me thinks this would be a great way to help make a difference, but part of me thinks we would be getting in way over our heads. What will my 2 year old think/feel if a kid freaks out on me and starts cursing me out right in front of him? I would think he would be so scared! Anyone who can give me some thoughts on their experiences on how their young children adjusted would help!!


CaringCouple

You had 9 months to prepare him for the arrival of his baby brother.

It will most likely be quite an adjustment for a young child to have to see his “family” explode in size overnight and his “mommy” and “daddy” all of a sudden sharing their time with others.

Personally, I would not consider being a House Parent if I still had children at home.

That’s just me though.


webmaster

My children have basically grown up in residential childcare. They have done much better in basic care than they did when we were in Behavior Modification.

Even in B–mod there was only one time I was at all concerned with their safety and that was more me than the situation.

Having done both types of childcare, I prefer basic care with our children, but I have seen several families that do just fine in Therapeutic care.

Spend as much time as you can visiting the home and ask lots of questions. Be specific about concerns that you have with your children.

As far as our children adjusting to residential life, there was no problem. In fact, we got out for a while and they wanted to go back. Having grown up in residential care, they prefer it. Additionally we are able to spend more time with them and do more things with them than we could in a more traditional employment situation.

Hope this helps.

Make sure you follow your heart. If you are in doubt about the situation when you start, you most likely will bale the first time it gets really tough and that wouldn’t be good for you or the children you are caring for. It would be better not to start in the first place.


momof10

My kids are 2 years old and 8 months and my 2yo LOVES being at work. She loves to “see the boys” and is kinda bored when it is just her family at home. She has 8 big brothers to dote on her all the time. There are some adjustments but overall, I think it makes life fun for my kids.

Hope it works out!


frlking

We have two girls and one on the way-we are just fine-gotta be careful that you don’t have the US and THEM attitude. If you take the job you have to go into the job thinking it as a lifestyle change. This is going to be your lifestyle-you will need to incorporate your kids into the program.


12 Year Veteran

QUOTE
I would NEVER forgive myself if something ever happened to them (abuse). I need some serious reassurance that my kids will be ok. I don’t want to take his job, and be on edge every second thinking something bad is going to happen to them. Also, how the heck is my 2 year old supposed to adjust? All of a sudden he goes from his happy little life with mommy and daddy and baby brother to his world being turned upside down. I believe that we can really make a difference, but don’t your biological kids need to be your first priority? How can we possibly give them the attention that they need at such a young age, and also be effective houseparents??? Part of me thinks this would be a great way to help make a difference, but part of me thinks we would be getting in way over our heads

Personally if these are thoughts that are really troubling your mind, then you’re best to not get into houseparenting at this time. No facility anywhere can give you a guarantee that your own kids will never have something happen to them. Kids in care come from many different backgrounds and you’re going to encounter a lot of things if you stay in childcare. Have we (my wife and I) ever encountered the problems in our longevity…absolutely? I had my wife remove our kids to our quarters while I dealt with the kids in the cottage.
If you have doubts don’t get into it..wait..there is nothing wrong with waiting till your ready. Lord knows I’ve seen many people start with good intensions and real want to..but they were not totally ready to take on the lifestyle and they quit shortly after beginning.


prsthelrd

I have been a houseparent for almost 8 years. I have been at my present home for almost 5. I have a daughter that is 16 months old. One thing I always remember that God loves her more than I do and that if he directs me to do something that he has a plan that even if I do not understand He does. Just tie into a support system

Would You be Offended?

momof10

One of my houseparent friends have two children around the same age as their elementary kids. There was a Christmas party off campus put on by some donors. Since some of the residents were on home visits only 20 or so kids went and 40 were supposed to be there. The staff kids were not allowed to go. It only affected her two kids as none of the other houseparent kids were old enough. The mom said that her kids could have taken two of the spots of the residents that didn’t go.

Would you be offended that your kids couldn’t go to the party or just leave it be?


sandylegsntoes

One can choose to be offended but what would that feeling accomplish?

If one is offended by a behavior- or lack of -I would encourage the ‘offended” one to speak with the “offendee” and resolve the conflict.

Offenses, real or imagined, intentional or not can be like a fast growing strangling weed. We must pluck out the weeds!

On a personal note, if there were open spaces and transportation wasn’t a problem, I would have invited all the children.


webmaster

I suppose my level of being offended would depend on how clear the home’s policy was.

At the facility I work at staff children are included in all Christmas parties but are NOT included in the Christmas Wish Lists sent out to donors.

