Being a Foster Parent Rant:
It has been a few years since we let our Foster License go. 4 adopted kiddos fill our cup, hearts and time.
Recently, I realized that one particular child – has a “hate” for and warped reality of who and what foster parents are. Their own experience, shows on TV, media and stigma shed poor understanding for the Foster Parent status….so this is my plug for understanding that “Foster Parent” isn’t a bad word.
Who would want to be a foster parent? Who would want the abuse, rowdy uncontrolled kids prone to temper tantrums, coming with grungy or no clothes, social and developmental issues, often head lice or other medical issues due to neglect, kids that blame you for everything wrong in their lives and to be expected to love them unconditionally trying to mirror what a home should be like when they are just hating you for something you didn’t do that got them in your home? I’ll tell you. Kind folks. Good folks. Folks that love children and hurt for the hurt the world puts on children that end up in the foster system. It isn’t a “job” while it can be, but it is so much more. It is for those with a passion to help the fallen and hurt. It is often void of reward – you may or may not see the fruit of your work. It is a calling. It is living our scripture: James 1:27 - Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
One thing I’ve heard this child say “they just do it for the money.” The answer to that is No. Go to a MAPP class and go through all the requirements for becoming a foster parent and see if you’d want the job! Foster parents don’t do it for the money. While now I believe it may be $620 a month, and that might sound like a lot to you – it isn’t anything a person will get rich off. Usually when in our home, those funds went towards food, clothing, haircuts, diapers, Photographs because they never had any, special formula (Soph’s cost $200 a month not covered by the system) entertainment, sometimes larger needs like braces or quality glasses (not only the ones the medical card gets them because those usually where the ugly or cheap ones that broke easily). With Soph who was only 5 days old, we only had less than 2 hours notice and the boys were 48 hours notice - so we needed some car seats and baby stuff. I remember the Walmart clerk chastising us for buying 4 car seats the night before the boys came telling us we didn’t need that many. Um, yah, we did. Two vehicles with two baby/toddler guys coming/going had to be equipped. Most people have baby showers and 9 months to plan, we had 2 hours for our 5 day old. Bicycles and toys abounded as well. Monthly paperwork and reports you have to turn in to your case manager, forms for every little thing you do from vacation to activities have to be signed off on with court approval, especially if you go out of state or country like we liked to do. If you took the money by the time you keep up your training hours, foster proof your house to standards normal people don’t even do, countless appointments with social workers, case meetings, doctors/dentists/mental health care workers – you’re making Negative -$1.86 an hour on an average month.
So why did we do it? We fostered to adopt. This was what we felt called to do – our “mission” field shown to us after 16 years of infertility and trying to do things our way – we released ourselves to God and He directed our path to Foster Parenting. Some people are called to be missionaries in other countries – we were called to be missionaries in Foster Parenting, right here where we are. We could have just continued on in our marriage childless, doing what we wanted, when we wanted, traveling, hobbies… BUT we chose to love and lose – love and WIN as well. And we never really “lost” – we gave of ourselves to the best of our ability, not all the children we kept got to stay with us – our 4 are God-Picked and God-Blessed….meant to be. Who knows, maybe we’ll do it some more after the house gets emptier.
So, while you mourn your past over and over….it is the path God had you on for YOU and US. You may never accept that. I can’t make you. But I can educate you that Foster Parents are not EVIL people who abuse kids and do it for the money. It is up to you what you want to believe. In all cases of parenting – birth parents or foster parents – you will see good examples and bad. That is life. So look for the good. Look and realize it isn’t your fault or theirs you ended up in Foster Care. Fate – we talked about this. Sometimes it is our fate that gets us to certain places – something out of our control that takes us someplace we may not at first willing want to go or do…..but ends up a great thing. I hope someday you’ll look back and realize – this family is a great thing and you are a part of that greatness!