The Temporary Mother



hope temporary leave/left/left (2)
setup impact (2) biological parents
foster someday know/knew/known
welfare look after send/sent/sent
birth provide take/took/taken
cope advantage find/found/found (2)
abuse achieve accompany
retire of course time of need
wish come true success story
receive long-term permanent
step in give up (2) hear/heard/heard
sound struggle drink/drank/drunk
adopt breathe stay behind
legal connect pick up (3)
retain potential permanent
put off step (2) seek/sought/sought
stay goal (2) over the years
autism strange short-term
nice club feet medium-term
move meantime meet/met/met
lend custody look forward to
cast (3) support foot/feet (2)
hurt heart (2) take/took/taken
let go care (2) bring/brought/brought
access departure straight away
excited hopefully feel/felt/felt (3)
curious therapy on the one hand
such as shift (2) on the other hand
career clear (2) special needs
fulfill dream (2) pregnancy
offer deep (3) in good hands
cute couple (2) get used to
arm (2) disability voluntarily
salary discharge come/came/come
arrive advance hear/heard/heard
reason bond (2) hold/held/held
lucky handover withdrawal
chance temporary leave/left/left (2)






Elke Baumann, Temporary Mother: I’ve never received a child that was perfectly healthy. Kids like that don’t leave their family.

New Parent: I hope all three of us will be happy and that she’s healthy; you never know what problems she might have there are reasons she doesn’t live with her biological parents.

Elke Baumann, Temporary Mother: I don’t want to have to send her to some home; I want to find a good setup where someday I can close my eyes and say she’s in good hands.

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As a foster mother in Germany, Elka Baumann looks after babies who’ve been taken into care by the Youth Welfare Office because the birth parents couldn’t cope — or even abuse them. Alka Baumann provides them with a temporary home until foster parents are found. She’s already looked after eighty-four babies.

We accompanied her for several months as she cared for other people’s babies in their time of need.

Elke Baumann, Temporary Mother: “One wish I have is to take care of my 100th baby to have achieved that before I retire in seven years. And since I’ve already had eighty-four, that’s only sixteen more.

Of course every child that doesn’t have to leave the parental home is a success story. But we know life isn’t always like that: there will always be cases, so my hope is that I stay healthy long enough for this wish to come true.

Everyone needs a goal.”

.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .

The first time we visited Elka and her dog Rocky, Emma was living with her. The little girl was only eight weeks old and had been given up for permanent care by her birth mother; there was concern that it might be hard to find new parents because Emma’s birth mother took drugs during her pregnancy and this impacted Emma’s health.

Elke Baumann, Temporary Mother: Those sounds you can hear when she drinks, that’s because she really struggles to breathe while drinking.”

Would Emma’s perhaps long-term health problems make finding a home for her more difficult? Unlike adopted children, foster children usually remain legally connected to their birth parents — the birth mothers often retain part of the custody rights and can seek contact. Many potential permanent foster parents are put off by this.

Elka has kept three of the eighty-four babies over the years . . . she stepped in because no one else wanted them.

Two are Jennifer and Marcus.

Elke Baumann, Temporary Mother: The older one, he’s 25 now. He came with a drug problem. And 25 years ago, no one took in children like that; so he stayed.”

Yvonne is a third. She has autism and still lives with Elka and her usually short-term foster babies.

Journalist: What’s it like when they leave?”
Yvonne: “It’s strange.”
Journalist: “Is it sad?”
Yvonne: “Yeah yes sometimes.”
Journalist: “But another soon arrives, right? That’s nice.”

.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .

Two months after we first met Elka, we visited her and Emma again. A second baby had moved in in the meantime, Nora.

Elke Baumann, Temporary Mother: “I picked her up from a crisis center; she was found there, right after the birth: her mother left her there.

The baby’s feet are in casts because she has two club feet. She was born with clubfoot.

Will foster parents take Nora?

Emma is just about to be picked up and brought to her new home.

The separation will be difficult for Elka. Helka Rosentreta is there to lend support. He helps her in her work as a short-term foster mother.