I worked at another facility where staff kids were included in all Christmas activities and another where they were included in none. But in each case we knew it prior to being hired and could choose to accept it or find another position.

It is sometimes difficult when our staff children have to sit and watch the home children open numerous gifts at cottage Christmas, but my children also know that the home kids will receive about 80% of all they will receive for the year at Christmas time. My kids will receive stuff year round when we go on relief and on vacations. We are currently in San Diego, California spending time with my dad for Christmas and will go to Sea World tomorrow and have already visited the Grand Canyon and Petrified Forest National Park. Things that most of the home children will never get to do.

So it all usually balances out in the wash.


Lady

I guess I’m blessed because my daughter is always included in any party that happens when we are on shift.
When the kids get something that she doesn’t though, she understands the reason why and also understands that she has it a lot better than most of them do or they wouldn’t be here in the first place.

Personal children, how many is too many?

putkidsfirst
My workplace allows only two, and one of them must be school aged. I like this, though many of my co-workers do not. Look, I’ve worked with people that had several kids (3 or more) and they simply couldn’t do the job well. Either the children of the facility got ignored or the HP’s personal children got ignored.

Does anyone want to try and convince me that this job can be done well by someone with more than two children?


nmmommy

I’m not going to try to convince you of anything, just respond. Our facility does not have any rules on the # of personal children. We have 1. Two couples have 3 each. Another couple has 2. The other couple’s children are grown. We’d love to have more children of our own, but God hasn’t allowed that at this time. I think as long as your job is getting done, it shouldn’t matter how many children you have.


putkidsfirst

Well here’s the thing…what exactly is “getting the job done”? I have worked with people who get the job done but that’s all they do. They are so busy that there are no bonds or relationships built, there homes are like factories turning out a product. Often the personal children are sort of “bratty” because they HP’s have to focus on the children in the home and as such let their personal children slide far too often. Also you will see staffs personal kids act out in order to get their attention. Sometimes staff children will become tattle tales on the house children out of resentment. In most or all of these cases the staff are “getting the job done” on paper, but the children are a little messed up because of how hectic the staffs lives are.


sandylegsntoes

Hiya, I raised six children of my own. It isn’t the NUMBER of children one has to keep track of, its how one manages it. LOVE IS NOT DIVIDED, IT’S MULITIPLIED!

Prayer, planning, time management and organization.

I “special pray” the first thing every morning…for wisdom, patience, discernment and the ability to love unconditionally. I pray without ceasing throughout the day.

Planning. From the time that the kids were toddlers, I taught them about structure and planning. Long before planners were in vogue, the kids scheduled things such as: what day and times they would use the washer/dryer, TV, basketball hoop, and so on. We planned daily, weekly, monthly, in six month periods, in one year frames….basically short term and long term goals. We were adaptable and flexible, too!

Organization…to me, nothing cuts down on confusion and strife than knowing where things are when they are needed. I love the saying…’there’s a place for everything and everything in it’s place!’ There’s nothing like needing a pair of scissors or a needle and thread and knowing where to go get it knowing that it will be there. Shoes, bookbags, hair clips, and so on were easy to find, thus cutting down on a mad rush, confusion and strife.

Activities. I am a firm believer that bored children, teens or adults are boring! We kept activity centers, much like at school….a place to do art-complete with ample construction paper, crayons, markers, glue sticks, etc. We kept books for all age groups…and a place to read with a good light. We had dress up bins, make-up boxes, a place for baseballs, soccer balls, basketballs, skates, etc.

I’ve carried many of the ways of raising my own kids into the houseparenting job. I don’t have the high energy like I did during my young mommy years, but to whom God calls, He also equips. There is a reason why God gives kids to younger adults, hahahahahaha.


putkidsfirst

That sounds GREAT, but how manageable do you think all of that would be with more than two of your own personal children as well as 10-15 in care children?


raider72

Not a cut and dry subject either. We have 3 bio kids and have houseparented for 8+ years but I agree I have seen more people struggle with bio kids than people be successful. It is a difficult issue, one problem is this ministry and these kids will reveal every weakness we have including our parenting. So when you have your own it can be pretty tough. Also there is a very real resentment by placed kids and bios that has to be addressed. I also would point out that the amount of kids a facility requires you to take is a factor in the success of families with their own kids. 10-15 kids in my opinion is to many and is one of the things wrong with our industry but if you cut back to 4-6 where do the others go. Tough questions.


putkidsfirst

Cutting back on the amount of kids in a house would indeed help, but as you said we need to help as many as possible. My facility takes 13 per home and while my wife and I can manage that many (in the past we had as many as 16) you could hire staff with more biological children if they had less children to care for,

I think a solid number is 10. I see no reason it should ever have to be below 8.


momof10

16 kids?? 10 even is a HUGE amount of kids to work with! I am glad you can do it but personally, I would be spread too thin. We have 8 now plus our own two kids and I wish I had more time for personal one on one time with the boys. My ideal number would be 6.

