Thursday, October 11, 2012


I'm trying not to let it bother me that S's mom redoes her hair at every visit. No matter how I have styled the child's hair, her mother takes it down and rearranges it....always into the same style.

By the way, we're all the same ethnicity, so that's got nothing to do with it.

Usually, I let S decide how we're styling her hair -- within reason: all down, all up or just some up?, braids or ponytails? how many?

Maybe I should try styling it her way next time and see what she does....that's the one style S never asks for though. I'd probably still do it "wrong."


  1. Is it "wrong"? Or is it something they do during a visit simply to pass the time.
    I've watched visits. Most of them seem rather boring. The room is cramped. There's little to do unless I packed toys for the kids. Most of the parents don't know how to "play" with their kids anyway.
    I suppose the touching aspect of "doing hair" might be nice as well. I know I'm constantly touching my kids on the hair. And the act of doing a child's hair is a very loving thing.

    Either way - it would still probably get under my skin too!!! I just figured I'd play devil's advocate here. Hopefully there's no offense taken.

  2. Not a thing wrong with it.

    I meant to refer to myself in the title as the one being "petty." It really doesn't matter and it shouldn't bother me, and yet . . .

    They have their visits at McDonald's with an indoor playplace....

  3. These are the little things that drive me NUTS as a foster parent. I'm in the same camp as you.

    Here's my petty gripe for the afternoon. At my cherubs' visit yesterday their homeless, drug-addicted mom gave them each a dollar bill and some quarters. The children are 3 & 5 and DO NOT understand money. They just want to carry it around and bicker over it. And since you can't "play" with money, they don't get engaged at all. They simply walk around in circles carrying their money. I get why Mom gave them the money. But it's super annoying to me!! I ended up just taking it from them and telling them that money isn't a toy.

    As for McDonalds as a visit location -- ugh! My Pumpkin had her visits there when she first came in to Care. What a message to send to parents who obviously don't know how to care for children properly (or they wouldn't be in foster care to begin with)??!! Let's take them somewhere filled with food that is bad for you and force you to spend 2 hours doing nothing. There's almost no way to play "with" your kid for very long on the equipment. I think McD's is a bad, bad choice on the part of the State for a visit.

    I think my next calling - once I'm done actually fostering myself - will be trying to do something about the sad state of affairs that "visits" are in most places.

  4. I dont see anything wrong with the birth mother redoing her own child's hair. She is doing something motherly. Who can blame her for that? I'm wondering why this bothers you. I would redo my daughters hair too if she wasn't living with me.

  5. I hear an air of smugness in this comment..
    As for McDonalds as a visit location -- ugh! My Pumpkin had her visits there when she first came in to Care. What a message to send to parents who obviously don't know how to care for children properly (or they wouldn't be in foster care to begin with)??!!


    I'm guessing every parent who takes their child to McDonalds "obviously" doesn't know how to parent in your opinion.

    I'm thinking maybe you have forgotten your role. This child/ren is not yours. You are providing a temporary service. I'm sure the child was not placed with you because their parent took them to lunch at McDonalds. Lunch at a fast food restaurant is not abuse nor neglect. Because you don't frequent those places does NOT make you a better parent.

  6. @shelly -
    I have been to McDonalds play lands all over the country. I've got no problem taking my kids to fast food restaurants really. It's crappy food. But it's fast and it makes them smile. It helps me when I need it.

    So, to answer your assumption about me, you are incredibly wrong.

    My issue with visits taking place in a restaurant like that is much deeper.
    1. How much interaction between parent and child is there in situations like this. I've never seen parents venture up into the tunnels except when they are retrieving a child. So, coordinating a visit in a place like this -- does it really encourage parenting???
    2. My Pumpkin had severe special needs. It was very difficult for her to even navigate the play area. So what, she was supposed to sit at a table with her mom and do what?!
    3. It isn't private at all!! In many areas of the country visits are used to help bio parents actually learn how to parent. When redirection is needed by the supervisor, should this be in a public place with lots of other people around?

    I very much know my role as a foster parent. I'm thinking that you perhaps aren't familiar with it on an intimate level. Are you a foster parent?

