Launchpads Bike Tour 07 I’m Back

It’s been a wild couple of weeks. Had some issues that I had to work through with a friend passing away and needed some me time to get re-focused and figure out where I was in terms of my own life.

SO- My wife headed to Upstate NY to visit her family with the baby and I took the old Honda out for a spin. By spin, I mean 1,500 miles. It started out to be a overnight camping trip and turned into me just riding everywhere and camping when I felt like it.

I had time to re-evaluate my own spiritual standing, and where I’m headed. The last five years has been a whirlwind and this was the time to refocus. After the first night my cell phone broke so I didn’t worry about talking to anyone or issues from work creeping in to the process.

I camped in the mountains and on the coast, I reflected on the past and how much that was binding me from moving forward and becoming what Christ really had in store for me. I also came to the realization that even without my bio family I am surrounded by family and friends that love, care and respect me. I had to take a week to understand that.

I guess the point is this- Take time for yourself. I was way overdue to get refocused on what I need to be doing. Every HP has a million things going on. Between school runs, paperwork, errands, house repair, bills, child behavior, staff meetings, church commitments when have you possibly had time to be you and really listen to what God is saying?

I thought a lot about this site and how many lives it impacts also. I have talked with many of you and have met many good friends. This has developed into a community. We have helped each other find employment in this ministry, compared notes and facilities and have helped others find good places. Together we have listened to gripes, moans and heartfelt moments. I am honored to be a part of this community.

How do you let them go?

Seamus

Hi Everyone!

This is my first post. My wife has been posting for months now (bakergirl), but I just got around to doing this. We’ve been houseparents for about 8 months now, but 7 of those 8 have been as relief, and we are now opening a brand new home that we are the hps of. We took in our first kid (5 yrs old) 3 weeks ago and its been amazing, but different. We have been working with teenage girls for relief and now we will have boys and the first is only 5!

Anyways, my question is how do you deal with parents that have been abusive, served time, but still have visitation rights and get to come and pick up a kid for several hours? I can’t stand it! When they come over I just want to slam the door in their face at the very least. This kid is perfect – he even LIKES taking his bath and going to bed at night – yet we have to allow is abuser access! I know that I can only hope that nothing happens and report it if it does but how do control the anger you feel toward someone like that?

I pray that God will give me patience and understanding and so far I have been patient, but it tears me up inside to let him go with them.

Thanks in advance for any help.

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webmaster

The best piece of advice I can give you is DON”T MAKE THE PARENTS YOUR ENEMY!! If the children you care for get the impression that you have made their parents your enemy they will in 99% of the cases take the side of the birth parent. Even at a very young age. In most cases children that are placed in care with loving people that provide everything they need both physically and emotionally would rather be with their birth parents even if it means they will be living in the back of a van on the street, getting a meal every other day, and sitting alone while their parents are in the bar drinking until two in the morning. I have seen this in children as young as three years old.

We have to do our best to work with the birth parents and remain neutral with the children. Be honest with the children, but do it in such a way as it doesn’t appear that you are attacking their parents. A new trend in residential care is family centered services, where the facility and system work with the parents and provide training, counseling, job training, etc. They have found that working with the whole family is much more effective than just removing the children only to send them back to the same situation they left. Hopefully your state is doing something like that, if not become an advocate for it. Read some of Charles Applestein’s stuff. I have reviews of his books on my main site.

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Seamus

I never let the child know that I feel this way. I act excited that he is getting to see his parents and am excited that they give him gifts (even if they look like something that came from the trash can). I know that the child can NEVER know that I have these feelings because we do work with the families and our intent is to be able to put these families back together in a way that is more positive and much safer for the child. I’ve worked with many teenagers, but in many cases they are different. Their parents often want nothing to do with them. Now I’m in a situation where they parents would be at our house 2-3 days a week each if they could. Seeing parents as often as I do and listening to their lies to the kids is so hard! But, thanks so much for the advice, I will be actively trying to not create enemies.

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webmaster

Here is something else that might help you, it was shared with my by a supervisor that I trust.

Try to keep in mind that regardless of how things turn out, it is good for the children to have spent time with you especially it they get the opportunity to experience having their needs met, to experience love and affection, to learn morality and social skills, to receive a better education, etc.

Regardless of what else happens, it is better for the children RIGHT NOW.

They will remember that all their lives, even if they develop a resentment for the system or facility. They will always remember houseparents that have made a difference just as they do those that were negative or abusive.

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dmitchell_00

I am a foster parent so my situation is a little different but still we deal with parents that don’t understand how to meet their child’s needs. It is frustrating but we still respect them and every time I know that I will be in contact with them I pray that God will give me the opportunity to show his love to them. It is hard to let my negative emotions show after praying such a prayer. Good luck

Fly With Christ

Not a Real Family?

webmaster

In order to be effective at this job (long term residential care) you have to get emotionally involved with the children you care for, yet it almost always leads to getting your feelings hurt. Let me explain.

We have been in the same cottage for almost 6 years and most of the kids in the cottage have been here for several years and came at a young age. Some of them are getting to the age that they are really starting to fantasize about the relationship with their birth parents and believe that the solution to their happiness is to be back with them. They are starting to identify with the culture of their birth parents and rebel against our values. Most don’t even remember living with their birth parents so they create their own memories.

Some can’t even recognize their birth parents. We have a set of twins that just turned 6, they were two when they came and don’t even know what their mother looks like. This Christmas she made contact for the first time by sending them Christmas gifts. Now all they talk about is going to live with their “Real Mom”.

My wife really got her feelings hurt by this.

The question I have is this. Do any of you struggle with this? And if so, besides lots of prayer, are there things you do that help you feel better about it.

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Seamus

I think that all of know that to these kids “mom” is always going to be “mom” and “dad” is always going to be “dad.” It doesn’t matter what the parents have done these kids will always love them and talk about living with them again. However, when we are the ones with them every day and night. We feed them, love them, raise them, teach them, and nurture them, we can’t seem to understand why.

Our facility does not take emergency placements. The kids come for a pre-placement visit and they decide if this is where they want to be and we decide if the child will work in our home. Therefore, we often have contact with the parents or guardians of these kids. We encourage contact with the hope that with therapy this family can be civil at some point with each other. This is difficult because it does not allow the children to really attach onto us as “parents.”

In your situation it must be unbearable to have someone contact the kids after 4 years of nothing. You are right though, prayer is the best thing that can be done. Also, I would suggest that you remember your ultimate mission in this job is not to turn yourself into these children’s parent, but to raise them in a way that gives them a chance to have a successful life unlike the one they came from.

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Craig Bridges

This is a great topic and one that doesn’t have any clear cut answers. It is hard to help kids identify with their parents while at the same time breaking behaviors and cycles from those very same people all the while trying to incorporate them into your family. Developing healthy bonds can be very confusing for these kids and even more true when they hit the crazy teens years.

