When we chose Corporette reader Clementine’s Money Snapshot to feature on Corporette, she mentioned that she could also write a guest post about what it’s like to be a foster parent as a working mom. We were happy to take her up on her offer! As Clementine noted in her Money Snapshot, she is 33, has a government job, and lives in the Northeast with her engineer husband and their 3-year-old son. (By the way, her message to those reading her posts is: “I just would ask that if anyone thinks they know me IRL, be cool.”)
Thanks so much, Clementine, for sharing your fostering experience!
Clementine’s Experience as a Foster Parent and Working Mom
Why do you foster?
Fostering is the hardest, best thing I’ve ever done. Frequently, when I tell people that I’m a foster parent, they say something to the effect of, “Oh, I’ve always thought about doing that, but…” There are a lot of misconceptions out there, and I think the world needs more good foster parents.
My husband and I became foster parents after seeing babies in the NICU who needed to go into foster care. At first, we were struck by the thought that “I hope those kids are going to a good place.” After a little while, that morphed into, “Hey, we could do that.”
What does it look like?
Unlike the Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen movie It Takes Two (affiliate link), a key source of foster care knowledge for a surprising number of my friends, we live in a normal, suburban house. We only take one or two foster placements at a time, so I don’t have a house with 16 kids in bunk rooms. Neither my husband nor I are stay-at-home parents; we’re both professionals who work full time. We aren’t particularly religious. Our kids go to daycare and have playdates and eat boxed mac and cheese.
Who are these kids?
Now let me just talk to you about the kids. Kids in foster care can range in age from birth to (in some states) 21. When you become a foster parent, you can specify what age range you’re able to take. The other caveat is that every child in foster care, just by virtue of having been removed from their families of birth, has been through trauma. To foster, you need to be trauma-informed.
So… You’re going to adopt them, right?
One of the most common questions I get is, “Are you going to adopt them?” The primary goal of foster care is family reunification. Basically, what we do as foster parents is give the kids a safe place to stay while their parents take the time and space they need to resolve whatever issues they have. Most commonly, what we see are issues related to poverty, lack of a strong family support network, addiction, domestic violence, and mental illness. Every parent I’ve known loves their kid. Approximately half of kids in foster care will be reunified, another portion will go to live with a relative, some will indeed be adopted, and the remainder will age out as foster children.
The hard parts
That brings me to the hardest part of fostering: limbo. Limbo stinks. Foster care, for you and for the kids, is limbo. How long do they stay? Well, it depends. It could be days, it could be months, or it could be a lifetime. Will they go home to the parent? Well, a parent who is doing poorly in January can turn it all around and be kicking butt by June. I’m generally a fairly Type A person, and the hardest part for me has been an overall inability to plan. You want to take a vacation in three months? Sure, but do you buy a ticket for the kiddo or not?
I would be remiss if I didn’t fully acknowledge that I am a part of a dysfunctional system. Fostering has made me very keenly aware that as a Nice White Lady™, it’s easy to fall into the trap of being “a good person” and being blind to the systemic -isms that bring so many kids into care.
Some other challenges include dealing with foster care workers who range in quality from “amazing” to “shockingly incompetent,” dealing with biological parents who look to find fault in everything you do, and general lack of control related to the kid whom you parent 98% of the time.
So… not scared away yet?
The first step in becoming a foster parent is contacting your local social services district or foster care agency. To be a foster parent, you generally have to go through a screening process, which includes medical checks to ensure you are healthy enough to be a parent, a financial check to ensure that you are able to meet your household expenses without the foster stipend, a home study where they confirm your house is safe and appropriate, and a 30-ish hour training class (most frequently known as MAPP or PRIDE).
Foster parents are needed for all ages and durations. Many areas will have a need for something called “respite” foster care, where you just take kids for weekends and other short-term stays, which is a great idea to dip your toes into foster care. I’m also going to put in a plug for families willing to consider fostering LGBTQ+ kids. What I’ve observed is that a high percentage of foster families are very religiously conservative; accordingly, there’s a huge shortage of identity-affirming foster homes in almost every area.
