I'm writing this because even though I desire more people to adopt and do foster care, they should get into it knowing that many of the kids who need homes have behavioral issues. Some rage, some have FASD, are traumatized, have RAD, or are on the autism spectrum. Some have other psychiatric conditions that all the love and good parenting in the world can't fix. Only God. Not all of the children have all of these conditions, but many have at least one of them. And it is stressful for the family, especially since many children seem so sweet out in public but save their worst behaviors for home.
One blog I read is by a woman whose two children have FASD and PANDAS, and have rages when they come down with an infection, especially Strep. When they rage, the kids break things.
Now my kids haven't broken anything lately during a rage, but they used to. Another thing they would do is make big messes when they raged or were dysregulated, which made keeping the house clean enough for the foster agency a challenge! We have spent so much money and time repairing and cleaning. We knew fostering hurt kids would be difficult, but we just didn't grasp the full extent before we got into it.
Someone responded to this woman's post I read, saying that leaving something broken would bring the kids to a place of remorse. I didn't think so, given what I've learned about FASD and RAD. They either wouldn't understand or they wouldn't care. So I wrote the following:
I have found that when my kids get to a certain point in their rage, they honestly forget what they did. They can't believe they broke, screamed, or swore. They might remember the lead up to the rage, and the aftermath, but not the worst part of it. They are acting on a lower part of their brain, and their logic and higher reasoning just don't work at that time. So leaving things broken doesn't have the effect it would have on a more neurotypical kid. It is confusing to them. People say they did something, but they don't remember. So sometimes calmly fixing it and asking for their help without blaming them helps. I've become awesome at do it yourself projects. I even learned how to do knockdown texture on sheet rock from Youtube! Sometimes I just live with things broken. Other things, like towel holders, I look for a go around because I repaired them too many times and want to keep the towels off the floor as much as possible.
No one ever told me the cost of adoption would include lots of home repairs. I've also spent more money on things that relieve my own stress than I would have thought. But my kids are worth every broken thing, every penny I spend, and every extra gray hair on my head. I know you think that too!
People who foster and adopt need a lot more support from those around them. It's hard to ask for help when you've chosen to take something on. Many are so exhausted and overwhelmed they can't think of who to ask and what kind of help to ask for. Believe me, I've been there. Sometimes help with some of the oddest things, like fixing a cabinet door for someone, can make such a difference.