8 responses to How do Amish care for non-Amish foster children?
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    Alice Mary
    Comment on How do Amish care for non-Amish foster children? (December 6th, 2017 at 11:23)

    I worked for many years in our local public library, a predominantly white, middle to upper middle class area. Several of our regular patrons were or are foster parents. I always admired most of them for their “big hearts” and the patience it takes to take in children who need you, many of whom are of different racial or ethnic backgrounds.

    It amazed me further to hear (over the years) about the Amish doing the same. I mean, don’t they have (for the most part) multiple children of their own? How much more can they take on, especially since so much in their lives is done manually and without many of the modern conveniences the rest of us rely on? Well, this story demonstrates that if you have enough love in your heart, you can find room in your home, in your life, to be a foster parent.

    I would find it very interesting to hear what the foster kids themselves have to say about their time spent in Amish homes—without TV, video games, the internet, etc. I would hope that the increased “one-on-one” time spent with their foster parents (and sibs) would more than make up for giving up some of those modern “conveniences.”

    Does anyone know of any organization, university,, etc., doing “studies”‘ or surveys regarding Amish foster-parenting and the experiences of all involved? This really seems like something everyone could learn a lot from.

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      Comment on Amish foster experience (December 6th, 2017 at 13:17)

      Amish foster experience

      Good points and questions Alice Mary, for me the Amish have always seemed to be great examples of “people people”, really valuing big families on the whole. Of course not every individual Amish person is like that, and you have your introverts, but my guess is that taking on this special challenge is something that more than a few are naturally open to when they are aware of the need…their community values and experience with raising children suggests they are quite well-equipped to help raise and give love to a few more.

      The one question I would raise is how do foster agencies view the Amish approach to raising children in rural environments with, I think it’s safe to say, less parental oversight than the typical suburban non-Amish child would receive – sadly we see tragic accidents happening fairly often in this rural/farm setting…a little girl died last week in Ohio, crossing the road to greet her father.

      I am not aware of any research studies but it sounds like a good topic for a JAPAS research article…there is at least one adoption newsletter published by Amish covering relevant issues at least from an adoption perspective.

      In any case can imagine it must be painful to say goodbye though when the time comes. That to me takes a strong heart.

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    Dody Mitchell
    Comment on I am an Amish Foundling Kinder (December 6th, 2017 at 23:42)

    I am an Amish Foundling Kinder

    I was cared for by the Amish for about 6 months at the age of 7. I was considered a founding kinder, which isn’t exactly foster care, but kinda. I was found before the first snow storm. I was Christian already and praying God would give me a mamma, since mine abandoned me. God answered my prayers in the form of an Amish community of mamma”s! I was cared for by a young man and his young wife, I call my Amish mom and pa. I lived just like other Amish. An older Amish woman, the mother of my friend Jacob, that I called mamma 2, made my clothes since my own Amish mamma was in the family way. I was not allowed toys, nor to wear anything but black or white, we had no electricity, and I had to work in the garden with mamma. I also baked with mamma. I washed in a bucket and used an out house.

    Eventually the authorities did come and try to convince me to leave my Amish parents. “Don’t you want toys. Don’t you miss cartoons?” I told them having good parents was worth more than toys or cartoons. I was never cold, hungry, or afraid. They never struck me and they didn’t raise their voices in anger. My Pa would delight in my mischievous ways. Girls did not behave as I did, climbing trees, putting muddy tracks in the house, tromping through the ponds. He said God gave him a daughter with the heart of a son…and said that mamma would tame it soon enough. She taught me to hand sew. We cooked on a wood stove. To this day I have a big Amish woodstove I cook on… Eventually they went before the elders to give me a good Christian name. We settled on Dorthea since my name was Dody and it was an equivalent. None of this was done by the courts, just the little Amish settlement there.

    Then papa bought me books. I was to go to school in the fall. He bought me boots too and that took most of his income for that week. I felt bad, but I was excited to go to school and have such pretty boots. They are riding boots.

    The authorities notified my step grandparents where I was and they came to visit. They told me they would take care of me. They said they could not force me to come with them, but they felt I belonged with family. My Amish mamma agreed, but my Amish papa did not. He seemed concerned I would be abandoned again. He said this in their language not English. My Amish mamma told him to trust in God and he told me in English, that I should sleep on it and decide. I did. I wanted to know my mother, so I left.

    I have regretted it ever since.

    My life has been nothing but heart ache since. I miss my Amish parents and want to thank them because now I use their example as who I should strive to be as a mother. If I could contact them, I would say, “Thank you for taking me in as a little girl and treating me like your own child.”

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      Sandra Kathleen
      Comment on The Blessings of a Loving Family (December 7th, 2017 at 08:15)

      The Blessings of a Loving Family

      Dory- The blessings of a loving family will always give you peace and joy, if only to point he way to a goal. You are blessed to have received this gift — and most especially blessed to understand what you had. God continue to bless you.

    • Dody, would this be a true story? 🙂

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        Comment on Yes? (December 15th, 2017 at 23:39)


        I am not making it up. I gain nothing from making such a thing up. When I share my story most people doubt me either because it is unusual or because they didn’t know the Amish do that. There was one other founding kinder in the community I was in. He was 50ish. They said they take them in because the children never do well if they don’t. They didn’t go into specifics.

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    Comment on Bi-racial adoption or foster? (December 9th, 2017 at 00:47)

    Bi-racial adoption or foster?

    This past summer at Horse Progress Days in Leola, PA my wife and I were walking into the property when a wagon load of girls that were just inside the event grounds went by us. This was not an Amish or Mennonite wagon, it was like any of several owned by English that brought their big farm / parade wagons and teams of draft horses or mules to serve as people haulers to move folks from the far reaches of the parking lots up to the road near the entrance to the event. I suppose this was to save people from walking so far.

    Regardless, this wagon was actually inside of the property that was hosting the event. There were probably 8 to 10 girls sitting in the bed of this wagon, 4 or 5 on each side. I presume they were sitting on bales of hay; I didn’t look. At first I thought that they were all probably sisters, before realizing that each was about 14 years old, so that ruled out being sisters. I also noticed that one of them was a black girl. They were all dressed in what appeared to be Old Order Mennonite clothing, including the black girl.

    It was encouraging that they were all laughing and sharing a joke, a funny story or whatever and this certainly included the black girl. I didn’t want to stare, but it was hard not to look. The other girls had clearly accepted her as one of their own and she was clearly accepting of them. I thought to myself; friendship really SHOULD be colorblind. These girls, all of them, really were living leadership in racial relations. Wouldn’t be wonderful if their example were the rule rather than the exception?

    As the wagon went by I briefly wondered if the black girl was adopted, a foster child or similar. Then I concluded that she looked extremely happy, content and right at home … so what difference did it make why she was there?

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      Comment on This day in age (December 14th, 2017 at 18:29)

      This day in age

      I guess there are few black Mennonites but I wish in this day in age the world was more progressed towards total equality and acceptance. Its kind of strange its such a big deal to witness the scene described. I’ve read some amish are racist. Unfortunately many people are still racist but I am glad some certainly are not!

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