Ever the roller coaster
Is it hard when the kids go back? Absolutely. Sometimes, they leave and you know that the place they’re going isn’t maybe up to your standards. Sometimes you feel great about it, but that’s less common. More often, you have to take the tiniest victories and hold onto them.
Some days, I just want to walk away. And frankly, I can. But the kids can’t. And these kids didn’t choose their parents.
Fostering has made my husband and me better parents. It’s taught our preschooler a level of compassion that I could never have taught him alone. There’s something about understanding that his “friends” who are asleep in the bedroom next door can’t be with their mommy or daddy, or that they’ve never tried a food like blueberries… or that these (very young) kids need to ask if the grownups will leave during the night… Even from a young age, they understand.
One final reflection
Fostering as a professional is easier and harder. I have enough seniority and clout that I can work from home or use flex time as needed to accommodate appointments and visits. I am financially well-off enough where if a kid shows up with only the clothes on their backs (common), it’s nothing to go drop $100 at Target to get them a starter wardrobe. I am used to dealing with difficult people and have no problem going up the chain to advocate for these kids. That being said, it isn’t common for professional people to foster. When I walk into court, I am directed to the attorneys’ entrance. (I am not an attorney.) I think there are a lot of smart, hardworking people out there who could really help a lot of families going through tough times if they took a leap and started fostering.
In the interest of brevity, there are a lot of pieces I’ve left out. If you have more specific questions I’m happy to answer them in the comments.
Readers, have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a foster parent? Do you have experiences to share regarding either one? If so, how do you think things were different for you as a working mom?
- What Foster Parents Wish Other People Knew [ScienceBlogs]
- More Kids Are Getting Placed In Foster Care Because Of Parents’ Drug Use [NPR]
- What It Means to Be a Bad Mom: Inside the mind of a psychologist who helps determine whether parents are “good enough” to keep their children [The Atlantic]
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Wow, thank you so much for sharing Clementine. I’m so glad there is someone like you there for these children. I really appreciate your insights.
So kind of you! I’m a super mediocre parent who deals with your standard working mom guilt all the time. I appreciate those of you who read my long ramble about foster care.
What I’ve come to realize is that as crummy of a mom as I sometimes feel like, I show up. Every day, I show up. Yes, sometimes dinner is (organic) waffles and cut up fruit, but every day I show up with dinner. Many of the kids I’ve known don’t have that. For many of these kids who have experienced significant neglect, this consistency is new and not what they’re used to.
I love this. Isn’t this what parenting is all about? Showing up.
I am there. They know I am there. I didn’t realize how profound (and necessary for emotional development and overall growth) that was before I fostered.
+1. You are providing such a valuable service for these kids. Thank you for sharing your experience.
I loved this article – thank you. One key question for you, that I’ve always felt like is a barrier for me, is what do you do about daycare? We live in a town in the northeast where daycare is at a premium and a dog-eat-dog situation for getting spots. How has your day care handled the ebbs and flows of your family? How do you structure pay for them?
Anon from 9:32 says
Hi! Great question. Where I live it’s the responsibility of the foster family to secure daycare. Basically, we’re on wait lists at 5 Daycares around town. Our current daycare has been amazing and snuck us in with ‘sibling’ spots.
We have a number of back up plans for temporary childcare for a new placement including: taking leave from work (FMLA is permissible for a new foster placement), the neighbor’s nanny whose youngest charge is now 5 and in school, and finding a stay at home foster parent who will watch a kid temporarily during the day.
Re: payment: again, this varies by region but where I live if both parents work full time outside of the home, the county covers daycare up to a certain maximum. At my mid-cost daycare, I have to pay $8 or so a week towards current kid’s daycare.
