Sharing Experiences


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24 Responses to Sharing Experiences

  1. Heather says:

    Hi I would like some assistance/advise please.
    My husband and I registered for adoption more then a year ago and are still waiting. We decided in the mean time to sign up as foster parents. The social worker has done all the screening steps and I have been for agape training… This was a month ago. Are there really NO children that need a home? The social worker, when sitting in our home told us she had two little boys she was looking for a home for so was keen to get our screening done. We have done everything they have asked. 3 weeks went by and we heard nothing, so I phoned to follow up, she tells me that no child will come to us through her, she just merely does the screenings and will pass on our report should someone want to place a child with us. I am so frustrated it’s unbelievable. It really feels like none of them want to help, they tell us that they all talk but it really does not come accross as such, where do we turn, what do we do? Finding that other people who have signed up for adoption after us ( by like more than a year) have a little one on the way is so heart breaking. We are told the groups all work together but in reality, this does not seem to be the case. How do we actually get someone to actively work with us? Do I phone every children’s home myself and carry on doing so until someone eventually helps us? We investigated moving our adoption file to a bigger organization, they want to do the screening again, and charge us for it again! We are at our wit end, when I phoned the social worker who has it, she had not spoken to us in more than a year and didn’t even know who she was talking too… We paid a lot of money for the screening, am I now wrong to be upset? How do I actually get someone to help us? Ps our foster care papers actually sit with Badisa- Used to be CMR in Cape Town area. Really no children ( we even said we would take 2-siblings) in Cape Town that need a home? Really?

    • Good day. Unfortunately one of the Children’s Court requirements to approve a foster placement is that the child is placed within the same town as the biological parents. By Law they have the right to visit with their children regularly, and therefore should be able to do so with reasonable ease. Therefore foster parents can not be considered for children outside of their area of residence. The problem also arises in the fact that you actually want to adopt, as most foster placements is not permanent, so the predicament the social workers have is that they can’t place the average foster child in your care. I can unfortunately not help you in regards to adoption as this is a foster care only blog. But I strongly recommend you just keep on touching base with Badisa and re-inform them that you are still interested and available to foster (if they don’t hear from you often, they assume you aren’t available any more). PS: I have a lot of sympathy for your frustration, but please keep in mind that the ‘interaction experience’ social workers have of prospective foster parents reflects hugely on them being comfortable with leaving a harmed child with us. We should therefore pay particular attention to not come across to them as overly aggressive, defensive, or impatient. Unfortunately it is only human to automatically judge/sum-up people in the length of time we interact with them, so much more the social workers that have to protect harmed children. May you find a suitable placement soon.

  2. Blossom says:

    I read a lot of what is being asked here & commented on. I can only think back to how I came to be in the system. Without going into any of the details I can tell you that I left home at 14yrs old. I am 32 today. CMR Social Worker placed me in Cape Town after my biological mother said she wanted me at age 15. I was taken from my 4 brothers & everything I ever knew to start a new life with someone (& to a new province 1000’s of km away) who didn’t want me. I was a pawn in a game.

    I was very angry for a very long time. My ties with my real family were severed by my biological farther – reason for leaving home: Sexual Molestation since I can remember til I left, physical abuse, emotional black mail, – The fighting, is a survival instinct. No one looked after me, I had to do it for myself, on my own. Its all apart of the emotional wall you put up between yourself & the world, as long as you keep pushing people away, no one can get close enough to hurt you again.

    I still feel very deeply, still don’t show most of the emotion. I mastered the art of sarcasm & alienation. Not because I didn’t want to belong, but because I wanted it so much & knew that I would not emotionally be able to deal with loosing it again. It’s easier not to love than it is to love & loose.

    The parents who took me for weekends & holidays from age 15 are today my family. I am married to their youngest biological son.

