Dear Foster Mom: Congratulations on your acquired a foster child last week.  I understand of course that this is a great responsibility.

I am writing because I have also heard that you have had some experiences with your foster child that have been disappointing to you and your husband.  In fact, I have been told that you are already having second thoughts about keeping your foster child any longer, even though you acquired the child just days ago.

As soon as you start taking the classes that are required for your certification as a foster care parent, you will discover that you are not alone in feeling that you are overwhelmed at the outset. In fact, there are almost half a million children in foster care in America, and there are almost as many foster care parents.  Every sign has been showing for many years that both parents and children in foster care continue to struggle in the system.

Hundreds of thousands of these foster care children have has more than one set of foster care parents.  I understand that your own foster child has been transferred to you from a previous foster home.  Each such transfer has to have some effect on the child, and it is never a good effect.

But through your classes for certification, you will discover some common threads that at least will reduce your being caught off guard by the actions of your foster child.

For example, the transfer from one foster home to another will create more mistrust in the foster child the more these transfers are repeated.  After a few of these, or even after one such transfer, the foster child will stop believing there the more any insincerity in the smiling greeting given by his or her latest foster parent.

The foster child will also tend to believe more than any else around him that his or her separation from the natural parent is only temporary.  The separation may indeed be temporary, as it is in many cases under Child Protective Services.  But the child tends to see the estrangement as less strong than others involved in the case.

It is natural that the child can also blame himself or herself for the separation.  This is because an abused child has become conditioned to becoming blamed.  And all this may work in the child’s mind as a need to get back to the natural parent and facilitating returning to that parent by trying to make very life very difficult with the foster parent.

Read more here: A Sharp View: A letter to a foster mom