Thank you. We are in a situation where daycare cost would not be a concern, but space would be. I also worry that my husband would not be on board as he feels that we can barely handle the three kids that we have and two full time stressful jobs. :) Did you and your husband jointly decide that this is something you wanted to do? Or did you need to convince him? (this is a very personal question so feel free to ignore!)
Life is all about seasons. It sounds like in this season of life, this would be a challenge for you… but what about when your kids are older teens? What about when they’re in college? I know foster parents who chose to wait until their biological kids were older and more self-sufficient before they opened their home.
And honestly, it wasn’t so much convincing as it was opening his eyes to what it would look like. We jointly decided and both hold veto power over our decision.
Yes – I think you are right – but like having biological kids, there probably never is a perfect time.
As a follow up to the daycare and other logistics question, I actually hadn’t thought about how I might be in a better daycare situation than others–b/c my kids are home with a nanny and my oldest is about to start school full time. I’m sure it varies from state to state (or even county to county?) but how does that piece work where you are? I had assumed that the state might not be okay with foster kids being left with a nanny (and of course it would be a big conversation to have w her b/c I’d be asking her to take on additional child(ren) with potentially complex needs at short notice) but I guess maybe if she was approved or interviewed or whatnot by the state then that is okay?
What about an occasional babysitter? If you have a wedding or somewhere to go to, are there restrictions around this? I have a best friend in my neighborhood with kids the same age as mine and we (not often but maybe every other month) leave our kids with her and her husband or she leaves hers with mine. How does that work?
Also what about vacations? Are you able to take kids out of state with you (I’m thinking of an annual summer road trip down south to visit family or a week in Florida in the winter)?
Okay, so many of these issues are covered by something called ‘prudent parenting’. What that means is that if I would trust my biological child to be cared for by someone, I can let them care for my foster child. In short, I use my normal babysitters being sensitive to the fact that some of these kids are ‘intense’ and may need a higher level of supervision than a kid without a trauma background.
Yes, you can use a nanny but to get reimbursed for any of it there are extra steps and the reimbursement is laughable – like $80 a week or something.
We are encouraged to bring kiddos on vacation and have in the past; however, sometimes the parents won’t give permission for whatever reason. If that is the case, you can utilize respite while you’re away.
Thank you so much for sharing, Clementine. I’ve been interested in fostering for a while but haven’t taken any concrete steps because my husband isn’t fully on board. Like ElisaR said, I’m so glad there are people like your family who are providing a safe temporary home for these kids, and I appreciate the real talk of what that is like.
Curious – Would you consider adopting a child out of foster care if reunification/family placement is not possible, or are you focused on temporary support? What ages do you foster, and do/how do you deal with finding childcare on short notice (thinking of ages-long daycare wait lists in my area)? Do you think this will change as your own son gets older?
Yeah, both you and your spouse need to be on board… I’ll admit that my husband was ‘okay’ with it at first but the kids have really impacted him. He’s now this guy who sends me articles on trauma informed disciple. Fostering is stressful at times and I’m glad to have someone who knows what I’m going through.
Yes, we would adopt a child through foster care. Adoption involves one family’s intense loss and is not something we take lightly, but if we could adopt the current kiddo who has been living with us for 75% of their life… I would literally cry tears of joy.
We have fostered kids as old as 9 but currently foster 0-3. We have decided at this point to keep our child as the oldest (also known as preserving birth order). This is something that has changed over time and I expect it to change as he grows older. He’s been an only, youngest, oldest, and middle. How many kids can say that?!
Re: daycare. I answered some of this above, but also a healthy dose of pleading and a little emotional manipulation. ‘We are so sorry, but this was an EMERGENCY placement!! Baby is only x and you are just soooo amazing….’. People like to help. I’ve had elementary school principals call in favors for me, bought muffin baskets as thank yous, and literally just call around and ask.
Great post. Everything written mirrors my experience with the foster care system as a lawyer in Canada. Not enough foster parents, and especially not enough LBGTQ+ friendly foster parents.
