Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Perplexing issue at hand

Homosexuals with licensed foster homes. At first glance, my natural instinct is to love this unconditionally. It's about time people tore down the walls of hate, and stopped letting hatred, intolerance, and judgment stand in the way of doing the right thing, particularly when children's welfare is involved. If there are loving homes needed, and a homosexual couple happens to have a loving, safe home and desire to open it up, what's the problem? Let's get going. Place the kids and move on.

Overall, this is how I feel.

I was thinking this over, however, and I came up with a glitch, so to speak. It's not prefectly perfect. It's great, and I support it, but as I said, there is a glitch.

The idea behind foster care is that it's temporary. These children are placed in a loving and safe home while their bio-folks get their shit together. Then, presumably if things can get put in place, the children go "home."

There are many issues with foster care, all aimed at keeping a sense of normalcy for the child as that child understands normalcy. Placement workers try to find similar culture, race, religion, etc. for a potential foster home, because this makes the transition both into the foster home and the transition back to the parent easier.

And I can tell you, it really does make a difference. I've worked with one young girl who was placed in a home with an African family. (I did not say they were black. Please don't assume that sort of thing. I said African.) They ate African style food. This young girl had nothing she found appetizing to eat, and felt uncomfortable the entire time. Eventually, they found a new home for her.

I worked with a young gal who was in a state run facility because there were no foster homes available for her in her area. The staff members were all one race and culture, by sheer coincidence, and they were different than this young girl. She had to go to a church that she didn't understand, which conflicted with the religion and method of worship and practice she'd grown up with. This violates the whole intent of foster care.

Sometimes it's unavoidable. Certainly concessions have to be made in order to acheive the main means: getting children into a safe place where their basic needs are met. Things like diet, clothing, religion, etc. can all be pushed aside for at least a short time in effort to get the main deal handled - kids in a safe place. Period. So for respite care, emergency placement, etc., just stick the kids where the fit in the homes so they aren't sleeping on chairs in a DHS lobby or some other ridiculous thing.

But longer term placement... I think the state has no choice but to respect families of origin, as the purpose and intent is to reunite families whenever possible. (Which isn't always possible.) So when you stick a three year old black toddler into a Japanese household, the child is tasting food different from what he's used to, and that makes the whole deal just that much harder. When you stick a child from a single-parent household into a foster home with a traditional family setting, returning to the single-parent household might be a bit harder. (There are single parent foster homes.) You catch my drift.

Now some of these details are not all that problematic. Stick an only child into a foster home where there are now siblings, and this may even make the situation easier for the kid. There are peers. Friends. Something to do. A way to keep busy. Stick a Catholic kid into a Baptist house, and the kid might not even realize it unless the family goes to church six times a week.

But when it comes to placing a child in the care of homosexual foster parents, is there any way to match that at all with the details of origin? I doubt there are many children being removed from homosexual households. (You can think I'm stereotyping all you want, but all the homosexual friends I've had in my life? Very clean, responsible, loving people who are amazing with children.) So the majority of the children placed will be from single parent homes, or heterosexual parents. I think that might be a tough transition.

Worth it, to acheive the means of getting the kid(s)safe, warm and fed. But tough.

I'm then left to wonder.... Are biological parents required to sign off on a change for the child that drastic from his norm? Curious...

My thoughts.... All extreme placements should probably be done with the child is fairly certain to be a long term placement. (Rather than temporary.)

The folks we met were a long term situation. The child in there care is expected to be up for adoption, and they are planning to adopt. Perfect outcome. The child only knows what he/she knows, doesn't have to transition back and forth, and is in the hands of some people who clearly are full of love.


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