    Many of the issues you have with your little ones I experienced & saw in the 3 children they adopted (fostered through placement by CMR which became permanent) – the youngest is 19 & we are still trying to get the fight out of her, Ironically enough, my in-laws are the only parents that she has ever known, been with them since 6 weeks old. They all know there situations & about their biological parents. It’s been quite a journey. The 4 of us share a different bond, as much as you are apart of the family, you always seem to be waiting for the other shoe to drop & it all to go away.

    It seems silly, I have been with them for 18 years, married to the one son for 3. I am still fighting that fight that one day they will decide I am not good enough any more & leave me. I don’t tell them that, I keep a sense of distance.

    I lived in a children s home for 4 years there are 5 of us that are closer to each other than we are to anyone else. We refer to each other as a “govy family” & that bond is even stronger. We fight like family & we love like family.

    The elder two adopted siblings, they are amazing people today at between 23 – 27 years old. the elder was more trouble than we all knew what to do with. He is today a great young man, full of manners & respect. Building a fantastic life.

    The moral of the story, until we really believe we wont be tossed aside, we don’t let go of the fear. The fear is what keeps us fighting. The fight is all you get to see. As long as it’s foster care, they know it’s not permanent & that adds to the fear & the fight.

    It really is amazing how this fight is fought with out really thinking about it. It becomes an instinctive reaction to everything. The insistence from a parent to love me unconditionally & to also put my needs high on their priority list (not tangible, the intangible too – the emotional support), to treat the foster child just like any of the others. To always be there, like you would if it was your biological child, that is the love that will in time wear down the fight.

    I fought that fight with myself for a long time & at 23 was headed for a 2nd emotional melt down, becoming very destructive of my life, rebelling, with no one to rebel against. I had someone in my life at the time who cared enough to just ask me to think about what I was doing. Thankfully before it was too out of control. At 32 I have come to realize that I will carry all of this with me for the rest of my life. Learning to do so constructively, is where the help is really needed. I am blessed with my husband that way. He knows me well enough & bee through so much with me in 18 years that he knows where its coming from. His reaction to me is what helps me to calm down & what keeps me sane I feel some times. Always gentle, but also not a total push over. Always full of love the most important part of which is he shows me in his actions every day.

    I can only hope that I can use this to help someone else have less pain. Or to spare them of pain.

    • Wow! Thank you so much for sharing your story. Just by sharing your experiences in foster care, you are already helping other children and foster parents in the system to better understand, and identify with what they are going through. I am really committed to try and find a way to petition the constitution to allow for speedier permanence for foster children.‎ Whether it is to be adopted or re-unified with their biological families. The system in SA is so insufficient and completely lack urgency on the part of providing permanence for traumatized and hurt children.On the 17th of December we had to say goodbye to our foster daughter after 5 years – she was 1 when placed with us – after being re-unified with her biological parents. In my heart I know that  â€Žto spite all of the bad she went through in her 1st year of life, the re-unification with her biological parents was the right thing, as they never gave up and did everything to get her back.  BUT how does a system that is there to protect children, allow for them to live without roots for such a long time… causing more trauma and deeply seeted feelings of hurt and rejection?May you find complete acceptance and healing in the arms of the most high.‎ Love, Helouise

  3. Nicci Scott says:

    Dear Helouise, we have three of our own children and my son asked me if we would consider allowing another child to enjoy the Christmas holidays with us. Is this sort of thing done in SA?

    Secondly if we were considered for foster parents, do we have any control over which children or infants are placed in our care?


    • Good day. Children’s Homes in South Africa do allow for weekend and holiday parents. Unfortunately I only have the contact details for the Louis Botha- & Jakaranda Childrens Home. Please contact them directly for more information 012 800-4700. Should you decide to apply to become foster parents you can specify the approximate age range, gender and race. The majority of children placed in foster care by the CMR are white children. There is a detailed list of their offices in S.A. on the information page of this blog.

  4. Abby Krouse says:

    Can a foster parent/s decided to put the child that they have custody over in a home?