I’ll never forget the little boy who went from the psychiatric unit to an honors student at elementary school once he spent 6 months in foster care. I don’t blame his mom at all, she was in the system herself as a kid and had zero rolemodels for how to be a competent parent let alone a competent parent to a kid with ADHD. She loved him, she just had no idea how to parent him, and so little help in building capacity until things got really bad. So many intergenerational issues in almost every case.
One thing that wasn’t mentioned here that exists in my jurisdiction is respite placements. These are foster parents who cannot commit to taking a child full time but provide respite support for foster parents who have a child in their fulltime care. So the foster parents have to travel out of state for a family wedding but the child must stay in state for Reasons (parential visitation, medical needs, whatever), the child stays with the respite family for a week/weekend etc. It’s a great option for people who want to help but cannot commit to being involved 24/7. These respite placements are so important because they allow regular foster parents to get a break, which is key to making placements work especially with high needs placements. On a number of occasions, I have seen respite foster parents make the difference between the main placement working or falling apart and the child having to move again so it’s a crucial role.
You are amazing. That is all.
I love this. Thank you for sharing.
Boston Legal Eagle says
Thank you for sharing your experience and your honesty. For those of us who really appreciate what people like you and your husband do but likely will never be in a space, either emotionally or otherwise, to foster themselves, are there any places we can donate to or volunteer for to help out kids (and their parents) in these situations?
I have a longer comment in moderation but some areas have respite foster care which are foster homes where the foster parents cannot commit to regular care but can do one weekend every second month or a week every six months or whatever they have capacity for. They provide an important support to keep primary foster placements functioning, especially as many foster parents are getting older and need a break or vacation from time to time or even just have an out of town funeral or another type of event that would not be appropriate/beneficial for the foster child.
Some places I would encourage you to donate that have really helped were the local ‘free store’ type charity – they allowed parents to shop for their kids. Also, our area has a camp that allows siblings who are separated in different foster homes or split up with relatives to go to camp for a week and all be together. That’s a great organization because often sibling sets of 2 or 3 are able to be kept together, but keeping a sibling set of 4, 5, 6, or more together is nearly impossible.
Another thing that is great to donate is luggage. One of the things I HATE is that so many foster kids have their possessions transported in garbage bags. This tells the kids in a direct way, ‘You are garbage.’ It’s not okay. Call a local agency or your county and offer to donate some duffel bags or suitcases or even clear plastic bins to be given to kids. Some places they give out weird branded ones that might as well say ‘FOSTER KID’ in huge letters, but what these kids want is like a Marshalls clearance adidas duffel bag like ‘normal’ kids get.
Also, as with many things, I encourage all people to exercise their right to vote and advocate for policies that support families and youth.
What a wonderful suggestion about the luggage. An org. I am a part of does a lot for donating personal hygiene products and school supplies for foster kids, but I’m going to suggest this.
Thank you!! This has been on my mind. We are having baby #2 and know that our family will be complete, but we are interested in fostering in 5 years or so. I’m more on board than my husband but I told him he has 5 years to mull it over. We are only interested in temporary placements, not foster to adopt. We know that giving these children a stable home environment, even temporarily, is a gift.
Can I ask what you think about the CASA program? I don’t have the emotional, financial or logistical resources to be a foster parent but am interested in becoming a CASA volunteer when my kids are a little older. But I’ve heard (very third hand) that some foster parents don’t think much of CASAs. Curious for your take if you’re willing to share.
I don’t have a CASA so what I speak of is what I know secondhand.
Good CASAs are amazing. Good CASAs get to know the kids and really advocate for things the kids need like therapy, mentoring, and educational resources. Good CASAs meet with the kid and the foster family periodically. They ask the foster parent what time would work best for the kid and are flexible with the family’s needs. (Spoiler here: nobody cares what’s convenient for me or works with the kids’ schedule. It’s annoying.)