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For my children

I am in a facility that runs like a real home, our kids go to private school (my husband has taught part=time and coached at this school). We have a lot of input on their care and lives. All of my kids do not have family contact, because they are not around. One of my older boys, we have had for 7 years got married in Oct. on campus. It was beautiful. We had 200 guests and it was on campus under one of our oak trees. (We have 24 acres and only two houses on the property). It was so awesome to see on their invitations the name of our agency, he was proud of his home. My husband and I were the parent figures. Yes even with these amazing bonds there still is times you feel that hurt. But I have found the joys and blessings have surpassed those little disappointments. I think real biological parents also have those twinges at times. My husband and I have been richly blessed.

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rachel

Oh the “real” mom and dad stuff really bugs me sometimes! I know it shouldn’t – we are here for these kids, not for our own feelings. But I especially hate it when they get mad and say “you’re not even my real mom!”. Hey now, aren’t I the one who holds back their hair when they puke, the one who attends all their school plays, the one who’s bedroom door they knock on at midnight when it’s thundering outside?? Man, it sure can be irritating sometimes!

All that said, when I feel myself getting frustrated about this whole “real mom” thing, my wonderful husband lovingly reminds me that we will always be second best, and that is okay. No matter how awful their “real” parents are (and believe me they are awful), our girls have this undying loyalty and admiration for their biological parents. We just always need to remember that that is the way it is. And because of that, we should be especially thankful for those precious family moments we have with these kids – when they introduce you as mom to their friends, when they slip their hand into yours during praise and worship at church, when they remind you (even though you do it every night) to tuck them into bed before they fall asleep.

When you look at the whole picture, I know we are all blessed beyond measure by these kids!!

How much work do you do with your Church??

webmaster

We work at a residential foster care facility and attend a fairly small church (less than 100 members). We help out with children’s ministries because the children from our facility make up 90% of all the children in the church.

Today we were supposed to attend a big meeting at the church for a new children’s ministry the church is starting this fall, but we had a conflicting engagement that we had to attend as a PR event with the home. When I tried to explain that to the pastor, I am not sure he truly understood that what we do with the children and with the facility comes first. He talks a lot about people being involved in ministry, but I am not sure he fully considers what we do ministry.

I think I am going to have to have a meeting with him, and try to explain it better.

Anyway the point of all this rambling is to ask. How much do y’all get involved with your Churches? & Do you find it difficult to balance what your local church expects from you with what you are required to do

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TexPop

The local church we attend, both as a cottage and belong to personally, has financially supported our facility for years. The pastors have been invited to speak to our H/Ps during chapel many times and have visited our cottages. This interaction has built a good understanding of what we do here. The ministries of our church that we are involved in understand when we have a conflict due to our responsibilities with our kids.

I think I understand the situation you described. I would advise inviting your church leadership to come spend an evening with you and your kids.

-TexPop

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momof10

Since we have chapel on the campus we can’t really get too involved in our own church. Sometimes we do take the boys to our own church but then they still have to go to chapel.

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Launchpad

The church we attend off campus has no clue as to what we do. My wife and I get borderline harassment calls about playing music for service and every church project/ open position/ committee. They are in awe when we say no way- our schedule is way to packed and busy to take on any new projects. I don’t even feel guilty anymore.

The problem is most do not consider what we do as “Real Ministry”. They just have no clue. They see us as full time baby-sitters.

I’m not sure that perception can be easily solved. To really understand the lifestyle you have to live it. An outsider looking in just can’t possibly relate. Kinda like when I loaded the Uhaul for the first facility and thought I would save the world. 

Anyway- My perception of this ministry has definitely changed, for the better- not worse. After a year or two any misconceptions or fairy tales about being an HP fade away. I definitely believe this is the greatest ministry on earth. My pastor just can’t relate.

On the flip side, my father in law was a pastor for twenty some odd years. He retired and became an HP to lead a less stressful life . After a year he is now going back into the pastorate after living the HP life. He has whole new appreciation for what we do.

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missy

My husband is a pastor & we are full time houseparents to 6 boys & we have 1 boy & 1 girl of our own. We love doing both but sometimes I don’t think people understand how much we have to do & they don’t understand when we say no to invitations to go out between services. We are exhausted alot on Sundays & want to relax. When I was asked to teach AWANA, I had NO problems saying NO. (I hope God doesn’t want me to though because then I would have to.) I don’t think people understand what is normal according to the boys & that a fist hitting a wall is something that just sometimes happens. You deal with it & just keep loving them. Also, after taking 10 people out on Sat. the money for eating out is tight.

Paper Work Whew!!!

Launchpad

Does anyone else here feel overwhelmed with paperwork? Especially redundant stuff? 

Just pondering this question as I attempt to close out all my stuff for this shift.

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dontlietokids.net

Oh yes….absolutely!

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Seamus

Yeah, My wife and I were just talking about that last night. It was another late night of paper work, and then when we went to bed we hadn’t gotten to unwind at all and we just laid there. A person would think that doing all this paper work would make you tired and fall asleep, but that just doesn’t happen for us. It’s just more work and we need time to relax before we go to sleep. Anyone else have this problem?

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momofmany

Are you talking about daily paperwork or coverage notes before you go off duty? Our daily paperwork is minimal. We do “log notes” at night. As we have an awesome network, anyone who needs to access them can. The other paperwork would be med logs, but they too are fairly easy. I guess I am blessed. Or perhaps being a secretary for the past 10 years makes me feel there is not that much to do. And, compared to our last facility, this is much more organized and not a lot of redundant paperwork from caseworkers. We do seem to have a large amount of coverage notes when we go on respite, but that helps it flow better when we are off. 

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Seamus

We are in the middle of during our annual self evaluations which are 8 pages long. And our agency is getting the budget ready for the next year, so we have to give our input and get our figures together to give an estimate of what we will spend the rest of the year and next year. And our agency has started getting ready for Christmas lists, so we are getting all of that ready. Our normal day to day paper work is fairly minimal, but right now it seems like a lot.

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webmaster

We work at a Residential Foster Care Home and our paperwork is minimal. We do incident reports on major incidents, medication logs, Dr visit reports, family and sponsor visit reports, and a monthly facilities safety checklist.

We also do Christmas lists in August, many thank you notes throughout the year, and business office forms (leave requests, expense reimbursement, etc)

I absolutely don’t miss doing daily point sheets and logs. In the facility we worked at in Wyoming we had to have an entry in our log every 30 minutes.

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conniejean

I am terrible at paperwork, probably because I hate it so much. We do a daily point sheet that is very easy to do but filling it out every day for 16 girls gets old. We also have an easy daily report to turn in about our current number of students and if we did any recreation with them, that kind of stuff. And we fill out med sheets every time we give out medication that just say time and date and who gave meds… nothing hard…I just hate it…to much other stuff I need to get done too. And there is other occasional paper work that comes our way, nothing that keeps us up late. Sounds like maybe I don’t have it as hard as I thought I did!

