Over the years, a lot of late-night worry has kept me up at night as I contemplate my foster children’s future. The more I meet other foster parents, the more I realize that we’re all pretty much ruminating about the same things that are out of our control. Being a foster parent is incredibly rewarding, but not always easy.
Here are just some of our collective worries:
1. How long will my foster children be with me?
Will my foster daughter(s)/son(s) go home to their families or will I be asked to adopt them?
2. What did they eat at their family visit today?!
Sometimes this one is humorous, sometimes it’s not. Every foster parent I know has this question at some point whether it’s an upset stomach, hyper behavior or …an interesting diaper. While I try to ask what my foster kids have eaten during the visit, the information isn’t always communicated correctly, or at all. Most visits include a LOT of candy and soda… an issue foster parents frequently bond over in frustration.
3. Is she pregnant?
Sadly, as a foster parent I’m on baby watch because if my foster child’s mom gives birth, the pressure will be on for me to take the new baby. Since the goal is always to keep families, particularly siblings, together, if I’m not willing to take a new baby, there’s a decent chance all of the children will be moved to a foster family who will be.
4. Will this upset my foster son or daughter’s parents?
“This” includes an endless list of possibilities — from letting a child paint her nails to choosing an after school sport that the parents don’t like. While I am to include my foster children’s families in as many decisions as possible, at some point I have to make day-to-day decisions in their absence.
5. Does the case worker/attorney/judge know about __________?
Few people know a foster child’s case better than the foster parent. I live, breathe and eat that one case while all of the professionals have dozens of similar cases on their minds. As cases drag on and the people on the case come and go, it can be maddening to worry about what is and isn’t remembered by the “authorities.”
6. Will this child still be with me: when we go on vacation/have Christmas/when school starts?
It’s sooo hard to plan anything past a month or two in the future. Plane tickets, thorough searches for next year’s therapists, even managing friendships with and for a foster child can be incredibly stressful.
In honor of Foster Care Awareness Month, Babble has teamed up with Freeform to share the stories of foster families everywhere. To share your story as part of the #FostersFamilyStories campaign, click here.
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