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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wife and I have wanted to bring foster children into our home for several years. She and my 2 kids are vegan and I'm a veganish vegetarian. Only vegan foods are in our home. The problem we see as we go further in the application process/ home-study is we're worried that our eating habits might make us undesirable foster parents. We really really don't want meat in our home or dairy however, we're thinking we might concede on and buy some dairy milk and cheese. We are looking at it from the perspective of very traumatized children coming into our home often removed from their homes the same day and being informed that it is meat,dairy, egg free household. I could see this as a major issue. I'm thinking that if we're commited to fostering (we are) we may have to bend on the meat and dairy issue. We talked to someone close about it and she said as a kid in care she would have been horrified by no turkey at christmas. We're thinking if it's really important to the kid maybe we could get a turkey dinner from a restaurant on christmas and bring it home. I'm thinking that maybe if we bend a bit than as these kids get to know us and like our food, perhaps some would have questions about why we eat this way, which may lead a few to consider becoming a veg*n.<br>
We have decided that it is a deal breaker for cooking meat. Neither of us are willing to do that. We thought about getting a small fridge and maybe keeping deli slices or something in there This does make us uncomforatable, we've talked to our kids (8 and 10) about it and we are willing to make some uncomforatable concessions. I guess what I'm looking for are some opinions from veg*ns particularly those who have fostered. How did it work if you were a veg*n household? Did you make concessions? Did social workers tell you that you had to feed meat/dairy?<br>
Thanks for reading!
 

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My wife and I did foster care for a couple of years around 13 years ago. The home visit never even went into diet, just safety. They had to make sure I had all my guns locked up in the safes, lol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Forster</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3017261"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
My wife and I did foster care for a couple of years around 13 years ago. The home visit never even went into diet, just safety. They had to make sure I had all my guns locked up in the safes, lol.</div>
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I'm thinkning it might not come up in the home visit either. It will come up when the kid(s) get here though. If they are really not into it, then I expect to hear from their social worker.
 

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Just be honest and do your research. Decide how and where you will compromise. And stay firm in you conviction to help both children and animals.<br><br>
We have learned that our veganism posed a few minor hurdles insofar as dealing with ignorant and/or prejudiced people but in the long run since we know vegan nutrition well and our foster kids have thrived and weve syayed dedicated to doing right by them, veganism hasn't been an issue.<br><br>
I will warn you however that a whole lot of people in the system have some very old fashioned ideas about children. We got flack for things like teaching sign language. Really. You'll be dealing with many people who will question every little thing you do. It's bizarre. PM me if you want more info/advice.
 

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How old are the foster kids you are going to be taking in? We set it up so we would not take in any older than our youngest child who was 5 at the time so no real problem with complaining about the food with them that young. At any rate I can not imagine any problem with the state as long as the kids are getting all the nutrition they need.
 

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Weird duplicate post. Deleted.<br><br>
In that posts place I'll add another post <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><br><br>
Remember too that some kids are already veg. Some kids in care are veg due to religion or you could get a kid with PKU who is mostly vegan for medical reasons. Teens go veg on their own sometimes so if you wanted you could just say you only want to foster those kids.<br><br>
A good compromise for teens would be to let them eat nonveg at school or restaurants but veg at your home.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks Elaine! We are pretty knowledgable about nutrition and so are our kids so if questions about calcium, protein and the like come up I'm confident in our ability to deal with it. I will PM you if I have more questions.<br>
Forster: we're looking at fostering teens as that is the group in the most need in our area. We also feel like we have some skills to offer as my wife is a RN working in a mental health setting and I am a mental health worker at a detox facility. If it was small kids the absence of meat/dairy might not be noticed but I doubt that will be the case with teens and pre teens.
 

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I think that you are right to think this may become an issue with teens. I would say wait and see and take each child at a time. They may not mind eating veg or may be happy with only eating meat at lunch or outside of the house. It the foster child does consider it an issue then an easy compromise might be some pre-prepared meats like deli slices (that involve no cooking) and cheese kept in a small seperate fridge or even in a large container (like a plastic cake container) that can go in the normal fridge but will still leave a barrier between your food and the meat etc.
 