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bakergirl

I thought maybe I was the only one feeling like this! My dh and I (seamus to you all) split paperwork but it still feels overwhelming! Dr reports, ongoing medical reports, med logs, med counts, reimbursement requests, budget paperwork, coding, keeping it all filed in the right spot, the home log, vehicle maintenance logs, keeping the right notebooks current as to insurance for the kids, much less keeping our personal insurance and bills together!

Summer Vacations

Launchpad

Here we are once again, time for long drives, and exotic locations.

This summer we are heading back down to Folly beach, SC, camping for a week in the mountains and probably a couple of Zoo trips.

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glidenhi

How’s this……north Georgia Mountains:

location’s a secret….but I’ll tell you. Meet us there. It’s cool up there…..way up there….it takes an hour to get up the mountain on winding dirt roads. Warning….it’s primative. We use tents.

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dontlietokids.net

Pocono Mountains Resort for us and our girls this summer.

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webmaster

We are renting cabins for a couple of nights at Monte Sano State Park in Huntsville Alabama. Campfires, Smores, & hot-dogs in the evenings. A day at the Space and Rocket Center and a day at Cathedral Caverns State Park

We will also do a couple of day trips to water parks, plus all the kids will get to go to at least one camp.

We will be taking personal vacation back to Montana for two weeks in July to visit my wife’s family and will make stops at the Mall of America in Minneapolis on the way there and a NASCAR Speed Park in St Louis on the way back. We went to Utah and California two years ago to visit my family.

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glidenhi

That sounds like a great vacation for the Kids, webmaster!!!!! I’ll meet you guys at the Huntsville skatepark….bring your skateboards…LOL!!! By the way….don’t’ know if there is enough at the caverns to entertain the kids a whole day….but lake Guntersville is just 20 minutes away…..you can swim there. It is beautiful. As you enter the town of Guntersville on HWY 431 there is an information center on the right. By the way….there is an I-Max theatre at the Space and Rocket Center, and Spiderman is showing.

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webmaster

I would bring my board but I’m tired of people laughing at it. It’s short and narrow with fat wheels. It was really cool back in the 70’s and I could even do a 360 on it.

Thanks for the info we will probably do the caverns on our last day and make the 4.5 hour drive home afterwards. I should probably know this from previous posts, but are you from the area?

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TexPop

We’ve finally decided to take our little boys to North Padre Island off of Corpus Christi for our summer trip. We’ll be going the end of this month before it gets too hot.

I’ll let you know how it goes!

-TexPop

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glidenhi

This weekend we are flying with my cousin in his small aircraft to Grayton Beach, FL. I am not one for carnival rides…..please pray!!!!

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dontlietokids.net

We’re on vacation now and not too pleased with the resort we’re at. We’re making due but are ready to go home. We will NOT recommend this place to anyone, that’s for sure.

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Launchpad

Sorry to hear you ended up with a bad vacation. Give us a review of the place so we know where not to go!!!

Enjoy the sunburn  !!!

I hate you all!!!! (Not Really) HP relationships.

Launchpad

I had a great time last night. Several of the guys here have a bible study/ prayer meeting every Monday night which is awesome. After the meeting I stayed up till 3 am with a fellow HP and talked. Part of our conversation led to places we worked and people we knew.

A common trend throughout the ranks is the lack of respect we really have for each other. How often do you hear a kind word about the respite couple or the relief? Most of what we say is how bad the house looks when we come back on duty and how many rules were changed while we were gone. It’s not often we hear about how awesome another couple is. What we hear, and talk about is the less desirable traits and habits a couple has.

Why do we do this? Is it jealousy, contempt, double standards or just plain and simple sin? I’m just as guilty as everyone else when it comes to judging those around me. I pray I’m finally aware of it and can make a change. I also pray I never take for granted AGAIN what most of us have given up to follow a calling.

I’m blessed that the couple we work with are close friends. Staying up till 3am shooting the breeze makes me realize how lucky I really am.

Does anyone else have personality issues at their facilities?

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glidenhi

I think most of the problems we have observed could have been resolved if all of the houseparents within a house worked as a team and worked together on a plan for each child. This should be facilitated and encouraged by the director. If the houseparents within the house don’t get along, the kids are the first to detect it, and it is bad for them. The worst thing is for there to be a turf battle going on, and for the kids to pay for their allegiance to one couple over the other. Any houseparent that discredits another to the kids is disrupting their own household and really discrediting themselves. Envy and strife is just what these kids need…after all they’ve been through. If relief houseparents are really not doing the job, they should be history. If they are having some successes that the regular houseparents aren’t, maybe someone should be asking some questions….not getting jealous.

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dontlietokids.net

Here’s what I’ve discovered. Relational staff seem very accepting of other styles, even very strict unrelational styles. Sure, they may not like a style that isn’t relational, and maybe they wish others were like them, but over all they are pretty accepting of all styles. Those who are not relational seldom accept those who are, they tend to gossip about them, put them down, and assume kids who behave well for them do so because of the “lack of structure”.

 

Many facilities don’t help this attitude because they so often teach “consistency=discipline” which isn’t true at all. Yes, our discipline should be consistent but so should our love for the kids as well and our desire to be there for them, listen to them, etc. but this is so, so, so seldom taught as being as important as discipline. Because of this the strict, very structured staff tend not to respect those who are not strict and very structured. The relational staff normally support everyone because, well, because they are RELATIONAL.

 

Until facilities begin to teach relationship building as strongly as they do discipline and structure the tension between the two different types of staff will never, ever go away. Sad, but true. Let’s look at one example.

How often have you heard in training of new staff

“Go in hard! It’s easier to back off then it is to get more strict!”

I have heard that 10 trillion times.

Ok, so how often have you heard this in training of new staff

“Try and build relationships with your kids, get to know them, understand them, find their issues and concerns out by talking with them.”

I’ve not heard that very often, especially when compared to the “go in hard” statement.

THERE IS YOUR PROBLEM.

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webmaster

We seem to have definite clicks on our campus and it usually divides up between old and new houseparents. I personally tend to be more of a loner, because I am not very comfortable in social situations. I tend to say stupid things that get me into trouble. Fortunately for me, kids are much more forgiving in that respect, that is probably why I relate better to them.

Most of our socialization takes place on the porch in the evening after supper while we watch our children play. During the summer we do it at least one a week, not as often in the winter.

I think houseparents can be some of the most judgmental people there are and make “Church Lady” seem mild, but I also think there are some houseparents that really should look for a different line of work and wish houseparenting was much more competitive to weed out those people. However, I am not sure that will ever happen because, most people don’t see being a houseparent as a profession and the financial rewards aren’t enough to draw many people.

Other Houseparents at your Facility

momofmany

Are the other houseparents at your facility friendly with one another or not? Ours are not. We went on a women’s retreat and everyone just sticks to themselves. I tried to be friendly, but always felt like the conversation was not returned. Is it this way at most facilities, or just mine?

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glidenhi

I’ve worked at three different campuses so far……have found friendships cordial, but not close.

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webmaster

We have been at our current facility for almost 8 years and although we are all pretty cordial, I am not sure how close our relationships are.

