The foster child, now four years old, was born to an unwed mother who was only 12 years old when she gave birth to the child. The biological mother was deaf and mentally handicapped. The child was born premature and the family of the biological mother left the child in the hospital, choosing not to take him home. He stayed in the hospital for 25 days to receive treatment for premature birth, then was transferred to a Child Care Institution. Due to his status at birth, he was legally free for adoption. He was to be placed with an adoptive family, however the child had a neck problem that caused multiple adoptive family placements to not be completed.
As part of an outreach program for potential foster parents, the foster couple was contacted by Foster Care Society. Once they were informed of what foster care is, they became interested in fostering. With support from FCS throughout the application process, they were notified that their household was fit to receive a foster child. The foster parents were joined by a one-and-a-half-year-old boy. The foster mother said, “after 26 years, I got a chance to become a mother and it touched my heart.” The family said that the adjustment period was about one and a half months. During this time, the child experienced new food, a different lifestyle, and learned how to interact with all of the new people in his life. The parents were so happy to change this child’s life by providing him with so many things that he had never had before.
The foster mother describes her favorite memory with the child as the first time he called her “mother”. He walked up to her and gave her a big hug when he said it. She stated that this was a beautiful day in her life.
The child has been living with the family for two and a half years now. The foster father is so proud of his foster son. The foster child is very attached to his foster father and enjoys waiting for him to get home from work every day so they can play together. The parents have seen tremendous social growth with the child. He is growing daily in his skills and loves attending family and community events.
The foster family is made up of father (age 34), mother (age 37), and female foster child (age 4). The foster father said that he has always wanted to have a child. When he married his wife, they decided that they were going to adopt. They do not have any biological children of their own. The parents were in the process of adoption and after a year on the waiting list they received an SMS message promoting Foster Care Society’s work. Neither of the parents knew what foster care was, but wanted to bring a child into their home. They met with the Founder/President of Foster Care Society and decided that foster care seemed like a great new way to bring a child into their home.
The parents state that Foster Care Society was very helpful throughout the application process. They received technical support from FCS staff who were available whenever they needed them. Their application was processed within a week of submission. The father was very surprised by this, as the application for adoption took over a year to be approved.
The foster child was born to a mother who was deemed mentally incapable of taking care of her. The biological mother lives in a mental institution. Because of this, the child had been living in a Child Care Institution since birth. At the age of one and a half years she was placed with her foster parents.
The parents were excited when they found out their application was processed and they decorated their home with balloons to celebrate the homecoming of the foster child. At first, the child was closed off and shy. She often tried to hide and refused to play. She had problems with sleeping and the new parents had to get creative on how to help her sleep, often taking her on drives late at night because that helped her fall asleep.
The Child Care Institution that she lived in had only female staff and other girl children. This was a challenge at the beginning of her placement because she was very afraid of her foster father. After a month of her living in her foster placement, the foster father shaved his beard and mustache to see if that made her less fearful. The girl immediately opened up to him and shortly after became very attached to him. The parents said that the adjustment period lasted about six months before the girl was fully comfortable with them and in their home.
The foster child is now four years old and is thriving at home and school. She is first in her class and just completed her finals with very high marks. Developmentally, the foster parents describe a total transformation. She refused to talk and express her feelings when she first joined the family. Now, she loves to talk and play. She is very social and has a lot of friends at school and in her community. Her FCS social worker describes her as very talented and full of potential.
When asked what foster care means to him, the foster father responded by saying “foster care means family.” He told of how this process brought him the family that he has always wanted and they hope to be able to adopt the foster child in the future- providing a forever family for him. He expressed the need for organizations like Foster Care Society to exist all over India as a way to connect children with families.
At the age of four, the foster child was reported to Childline because he was begging on the streets. The Child Welfare Committee reviewed his case and were unable to find his biological parents. He was placed in a Child Care Institution for three months before being matched with his foster family.
The child’s foster mother (age 52) and father (age 54) learned of foster care from a previous member of the Child Welfare Committee in their district. The member educated the couple on what foster care is, then gave them the information for Foster Care Society. They were supported by FCS throughout the application process and were very happy to be declared a fit family for foster care.
