Yesterday I posted about the things foster parents say in Facebook groups that piss me off. However, there is a lot they do that I love.
- Give supportive advice. Whether it is about parenting or doing hair there are some people who are always supportive.
- Kindly disagree with you. We all aren’t going to agree but I appreciate it when people do it kindly instead of like an asshole.
- Offer to share clothing/supplies. Having a new placement is hard. Even though you tried to be prepared you can’t have everything you could possibly need in every situation. I love when others are willing to help each other out.
- Share discounts. Some people get upset that we are always looking for discounts on experiences and trips: however, a small discount could be the reason I could take my family to Disney world, so please share that stuff.
- Ask for advice from former foster youth. They are the experts. When you want to do know how a situation will effect your foster children or how you should handle something they are the ones to ask.
- Refer you to research/laws. I love when people include specific details/links so that i know what the law is or what research says is best practice.
- Refer you to professionals. Just because we have experience doesn’t mean we know the answers. Therapists, doctors, and social workers are always they people to ask.
- Send prayers. Sometimes there is nothing you can do but pray.
- Suggest books. Especially when it comes to parenting traumatized children.!
- Celebrate the small victories. Your foster kid didn’t swear at thanksgiving dinner? Yay! Your foster kid sat the whole time for time out and didn’t kick you? Yay! Your foster child let you brush their hair? Yay?
Please stop saying things like “I can’t be a foster parent because it would be too hard to let them go” or “I can’t be a foster parent because I would get too attached”. There are many legit reasons not foster but caring too much isn’t one of them. I truly believe you have the right intentions. You are offending foster children everywhere by saying foster children are not worthy of your love. You also just made the foster parent you just said that to feel like you think they are heartless. Foster children need people to get attached. The number one job of a foster parent is to love and care for them. Yes, saying good bye is heartbreaking. However, they need to feel happiness and a home just like any other child. Fostering is a journey that is not meant for everyone. Below is a brief list of 10 things that I feel would be acceptable to come after the phrase, “I can’t be a foster parent because…”
- I feel called to do something instead (mission work, travel the world, church ministry, etc).
- I don’t want kids.
- I don’t want anymore kids right now.
- My beloved dog/cat doesn’t do well with kids.
- I don’t have time.
- My kids are all grown and I am enjoying not having kids in the house.
- I couldn’t handle all of the doctors appointments, caseworker visits, therapy appointments, etc.
- This isn’t the right time for me right now but I plan to in the future.
- I just don’t want to (that’s a perfectly fine excuse).
I would like to include ten things that are not on my list. (All of the below things are not reasons not to foster).
- I am not married.
- I don’t own a house.
- I work full time.
- I have young kids.
- I have older kids.
- I don’t have any kids.
- I have pets
- I don’t want to adopt.
- I can only afford my self right now (ask a DCFS worker about financial what support is provided and what costs the state is responsible for)
- I am not sure how to become a foster parent (Look it up! Google is your best friend)
There are many many reasons not to foster and all of them are valid. But if the only reason you can think of is because you are afraid of getting hurt or loving a child who isn’t yours maybe you should consider fostering.
I am lucky. I have a truly wonderful support system. Fostering takes a whole community so here is a list of things that you can do to support a foster parent. Not all these things are possible for everyone but
- Listen to them. Sometimes as a foster parent we don’t feel like we have a “right” to complain since we chose this. Let the foster parent in your life know it’s okay to vent to you.
- Watch the kids. In some states this might mean that you have to background check but let them know you are willing to begin the process.
- Come over and help out. Maybe you don’t want to babysit, so offer to go over to their house and be an extra hand. The week after I received a placement of two kids (ages 22 months and 8 at the time) was my foster sons 10th birthday and I promised him we could go to six flags. I had friends offer to come with so that he had an adults to ride rides with while I stayed with the almost two year old.
- Bring food. Those first couple weeks of having a new placement are stressful. The less a foster parent has to worry about those first weeks the more they can focus on the kids.
- Offer to be the person they call to go run out and pick things up. A foster parent may only have an hour it is always great to have people available to go to the store and pick up diapers or clothes so they can wait for the children.
- Donate your children’s old clothes/baby gear. I have a basement full of different sizes of clothes and toys. It is great to be able to go downstairs and grab things I need. It takes a little bit of the stress away.
- Do laundry/clean the house. During a really stressful week my mom came over and did all my laundry. It was never something I would ask for but it allowed me to focus on the kids who needed me.
- Offer carpool. I spend a lot of time in the car driving to different appointments. If you could take my child to swim lessons this week so I can stay home and wash my dishes, I would be forever grateful.
- Invite them to go places with you. I went from a single women to a parent in the blink of an eye. I appreciated when coworkers or acquaintances invited me to do kid related activities with them.
- Love the kids. Seriously though! I am over joyed by how my family and friends have treated my foster children as part of the family. They give them gifts, and write them letters, and include them in everything we do. It’s the little things that countS