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p.s.... how exciting that you are going into fostering. I myself love the idea, but feel that we need a bit more life experience before we will be suitable. We are fresh out of uni and are only 24 (my fiance and I). Howeve we are planning our own family soon, so fostering will then become more realistic.
 

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Having done it once, I'd wait till my kids were older if I were to do it again. It was hard on them, especially our youngest, we had a very high needs child that commanded a lot of our attention.<br><br>
We only wanted short term fostering, a safe place for kids to come whilst there mess at home got sorted out. When our foster son came he was 6 months old, we got talked into keeping him longer than we wanted and kept getting extensions and extensions. We had him for 2 years, it was hard when he left.
 

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The issue won't really be the foster kids adjustment to eating vegan (though that will certainly be an issue if you parent kids who are old enough to know), the issue will more likely be the caseworkers and other adults in charge. Those are the people who can make being a foster parent a good or bad experience.<br><br>
Just as an FYI, there are fewer people willing to foster or adopt teens but at the same time most kids in care are younger. That's because they're more vulnerable to most neglect or abuse. So don't feel like the little ones don't need you, they do. They all need someone.
 

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There are teens in foster care who are veg - I've met some before in my area. Some teens are really progressive and active in social justice issues but come from dysfunctional homes and end up in foster care. They would be thrilled to be in the home of someone who shared their values. Is it possible you can specifically see if there are any foster teens who are already veg who would really appreciate being in your home?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Irizary</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3018494"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
There are teens in foster care who are veg - I've met some before in my area. Some teens are really progressive and active in social justice issues but come from dysfunctional homes and end up in foster care. They would be thrilled to be in the home of someone who shared their values. Is it possible you can specifically see if there are any foster teens who are already veg who would really appreciate being in your home?</div>
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It might be possible to request something like that, however, the social worker emphasized that they try to place kids once. The likelihood is that we will be getting kids that were just removed from their parent(s). We're thinking we're not going to bring it up to the social worker right now and just play it by ear once we get started.
 

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Kids can pick up on your subtle words and your tone very easily. Some may act out if they know it'll get a rise out of you. So if they know that you're specifically cutting out meat, they may focus on that and make a big fuss over it, for absolutely no reason. Kids can be stubborn; it's kind of their job :p But there's an easy way around this. Don't mention that the meal is vegan. Just put their plate down in front of them and let dinner begin. If they mention that there's no meat on their plate (which I somehow doubt will happen), you can always just say something casual like "We're not having meat tonight. We're having ____" then just fill it in with whatever you are having. Pasta. A Casserole. Pizza. Rice. Etc. Whatever the meal may be at the time.<br><br>
If you choose to only foster on the weekends, or during school holidays/vacations, that may be easier than fostering for a longer period of time. The way I figure it, unless the children are in immediate danger or being abused by you, I doubt the people working with them and working to place them will pull them from your care. And if they do have questions, you know that you have answers. So no worries <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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I have enjoyed reading all the comments. My sister and I have been fostering 2 young boys for the past 2 months and we are both vegan. Due to the kids previous eating habits we have been feeding them Kraft Mac and cheese, raman noodles, pasta with tomato suace, pizza with pepperoni when we eat out and French fries and veggie chicken nuggets and soy milk. We thought that would be a good compromise and the kids really do fine on all of it. The issue was never brought up in the home study but today had to meet with the department about concerns. To make a long story short it didn't matter that the kids were eating fine and had plenty to eat but that the birth parents were very upset to learn that the chicken nuggets were not real meat. We have pretty much been focused now to have dairy and meat products in the house for them to please the parents. It was an emotional discussion all together as we have issues having that stuff in the house. They were not interested to hear about the detrimental effects of meat or the health benefits of a veg diet. I just want to warn anyone interested in this to understand that it's not about the health of the children it could turn out to be about pleasing the requests of the parents in the end. We have decided to agree despite reluctance to agree to their terms however will not take on any new cases after this due to this issue unfortunately. I would just make your beliefs known ahead of time to the department and talk to them about what you are willing to handle and what you won't be able to compromise on. This way when they assign children to a family they can take this into consideration in placement. Unfortunately we are dealing with a system and mainstream thoughts about food that it's so difficult for honest good veg people to participate sometimes. They also told us to keep our mouths shut to the kids if they ask why we don't eat meat, we just feel very discouraged but try to find some positive ways to think about the situation. Best of luck to everyone!
 