    • Foster Parents can inform the Presiding S‎ocial Worker that they are no longer willing to continue with the foster placement. She will then initiate the process.  Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone. From: Foster Care in South AfricaSent: Friday 29 August 2014 15:57To: helouiseS@gmail.comReply To: comment+rd8qzuo286n-0l3dd4y6gput@comment.wordpress.comSubject: [Foster Care in South Africa] Comment: “Sharing Experiences”

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  5. tracy says:

    hi good day to anyone who can offer advice.

    my husband and i have custody of my biological grandson-not my husbands blood at all. the problem is my husband has started drinking heavily and is verbally and sometimes physically abusive to me. he has never lifted a finger toward the child. i would like to leave the home with my grandson, but am affraid that he would be removed from my care. i will do anything to prevent that from happening! i am capable of looking after him on my own financially, and most of the homecare gets done by me too. what are my rights to keep protecting my grandson and to keep him in my care as he and i are very close and loving. can someone advise me on what to do?

    • Good morning. You should make an appointment and go and speak the Social Worker appointed to your case ASAP. Explain the situation to her so that she can advise you as to your best course of action. Because your husband is not related to your grandson, and if you have a well established bond the chances of him staying in your care is VERY high. Good luck and G_d bless.

  6. Debbie says:

    Greetings. We are having difficulty connecting with the Faerie Glen, Pretoria office. We have left a message with no return call for one week. The next week we called and spoke with an individual that said one of her social workers would call us. It has been 4 days. Is this normal or are we contacting the wrong office?

  7. Moz says:

    I have joined this group in the hope of receiving some support and encouragement with the foster care process. I have my sister’s 2 children in foster care with me and I feel as if I am losing my mind with the oldest boy. They were in my care for 2 years, due to drug abuse by the mother and her boyfriend. They went back to their mom for 8 months and then she was arrested for fraud due to drug debt. They have been back with me for just over 2 years now. The teenager is a very willful boy – if you say something to him or reprimand him, he does everything in his power to get the last word in – even if what he is saying is completely nonsensical. He was recently suspended from school for swearing at a teacher who was merely trying to get him to follow instructions. He is lazy, bullies and bosses his little brother and very, very seldom uses common sense and logic. I am in the process of scheduling appointments for him with a new psychologist as the one he had being seeing has relocated to another province. What I am recapping here are only the most recent events – it would take too long to relate all of them over the years. I am writing because I am at the point now where I am even considering telling the social worker to come and take him off my hands, but this would traumatise his brother too much if they were separated. On the positive side, he does not drink, smoke, drug or hang out with the wrong crowd, but his complete lack of respect for authority and rules is driving me too distraction!!!! It is having a negative impact on the younger child and on myself and I can no longer deal with his constant lies. I don’t bother with the Social Worker because the staff turnover at the local welfare organisation is phenomenal and they have such mammoth case loads that problems such as these fall to the bottom of the list to make way for more traumatic and severe cases. PLEASE PLEASE HELP!!!!!! Point my in the direction of a support group before I lose it!

    • Unfortunately I have no knowledge of a Foster Parent Support Group in the Alberton area, but you are welcome to come and visit one of our quarterly meetings in Pretoria (if you are able to). If you have subscribed to this blog, you will receive notification via e-mail as to when the next meeting will take place. Try to contact your Social Worker and ask her if she has any knowledge of such a support group in your area, or offer to start one.

      If I may, I’ll try and give you some insight into His behaviour.

      His behaviour is unfortunately NORMAL for a Foster Child that has not established a secure bond with his care providers, and has been exposed to so many traumas since early childhood. These numerous traumas that he has experienced (having been raised by a drug addicted mother, having been placed with various care providers, etc. etc..) cause him to react in a type of ‘survival mode’. With other words, he is not being difficult on purpose! He has NO CONTROL over most of his ‘angry’ behaviour. It stems from his brain not realising that the trauma he was exposed to have ceased, and that he is now safe and loved. Also keep in mind that his brother has gone thru very much the same and are also in desperate need of help.

