Foster Care in Bullet Points

  • Congratulations.
    Don't say this! I don't even know how to respond when we say something about getting a new placement and someone says, "congratulations". This child had to suffer abuse, neglect, abandonment or all three in order to be removed from their family. Right now they are going through HELL. The last thing I need to be told or they need to overhear is, "congratulations".
  • You're a saint. Not even close! I'm just doing what I feel like I was called to do. No, parenting someone else's child is NOT an easy thing to do. Even if the kids are relatively easy to care for, it's still very difficult! All children in care have baggage that has to be sorted through. It's a different kind of parenting. But I'm no kind of a saint!
  • There's a special place in heaven for people like you.
    Refer to above paragraph.
  • I have thought about fostering but...mumble, mumble, mumble...
    I don't want to hear your excuses about why you can't foster. I'm not asking you to foster. Just because it's something that's right for our family doesn't make it right for yours. And if you really feel it necessary to list out all the reasons why you can't foster, I'll gladly tell you you're full of bull!
  • I don't know how you do it.
    Sometimes neither do I. But it's what our family was called to do and God gives me what I need each and every day. He shines a light down. He lights my path with a flashlight if you will. It doesn't shine out in front of me, but straight down on to my path. I see what I need right then and there. No, I can't look ahead very far. But I've got what I need for each day.
  • Don't you get attached?
    Yes. That's the point!! These kids need loving caregivers that are going to CARE and keep them safe. That means you get attached. Granted, years ago case workers used to move kids out of foster homes if the "professionals" thought everyone was getting too attached. But we've learned so much since then. Kids NEED to attach. It helps their brain development. So it's up to me to attach and take care of them like they are my own. The hurt I will feel when they leave is far smaller than the hurt the child suffered that caused them to come in to care in the first place.
  • So,'re going to adopt them?
    This one drives me nuts!! The goal of foster care is reunification! CAN adopt out of the foster care system. (We did once already.) But if I was trying to do that again, I would not say I was a member of a foster family. When you are only actively searching for kids that have already had parental rights terminated, the process looks totally different. You can choose to care for only children who are free for adoption. You can take kids who are in a difficult place and rights may be terminated. (Until they actually are though you never know what's going to happen for sure.) Or you can foster children until a permanency plan is put into place. This permanency plan may be family reunification. They may go to a relative's home. Or rights may be terminated and the children will become free for adoption. But ultimately, the goal of foster care is reunification!
  • How long will you have them?
    24 hours? Two weeks? Two months? Several years?
    Honestly...I NEVER know the answer to this question. I have NO say in the subject. This is decided by many other people and the foster family is the lowest level of the totem pole. This question just cannot be answered.


Vicky said...

Even though I haven't gotten a placement yet, I have to share this with my friends cause its all TRUE. I can't stand the "you're a saint" and the "I thought about doing it but..."

I tell those that have reasonable reasons for not fostering to look into CASA volunteering at least.

Cheryl said...

Awesome list! Very well said.

Anonymous said...

This is brilliantly said.

Psalm68:5 said...

Can I wear this on my forehead? All the time? This would solve so many daily problems! ;) thanks for your honesty!

alifeworthliving said...

While I actually do full time fostering, and can completely relate to this (I too have copied it to pass on) just remember, those who are saying those comments that seem dum or annoying to us, really don't get it. They are the ones that don't have the heart for it like we do, BUT they might be a teacher or a nurse or a check out chick. Doesn't mean they are dum people. I always say back "your right, not everyone would make a good foster carer - you have to KNOW you are meant to do. I on the other hand would make a really lousy nurse! " haha
I guess I'm just saying, don't expect a certain kind of response from those who don't get it or want to really do. Just expect them to ask strange and un-informed questions and you won't be disappointed :)