Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Checklist to Prepare Yourself

This morning Tara, over at The Short Bus, wrote a list of the things you need to be prepared for if you plan to become a step-parent.

After reading her list, I noticed that the majority of it applies equally well to foster or adoptive parenting.

Go read.  It's a good list.

I couldn't help but notice that there were recurring themes in her list:
  • The strains that are placed on one's relationship with one's spouse
  • The abuse, disrespect and lack of regard the children have for their step-parent, which is exacerbated by past trauma and history of mental illness
  • The triangulation of parents, teachers and professionals
  • The involvement of child welfare officials
If you remove "step-parent" from this list and replace it with "foster parent" or "adoptive parent," I think this sums up many people's experiences.

Granted, I think the presence of any children in a home, whether they are biological, foster or adopted, can create similar situations.  Unfortunately, I think the problem is worse when dealing with a step, foster, or adoptive parenting situation, simply because of the number of people involved. It seems that, no matter what you do, there is always someone watching over your shoulder, making second-guesses about your parenting.

Add to that a special needs child, especially if that child has attachment problems, FASD, or past trauma, and the possibilities of false allegations, accusations, and criticism become endless.

I think this serves as a larger commentary on our society.  Why is it, when we look at the challenges special-needs children have, that parents are always presumed guilty until proven innocent?


  1. Maybe you should spend more time focusing on her #3.

  2. Here.

    Watch them brag about how many kids they adopted out in Florida over the last four years. No mention of the challenges or difficulties. It's all happy endings for the kids according to them.


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