The first podcast I listened to was about a foster family and foster son that were separated for over 20 years simply because the foster family believed in spanking their children. The father, who has since passed would say that he spanked his sons because “the world doesn’t give time outs.” While it wasn’t allowed to spank their foster son while he was still technically in foster care, they did spank their two biological sons. The foster son asked his foster parents if he could get spanked once he was adopted so that he could be on the same level as their biological sons and this eventually got back to his social worker. In short, they had a major problem with the family spanking their biological sons (despite the fact that it was legal in their state at the time) and decided to pull this foster child away from a family that loved him based on their personal belief system.
It not even why they took him away that’s the most disturbing part but how. This foster child was mature enough to have an adult conversation with his foster parents about spanking and being equal to their biological sons yet his social worker didn’t give him the same respect or maturity when he was taken. His social worker asked him if he wanted McDonald’s. He had no idea that his belongings were already in the back of the social worker’s car and that McDonald’s wasn’t on their route. At only 8-9 years old, he wasn’t even granted closure and was shoved back into group homes. They eventually lost contact and it only resulted in this boy growing up without the people he felt was his family. Thankfully, they reconnected through MySpace many years later and became a family again.
I start with this story because it seems like a simple thing but it completely changed the lives of the foster child and the family forever. Regardless of how one personally feels about spanking kids, it isn’t a reason to forcibly remove a child. While that social worker may have thought that spanking would have made the child worse, removing him from that family where he was happy and loved created worse effects. The effects of foster care can be difficult and even long term but removing a child from the only real family they’ve ever known can be even more difficult.
This story is something that many probably don’t really think about. Being able to remove your own personal viewpoints and bias when in regards to a child’s well being is an incredibly important skill to have, especially in regards to foster care. Another thing is being able to actually listen to the child and what they need. This story directly portrays a foster care system that did none of that and it resulted in a family being separated and a child acting out.