Bad CASAs literally show up at court and ‘speak for the kids’ having literally never met them. My baby’s appointed lawyer (our area CASA equivalent) met kiddo once in the waiting room of court for approximately 30 seconds. Lawyer has never seen where baby lives and had never met me until I showed up in court for a hearing around the 8 months in care mark. This is the person advocating for the needs of the child who lives with me in front of a judge. It’s about the parents and the county, not the kids.
I’m glad you asked this, because I was going to plug the CASA program! My husband and I long considered fostering kids and decided against it because we thought we (mostly my husband) would struggle with reunification being the goal and the interactions with biological families. My husband is super calm and laid back, unless someone has mistreated an animal or a child. Based on our experience fostering animals and dealing with the people who had mistreated them when they surrendered them, I know my husband would have a hard time keeping his cool and interacting well with biological families, which is a necessary part of fostering children. Instead I decided to volunteer as a CASA and have really enjoyed the experience. It gave me the chance to learn a lot about the foster care program and affirmed that fostering would not be a good fit for our family for a number of reasons.
Our CASA program requires meeting with the child a minimum of once per month (I usually try to alternate between the foster home and school/daycare), but I am also on the phone with everyone involved (foster parents, bio parents, aunts/uncles/grandparents, therapists, the GAL, and the caseworker multiple times per week), and I try to visit the important people in the case (teachers and parents) at least once per month as well, which sometimes includes jail visits if the parents are incarcerated. I also attend all the court hearings and write court reports making recommendations to the court. We only have one child or sibling group at a time, which allows us to spend much more time on the case than the caseworker (who has 15-20 kids at a time) or the GAL (who has 50+ kids at a time). I would highly recommend considering the CASA program if you want to learn more about the foster care system or if you don’t think fostering is for you.
Anon Foster Sibling says
Thanks for sharing! My parents fostered close to 200 kids when I was growing up. I have such respect for their compassion and commitment. (and yours!) There is no doubt they made a positive impact to everyone of those kids.
They stopped when I was 10. Sometimes there would be a new kid at the dinner table; sometimes they would show up in the middle of the night. Some kids were there for a day or two; one girl was there for about four years. She was a hard one to lose, especially when I had to go to her funeral a few years later. I was the flower girl for one of my parents’ first foster kids. My parents did adopt multiple kids out of the foster system. I was okay with the fostering, but my older siblings had a harder time with it. For them (as children in the same house) it was hard for them to understand why my parents were so much more lenient with this kids and so strict with them. It was hard to hear my parents tell these kids that they were loved, when it was implied but not spoken to the rest of us. There was resentment, for sure. All that said — it was the 70s. Parents (at least mine) didn’t talk about feelings. We all intellectually knew that what my parents were doing was Good and Important but as kids were weren’t given the words or tools for our feelings. I love that you are doing this and talking through with your bio child in a 2000s parenting way with your child. :)
Thank you so much for sharing!
Before we started fostering, we did talk to adult peers whose parents had fostered when they were kids. Overwhelmingly, the responses were positive. One friend mentioned that she was jealous that a recent placement was getting special attention… then it was Thanksgiving. New kid actually said, ‘I thought people only had this big meal and turkeys for Thanksgiving on TV and in movies!!’ My friend remembers being about 8 or so when this happened and it is what really cemented the big picture for everyone.
We do talk with our son in an age appropriate manner. It is hard to talk with him about kids leaving, but he understands it. We really do talk about feelings and try and make sure all his emotional needs are met.
Gosh, I literally almost cried at the realization about Thanksgiving
Emily S. says
Thanks so much for sharing something so…vulnerable is the best word I can come up with, although it’s not quite what I mean. I hope you can keep us updated as your child(ren) age. Foster care is something I’m interested in, but not sure my family could/should do now, but perhaps as our kids are school-age. (Am I crazy for thinking of fostering tweens and teens?)
Also, could you share any advocacy or other support tips for people like me who are intrigued by the idea and believe the system needs the help it can get, but aren’t ready to foster?