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I'm interested in becoming a foster parent, but I have concerns about being falsely accused of something, by a damaged kid. Is this a legitimate worry? Also, I would never allow animal products in my home, so it that a non-starter? Plus, I happen to be a godless heathen...
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Csveganh</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3074879"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
To make a long story short it didn't matter that the kids were eating fine and had plenty to eat but that the birth parents were very upset to learn that the chicken nuggets were not real meat.</div>
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That's a lot of nerve coming from people who had their kids taken away from them. If they wanted their kids to eat real meat, they should have figured out how to be decent parents and raised their own kids. They're lucky their kids aren't getting molested in foster care - the last thing they should be doing is hassling decent people who are kind enough to provide good care to their kids about meat.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Forster</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3017261"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
My wife and I did foster care for a couple of years around 13 years ago. The home visit never even went into diet, just safety. <b>They had to make sure I had all my guns locked up in the safes, lol</b>.</div>
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What kind of insanity is that???<br><br>
As every fool knoweth "guns don't kill people, <i>people</i> kill people".<br><br>
Thus the only form of sanity is to let the guns roam free and to lock up all the people in safes?
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Csveganh</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3074879"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
To make a long story short it didn't matter that the kids were eating fine and had plenty to eat but that the birth parents were very upset to learn that the chicken nuggets were not real meat. We have pretty much been focused now to have dairy and meat products in the house for them to please the parents. It was an emotional discussion all together as we have issues having that stuff in the house. They were not interested to hear about the detrimental effects of meat or the health benefits of a veg diet. I just want to warn anyone interested in this to understand that it's not about the health of the children it could turn out to be about pleasing the requests of the parents in the end. We have decided to agree despite reluctance to agree to their terms however will not take on any new cases after this due to this issue unfortunately.</div>
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I'm sorry this happened to you. I'm not surprised by it at all. But I'm sorry you have to deal with this.<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Csveganh</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3074879"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I would just make your beliefs known ahead of time to the department and talk to them about what you are willing to handle and what you won't be able to compromise on. This way when they assign children to a family they can take this into consideration in placement.</div>
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This is good advice and may help you decide which children you want to parent. We were VERY clear about what we were (nonreligious vegans) and what we wanted (to adopt). This did help a bit because our initial licensing worker made some suggestions that I believe were designed to help avoid some typical pitfalls from dealing with a whole slew of UNeducated people working in child welfare. For example, she suggested that although we wanted to parent school-aged kids that probably wouldn't be a good idea since diet would become a major issue. She explained that MANY foster parents who fed their kids ANYTHING other than the fostercare cultural diet of KFC and McDonald's received criticism.<br><br>
I do agree that making your veg*n status known at the begining is very important, but also it's wise to remember that there are different people who will be involved in making the actual decisions about which kids come to you and which kids stay. In my state it's a different set of workers who place the kids initially than the workers who check-in and deal with the specific case. In my experience, the placement workers use different criteria to determine a good match than the case workers and that is one reason why kids get moved around so much. So... you can be very truthful in the beginnning and get some workers who understand and help you but then after you've had a kid for a month you get a new different worker who has different ideas.<br><br>
So... I would be honest, but also downplay anything that's not mainstream in the fostercare culture.<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Csveganh</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3074879"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Unfortunately we are dealing with a system and mainstream thoughts about food that it's so difficult for honest good veg people to participate sometimes.</div>
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I agree. And it's not just about food. There is an entire culture of fostercare that in many ways is hostile to the things that many of us consider normal.<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>delicioso</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3074990"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I'm interested in becoming a foster parent, but I have concerns about being falsely accused of something, by a damaged kid. Is this a legitimate worry?</div>
