Foster Parenting Year 1: The Ridiculous and Brutal Truth
Did you know more than half of foster parents quit in the first year? When you read everything we’ve been through below, you will know why.
In the last year, our adorable foster kids have given us:
- 7 stomach bugs
- pink eye
- strep throat
- mono X2
- lice so big they could be fleas
I have watched foster children growl at my child like they are a caged animal. I have had to save my youngest child from being:
- pushed down a set of stairs
- pushed out of a car
I have been minimized, disrespected, yelled at, insulted, and torn down by caseworkers, transport, and GAL’s. If you think that as a foster parent, you will be respected for what you are doing, think again. At all times, everyone assumes the worst about you. Even when you have a Master’s degree, two children of your own, and a comfortable income.
It is automatically assumed:
- that you don’t care about the children you are fostering,
- that you don’t change their diapers,
- that you don’t feed them,
- that you don’t bathe them,
- that you don’t take them to the doctor, and
- that you are only fostering for the money.
P.S. There is no money in fostering. You would literally have to have at least 3 foster children and not care for their basic needs. Seriously, our current foster placement has blown through her per diem in lice treatment kits alone. Our very first placement cost us nearly $900.
Foster Parents “Get a Thicker Skin”
My entire life, my mom has been telling me to get thicker skin. She isn’t wrong; I needed it, and fostering has certainly done that. It has brought me repeatedly to my knees. It has brought tears of anger, hopelessness, fear, and pain.
Most people look at me and just see an awkward little blond woman who stays at home with her two kids. What most people don’t see is how hard I work to validate that being a stay at home mom is ok. They don’t see how much life has beaten me up, don’t see my huge heart, or how hard I work to be kind to others, which usually gets thrown back in my face as a foster parent. I also happen to be an omnivert. Since I haven’t been in the workforce for 3 years, I didn’t yet know this term until recently. So if you are in the dark like I was, an omnivert is someone who displays classic traits of both introverts and extroverts.
Above is how I describe myself at a basic level. Some sides of my personality I would love to get rid of and others I wish I could embrace more. But I mention these traits because being a foster parent is changing me at my core. It exposes you to the ugliness in this world and it wraps itself around your truth. You just have to be strong enough to withstand it.
Foster Parenting: I Quit
There are many reasons foster parents quit, but generally speaking, it is my opinion that it really comes down to what your circumstances have been and whether or not you have had the support to get through those circumstances. I don’t know what choice we will make once our current placement leaves, but I am thankful I have been there for the 8 kiddos we have cared for in the last year.