At the time of the initial placement there was a language barrier between the foster child and his parents. He spoke a local dialect which differed from his parent’s. He quickly embraced learning the Hindi that his foster parents speak and is now learning English too.
Being a foster parent comes with challenges at times. In this case, the background of the child having lived on the streets meant that he had behavioral problems and the family is constantly working with him to improve. He struggles to obey his foster parents when they discipline him. It has taken a lot of work and communication with the child for the foster parents to earn his trust. Additionally, since the foster parents do not have biological children, they quickly realized that their parenting styles differ from one another. The foster mother likes to have a structured and disciplined routine for the boy, while the foster father enjoys giving the boy all of the things that he wants. They continue to grow as a couple and learn compromise with one another since becoming foster parents.
The foster child has been with the family for two years now, and his foster parents have loved providing him with new experiences in a home with a loving family. When he was first living with them, he hadn’t tried a variety of food and was uninterested in eating. Now, he always has an appetite and enjoys eating. The foster mother said that she always feels cared for by the child. He can tell when she is frustrated or upset and he likes to comfort her. When asked about his experience, the child said he wants to live in his foster home because his parents provide him with good food, education, and they care about him.
The foster child is extremely intelligent and active. He enjoys learning new things and studying. He really likes spending time on the computer and is learning typing skills right now. Because of hyperactivity, he has a hard time in a traditional school setting. He recently started attending a new school with a “learning through playing approach” and he has been successful there. His foster parents are happy he is not afraid of school or letting his past interfere with his learning. The foster child says school is a good place and he often gets to learn by dancing and singing. His foster mother would love to see him as a doctor, lawyer, or city official, using his high intelligence for the good of others and in a service profession.
The foster mother is a single woman who had one daughter through adoption before taking in a foster child. She knew she wanted to bring another child into her family. Due to her work schedule, she felt she could best care for an older child instead of a younger one who would need much more attention. When she approached the Specialized Adoption Agency (SAA) in her district, they told her about fostering. With foster care, she could choose the age range and gender of the child who would be placed with her. She hoped for her daughter to have a younger sister through fostering.
The foster child was born to a mother who was institutionalized. From birth, she lived with her birth mother in the same institution. Her mother was receiving mental health treatment and was involved in some illegal activities. The girl became eligible for foster care and was moved to a child care institution in another district. At the age of seven, the girl was placed with her foster mother and sister.
At the time of placement, the girl was unfamiliar with the idea of family. The foster mother explained to her what it means to be a daughter and sister. The foster child had a very hard time adjusting, as do many foster children. This could have been frustrating for the foster mother, but she chose to focus on the fact that the foster child had been living in a CCI for 7 years so there was no way she was going to change overnight. The foster mother explained that she chose to shift her mindset from wanting to change her new foster daughter, to just wanting the foster child to feel accepted.
When the foster child was placed, she did not reciprocate the love and affection she received from her new foster family. She often tended to isolate and did not talk. She had a hard time expressing herself, often making faces instead of communicating with words. She almost never smiled during her first few months with the foster family. She also spoke a different local dialect and struggled to communicate with her foster family as they spoke proper Hindi.
After one and a half years with her foster family, the girl has made developmental improvements and excels socially. She now loves laughing and playing with her foster sister. She went from being quiet to her foster mother describing her as very bubbly. She now smiles all the time. Now, instead of crying or making faces when she doesn’t understand things, she uses words to communicate her feelings. For example, she used to make mean faces when she didn’t get curd or ice cream because she has a cold. Now, she understands that if she has a cold those things are not good for her and she accepts the changes.
She has had very few problems in school. She grasps a lot of educational concepts and loves extracurricular activities. She is thriving in her drawing and dance classes. The extended family of the foster mother is very accepting of the girl and treat her as if she were a biological child.
The foster mother says that she has loved taking in her foster daughter as part of her family. While the adjustment was hard, she is so glad to have put in all of the work to help her foster child feel welcome in her new home. The girl is now very happy to be living with a family in a home. The foster mother hopes to encourage others who want to share their home with a child to become foster parents.