A Valuable Lesson!!!

Most everyone knows that we have birth children to go with all our home children. Our son is about to turn 17 and this last year has been a trying experience. It is one thing when you have to deal with difficult behavior when you are caring for other people’s children, but it adds a whole new dimension when it is your own birth child. (Don’t misunderstand, it’s not get you placed in a group home bad behavior, but it is definitely stuff we hoped we wouldn’t have to deal with)

Anyway my wife takes things very personal sometimes and the other day she was asking me, why I thought he hated us and wanted to make things so difficult on us. I wasn’t sure how to answer it, and really didn’t think there was a good answer for her, but I started thinking about the many conversations we have had with him recently and remembered something he said. He told us something like, ” I know you think I don’t want to be around you at all, but I really just want to hang out with my friends.”

That got me to thinking about his overall behavior in general, and I think that statement can be applied to his entire life at the moment. It’s not that he don’t like us and wants to defy everything we say, it is that THE ONLY THING HE CARES ABOUT IS WHAT HE WANTS!

He doesn’t want to hurt us by hanging out with people we don’t approve of, our feelings are not even a consideration, because it is about what he wants. He doesn’t care that we think he should save some of his paycheck for the future, he only cares about what he can spend it on now. He doesn’t care that we think education is important and that you should put as much effort as you can into, he only cares about the work he doesn’t want to do.

The realization of this is very empowering. It allows you to recognize and deal with bad behavior without taking it personal, because it’s not about you. It’s totally about them; what they want and think is important. This same realization can apply to the work we do as houseparents. There always seems to be this one (or possibly two) kid(s) that seems to be out to get you or drive you nuts with their behavior. But if you realize it’s not about you, it should make it easier to deal with their behavior and to come up with reasonable expectations and consequences.

If only I can remember that the next time I’m dealing with my son, after he’s done something I am not real pleased with.

Being a Good Birth Parent Won’t Make You a Good Houseparent!

As, I believe, the successful parent of two birth children I have to say that being a successful parent does not insure that you will be a successful houseparent.

I have spoke with many people that were interviewing to be first time houseparents tell me how being successful as parents of birth children will help them to be great houseparents only to come to me about three months later and confess how wrong they were. That parenting other people’s children is very different from parenting your own.

Unless you have successfully parented birth children that have been abused and/or neglected, lived in extreme poverty, been raised in a family where crime was not only condoned but encouraged, or had behavioral disorders you are probably going to have to learn a whole new set of parenting skills.

Additionally, the children you care for will not have the same relationship with you that your birth children have. Their blood bond will not be with you but with the abusive, neglectful or dysfunctional family they are not currently living with yet in most cases will continue to love.

Not that your previous parenting skills will be worthless either, they will be very useful in other areas of household management like scheduling, working with schools, etc. What I am referring to is how you will need new skills to deal with the many new behaviors that you probably never had to deal with raising your birth children.

The only solution is training. Either through your facility or on your own, but being a good houseparent takes training. Most facilities provide initial training that is very important. Pay attention and participate. You will also want to attend any additional training that they provide and if they provide reimbursement for outside training I would take advantage of all that time would allow for.

If your facility does not provide training or only minimal training and you want to continue to stay there, you need to get the training on your own. There are several books I can recommend: No Such Thing As a Bad Kid!: Understanding and Responding to the Challenging behavior of Troubled Children and Youth — By: Charles D. Appelstein and Respecting Residential Work with Children -By: James R. Harris Jr., M.A. are two very good books to start with. There are also several others that I have read and reviewed on my site. Buy them from me or from somebody else, but please don’t fall into the I don’t need any extra training trap. There are also usually several opportunities to attend seminars in the community. You can find them through local colleges, schools and family service organizations.

If you are thinking about becoming a houseparent and want to get a head start on training you might want to sign up for foster parent training either through your local family services department or through a private agency. Before my wife and I became houseparents we were foster parents and the training we received during that certification process has been invaluable throughout our houseparenting career.

Training and experience will make you a good houseparent!!


My in-laws retired a few months ago and decided to become houseparents. They raised a great family that lives for the Lord, now they are going thru quite a change up in how these kids behave differently from their own! I’m calling them tonight to have them read this it will definitely help them feel much better. Thanks!!!

I agree with you about the training and experience but, I think it also takes some natural ability (talent) and also patience, and a good spiritual life.

Kids adjusting


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?



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.



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!


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!



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!



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. 



