So I want to pose a question to the crowd. More of just an interesting thought that has crossed my mind and I'm not sure where I stand on the issue....

I am starting the process of becoming a foster parent with the ultimate goal of adopting a kid from the foster care system. While I'm not perfect - no one is - I'm very good with kids of all ages. I have my sights set and am hopeful to possibly adopt one particular young lady who will be 18 in December. I think she would fit right in with me and my son very well. She loves kids, and she wants to work in early childhood education as a career........but then I also have my sights set on a little 10 year old girl who looks cute as a button, and while she has an IEP and lots of needs, I feel that I could do it. Her biography caught my attention. My son has 2 best friends who are girls older than him, and an older cousin that is a girl, and he does well with them.... Who knows. Maybe I'll take both young ladies!!!!! LOL.....Both girls look like they could pass as my own biological children. I've already started talking to my son about it (in an age appropriate way.) He likes the idea. Although he isn't cognitively able to understand all the implications, on a 5 year old level, he seems to like the idea of having a brother or a sister. I would (probably) not adopt a boy, unless it was the right boy. My own son is very aggressive and competitive, and I also think a lot of the boys that I read about, the social workers were not looking for single mothers, but 2 parent homes - they need fathers....


Here's my question. I noticed a trend that a lot of these kids say things like, "he/she enjoys going to church...."

"She is a Christian,".......

"She enjoys youth group,"..........

A lot of these foster kids have been indoctrinated because a LOT of Christian families adopt foster kids and then start teaching them about "God,"........some of these kids have had years of brainwashing. For example, on one girl's profile it said, "She is definately a Christian and wants everyone to know it!" She was also a teenager, and everything else on her profile would have made me consider her too! But....I am an Atheist. Do I take in a child, expecting to keep up on church functions....and then what? Do I keep taking them? Do I teach them that what they belong is a fairytale? How does that work? How do you teach a child who has suffered from trauma, abuse, neglect, who has been taught to seek comfort in do you show them the truth? How do you do that without shattering their world?

I need to know this, and really understand what I'm doing. And I don't think this will be covered in foster care parent training!!!! I am willing to bet that I'm about to enter the lion's den. I'm sure that many people who are adopting, if not most, are also people of faith. I'm also a bit worried about what they'll say when they see I'm "Non-religious/secular. (That's what I put on my application.)

What would you do? How do you take in a kid who has been brain washed, and then un-brainwash them? Lol....

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"How do you do that without shattering their world?"  - I'd be inclined not to shatter their world.  Their faith or not is theirs for life and is a matter for them to deal with on their own, with support from you. 

I totally agree except for "theirs for life". It's very possible that a Christian kid when exposed to a kind and loving atheist foster parent would change. You shouldn't assume they will never give up their faith, but you definitely shouldn't assume they will give it up, either, or you're setting up a lot of frustration.

Wow, @Belle Rose, you really bring up some important issues with this post.  First of all, how unfair is the adoption/foster system if it's biased towards "people of faith"? There is absolutely ZERO evidence that believers are any better parents than atheists.  In fact, many are likely worse, when you consider all of the abuse that goes on in the name of "Spare the rod, spoil the child." Then, of course, there's the issue of what you refer to as "brainwashing."  I'm not really inclined to call religious instruction brainwashing: so many of us were raised with a variety of myths, which we later outgrew--Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, Jesus, the idea that anyone can grow up to be the President, etc. And, as a closet atheist whose wife is a Christian, I have to trust that my kids will eventually learn to think for themselves.  I don't really think we've brainwashed them, but I'll admit they've been indoctrinated.  But someday they will figure out that Santa and the Tooth Fairy, and if I'm braver in the future maybe they'll drop the Jesus myth, too...

 First of all, how unfair is the adoption/foster system if it's biased towards "people of faith"?

Ok Ok I have to share this....exciting moment!!!! I JUST got off the phone with the adoption agency I WILL be working with. I pulled up their application, and guess what? It is OPTIONAL to list my religious status!!!!

That made me happy considering every other single agency in the area had some type of religious fluff in their name making me steer clear of them. This agency is totally legit AND AND...they have grants!!!


Good for you, Belle! That's pretty exciting!

That's great news, Belle!  :-)

Early 80's, I was a member of the Big Brother/Big Sister program for two years. My first and only child I worked with was 8 at the time, the oldest son of a small family with his two sister twins.

The mother was very religious but a well educated, and under employed nurse that had been badly abused along with her children. Their little house was in a distasteful state when I first visited them with a social worker, and the kids were nearly uncontrollable, but very bright and creative with what they had for entertainment.

Over the course of two years the boy and I went to circuses( he road an elephant!), local fossil digs, the coast/beach, movies, etc. At the local fossil dig, we collected shells, I asked questions and suggested ideas that might counter the boy's theist world view, and he was also creative to suggest ideas of his own. His mother was supportive of these explorations, and the boy always brought lively ideas back to talk about.

At about the 12 month point, I became aware of the process to separate the mother from her children, by all indications as a way to give the mother 'breathing room'. The boy went through several foster homes over a few months, my life was being streached by my work and divorce, and the boy's behavior was getting more and more unrulely.

At the two year point I needed to let my house go, trade off my truck, and move into Portland to start school in the fall. I had to say good by.

I only hope my short time with him was something for him to help him hold on, but I never found out.  ;p(    

Aw :( you should try to find him on facebook :)

Can you really unbrain wash someone? or is it just re brain wash them to something else :O

Maybe we should call “religious instruction” or “religious education” for what it really is:

Religious Indoctrination.

I see it as a form of child abuse. Some adults get all excited because their child can recite Bible passages or Koranic verses verbatim. That to me is disgusting.

Then the children need to have some “brainwashing” done – i.e. a process by which their minds are cleaned of all the crap they have been forced into learning by rote by deluded adults.

Anything that strips a human being of the right to think for themselves is child abuse, and has long lasting impacts. I do not believe that it would be in any child's best interest to be permitted to continue believing lies. No. That would be setting them up for failure. So if I were to adopt a child who was placed with religious foster parents, I will have to address those things that the child was taught and unravel the indoctrination.

In very practical terms I'm not sure what that looks like.....

You can't unless the person one day comes to the understanding from their own.


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