We definitely have clicks that are basically divided old houseparents – newer houseparents. I try to be friendly with all the houseparents, and try to help whoever or however I can, but I am not really close to anybody.

I am so busy with running my house, all my additional duties, plus my website – I don’t really have time for any type of a close friendship. I do good to have a few moments to spend with my wife.

Friendships require work and commitment, and I also don’t really have the spare emotions to put into it. I imagine there are other houseparents in the same boat.

On the other hand I am sure it would probably be nice to have a friend that can relate to the issues you face on a daily basis, because those friends that are not houseparents, if you have any, CAN’T.

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dontlietokids.net

I fear that there are so many answers to this issue that trying to speak to it is nearly impossible. At our last place of employment administration used staff against one another. It was sickening, but rather than supervise, they would listen to gossip and rumors. You almost had to tell on others to keep heat off of you.

Where I am not the administration is so, so much better and from what I can tell after a year and a half 99% of the staff are friendly and not out to stab one another in the back, mainly because they don’t have to.

However…

There is an uneasiness amongst childcare staff. Because all of us have our own “style” we are uneasy around each other because we don’t want to be challenged, more importantly we don’t want rumors to start about how we are too mean to our kids or too easy going, etc.

That’s why at sites like this one and mine we need to take EVERY opportunity presented to us to speak to one another without getting defensive or offended. We need to learn from one another in the name of the children we serve.

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Launchpad

Currently we are in a really good place. We all seem to just “click” at the moment. I think it has a lot to do with the dynamics of the people and a whole lot on the leadership of a facility. Employee moral (in my opinion) is the reason for turnover. Happy employees will go the extra mile. Just common sense. I do go out of my way to build a relationship professionally with the people I work with because I need them and the service they perform. It is a bit selfish, but in the process I end up with some good friends. We get together occasionally and BBQ, last night a couple of the houses just decided to have a bonfire. It was a good time with the house parents and kids. We didn’t need any specific reason or dictate from admin to get together. We just do it because we really enjoy each other’s company.

My last place the house parents were friendly, but there was always a little tension between someone. Always a soap opera going on. It was also a major reason I left. My wife and I set out to specifically find a place that was more family oriented and where the staff could at the very least, be friends. We turned down an offer from a great facility, paying higher wages than here, where we have friends at, entirely based on how well ALL the staff work together as a family. I’m glad we did. Life is way to short for us to waste it in a place where everything but the kids and ministry comes first. Especially when there are so many HP positions out there.

Something that might help; Find a morning when most HP’s can get together and have coffee, start a women’s or men’s prayer meeting once a week. Have a group BBQ for absolutely no good reason and bond over greasy food that is gonna send you to Jesus a little sooner than you expect. Go way out of your way to make friends with the one staff member that seems to the most un-pleasant. If you don’t make friends with them, at least you’ll annoy them a bit and give ’em something to gossip about.

This is an emotionally and physically draining job. I can’t imagine doing it without the fellowship of my sisters and brothers in Christ to help me stay on track. 

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webmaster

Well I am back from the Fishing Trip and I am glad to report that the kids had a GREAT time!! I had a pretty good time with only a few issues, however the biggest thing I brought back from the weekend is an insight I discovered about houseparents, at least the houseparents that were there this weekend.

There were over 30 houseparents from all over the south at this event this weekend and it should have been a great opportunity to meet other houseparents and visit with other people you can relate too. However, it wasn’t. Most everybody stuck to themselves and didn’t seem real interested in meeting anyone one else. Many seemed very stand-offish.

I tried to visit with a few people, and did visit in length with one couple that knew of me through my website, but for the most part it seemed like people were not real interested in meeting other people. I understand that we had children that needed to be supervised and I had a couple boys that were a real challenge, but I guess I just had hoped that we would all want to network more than we did.

I think this is a real issue for houseparents and is something I have resolved to work on. I probably would have been much more forward, but my wife reminded me before I left that I was representing our facility not The Houseparent Network this weekend, so I needed to keep my promoting to a minimum and I did. I didn’t even mention the website unless they brought it up.

The couple I did visit with confirmed one thing I thought about participation on this and other websites. They said they had time to read stuff from time to time but didn’t really feel that they had time to post or interact in-depth – they were just too busy.

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Launchpad

I see the whole issue as professional development. I can find more relaxing things to do rather than read, network or listen to podcasts about my profession.

I think it is the same in any job. In the Army, people get off work and have down time. The ones that did a little time management, studied a little and strived to be all they could be, progressed. The ones that didn’t? They just did the job.

I don’t see anything wrong with those that see this as just a “Job”. However, I do not identify with that crowd and they tend have the life span of a fruit fly in the HP world.

We can and will change how we network. My wife and I have no problem, and we are planning, with contacting and going to see other house parents at other facilities on our off time when finances will allow. The only purpose we have is to meet others in this field, learn and make some good friends. This is a culture unto itself. We do what no others want to. This is a very unique ministry and we are few. No one else, except other HP’s can even begin to know what this life, or the challenges it presents are like.

As a Christian community we should be open, especially with other HP’s. I don’t know what the deal is, but I plan on knocking on a few doors. (No I’m not looking for a Job, I love kicking it Southern style here)

Maybe I am a fanatic. In the long run it really doesn’t matter what the ones that “Just Do It” think. I’m more concerned with those of us that do care about this ministry and doing it well with the time the Lord has given us to run the race.

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webmaster

I know what you mean. I can honestly tell you that I have considered just bagging it all and doing something else. There is always HVAC or Mechanics I can fall back on as well as working with these computers full time, even though I hate them most of the time.

Other times I want to just take care of the kids I have, and not worry about anybody or anything else.

When to Quit?

webmaster

We post a lot about being called to be a houseparent, and I totally agree with that. I would like to change the discussion a little bit and try to get everyone’s opinion on something else.

How will we know when we are not called to do it anymore? It can’t be when things are difficult because we always say you have to persevere when things are difficult or look for another facility if it is too bad. It can’t be when all the kids are grown or completed the program, because there are always new kids.

It can’t be when you stop caring about kids, because if that happens you have bigger issues than whether or not to quit being a houseparent.

I am looking for serious answers. There are days I absolutely want to throw up my hands in defeat and say forget it. But, then I remember my advice to others that you have to persevere through the bad days to get to the not so bad days and the occasional good or great day.

What do you think??

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gracecountry62

Well I can honestly say we have been there at times wanting to give up. and well we did a few times but I realize it was done out of anger and it was always when I was not thinking clearly , especially when issues came up and boy Satan knows when to hit at the right time my wife and i regret listening to folks and making decisions out of an angry mind as well as when I am not having a clear mind during a crisis, but no more we are going on strong and when i feel the pressure I go off by myself and pray and just lock myself away. Then I return with a stronger look at whatever I may be doing at the present time. Then I can see clearly to do the right thing.

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Launchpad

I think it is one of those things that will be made clear to you if it is a God thing. If you’re really hard of hearing he may even slam the door on you to make it clear. 