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)


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.



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!



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??


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… 



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?


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 



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.

Sabbaticals ???


My wife and I have been houseparents for 12 years and were foster parents for 2 years before that. In that time we have cared for hundreds of children and hopefully made a difference for some. We have virtually raised our birth children in care and now that they are older we were thinking it would be nice to spend some time with just them, before they are gone living their own lives.

We are seriously considering taking a sabbatical for a few years, moving back home to our small town in Montana and finding jobs that don’t involve caring for other people’s children. I would still run the site, but from a different perspective and with a few extra hours, may even be able to do some things with it, I haven’t had time to do lately.

I would like to hear from others that left for a while (a few years) and how it worked for them. Also how it was different when you came back.

Right now we feel so tired and frustrated that we feel totally ineffective.   


Called2workwith youth

My personal experience…

We took a couple of years off, tired, tired of the regulations and administration, etc. (We wanted a break and weren’t sure we wanted to do this anymore). We struggled mightily in terms of finances, and I believe this is because God called us to this and we had stepped out of His will. We took a break without His consent. He did not let us starve or be homeless, but we struggled until we submitted to His will.

Again, that was my personal situation.




We know we want to do it again this would only be a break. We have been very faithful for over 12 years and only have a few years left with our birth children before they are fully grown. It seems like many things are starting to align to confirm for me that God is probably ok with it. I also know that almost everyone I have known in full time occupational ministry have periods of refreshment and renewal. Missionaries usually do it every few years, rarely do they go 12 straight in the field.

Also financially, things would be pretty good. I would have one less house payment. I am already making a payment on the other one we would be living in and have been the whole time we have been houseparents. The house we would be selling is in a market that we would make enough profit from to pay off all our bills plus some. We also have a pretty good emergency fund in our retirement account if we really needed it. On top of all that, I have this website which will never make me rich, but would help with finances. As far as employment I have skills in many different areas that are pretty marketable and since I have lost all my weight I wouldn’t have to worry about limitations because of obesity.



I have never taken a sabbatical, although I did leave one position and take another one closer to home to watch over two recently widowed Moms. I’m not sure if I followed God, or my own needs, when we moved…as things were very rocky for several months; however, I can still see God’s hand in our lives and I think that God is using our position and experiences to grow us during this time. When my husband and I entered the HP world, we had raised our children – all were in college. We took in a few children during our kid’s middle school / high school years, but all were friends of our boys that needed a place to stay and someone to care. Our children invited these add-ins to our family and loved them along side us. I can say that God blesses our families thru helping others, but I am glad that I have continually fought for alone time with my children even through my houseparenting years and their early adult years. I never wanted my kids to think that they took 2nd place. I understand your need to spend time with your family, and I agree that sabbaticals are often times to rest and recharge. If God says it’s time to rest and enjoy your family, then he will also guide you into whatever future service he deems best for you. God Bless.



We are coming in off a year-long break from houseparenting, which we did to enjoy time with our now toddler-age daughter (and it was time to leave the home we were at due to a corrupt director and lack of funding to keep our cottage open).

We have truly missed it.

We did not adjust well to NOT working with each other every day.

We have struggled financially.

Emily misses having a houseful of kids to interact with.

Needless to say, we are currently interviewing at two homes, and praying God will open doors there (one we will interview at tomorrow in North Carolina, so pray for us!).

Anyway, we hope to continue to be posting on her regularly again soon!

–Debbie (and Jonathan)

How to find a place when you have 5 birth kids


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.

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

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?


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!!! 

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!

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.

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.


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….

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.


Adoption? Need some help with this one?

If anyone out there has any experience with actually adopting a child please contact me.

I’m looking for info on the following;
1. How long does the process take?
2. How involved does the state remain after the adoption?
3. Name change of the child.
4. Reimbursement of medical costs and counseling for the child.
Even if you went through the process years ago, I would just like to get some insight.
1. How long does the process take?
Took us about three weeks to adopt our daughter

2. How involved does the state remain after the adoption?
Well, our daughter was 18 (we had to wait until she left our program) so the State wasn’t involved at all.

3. Name change of the child.
It was her choice, she changed it. When she got married she changed her middle name to our last name (which was so nice)

4. reimbursement of medical costs and counseling for the child.
Well, our daughters State worker told us she could keep her Access (Government) card! I was shocked she could do that, but he said it wasn’t a problem. That gave her better medical coverage through college than my work benefits so she kept it.

