I did a quick Google search and I’ve come to realize that there is no day on the calender dedicated to foster parents. We have a day for moms and a day for dad’s, a day for grandparents and a day for dogs, In Canada we take a day for Queen Victoria and a day called “civic” (whatever that means) we have a day for labour, and a day for remembrance, all of those days are good I’m not saying they’re not, but why is there no day to honour the people who care for those nobody wants to care for?
A foster parents takes the abuse no one else on the planet takes, and they take it voluntarily, before you say “well they signed up for that” consider this, foster parents have seen the evils that our youth face, and are simply trying to help. Being the light, if you will.
Some will say “they just do it for the money” and you know what? Foster parents get paid, but if they wanted to do something for the money, they could get a part time job at McDonald’s and be paid the same amount.
Foster parents don’t do it for the money, or the glory or even the pity vote, they do it because they feel they’ve been called to help those in need.
A day in the life of a foster parent can include but is not limited to, being pooped on, peed on, puked on and spit on. Yelled at, cursed at, lied to and lied about.
Foster parents must put on the hat of a taxi driver, coach, therapist, mom, dad, friend, confidant, psychologist, psychotherapist, rehabilitation physiotherapist, cook, and maid, they must be able to switch between hats at the flip of a switch and if needed wear two at the same time.
When foster children are in school, foster mom’s must put on their administrative best, schedule numerous appointments for each and every child in their home, make sure appointments don’t overlap and do it all according to the timeline set out for them by the social system. They must meet with each childs’ social worker, make and make sure goals both short term and long term are achieved.
Foster mom’s are also the ones who must keep a daily journal for EACH kid in the home, recording all of the things each child does, did they have a good day? A bad day? How were they after school? Before school? Did school go well? Is homework being completed? Etc, etc. All emotions and events must be logged and accessible should something happen.
Foster mom’s are usually the ones who drive children to court ordered visits with their biological families, if the visit goes well foster mom can take a sigh of relief, if the visit goes badly, foster mom must put on the bullet proof vest because all anger will come right at her.
When it comes to teens in foster care the foster parents must adapt to a whole new level of drama they didn’t know existed, patience is key and saying you want to help them will never be enough. Teens can hit, kick, lie, manipulate, steal, run away, and say the most hurtful things right to your face without batting an eye.
Younger children handle change better than the older ones, the older ones hate you for helping them, hate you for reaching out and aren’t afraid to say it.
Teens have built a self preservation system for themselves with freinds and school and if they’re lucky a job, but when home life falls apart and they’re moved away from everything they know, they will blame the foster parents, if for no other reasons than they are the ones who are around.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the kids are bad, they are, like we all are a product of our environment. Kids that need to go to a foster home have encountered more than most adults, drugs, alcohol, abuse of all kinds, neglect, hunger, and the worst of unhealthy living situations, they come from being locked in the basement, some are simply surviving based on instinct, others have to take care of siblings because no parent is ever around, poverty is normal, being sold into slavery is the everyday, being used and abused by the worst humanity has to offer, foster kids are saved by ripping them from the world they know and placing them in a world they don’t. Their new life is intimidating, it’s scary and frightening. They are used to having to fight for themself and in a foster home, no fighting is necessary but it’s a part of who they are as a person, so when a stranger takes control of their life the child often reacts with anger which turns to sadness which turns back to anger.
This is when the foster parent must put on yet another hat and go and comfort the child that says “I hate you” because you are the only one there.
Thanks to Hollywood and TV, the actions of the foster kid are blamed on the foster parents, not the world they came from. When you see and hear the yelling come from the foster home in your neighborhood remember that a child is trying to make sense of his life, remember that a child was damaged in this process we call life, and please remember that foster parents do not earn nearly enough money to do all of that just for the money.
Make no mistake, these kids are hurting, they are damaged and when they make a scene in public or at home the only person to challenge that behavior is a person that may have just met him or her, the foster parent that probably hasn’t even established a foundation of trust yet. The child does not know their foster parent from Adam, and therefore sees no reason to listen them.
People make the choice to foster because they want to help, unfortunately that choice is then thrust upon the extended family who may not want to be a part of it, but please remember that for some parents they do this because Jesus said to take care of the fatherless, that’s just what they’re trying to do because for most of our culture, it’s all about what a person does for themself, a broken, hurting child cannot do anything for herself, a baby born addicted cannot do anything for himself.
After you’ve read this and shared it with your friends, go and give a foster parent a hug and tell them to keep it up, encourage them and then try to take away the stigma attached to foster kids, they are people too, they just need a chance… or two, or three.
Foster kids lives matter, foster parents lives matter.
A foster parent.
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