I don’t know if it is even a question that can be answered unless you are at that point or beyond. It’s easy to get frustrated and begin to think God has called you elsewhere. I don’t think you can know until the time comes.

I think if this ministry became too much for my family I would move on. If I also found myself or my wife coming close to abusing a kid because of stress or burn out it may be time for a Bahamavention

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Housepop

I guess I kind of believe that just as I knew with total strong conviction that house parenting is what God wanted me to do. If it were HIS time for me to stop I would have that same conviction. In the first few years that my wife and I house parented I used to wonder how long I would do this but after 10 years and I am now age 53 I now assume that I will retire as a houseparent. My thoughts and dreams aren’t about what job I would do next but what I will do when I am retired and I really believe that the thought process that brought me there was from God and not me. Of course I still have one question about retiring. What does that word mean anyway. Do I just get tired again? I am so confused. 

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bakergirl

Housepop- “getting tired again” HA! Actually you couldn’t get tired “again” if its houseparenting. I’m always tired!!! I’ve noticed (and dh too) that I need far more sleep when on duty than off. Guess its a coping mechanism.

I also think that God will simply let you know when its time to go. We feel called to this as a career and it would take a lot for us to just quit. It would have to be a clear calling from God to another ministry.

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gracecountry62

We have talked to a lot of House Parents are really going through a tough time at this point. There seems to be a great attack on HP’s in the Ministry to children I have noticed through the head lines that there is a great increase in Abuse with children. Satan has made an attempt to attack HP’s in many areas especially in their Marriages, there has been a severe attack on us all. Do not give up we are going through some trying times right now but God is faithful to see all of us through these difficult times. Do not lose the vision and call God has put upon your hearts we are all the kids have and we are their refuge through God alone. God Speed to all of you.

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RANCHERICK

Our first time around we lasted just over 6 months. It was due to a variety of factors, so we thought at the time, but in hindsight it was really only one particular thing that was the underlying factor that made everything else seem amplified and uncontrollable. So we left, took 3+ years off, and now we are returning. To the same place too. And it helps now knowing what God had brought us through, and what houseparenting is like, that we are looking forward to rejoining the ranks and being HP’s again…

 

We thought God was telling us to leave, but it was really our flesh. We have had more of a rollercoaster ride since exiting the HP’s position that when we were actually Houseparenting! We believe we stepped out of God’s will for our lives at that time… He has graciously allowed us to step back in so to speak, and we couldn’t be more excited!

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helpingtroubledkids

I am replying to this topic, since I believe my wife and I are on the verge of leaving our cottage. We haven’t even been here 2 yrs. and yet it seems as though we have lost what we set to accomplish. I have to admit we haven’t been putting God first. On our days off it seems we want to relax and rest. On the few Sundays we have off (one every 3 weeks) we don’t attend church like we use to since its a day we have off to rest.

We live in a cottage with teenage girls and its drama day in and day out. They love us to our face, hate us when our back is turned is the saying between my wife and I. We have 3 children of our own ranging from 10-5 yrs old. and we have to think of the best interest of them as well as ourselves. We are far from the rest of our family to come here to do this ministry. Often, the children say they miss their grandparents.

Maybe I am asking for prayer for us to make the right decision for ourselves and our family. I enjoy being able to see my children come off the bus and have some time with them as I never did before, but the politics and drama of HP life can really get to a person. Thank you for the stories and information on these forums.

God Bless all of you and the difficult ministry you do.

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TexPop

My wife has been in Ministry longer than I have and she’s said it’s time to leave when she begins to feel that her work has been completed. I’ve spent many years in the secular job market and almost always left one job for a better position elsewhere ($$). Houseparenting is one job where the entire family is affected by this decision – to a MUCH greater extent than any other I’ve experienced. So, short of a moral issue perpetrated by my employer, I’d want to spend many many hours in prayer before making such a decision. I can’t imagine leaving the kids we have now. Maybe when/if the time comes the Lord will make it obvious – ’cause I’m a pretty hard-headed doofus sometimes.

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webmaster

MomforLife – Just wanted to say thank you for your service. I have always believed that for most people houseparenting is just for a season. The length of the seasons vary greatly by individual, sounds like yours was five years. If we could get more people just to do it for a couple of years, it would go a long way to reducing the staffing crisis’ in most facilities. Again thanks, I am sure you will be blessed in whatever you do and feel free to come around the community from time to time.

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Launchpad

QUOTE (webmaster @ Aug 2 2008, 11:23 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>

If we could get more people just to do it for a couple of years, it would go a long way to reducing the staffing crisis’ in most facilities.

AMEN!!!

I would also like to add that I hope you stick around the board here. Your insight and experience can help many, many couples when they have no where else to turn. I also believe that once your a House Parent, your always a House Parent. God cuts most of us from a different cloth and gives most of us a heart for ministering to kids and families long after the paychecks stop coming, it’s just who we are.

Heck, look at Glidenhi- Long after him and his wife have retired from the business, he’s still ministering to kids. Granted he’s the oldest punk rock skater I know, but he can’t get away from the calling. He has helped me with advice on quite a few occasions. Kinda nice to have a few old hands around. 

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MomforLife

Our former HP friends are telling us to take 6 months or so off… but I think we would go crazy after 3-4 weeks. My husband is high energy and I like to feel needed. We are both project oriented. I are praying for very clear direction from God.

We have an interview this Tuesday (tomorrow, 8/5) with TexPop’s facility. It is 2-1/2 hours away from our moms, which is only 1/2 hour longer than our original desire, but 5 hours closer than we are now. It is a HP Relief situation in basic care, which is probably perfect for us after 5 years of HP in ‘high level’ care.

My 75 yr old Mom is so excited about us moving closer that she bought us airfare for the interview and shipped me 2 new outfits for “interview” clothing – she knows I live in jeans! This was a sacrifice for her as she lives on a limited, fixed income. I hate to tell her that the clothes are too large (not that I’m small, I’m just not as big as she thinks)!

Leaving

taffym21

Can you tell me how you decided to leave certain positions? I’m going through my 3rd year as a relief houseparent (we are set up more as teams where primary’s work 5 days in the cottage and I work 2.5 days in 2 different cottages) and I am having a hard time lately. It would be scary as well as sad for me to leave. I’m scared of leaving paid housing and awesome benefits and pretty good pay. It would be sad leaving most of my kids. So… tell me stories of how you left and how you got through it! Hope you are doing well


 webmaster

My personal feelings about leaving is this:

Houseparenting in general: I think it is time to leave houseparenting when 1. You can make a permanent difference to a child, and doing so would make it impossible to continue as a houseparent. If you can make a permanent difference for that one child, I think you should. 2. If you are being a houseparent for any reason other than wanting to make a difference in the lives of the children you are caring for. Houseparenting is not a transitional job, a retirement program, disability program, etc.