One thing though, bio kids teach the kids in care how it is to live in a family with healthy boundaries and behaviors. My boys have learned so much from our bio kids and we have been able to model parenting to them that they can take with them to their own future families. Plus our own kids have 8 big brothers! We have a blast!

Yes, people without kids can do their job differently than a couple with kids but it is just different, not better/worse. Each couple brings to the job unique strengths.

Glad you are able to make it work for your family.


putkidsfirst

Question…

The more children you personally have, doesn’t that make it more difficult to do things for the other children? What I mean is, we are so often “inconvenienced” in this job. Learning to overcome our “inconvenience” is a struggle for most. Don’t you have more to overcome with children of your own? Especially the more you have?


gracecountry62

My wife and I have 4 children of our own have done child care for 8 yrs now we are Family teaching couple working with Mentally challenged adults which is very much more stressful than basic child care.
We are doing great and we have such a loving bond with our kids as well as with those in our care, it is true not all are called to do such serving in this type of work but it can be done anyone who says otherwise is either leaned on the negative side of hearing where ones with several kids failed or that they really do not have a clue of what they are talking about .we can be living proof it can be done with 3 or more God does the calling not any person big difference, We seen couples with 1 to 2 kids that could not continue in child care work it does not make any difference 1 kid 2 kids 3 , or 4 or more some families knowhow to multi-task very well.

Oh yes we have worked with 10kids plus our 4 we balanced it all out treated everyone equal.


momof10

Actually, we have seen a lot of people come and go and they have no children! Most of the long timers here are the ones that have children. They have done a great job of working with the residents and taking care of their own kids. Kids in my opinion add a depth to the job that a couple without kids can’t.

To me, it depends on the couple, not how many kids they have. The only reason why a family with kids should be concerned is safety issues.


putkidsfirst

Ok, please don’t get annoyed with me, but I have yet to read an explanation as to how the job can be done as effectively with your own personal children as it can without them. The only reason I can think of is the experience, besides that I am still at a loss. Let’s look at some situations.

1) Do you treat your children and those in the home differently? The same? How so exactly? How do you justify doing either?

2) Say your personal children have an event (game, play, concert, etc.) and a child or two in your house has one as well. What do you do? Who’s event do you attend? What if they both have graduation on the same day?

3) Let’s say you have two small children and you have a day where you have to run a lot of the kids in your home all over the place. How does the one of you in the house all day care for your two small children AND the children in the home? What if there is a fight? What if two or three need serious home work help? What if something like that happens plus the phone is ringing as well?

4) Say your teen child develops feelings for a child in the home. How do you deal with that?

I could come up with many more, but let’s start with those.


gracecountry62

Applaud everyone, very well put momof10 we’ve seen our children appreciate life so much more than most kids just because they see what the kids are going through in their own lives they appreciate so much more thank God for our own children our kids love it so much having foster brothers and sisters in our care will never trade it for nothing God speed


putkidsfirst
After reading a great deal of your posts I feel you really do not think it can work with someone having kids of their own, well sorry to bust your bubble but it can work already proven it several times so now let’s concentrate on how to offer a better life to those in need than so caught up in hearing who is making it or not important at all.


putkidsfirst

I know it can work, but here is my problem.

I work with some people who think it should be ok to have as many personal children as they want, as close together as they want to have them. I am not against HP’s having personal children, I am against HP’s insisting that it doesn’t matter how many kids you have or how old they are. That’s foolishness.

What do you mean when you say it’s been proven that this can be the case? That the home they worked in didn’t burn down? Did the kids they cared for excel and know the HP’s loved and cared for them as well? How do you measure success?

I listed some specific questions that I would like to see those with several personal children answer.


webmaster

Doing this kind of work with birth children regardless of the number depends:
1. On what kind of facility you work at. In many of the B-mod facilities it would NOT be possible to have birth children at all and frankly as a parent I wouldn’t want to.
2. The accommodations available for staff. In our first home our entire family of four had to live in one room that was 10’X11′ and we shared the bathroom with house visitors. My children were 2 and 5, 9 years later we could not have done this at all.