Tweens and teens are one of the most underserved groups because so many people want to foster to adopt younger kids and are not interested in taking older kids. In my area a lot of kids end up in foster care group homes because they simply don’t have enough foster home placements for kids who are 12+.
Additionally, one fun side effect of trauma and neglect is that there are often significant behavioral/mental health needs in tweens and teens.
FWIW- in my experience ages 7-10 are the hardest ages to foster. We plan on eventually fostering teen parents.
A former coworker of mine fostered a teen parent. I remember when his wife went to the hospital with her when it was time for her to give birth – she would have otherwise been alone (and she was only 16 or so). That broke my heart and I was so glad they were there for her.
Thanks for sharing and thanks to Kat for posting this. Being a foster parent is lonely. I love this community and appreciate the parenting advice I receive here but it’s also nice to hear from people who understand the weird limbo that is being a foster parent.
Agree – this has been my favorite CorporetteMoms post ever.
So inspiring. I constantly don’t feel quite “good enough” or “ready” to take the leap on foster care; now that I am a parent i’ve realized those feelings are endemic to parenting (at least for me!). This post has really inspired me to start planning for when this will happen for our family. I loved hearing about the benefits for your bio kid…I am also wondering if it gives you the benefit of perspective as a parent. One of my greatest struggles so far is to not worry about the stuff that really doesn’t need to be worried about. I think that would be one of the many gifts of fostering — like not worrying about if my kids are getting the BEST food or the BEST teachers but remembering that the structure and the showing up is what they need.
It has really helped me to get some perspective. Like I said above, I definitely am going to feed my kids toaster waffles for dinner (like I said, organic to alleviate the guilt!) tonight. But I’m also sober. I’m able to keep them safe and make healthy choices. My house is not perfectly clean but it is sanitary and safe.
I am probably harder on myself with regards to some of the emotional stuff… I always worry I could be doing better and be more sensitive… but honestly, sometimes you just have to put on your shoes and get OUT THE DOOR NOW. No, I will NOT go find your dinosaur shirt in the wash. Yes, you’re fine. I said NOW!
(Sound like anybody else’s house at 7:25 in the morning?)
This post made my day, it’s heartwarming to know that there are such good and kind people in this world like you. Thank you.
Thank you!! I’m really a super medium person with a very high bull5h!t tolernence, I swear.
I loved this post. Thanks for sharing!
Buddy Holly says
I’ve been wondering about fostering and adoption and this was so helpful to read. Thank you Clementine!
I also found some of your commentary about how your explain this to your son to be very interesting. Can you expand a bit more on how your talk to him about his “friends” etc?
Also, your comment about “kids in the next room” made me realize that you must be in a bit more space than us right now (we’re about to be a family of 5 plus a dog in a 2 bedroom NYC apartment). Do you keep a bedroom at the ready for potential sudden foster placements? (This space issue is something else–besides the timing of us being just weeks away from having 3 kids under 4–that for me means we are not in a position to foster right now–but then again, that could be entirely different a few years from now, especially if we leave NYC.) (This raises another consideration to me–you’ve mentioned above that very few foster families have both parents work outside of the home–I have to speculate that in some major cities where living spaces are very small–that this could be another confounding problem r.e. finding foster families.)
Yes, it’s an issue in HCOL areas.
We have a bedroom that has a crib and a twin bed. Kids can also share rooms- here babies can share a room with an adult until age 3 and opposite gendered children can share until age 8. After that, same gendered children can share.
How I talk to my 3 year old about it is a whole different post!! In short, he knows that kids stay here ‘because they needed a safe place to stay while their parents get a little bit of help. Because everybody needs a little help sometimes!’
Your explanation sounds very similar to the one in the Elmo video.