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Yes, I think this is legitimate. It's common enough that my foster parent association held a special class on how to deal with false accusations. This is particularly an issue for single or gay men who are foster parents. See above regarding the old fashioned fostercare culture.<br><br>
The main things to remember are simply prevention: you can be like many foster parents and only accept children who are too young to think to make false accusations, take lots of notes and keep good records, stay calm and deal with an investigation rationally, report things to the case worker right away so it comes from you and not anyone else second-hand...<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>delicioso</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3074990"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Also, I would never allow animal products in my home, so it that a non-starter? Plus, I happen to be a godless heathen...</div>
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Just be honest about your willingness to do or not do certain things. If you're really very strict about refusing to allow any animal products in your home then perhaps this won't work for you. Or you could adopt or just foster kids who are already vegan (you might wait a while before that opportunity arrives... but that's OK). But try to think realistically where you would draw the line. Questions you'll be asked are likely: would you keep an infant on whatever current baby formula he's already used to? Would you allow your foster kids to eat meat at restaurants or school? How would you respond if your kids push your buttons and bring hotdogs into your home?<br><br>
About religion, my state requires foster parents to be willing to accomodate their foster kid's religion. But we're not required to accept placements of kids with strong religous views if we don't want to. So... are you willing to drive a kid to church? Allow them to pray in your home? If not, just be honest about what you're willing to do. You can even put a limit on it (that's what we did) and say you can accomodate one church visit per week but not multiple visits per week. There are plenty of kids in care who have no strict religious habits at all. They may believe in God but nothing more than that. You could foster any of those kids. Just be honest and ask how to ensure a good match (this is a tad tricky because they can't tell you religious information about the kids without you asking for it - doing so would violate antidiscrimination laws. But you have to know that you can ask.).<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Irizary</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3074998"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
That's a lot of nerve coming from people who had their kids taken away from them. If they wanted their kids to eat real meat, they should have figured out how to be decent parents and raised their own kids. They're lucky their kids aren't getting molested in foster care - the last thing they should be doing is hassling decent people who are kind enough to provide good care to their kids about meat.</div>
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Wow.<br><br>
First, kids are put in fostercare <i>during an investigation</i>. In the same way that some kids falsely accuse foster parents, some kids (or neighbors or an angry ex, etc) falsely accuse natural parents. So you can't assume that simply because a kid in care means their bio parents are bad parents.<br><br>
Second, it's VERY important for foster or adoptive parents not to disparage natural parents. The children identify with those parents <i>no matter what the parents did</i>. If you say anything negative about the parents then the kids will feel it as an insult to them.<br><br>
Third, you have to remember that this just comes from ignornance and maybe a bit of anger. How would you feel if the state stepped into your family and took your kids? You might try to regain control of the situation in any way you could, including lashing out at the foster parents for any perceived difference. The people at fault in the situation described by Csveganh are the case workers, not the natural parents. The case workers should have stood by the foster parents and simply told the natural parents "We're sorry you feel this way but your children are being provided quality care. Now let's get back to working on reunification so you're in charge of your kids diets again. You case plan says you need to do XYZ, are you doing it? OK great. Then it's just a matter of time. Make sure you arrive at court on time. Blah blah..."
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>ElaineV</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3075063"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
She explained that MANY foster parents who fed their kids ANYTHING other than the fostercare cultural diet of KFC and McDonald's received criticism.<br><br>
Yes, I think this is legitimate. It's common enough that my foster parent association held a special class on how to deal with false accusations. This is particularly an issue for single or gay men who are foster parents. See above regarding the old fashioned fostercare culture.<br></div>
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That is really too bad, on both counts. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/sad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":(">
 
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