One facility for another: This is generally a personal decision but I think if you can do substantially better for yourself (higher pay, better training, education reimbursement, health insurance, etc) while still making a difference, it would be ok to go for it. If a facility is ran in such a way that children are abused or neglected, and there is no hope for remedy, then leave quickly. If working at a facility goes against your personal moral or religious beliefs, go.

When considering whether or not to go:
1. Always keep in mind that there is NO perfect facility, and being a houseparent is going to be frustrating no matter where you do it. My advice is always find a place that has the most things you like and can live with and the least amount you can’t. Keep in mind that every-body’s perspective is different. One person’s nightmare is another person’s fantasy.

2. The grass may be greener on the other side, but it just might be Astroturf (an 80’s term for artificial grass)

3. We had a term in the military that I found also applies to being a houseparent. The two best bases (or in our case facilities) is the one you used to be stationed at and the one you have orders to.

4. At some point you are going to leave kids you care about. Whether you are at a facility for one year or 30 years, there are going to be kids you care about that you are going to leave. We just left houseparenting to adopt one of our kids and while we are making a difference for that child, there are two others that we had cared for almost 5 years that we had to leave. It hurts, but life goes on. It has to.

Sabbaticals ???

webmaster

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.   

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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.

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webmaster

 

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.

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MomforLife

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.

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JonNDeb

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)

Turn Over

ThomFam

I am wondering as to why the heavy turnover. It sounds as though the typical person starting out as a house parent is out of the field in less than a year. I am sure things like lack of training and facilities not taking care of their people. I am sure people go into the field with rose colored glasses on as well. Here is my question, aside from what I mentioned, why is there such high turnover? I am concerned for myself and my family. If we were to accept a position at the facility I am interested in we have to move half way across the country to a state I have never lived in. I am willing to do this, but it would not be good to find my family “Stuck” in a faraway place. Any help you can provide in enlightening me as to the high turnover I would appreciate it.

Also ideas for me to prepare myself and my family for the long haul would be great.

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Housepop

The answers to your question vary greatly. But not enough people truly research what it is they are getting into. These aren’t regular kids. They are kids that have been damaged by adults that don’t know how to parent or who selfishly think that their needs come before the child’s, or adults who are involved in drugs and alcohol. you have kids that have been preyed on by sexual deviants. These are often kids that have been thrown away and really just want to be loved but don’t know how to love back. They have food issues from not having enough food in the house when they were hungry and the list goes on and on. Many different issues and many different kids. And then there are the gang kids that found family and don’t want to give it up or change because it is way too hard to do things any differently. These are often kids that are so used to pain (emotional and physical) that it becomes comfortable and not to feel it hurts worse. This is just a small list of some of the things you will see and experience and many adults that want to change a life and love a kid don’t take in to account that it is not an easy job. NOW having said that even with the insanity of the kids you have staff and faculties that are just as confused as how to help them and try so many different methods and have so many different theories that it certainly adds to the challenging job we do. But if you are truly called by God to do this job none of the craziness truly matters because if you walk with him you will make it past the national average and truly love what you do. There are many people who visit this board that can share stores that will make you cry and laugh at the same time. But it truly is one of the greatest jobs you can ever do, the difference is that you can’t do it alone and I don’t mean your spouse of other staff which are important but you have to have a very good relationship with God the father and lean on him each and every day.

I hope I haven’t rambled to much or babbled on incoherently but truly pray about this endeavor before you take it on. My wife and I have been house parents for almost 12 years in 3 different facilities and yes it is truly one of the hardest things you will ever do but without a doubt one with the greatest rewards. I can’t wait for that day in heaven when I hear a small voice say thank you because if not for you I wouldn’t be here. Then every sleepless night and being called names that most people have never heard will be so worth it.

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ThomFam

Thanks for your heart felt reply. I have been praying God would remind me the work is His, it is mine to simply obey. I can see this line of work being frustrating to those who are performance oriented. My guess is you often do not see the results you would like to. I hope that I can still show them love, kindness, and grace in spite of what they have done or how they act. It is what Jesus has done for me, I hope to pass it on to these kids.

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webmaster

I agree with Housepop, most people don’t fully consider what they are getting in to, or do it for the wrong reason. I can honestly tell you that after 12 plus years as a houseparent, there is only one good reason to be a houseparent – to help kids. There may be different reasons for wanting to help kids, called by God, service to community, etc, but unless you want to help and do what is best for the children you serve, you will come up with countless reasons to quit.

I also think people lack persistence. This job is VERY, VERY hard and stressful. You have to deal with situations, people and cultures you are not used to dealing with and you have to learn new skills. Being a newbie makes it that much harder, but once you get experience and learn how to react to situations, learn how to work with social workers, judges, psychiatrists, therapists, etc., learn how to work with parents and families that think it is ok to lie, cheat, steal, use drugs, etc., learn how to make a decent meal out of your limited grocery resources, learn how to get to all the different places you have to go, things get easier!! You have to be persistent to work through the tough times at first, to get to the not as tough times later.

You can be performance oriented and do this because I am very much so, you just have to be very careful to use the right scale for measuring. You have to say things like, “Johnny only stole 25 things today, last week he was stealing 30 a day – that’s progress.” “Suzie is now passing two classes, last year she failed them all.” “Johnny is now just calling me an a$$hole, last week he called me a F–king a$$hole.” However, I think most people are unable to do that, and quit because they don’t see enough progress and to be perfectly honest, there are many days I want to also.

I on the other hand don’t believe that being a houseparent is meant to be a lifelong career for most, and I mean MOST people. I honestly don’t see me doing it another 12 plus years. I just wish more people would commit to doing it for a season, whether it be 2 year, 5 years or 10 years. Look at it as a mission. How many missionaries do you know that go on a mission for a lifetime? Most do it for a season and then do something else to recuperate for their next mission. I think houseparenting should be looked at the same way.

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Launchpad

I agree 100% with all the above. This is truly a love/ hate situation and you have no chance of making it long unless you either walk with Christ or are clinically insane.

I love what I do very much; I’ve also never done as much cussing, spitting and loathing about any other occupation as I have about Houseparenting. Emotions get very raw when you start pulling 16 hour days, the kids hate you, admin is crawling down your back about a missing receipt and although you are with your wife 24 hours a day, you haven’t had a conversation that didn’t revolve around a kid in three weeks.

It’s definitely a lifestyle, and I can’t think of any other way I’d rather serve Christ than what I’m doing now. You’ll know after a year if it’s your calling, which is why most couples move on after a year.

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MomforLife

Be prepared to learn more about yourself than you ever wanted to. Being a houseparent exposes all your weaknesses, but your strengths as well. In my opinion you cannot do this ‘job’ without the understanding that only God is in control and only God can provide the strength and resources needed to stay focused, sane and find peace during the mayhem.

Be wise from the beginning to recognize your own needs, if your health deteriorates (and many do because of stress and diet) then you will find it hard to continue in this ministry. I am in the later category now. We moved to a new facility in September and the stress of the move and learning to be a ‘relief’ houseparent has been detrimental to my health.