We adopted back in 1994, but the couple we worked with just adopted one of the children here everything was still the same.

It takes a few weeks for classes and home study, then 90 days to finalize.
Insurance should be Medicaid.
Name we let them decide.
Once adopted state was out of the picture except for Medicaid and if you get a subsidy. You can use the state for resources if you need to. They won’t do a home visit or anything like that after the adoption.

Thanks guys. We actually got the paper work today and I just finished filling out all the info. We have a class next Monday to attend for orientation.

Obviously my wife and I have made our choice whether it will cost us the job or not. We know without a doubt that this is what God wants done. But we are very unsure about what the facility will do.

Now here’s another ethical debate for everyone. How would your facility react to adopting a child that was currently in your cottage?

We have a couple of children in our cottage that we would like to adopt, but because of the way we do placements they will probably never be available. All our placements are on contracts so the parents still have custody. These children have been with us since they were 2, are now 7, and will probably be here until they graduate.

I would leave the facility we are at in a second, and even houseparenting because we would have too many children for most facilities, if we could make these children ours. I am afraid that if we pushed it with the family, they would just pull them out and then we would really be in trouble with the facility as well as losing our kids anyway.

In the almost 10 years we have been at our facility, I have never seen one single adoption. We have several that are in long term foster placements, but the last adoption happened a couple of years before we came.

The last couple we worked with adopted a child from this cottage , they had to quit and went back to the real world. Admin feels that other children who are up for adoption will be upset. At other campuses we worked it was the same policy, if you adopt one of the children you can no longer work there.

Homeschooling your own children


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.


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.

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.

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.


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.

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.


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.


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!!

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


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!

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.

Child Care Frustrations

This was E-mail to me by a Houseparent needing encouragement. — My husband and I have been hp’s for 31/2 years and really enjoyed this site. We actually found it after returning from a vacation with two of our “boys” that didn’t get to go home on the family visit time for the facility. We were lucky that we were hired when it wasn’t a bad thing to have your own kids. We have two kids under the age of 6. We are staring to feel very isolated because all the other hp’s are our parents age. Are there any hp’s out there that do this unreal job and raise their own children? It’s not impossible to do this with young children but it does take sacrifice from the whole family. Sometimes you wonder if it’s worth it. We don’t get the encouragement that is so vital to being even a borderline competent hp. We get the ” you’re not much older than the kids… ” or ” You haven’t even raised your own kids yet…”. As anyone that has been a hp for more than 6mths knows it doesn’t matter how many of your own kids you have raised it’s not like!
Raising a child in placement. We would like to hear from others in our situation and how they feel/cope with this job we call life.


The work we do as houseparents is hard. There is no doubt about that fact. Where we work there are lots of houseparents with small children. All of them have the challenges that you describe. Many feel extreme guilt thinking back on raising their children under such circumstances. When their own children have problems, they blame the job conditions, yet there is NO WAY to be sure that is why a child ran up aginst problems. Your own children will require lots of explanations over the years (“Why do we have to share our parents?”). Only you can decide if it is good for your family to be in this type of situation. It is especially hard if the organization you work with has no provisions for the types of sudden problems you described. Always remember that you can’t give up yourself in an effort to save someone else, especially when you have committed yourself to the lives of so many others (meaning lots of people NEED you, but you need you too).


Well…I am 31 and my wife and I started this work at 23! Thing is we have no kids of our own but I can relate to this issue in a way.
Older house parents can be a PAIN! I have learned my lesson from them! For years we were treated by many like we were their children and oh it was frustrating!

No, I do not believe raising placement children is much like raising your own! Mainly because I would be free to do so much more with my own if I ever have any!

To compare raising your own kids to kids in placement is not a good comparison!

Grace Country|

We have 4 kids of our own and we have always had balance working as house parents we see the kids in placement as if they were our own they are as much of our family as our own kids we have treated them as well as ours as equal to one another.
It has been very rewarding for our kids. Our oldest Daughter has come to appreciate us as Her parents and to appreciate what She has and know how to be content.
This is the toughest job you will ever love, never a dull moment.

My wife and I are thinking about becoming house parents. Two homes have openings. One is a girls home, and the other is a boy’s home. Both have 5 children apiece aged 10 to 17. The children are in danger of going to reform school or a mental hospital.

My wife is 9 months pregnant with our first baby. We are considering the boy’s home, mainly because my wife is a non-native speaker, and with nursing the baby, it would make more sense for me to be the one interacting more with the kids, which may be the case with boys.