      I must urge you to contact your Social Worker as soon as possible and ask for a referral to a recommended Social Worker that specialises in Child Trauma and Bonding in your area, or simply ask your GP to refer you. You are WONDERFUL parents for them both, but Foster Children cannot be raised as biological children! They have been hurt, rejected and disappointed by the hands of other adults who were supposed to protect them. Years of neglect and physical and emotional trauma, takes time, unconditional love, a secure and predictable environment, and long term commitment to allow healing to take place. Social Workers want us to succeed as Foster Parents, and it is our right to ask for help. I will also in the mean time, try to source a good therapist for you.

      My best wishes and prayers go with you on this most demanding, but also most rewarding ‘foster care journey’!

  8. Lisa Wood says:

    Hi Helouise
    I previously posted in the wrong place so I am posting again.
    2 and a half months ago 2 little children were placed in our custody. The little girl was 4 months (very malnourished and weak) and little boy was 26 months(pneumonia)’ they were found on the streets with their parents at 3am in the morning, no shoes on the little boy and no blanket for the baby, this was at the beginning of July in Johannesburg. At the time all of the family were contacted and no one was prepared to take them in, so we were contacted. Now the maternal grandmother wants to get custody of them (she has never contacted us to see them) the parents have only seen them 3 times since they have been with us as they keep missing the appointments. One of the mothers children also died while in the grandmothers care and another baby was taken away from the mother when she was 7 months old. Our welfare is going to recommend that the children stay with us as we can care for them emotionally and financially and the are on our medical aid.the welfare in the grandmothers area is recommending that the children are placed in her care. However when they needed somewhere to go the grandmother did not want them. The baby was in foster care at two months. And the paternal grandparents also looked after them and the parents fetched them and ended up on the street. We haven been told by the paternal grandparents that the mother is a prostitute and that both parents take drugs and that the kids are better if not with the parents. I am so worried that the maternal grandmother gets custody of my little angels and they end up on the streets again. Please can you help me with some advice on what we can do to keep the children. Our custody is up at the end of September. Please help. Thanks Lisa

  9. ire says:

    Hey, I have a question and maybe somebody can come with some good ideas!
    in January this year we got a 1 year old boy he is now 1,5 years old, and since the day he arived he likes to cry, in the begginning it was a fear cry, and the cry was desperate and with alot of fear to be alone. and we had to stay in his room til he slept because he was afraid. Now he is fine, he still cry but it is not out of fear and he sleeps in his own room!
    But some days he has this dont leave me, dont even go a step away from me for then I will scream, and he will be running after us, screaming, some time he screams for no reason and he gets angry also and scream if he are not able to do something or if the toys want cooperate.
    When my husband comes home from work, he is very happy and my husband always gives him hugs and pick him up, but he cant go walking around with him all the time, if he puts him down he scream, not cry but scream even if he is still standing next to him, if my husband walks away he screams, my husband are not able to do anything at all, and we must listen to his screaming!

    When we put him to bed he is fine, then few minutes after he starts crying and it is not a fear cry I think it is a naughty cry, and he will not stop, if I open the door he stops crying and lay down, then few minutes later he starts again, this can keep on for a while long.
    I try not to give in to hims crying, and I told him that he can go to his room and cry, when he is finished he can come out and he goes there by himself. My husband feels so bad for him when he cry, and he will at the end give in, and that I believe is not helping at all!

    But the other thing is we dont know much about his past, all we know is that the mother did not want him and said the social worker could just take him away, so what he has gone trough during his first year we dont know.
    So what should we do? we do love and care for him, but we also know that giving in to what he want is not always a good thing, unless he realy need it…..
    we hear about all this parents that goes trough the same thing with their “normal” kids but his situation is litle different.
    what shold we do? andyone that has an idea to help us?
    Another thing if we try to leave him in children church he screams his lungs out, the children church cares they say many children is like this when they get there first times, that they dont want to be away from parents.
    Hope to her from somebody!

