We foster-adopted a little girl of 3. It was the most horrible mistake of our lives. We were told she was developmentally delayed - which was no problem for us as our one bio-son has Down syndrome. However, it turned out she had Reactive Attachment Disorder (extremely severe) among other diagnoses (Methamphetamine exposure, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Bipolar Disorder and probably Schizophreneia). She pooped and pee’d all over the house for 5 years. She stole. She lied. She broke windows. She tried to kill us and our pet. She dunked our toothbrushes in the toilet after she peed. She ate her own excrement and drank her own pee. And she put on a show for the world that she was as sweet as pie.
We made it through 5 years of hell before she made false allegations. The resulting family court trial cost me my mental health (nervous breakdown, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, self-medication, depression), and our family was drained of every financial resource and went into severe debt before it all came to an end. She bombed out of several other foster care situations for the severely disturbed, and went into a level 12 group home - but the state is still trying to adopt her out to an unsuspecting person. I say person because only gay couples and single moms get targeted for these kinds of kids. It is unfathomable how the system could try to adopt out this child who dozens of psychiatrists and psychologists and therapists say is beyond their help.
We were in the process of adopting two special needs siblings through fostering, but had to relinquish them when the troubles started. The dirty little secret about foster care is that as soon as there is any allegation against you, and these kids learn how powerful a false allegation can be, then all social service agencies are required to immediately relinquish all contact with you.
I have 4 friends who were foster families who have lost their licenses and have gone through similar nightmares. One family got reported for using a normal toddler harness in a high chair because the 3 year old had a seizure disorder. Another “charge” was they “forced” the 3 year old to take her medications - anti-seizure medications, mind you. The teen foster who turned them in later admitted she reported them because they took her cell phone and texting privileges away for 2 days for stealing from a neighbor.
The family court system that controls charges against families and foster parents has a reporting system so that once you have a “record,” it follows you everywhere. The accusation does not have to be proved. It is NOT like criminal court.
As horrible as all this sounds, it was nothing like what our day to day nightmare was with this child, the system, and how the whole mess was handled. And we have since met hundreds of others who went through the same type of thing.
Sorry to be such a wet blanket, but you need to know that the number of children with severe emotional disturbances in the foster care system is sky high. And the system lies. And there is little to no support out there.
Do your homework. Google like crazy. Talk to other foster parents and ask about any nightmares. I had one family who knew what was what with the system lie and later apologize. They said they were having a lull in problems and worried if they told us the truth, they would lose 3 foster kids and couldn’t afford it at the time. They saw us headed into disaster and never alerted us.