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?
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.