    • His behaviour is NORMAL for a Foster Child that has not established a secure bond with his care providers. The numerous traumas that he has experienced (having been rejected by his birth mother before birth, the actual rejection, having been placed with various care providers, etc.) cause him to react in a type of ‘survival mode’. With other words, he is not crying or being difficult on purpose! He has no control over his crying and ‘Clingingness’. On the contrary every time you leave him to cry or with strangers he’s probably reliving being rejected. Before you can start working on a secure bond you will have to calm his ‘survival instinct’ down. Please urgently read the following article on this blog

      I must urge you to contact your Social Worker as soon as possible and ask for a referral to a recommended Social Worker that specialises in Child Trauma and Bonding. You are WONDERFUL parents for him, but Foster Children cannot be raised as biological children! They have been hurt, rejected and disappointed by the hands of other adults who were suppose to protect them. Years of neglect and physical and emotional trauma, takes time, unconditional love, a secure and predictable environment, and long term commitment to allow healing to take place. PLEASE don’t give up on him too, rather get help! Social Workers want us to succeed as Foster Parents, and it is our right to ask for help. My best wishes and prayers go with you on this ‘the foster care journey’!

      • Thank you for your reply!
        The boy is doing much better and he seems happy now, he don’t cry so much anymore, but he is so attached to my husband sometime. Every time my husband is around he is hanging on him clinging and he refuses to go to me, or any body else. I am staying with him the whole day and he is fine, except that he is very afraid of noises, but as soon as my husband is home from work it is no more quiet and it is all about my husband and if he goes away from him he scream, we told him to go cry in his room when he starts and he goes no argue and he stops crying straight away, but sometime comes out and starts again, if happens few times. I am not sure if we are doing the right thing though!
        When we are out there is no way to stop him, except from leaving the place, shop with him, and that is not always possible.
        I am just wondering why he is this way with my husband, and if it is fine and a phase that will go over!

      • Have you read the recommended article on the blog re. Trauma?

        Sent via my BlackBerry from Vodacom – let your email find you!

  10. Louise says:

    Can you please let me know where to start to find information about how to find foster parents for a small boy whose mother is an alcoholic and father not really dealing with the situation?

    • Good morning. You will have to report the situation to a Social Worker (see the bottom of the information page for a detailed list of CSC offices nation wide) or in case of abuse the nearest police station. They will then investigate the allegations and if the child is found to be in need, they will then remove and place the child in a place of safety/foster care.

  11. natasha says:

    I realy am in deperate help and need of a answer, will brief you shortly on my situation.
    I left my children in my ex sister in laws care thinking that they were realy just goiing to help me untill I am on my feet after I left my ex husband her brother. Well it never really works that way 5 years later and they still live with my sister in law only frustration I cannot see my children that often and i do not supect that they manipulating my daughters not to see me but I know it there was a incident that my social worker knows about that they are now using against me and they were the cause of the situation, all that everyone say is dont show a finger to them and realise that my girl dont want to talk to me now she must go for therapy? My only question what if you know the foster parents is using your children against you and what if the foster parents swear at you while you try and talk to you children. What is the parents rites if they do have any?

    • Helouise Steenkamp says:

      Thank you for sharing your situation. The best course of action will be to contact a Family Advocate as soon as possible at the ‘Department of Justice and Constitutional Development’ offices as per the area distribution list at ( The Pretoria office contact details are: Pretoria – GP; Adv C. Maree (Senior Family Advocate); Tel: 012 323 0760, Fax:012 323 9566;; Postal Address: Private Bag X 8, Pretoria, 0001; Physical Address: 4th Floor, Die Meent Building, c/o Andries & Pretorius Streets

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