Hopefully Clementine will chime in but I will share my perspective. Feel free to ignore :) In our state there are set rules about where fosters can sleep. They must have a room that has two methods of egress in case of a fire (so a door and a window). Boys and girls over age…4 I think? cannot room together. I think exceptions are made for siblings (of opposite genders). We live in the suburbs, so we basically treat it like we’re expecting a baby…eventually, which is a little weird. I have a spare crib, car seat, and diapers in various sizes.
IME it’s a misconception that both parents working makes fostering harder. I think that’s probably true in the beginning when you have a million checkups and appointments and meetings and court dates, but in the long run, being a working mom and having the advice of a good day care has helped me be a better parent. For me at least, day care workers have functioned as another set of child advocates to corroborate what I’m telling my kid’s caseworker(s). I was not eligible for mat leave when our son arrived, so I just used vacation/sick time for all his appointments. He started day care at six weeks. It was hard, but we got through it. In the future I’ll probably use FMLA.
Wait – you’re telling me not every family has 5 carseats and pajamas in every size from preemie to kid’s smalls??? In all seriousness, with the last 3 placements we have had, the time from ‘can you take this kid/these kids’ to ‘new child in my house/in my care’ has been: literally got a call to pick kids up at a hospital waiting room that we happened to be 10 minutes from and happened to have 2 carseats in the car, 4 hours (another placement fell through and they literally had been sitting in the county office all day while workers made frantic calls), and 26 minutes. Maximum flexibility is the name of the game in our house.
And I’ll agree that good daycare is worth its weight in gold. One thing that I didn’t discuss are visits. Visits are regularly scheduled contacts (supervised or unsupervised) between parents and their children while their children are in foster care. Frequency, duration, and timing vary due to the details of each situation. Well, not to shock you all, but frequently when parents are going through hard times, visits may be cancelled or moved at the last minute. With daycare, the county is able to pick the kid directly up from daycare and transport them to their visit. If you don’t use daycare, this means your whole schedule for the day is thrown off. I’ve also really appreciated the experienced hand of my daycare providers, some of whom have experience with foster care specifically.
I feel better just knowing there are people like you in the world. Thank you for opening your home and your heart to these kids. Fostering likely isn’t in the cards for our family for many reasons, but I would love to find other ways to help children who need more support in our local community. Going off to Google now – thanks for inspiring me!
Awesome! Again, I really want to emphasize what a normal, crummy mom I am to all of you. One of my favorite sayings is, ‘Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.’ Mentoring is cool. Donating money to worthy organizations is cool. Fostering dogs is cool.
Pro bono legal services that support foster youth, particularly teens, with complex matters (even just name changes sometimes… like the kid who was literally named after their abuser and had to walk around every day being called ‘dude who beat me so severely I was put into a medically induced coma, jr’) is super cool.
Thank you so much for this! I have been exploring the idea of fostering when my kids are a bit older. How does your child deal with the revolving door of other kids — friends — who come and leave? I have two high-anxiety kids and I fear the impact this could have on them, especially kids dealing with trauma and related behavioral issues. Where my kids have some behavioral issues of their own, I worry about making things worse for my kids, and potentially for foster kids. But I also know that my own experience raising kids with special needs would be beneficial in a fostering relationship.
Yeah, I worry every day that I might be messing up my kid. Like I said above, I do know and think that this has been a really positive experience overall as a family; however, it doesn’t stop me from worrying.
My son is very easygoing; however, he misses kids when they go. About a year ago, we had a sibling set who stayed with us for a few months. Big sibling was about 16 months older than my son, little sibling was a year younger. They were great kids who made such incredible growth while they were here. They moved on for legitimate reasons and unfortunately we haven’t been able to get into contact with them again (we often offer play dates and respite and babysitting). Son still asks about them and had some behavioral issues that started while they were there or shortly after they left. The behavioral issues were short lived and we moved on from them. I don’t know if it’s because we’ve been fostering for as long as he can remember or because he’s such a chill kid in general (def don’t chalk it up to our parenting skills here… but maybe slightly?), but he is very resiliant.
How long have you been a foster parent? Did you start before or after you had a biological child?