Being a relief houseparent is more difficult that I imagined. If you don’t have a great relationship with your houseparents, it’s a very stressful arrangement. You expect the kids to test and try your knowledge, but you don’t expect to be in an adversarial relationship with the adults…it undermines your effectiveness with the kids, adds stress you don’t need and makes your relationship with management stressful as well. I’ve been to the ‘quitting’ stage at least 3 times in 4 months due the lack of a good relationship with a set of houseparents. As a full-time houseparent in a former facility with horrible management…I only got to this stage once year!!! An old boss of mine that I deeply respected once said “if you give a man a responsibility, you must also give him the authority to make it work.” This is so true … regular and relief houseparents must have a mutual goal of supporting one another so that they can provide the best care for their kids. Good, kind, supportive communication is imperative to providing long-term consistently healthy environments for our kids.

I don’t mean to sound negative. I cannot imagine my life without this work. I believe it is the most important ministry … if our children have no hope, our world, our future has no hope. Every time I think about quitting, I ask myself “and do what with my life?”… my answer is always the same…this is what I am meant to do.

I do ask for prayers for my health. Recent tests have revealed liver problems that now require more tests. I hate tests. I don’t know what my future holds, but I know who holds my future.

What to search for?

emyboy

Ok, question number 2. As we search for a position, what am I looking for in an organization? What kind of questions do I ask? Also, how do you as houseparents not come to the place of burnout? I am making a huge move with my family to another state possibly, and I do not want to get burned out of this job. Just searching for some Godly Wisdom on this area

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marjie

I have never replied before, I am the webmasters wife, but we have been houseparents for almost 10 years and as for your question about burning out. There is no easy answer because I believe this is a calling from God and when things get hard, and they will, he will give you the strength. My best advice is to pray a lot and have other people also pray. This is a life altering move and there are a lot of tough days but if this is what God has asked you to do you will lead you path and he will always make that clear to you even on the days when it looks dark. God has always blessed us, protected our birth children and given us children that we would not be the same people without. We work in a facility that is 1000’s of miles away from our extended family and yet he has sent us wonderful Godly people to fill that void. I guess what I am trying to say is give this to God and he will not let you down. 

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rachel

I am not a houseparent yet (my husband and I start on January 2), so I don’t really have an expert opinion. But I do know that these questions you are struggling with were on the forefront of our minds as well. We have been especially worried about the burnout issue. We are giving up careers, and we don’t want to just be houseparents for one year and then start new careers all over again. Our pastor said something during his sermon recently that really helped us feel confident to take this plunge…

God will never ask you to do something that does not require you to have full faith in Him.

That fact really resonated with us. Houseparenting takes a lot of faith, and it does not really make sense to the natural mind. Working 24 hours a day, with someone else’s kids, for very little pay – those aren’t qualities that we would normally look for in a job. But, throughout the Bible, God is constantly asking people to have faith and follow His direction in situations that make no sense to the natural mind. And in all of those Bible stories that we know so well (Noah and the Ark for just one example), God provides above and beyond the human expectation.

There is a reason that God wants us in houseparenting, and what God ordains, He sustains.

I hope that some of this helps. It’s all stuff that we already know, but sometimes it just helps to hear it again before taking such a huge leap of faith. I know it has helped us! God bless you!

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emyboy

Thank you all for your responses. I am taking one step at a time. We believe with all of our hearts that God is calling us to be Houseparents. It is a big leap of faith, and I am glad there is this forum to help us in our decision process. The Lord brings into our lives forerunners that can help us in our ministry. To show us what to do and not to do. This is all new to us, so we will take any advice we can get. Thanks again.

Also please pray for God’s direction as we are fasting and praying for these next 3 days for this decision.

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bakergirl

Hey there! DH and I just secured our job so I remember these questions keenly. Here is what spoke to us about organizations (the one we almost got hired at and then found out later they had a bad rep for houseparents, and the one we accepted the job at)

In interview:

Do they want you to communicate with other houseparents? I’m talking more than meeting for lunch, are you allowed to hang out with a family and do activities (go to church, eat dinner) If you are allowed limited contact or no contact with houseparents- that’s a big red flag! Facilities that take care of their houseparents will be eager for you to see how happy their staff is! And don’t be afraid to ask either, a facility may not offer but once you ask to spend a day with them, will allow it.

Do they admit their problems? Do they let you know up front that some kids might be violent? (our facility admitted it could be a problem and provides non-violent restraint training but it has only had a few instances) Or do they deny it will ever be a problem and look at you like you are crazy? Denying problems that you know have to be an issue with troubled kids is a big red flag.

Do they let you check out the grounds and homes? We received a tour but were not allowed into the homes at one place and found out later that probably meant BIG red flag. Our current facility let us spend the night in a home.

Do they let you share your faith? One place that called themselves Christian would not allow hps to talk about God, just take the kids to the church on campus. I would have had a real problem with that since faith is the only way dh and I can handle this job.

Lastly, do you feel a connection with the people at the facility? DH and I didn’t know that would happen since we didn’t feel it the first place we interviewed at. Once we found the place God led us to, there was a huge difference, a feeling of rightness. A LOT of prayer went into our search and decision.

It sounds like you guys are approaching this exactly the way it should be- as a ministry.

Oops- forgot the burnout question. Our current facility (the main campus) has several hps that have been there 18 years. That spoke volumes to us. Then, the branch-off campus where we will be working has had the same hps, same director for five years and that’s as long as it has been running. You could see that the hps and the director liked and cared about each other (the hps were in on the interview). I think finding out the average time of turnover helps. The national average is 6 months. The place that had a bad rep w/hps had a 3 year rate so sometimes the statistics can lie.

Good luck and prayers!

Frustration (Taking Behaviors Personally)

theknowles
Wow, what a week. I thought that I could not become anymore frustrated about some of the girls in my house, and then Friday arrived. My wife and I have been doing this for 3 months, and I was loving it until this week. I am feeling completely squashed by one of the girls, I will call her “Drama Queen”.

 Drama Queen and I have about the same personality, except for the fact that she does not care what she says or when she says it, and I am having a really hard time holding back. Yesterday it seemed as though I was put down so much by her that she just knew that it was getting to me, and it did about 8 o’clock. I let her have it and then felt totally terrible about how I reacted. I am really feeling frustrated about the situation and feel helpless. I have been spending time in God’s Word and trying to seek his guidance. Lately I feel like there is a wall up between me and God, and I know that it is me and my attitude. I just need a way to release the resentment.

They say that you cannot take what they say and do personally, but it is extremely hard for me because I am the person that feels I need everyone to like me. Monday we are planning on going home to see our families and I know that it will help to see some people whom I know love me and care about me “I cannot wait”. I know that there are many of you out there that have been doing this for quite some time, and if you can offer any advice I am all for it. 


Launchpad
I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I have said something stupid and/ or inappropriate to a kid. I remember one teen boy that told my wife he hoped our unborn daughter would die and fall out. The rest of my interaction with him looked more like a conversation between Tony Soprano and somebody he was getting ready to shoot. That was the last big blow up I had.