As far as facilities that do allow birth children, I have several beliefs:

1. I think the ideal houseparents are recent empty nester’s. They have raised birth children and fulfilled the need to be parents and have a family yet are young enough to deal with the physical and mental demands required of them. In my experience, many houseparents that don’t have birth children try to make the home children their surrogate family(especially in basic care facilities) and this leads to conflict with the children, administration, and other staff. It also takes away from meeting the children’s needs in favor of meeting the houseparents need to be parents. (AND YES I KNOW THERE ARE EXCEPTIONS!!)

2. I also believe the larger the number of children the more difficult it is to meet the children’s needs. There are only 24 hours in a day and you have to sleep some of that. Our census has varied from 8 to 14 children including our staff kids over the last 9 years and I can tell you there is a huge difference in what we are able to give each child as far as time and attention on both extremes. I personally think 8 is a perfect number and personally testify that my stress level goes up and my ability to give goes down proportionally as more children are added.

As far as how you treat staff kids as opposed to home children, it totally depends on the situation. In a B-mod facility I did not treat them the same. The children I worked with in the B-mod program were there to work on issues they had and my children were there because that is where their parents worked. In the basic care facility we are currently at they are treated much closer to the same, realizing they will never be treated the same by either me or the facility.
When it comes time to take relief our birth children go with us and will always go with us.
When the home children are provided with sometimes hundreds of dollars worth of Christmas gifts from supporters my children are not included.
When the home children are sent to expensive camps provided by the home and supporters my children are not included.
My children are allowed to drive when they are old enough – the home children are not (INSURANCE ISSUES)
My children will probably have student loans after college – the home children do NOT.
etc.

As far as activities – Birth vs. Home: We try to be as fair as we can be and realize that with 10 children, we will not be able to attend everything that everybody does. That is why we have video cameras. In fact my wife had to miss our daughter’s very first band concert in December because of Open House at the cottage. I went and videotaped it. Even in the “Real World” parents miss things. Both my parents had jobs and missed a lot of the things I did. As far as graduations go, in our town with about 8 different schools the graduations are all at different times, and yes we may have to miss a reception from time to time but we have never missed a graduation.

BTW, my child has had feelings for home children and home children for mine. Working at a home is a lifestyle and when your children spend the vast majority of their time with home children there is going to be attraction. My feelings are if it is age appropriate, no big deal.

Also my children have been exposed to inappropriate behavior that they probably would not have been had we not worked in the home, but the key is to be proactive. We had to educate our children about certain behaviors probably before we would have had we not been houseparents, but they would have had to learn it eventually anyway.

There is probably a lot more that I can say, but I think you probably get my gist by now, if not too bad – I am on relief and it is time to watch “Survivor”


putkidsfirst

QUOTE
Doing this kind of work with birth children regardless of the number depends:
1. On what kind of facility you work at. In many of the B-mod facilities it would NOT be possible to have birth children at all and frankly as a parent I wouldn’t want to.

Good point. Almost all of our discussion, opinions, etc. is going to depend on the kind of home/facility you work for/at, absolutely!

QUOTE
2. The accommodations available for staff. In our first home our entire family of four had to live in one room that was 10’X11′ and we shared the bathroom with house visitors. My children were 2 and 5, 9 years later we could not have done this at all.

YIKES! I can’t even imagine that poor of accommodations!

QUOTE
1. I think the ideal houseparents are recent empty nester’s. They have raised birth children and fulfilled the need to be parents and have a family yet are young enough to deal with the physical and mental demands required of them. In my experience, many houseparents that don’t have birth children try to make the home children their surrogate family(especially in basic care facilities) and this leads to conflict with the children, administration, and other staff. It also takes away from meeting the children’s needs in favor of meeting the houseparents need to be parents. (AND YES I KNOW THERE ARE EXCEPTIONS!!)

Just as long as you (or whoever) don’t see love and devotion to children in care as “making the children in care your surrogate family”. I am certain this happens, but too many people equate loving and being devoted to the children in your care to some kind of dangerous thinking. I’ve had administrators where I used to work tell me I cared too much. That’s INSANE IMO.

QUOTE
2. I also believe the larger the number of children the more difficult it is to meet the children’s needs. There are only 24 hours in a day and you have to sleep some of that. Our census has varied from 8 to 14 children including our staff kids over the last 9 years and I can tell you there is a huge difference in what we are able to give each child as far as time and attention on both extremes. I personally thing 8 is a perfect number and personally testify that my stress level goes up and my ability to give goes down proportionally as more children are added.