Does this sound like a suitable job for a family with a new baby? I know there are challenges to having a new baby, staying up at night, etc. But this kind of work will allow a lot more time with my family as well, which is a definite plus.

Have any of you had trouble protecting yoru kids in case a child in the home turned out to be a sexual deviant? What about kids coming in and going out of the home?

Another concern of mine is that we are Christians. This home is run by a private foundation. It is named ‘Agape.’ The university affiliated man who is finding applicants says it is not a religious home. We only want to do this work if we can share the Gospel with the kids. We will get training in a type of counseling, but only the Gospel can change the heart of these kids– not counseling. Do state-funded homes like this ever forbid you to share the Gospel with the kids and take them to night church meetings? Does anyone have any experiences they want to share?

I don’t think that having a new baby and an expectation that of one of you will be doing most of the houseparenting is realistic. There really is a need for TWO of you or the jobs would be filled by singles.

Yes, there are situations where houseparent’s own children are molested, beaten or mentally abused by the home’s children. The opposite is also true but less likely to be reported about. It also happens that consensual relationships develop between houseparent’s own kids & home kids. You have to be sturdy enough not to assume your child is always right and the home’s child is wrong.

Most non-religious homes have policies against the type of preaching you are planning. Being a needy child doesn’t mean that someone else’s religion is needed, unless by choice. Many kids will already have a religion and it isn’t an automatic right for a person to try to convert a child who is forced into care. The role of a houseparent is discipline, support & love, not conversion.

If you died would you want someone trying to change the religion of your child?

Just my opinions, but I really don’t think this is the type of position for you, your wife and new child.


As a woman and a houseparent there is no way that i would want to start my family in these circumstances. This is a job that requires long hard hours and little time for yourself. A new baby requires alot of attention and time. Think carefully about this before you decide.


I don’t agree with everyone completely. Yes, taking care of someone else’s kids is a hard job, but my husband and I had 2 little boys when we first started as houseparents, and although they didn’t always understand, we tried to spend as much time with them as we could, and this job allows a lot of time off.

Not only that, but we gave birth to two little girls (1yr. apart) while we were working here. So now we have 4 kids of our own, and we are a little crowded, time wise as well as space wise, but it really makes it easier in some ways, as long as you treat the other kids in basically the same way that you treat your own. They know that you are not treating them the same way, but if you try to treat them the same, it shows.

Prayer changes things. Use it often.


Well, I have two little ones, 5 and 8, and it is difficult raising them and being a houseparent.

We have 9th – 12th grade girls (12 total)

while it takes great organizational skills to juggle houseparenting and raising a family, we are finding it to be quite enjoyable.

I do not know what it would be like if we started before we had children, personally, I do not think houseparents that start when they have no children have as much experience to fall back on when they first begin. But, their children will also grow up not knowing any different.

little story:

There was a time last year when we were having a lot of problems with the girls in the house. One night at dinner my eldest daughter told me how after finishing eating she was going back to our apartment with her sister. She would turn x-box on for her sister to play while she did her homework. She would then put in a 2 player game when she finished her homework. She would even run a tub for them, cause she knows how to do that now…and make sure they got to bed on time (she was in 2nd grade, her sister was 4) That way both mommy and daddy could stay out in the student home to work with the bad girls.

granted, there are rough times, and there are great times. We love our job, and I would not turn anyone away from it because they have children, or are thinking about having children. Just be realistic as to what the job entails with both your time…and your physical and emotional being.


We raised 3 daughters and have worked in group homes populated by both boys and girls and can state without a doubt that it did little to prepare us for caring for children in placement.

The problems they come to us with do not mirror any problems we ever dealt with as parents. Training and support are helping but it does take a lot of our time. There are days my wife and I do not interact with each other until the end of the night with everyone in bed. I can’t imagine anyone with children dealing with the boys we have.

It probably depends on the type of kids placed. IF you’re dealing with kids that are coming to you simply abandoned or neglected then perhaps you can deal with your own and still have enough love and time for the others.

IF you’re dealing with children diagnosed with 2-3 different ailments and on meds, probation etc…. then you’re going to have your hands full.

Personal children, how many is too many?

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?


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.


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.


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.


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?


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.


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.


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.



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?


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.


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.


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.


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

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.


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.


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.

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”


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!

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!

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.

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.

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.

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”.

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


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?


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.


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?


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