Helka Rosentreta, Helper: “It’s not a job — it’s just love . . . and Emma leaving now is one of those things. She’s found a place in our hearts, and so it hurts to let go.”

Emma’s new Foster mother has arrived. Sarah Munter and her son Noah met Emma six weeks ago; they bonded with the baby straight away, and have visited Emma almost every day since, giving her a chance to get used to them.

Now she is about to move into her new home.

Sarah Munter, New Foster Mother: “It’s really exciting. I have lots of different feelings: I’m happy looking forward and curious about the future.”

Journalist: “So why are you doing this?”
Sarah Munter, New Foster Mother: “Good question. Lots of reasons.”
Journalist: “Such as?”
Sarah Munter, New Foster Mother: “Well on the one hand, I’m doing it as a job; I’m shifting careers. I work in child care, also with special needs kids. So it’s another system different to foster families. And then I get a salary for doing it.

Another advantage for me as a single parent and for my son is that I can work at home and fulfill my dream of having a second child. And hopefully offer her a good future.

Elke Baumann, Temporary Mother: “Bye. Get home safe.”

Fifteen minutes later Emma has moved out after four months with Elka.

Elke Baumann, Temporary Mother: “Okay time for a deep breath.”

.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .

Four weeks after Emma’s departure, it’s moving out time for Nora to move out. A couple from Bavaria who already have three foster children with disabilities have come to Berlin.

Anna Katrin Kenor and her wife Manuela want to take in little Nora as their fourth child.

Anna Katrin Kenor, Foster Mother: “We’ve already seen lots of cute pictures and heard lots about Nora, so it’s really not a question at all.”

Elka is already waiting for Nora’s new foster mothers.

But here she’s holding another baby in her arms.

Elke Baumann, Temporary Mother: “Leo has been here for fourteen days now. He was born in hospital. The mom had herself voluntarily discharged a day later, and left him there but it was already clear in advance that the child would be taken into care.

It is the mother’s fourth child — none of them live with her. But he didn’t need immediate withdrawal therapy; I think it’s because the mother was in custody and didn’t have access to so many drugs. So maybe that was lucky for him.

While Leo just recently arrived, Nora is about to leave again.

Elke Baumann, Temporary Mother: “This is also about her feet.”

After two months Nora is saying goodbye to her temporary foster mom.

Elke Baumann, Temporary Mother: “And then Elka will say bye first because she’s staying behind. Again the Handover only takes fifteen minutes.

Elke Baumann, Temporary Mother: “We wish you lots of happiness.

Right Pup, that’s how it is one comes, the other goes.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *


Foster Parents. All orphaned children are physically, mentally and emotionally “normal”, according to the documentary. True or false?

Adopted Children. Is Elka Baumann a mother of nine children (of her own)?

Biological Parents. Elka has lost tract and forgotten how many babies she has taken care of. Is this right or wrong? Do you think she’s young, middle-aged or a senior citizen? How old do you think she might be?

Orphan. Is the stated reason Emma has health issues because she was born premature?

Stepmother, Stepfather. All things being equal, would potential parent prefer to adopt a child or become foster parents? Why would they prefer to adopt orphaned children?

Legal Guardian. All of the babies Elka has taken care of have move on to foster parents. Is this correct or incorrect? What has happened to the three children that have stayed with her?

Step Brother, Step Sister. Are Elka and Sarah Munter strictly volunteer foster mothers?

Half-brother, half-sister. Does Elka feel completely, totally happy and relieved when her babies are picked up by permanent foster parents?
Boyfriend, Girlfriend. Do you know any foster parents. adoptive parents, adopted children or foster children?

Fiance, Fiancee. There have been many news reports, documentaries, stories and novels about foster parents, adopted children, orphans. Yes or no?

Mother-in-Law. What happens to adopted children, orphans or those raised by foster parents? Who are some famous orphans or adopted children?

Father-in-Law. What might happen in the future?

Brother-in-Law, Sister-in-Law. Should people do anything? What could or should people, charities, NGOs, governments and societies do?

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