We work in a highly emotional environment. Most of these kids could not handle foster placement because of emotional and behavioral issues, so they get placed with us in group homes. In reality almost all group homes are “behavior Modification” facilities, whether they think they are or not. We try to teach and empower these kids to make better decisions and create healthy relationships.

My patience and reactions have gotten better over time. There’s a lot to be said for experience and the fact that after being called a B***h for the millionth time it actually starts to become hysterical and you find yourself teaching to the behaviors, not reacting out of anger or frustration. But it still happens- at least to me.

I think everyone has a certain boundary that is not to be crossed. When you have a 14 year old not only cross that line, but doing with a sneer and taunting you, it’s only natural to imagine you spanking them out by the wood pile. Just don’t do it.

All the rules and regulations that are in place are there because we are only human. The child care industry is in a much better place now than it was as little as 20 years ago when de-escalation at some places consisted of a leather belt or wooden paddle and a good swinging arm.

As for the wall between you and God- I find myself there often. I start feeling like that when I don’t have a solution as to how to deal with a kid or I feel like I’m making no difference at all. I pray, jump on the motorcycle for a few miles and go talk to some of the guys I trust here and unload on them. It helps- at least for me. 


glidenhi
It is one thing to be offended by a resident…..it is another to watch one undermine your credibility with the other residents and feel powerless. You may be running into a former houseparent’s neglect. For some it is easier to let a strong anti-leader run the house and reward them with special privileges in return for conditional allegiance. That results in losing credibility with the whole house anyway, and leaves a “lord of the flies” survival of the fittest…. game player mentality. That will work ….although pitifully at best…..for “keeping” kids, but it won’t work for redeeming them.

Take the kid aside and get real with them. If putting you down continues…just remember…you probably aren’t the only one being put down. Make her pay consequences for putting anybody down. Find out if you have offended her….if she has a legitimate beef, ask forgiveness and fix it. …..but don’t let it continue. You have to have control of the house…otherwise…the whole house suffers…and the children have no security under your leadership.

You ultimately have to have the support and the confidence of the director. Sometimes kids do better with one houseparent over another. Sometimes they do better in another type of setting. The director can make changes if they are needed. If they don’t want to be bothered when a destructive situation can’t be resolved at the house level….which should be rare…..it’s time to move on.

Do you have a pet peeve behavior?

webmaster
I was just wondering what every-one’s pet peeve behavior was?

Mine is LYING – it absolutely drives me nuts, yet I can’t even count how many times I get lied to in a week. It seems in most cases when somebody says something to me I have to assume that it is a lie until I prove it’s NOT.


TexPop
I hope you’re referring to the children and their families at your facility and not your co-workers.

I can’t tell you how many times in my life I’ve gotten burned because of my assumption that what other adults tell me is the truth! As a houseparent, however, I’ve dealt with more lies than ever before and I’m learning to distrust more than before…….I think that’s sad…..

That being said – my wife and I tolerate zero (0) lies from our boys. We have a standard consequence for lying and it’s enough to get their attention. They know that we will apply it across the board regardless of the level of the lie. It helps a LOT!

Jesus said: “I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life.” -TexPop


webmaster
I was referring to the children’s behavior, though I wouldn’t be surprised to find out some adults have told me whoppers.

I agree with you that being around lying makes a person less trusting in general, I am pretty sure it has with me.

I think we are pretty good about being consistent with consequences for lying, but we have a couple of children that continue to do it regardless of the consequences. It just becomes real frustrating.


momofmany
I, too, agree lying is the worst. I know I was lied to at least a zillion times over the weekend, uh oh I think I am now lying too. My husband and I talked about it today, and these kids have come from folks who have lied to them all their life, you learn what you live. Hopefully, all of us houseparents will be able to help these kids. I think that is why I really like Don’t Lies’ name. It says it all, and sometimes the truth is so hard.


helpingtroubledkids
I have to agree with lying is the worst peeve for me.

The students know up front that lying is by far one of the worst thing you can do to me. I know that this is something the children have acquired from their home life. Beside the standard consequence, I give a long boring speech and I use examples in my own life where lying has affected both myself and my family. I show them how it hurts others and themselves. The Boy Who Cried Wolf is a classic example for them.

You have the classic student who has lied in the past, then, when he/she is punished for something they can swear up and down they are telling the truth. After some time later, come to find out they lied again. 


dontlietokids.net
While I agree that lying is terrible, and I do give consequences for it, what drives me up and over the wall is being unappreciative!  I absolutely cannot tolerate children who are ungrateful. Look, they don’t have to like me, they don’t have to like our home, or even the organization, but if you can’t appreciate all that’s done for you, I will have a serious problem with that child.


webmaster
Ungratefulness is a tough one and it does bother me, but I guess I have just come to expect it and hope that in a few years most kids will see the light and appreciate what we did for them. Lying seems to just continue to erode a relationship. My 17 YO birth-son has an issue with lying and it is seriously hurting our relationship.


Launchpad
ATTITUDE!!!!!!

Rolling eyes, talking under breath, one fingered salutes and oh mans!!!!


Seamus
Being unappreciative is HUGE for me, but there is one other one that just drives me nuts. You know that one kid that you stayed up with until 11:30 with last night working on geometry or algebra or whatever. You finally got it done and then guess what – yup, they just didn’t turn it in. Yeah, that burns me like nothing else. THE WORK IS DONE – JUST TURN IT IN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ok – I took a breather. Sorry, that has just happened a couple too many times – and definitely not all with the same kid. Anyways, just my thoughts.


dontlietokids.net
lol-I hate that too! I have had many kids that do that. When they turn it in they lose points but discover it would have even been an A if they had turned it in on time as well. It’s worse if administration shift some kind of blame on you for a child having low grades and you know that’s the problem, I mean how can you MAKE a kid turn something in on time? You can make sure he or she does it, and does it well, but you can’t sit in class and force them to turn it in!


seriously
Stealing!!! This is the toughest one for me because it affects everyone. We’ve had only a few kids who had a habit of taking things from other kids in the past. It’s horrible for the other kids who are having their stuff taken and know that it’s someone who they live with and it’s super frustrating for me because I feel so helpless. We’ve always been able to get to the bottom of the situation, but not without some serious damage to the morale of the house. Since lying typically goes with the stealing, that would be right up there at the top of my pet peeve list, too!


glidenhi
……..”one fingered salutes”………..hahaha!!!!….you’ve got some “corkers,” there….. Launchpad !!!!…..LOL!!!!!

Sounds like a skateboarder for sure….


Launchpad
My biggeset pet peeve-

House Parents that think there is some kind of campus competition as to who is the best HP. They tend not to play well with others. 


Seamus
How about when your director promises things that your home will absolutely get for Christmas, so let’s not buy them during the year, even though there is money in the budget for them, and then none of them get donated. Yeah, and then you find out that your director is leaving and you will be having a new boss, so really you feel as though that director didn’t really care anyways – yeah, that’s a pet peeve.