I think this also depends on the kind/type of facility you work for. I have 13 girls and have no problem doing my job at all. However, where I used to work should never have more than eight in a home. The kids were too needy to pack them together.

All good points, but what I am talking about is your “sternness”. For example, say your birth child acts disrespectfully. Would you be as upset at your biological child for this as you would the children in care? I’ve all too often seen HP’s allow their biological children to run amuck, act disrespectful toward their parents, etc. and do little about it. However, the second a child from the home says something even slightly out of line (say questions why they have to do a certain chore) the staff freak out and hand out major consequences.

QUOTE
As far as activities – Birth vs. Home: We try to be as fair as we can be and realize that with 10 children, we will not be able to attend everything that everybody does. That is why we have video cameras. In fact my wife had to miss our daughter’s very first band concert in December because of Open House at the cottage. I went and videotaped it. Even in the “Real World” parents miss things. Both my parents had jobs and missed a lot of the things I did. As far as graduations go, in our town with about 8 different schools the graduations are all at different times, and yes we may have to miss a reception from time to time but we have never missed a graduation.

I liked your point about “real world” parents missing things. I love to attend my kids activities but I try and teach them that no good parent attends everything. Too many kids today think parents must attend every activity they are a part of.

QUOTE
BTW, my child has had feelings for home children and home children for mine. Working at a home is a lifestyle and when your children spend the vast majority of their time with home children there is going to be attraction. My feelings are if it is age appropriate, no big deal.

Cool, but I’ve seen many HP’s teach their children that the kids in care are completely off limits and “below them”.

QUOTE
Also my children have been exposed to inappropriate behavior that they probably would not have been had we not worked in the home, but the key is to be proactive. We had to educate our children about certain behaviors probably before we would have had we not been houseparents, but they would have had to learn it eventually anyway.

Great! But again, many HP’s get angrier when a child in care acts up around their personal child. It’s as if the child in care needs to be punished harder for not respecting the fact that the staff person has children.

Thanks for the reply! I wish everyone with personal children would enter this discussion in such a way.

New Houseparents

texans

My husband and I feel this is God’s calling – to become houseparents. We will be taking 2 of our own children. Any advice? How do you know which facility is right? How do you know that the administrator won’t turn out to be Dr. Jekyl? How did your own kids handle having to share you with others? What is the worst part of this?


sandylegsntoes

Hi again! You ask, ‘how do you know?’ You wrote that you believe it is a calling from God.

Well, then this is how you know: use the gift of discernment. If you pray and Wait On The Lord for an answer rather than moving out in the flesh then you will be operating in the Will and Power of God.

The Bible promises, “To whom God calls, He will equip.” Discernment is a gift taught in the Word. No Christian must walk the walk of faith without it. That’s how you will know!

Ask question, questions, questions.


texans

Thanks for answering. I have so many questions, doubts, yet still feel once I get the answers (which I know God will provide) this is my calling. How long should I expect it o take from application process to actually moving? Some agencies seem to want yo to come today, others want several months of training. Is there any red flags you can give me that I should stay away from?


webmaster

If a facility wants you there today or YESTERDAY and don’t provide some training before you start working with the kids, that just might be a RED Flag

Some of your other concerns: In the same way that houseparents can interview well and turn out to be horrible. Administrators can interview well and turn out to be horrible. Sometimes you just never know. However, you can get some pretty good clues about a facility. A well organized and structured interview usually means a fairly well organized facility. If everything seems chaotic during the application process and while you are there interviewing you just might be seeing normality at that facility.

Little or no training – BIG RED FLAG!!!!!

Poorly maintained and disorganized facilities – BIG RED FLAG!!

If you are not given the opportunity to visit with several staff members or are being kept away from many of the staff – RED FLAG – it usually means people are not happy.

If you visit a facility where you will be living on premises you want to be able to stay for at least 2 days (longer if possible) and observe the lifestyle, staff interactions with each other and the children, children interactions with the staff and other children. This will tell you more about a facility than anything. If you are shuffled in and out in an afternoon, either they are not very interested in you or – Red Flag. (This does not apply to shift work facilities, because your hours and working conditions are similar to “Normal” Jobs and the interview process would also be similar.)

With background checks, reference letters, personality testing, interviews and all the other requirements to meet before you can usually start working with kids, it will usually take at least a month before you could start working at a facility and two or three would not be unreasonable.


Lady Incredible   

Webmaster pretty much summed it up.
I definitely agree that you should be able to observe awhile, either before or after your interview