    I never said lunch at a fast food place is abuse or neglect. I simply think it's a poor place for displaced children and parents to seriously connect and work on healing the broken relationship.

  7. Yes, I am. I am also a bio mom to nine.

    I think a restaurant is a much better meeting place than a office. I'm not sure what state you are in but the parents don't always have the luxury of picking out the ideal place to meet. Weather can also play a large part (I'm in AZ where it's very warm). I've taken my clients (who are children) to McDonalds so they can interact with other children. I've also used parks (weather permitting). Your comment left a bad taste in my mouth; as if you felt superior to birth parents because you "Know" how to parent. I'm not so quick to judge. I don't know you, so I don't know the tone you intended. As someone who is new to this blog, you came off smug, as did the owner of the blog.
    I will share a story with you. I was recently at a Mcdonalds (poisoning my children) when I saw what appeared to be a foster mom. I say appeared because she was causasion and the two little girls were african-american. One was crying her little head off. There was a therapist of some type there giving her instructions on touch therapy. The foster mom had no clue (yes, i was being nosy). You know what? It all worked out. The foster mom was sitting on the floor of the play area holding the crying child, listening to the therapist and doing all she could to help entertain the other little one.
    Public places can be good meeting places.

  8. None of the cases I've fostered in either of the states I've fostered in (IA & TX) have allowed bio parents or foster parents to pick the visit location. So, in the cases I've had experience with, it is the State determining where these take place.
    Is it a good idea for the State to ask a bio parent to purchase fast food for their kids as many as 2-3 times a week? Is that teaching good financial responsibility? And honestly, is McDonalds 2-3 times a week healthy for the children? The children I have now have a bio mom who is homeless and jobless. No, she's probably not going to ever get her kids back. But for the visits they have now, is it OK to expect her to provide a fast food meal once a week? Should she cancel the visit if she can't afford it? I'm grateful their visits are being held in an office. Last week Dolly and Dude got to put a puzzle together with their mom. I prefer that level of real interaction myself for the kids in my care.
    As much as you think your illustration proves public places are good meeting places, I disagree. If anything, your story proves the point I was trying to make. Some things should be kept private. Even you admit you were being nosy because you could watch what was going on.
    In the end though, there are few good situations. The visit rooms my kids use now are run down and gross. Not optimal. In my opinion restaurants are far from optimal as well. There is definitely a place for public visits. I've read on other blogs where visits were expected to include community activities like grocery shopping with a sibling group. Expanding the areas in which a bio parent is expected to actually parent is healthy. In everything I guess....a balance.

  9. I'm sorry to hear I came off as "smug".

    I wrote this post in an attempt to vent off some feelings that I knew were not rational. I was feeling frustrated by the implication that I couldn't do the child's hair "right", even though I know that this isn't about me at all. I expect that the bioparent isn't thinking of me at that moment -- which is as it should be! -- and I know that it's good for S that her mother wants to do something with her that is caretaking in nature. (I'm having a harder time letting go of my feeling that S has no say in what her mother does to her hair--I've seen her do this at times we have been together and she just reaches over and starts changing it, as though S is a living doll. I hope that the idea of gradually giving S some control by offering her some choices about things like this will eventually be addressed in her parenting classes, but I'm sure it's not something they've touched on yet, so -- again -- I need to let it go.) As I said in my earlier comment, the title of "petty" refers to me. I'm the one being petty when this bothers me, because there is nothing wrong with what her mother is doing.

    It was getting under my skin, so I tried to blow off some steam by posting about it....hoping that getting it out here would prevent me from letting it seep into my interactions with S or her mother. I try very, very hard to be nothing but positive about the parents of the foster children in my home when I speak about those parents anywhere within the hearing of their children. Which means that the blog is one of the few places I can say the things I sometimes can't help thinking.

    I have mixed feelings about the use of McDonald's as a visit location. As Cherub Mama said, I worry about the financial position of the family and think your example only emphasizes her point that some privacy would be better. I have had a supervising counselor tell me that she doesn't allow the parent to play in the tubes with the child during supervised visits because she knows (personally) of incidents where a child was molested inside the play tubes by the family member with whom they were visiting! On the other hand, it's climate controlled and allows the children to be somewhere "fun" with their family members, establishing the visit time as something special between them.