A woman told me recently that foster parenting is the hardest thing she’d ever done. And she’s raising a pack of kids and has had cancer.
For me, I’ve been telling my mom after particularly stressful days that I feel like I’ve been punched in the face.
But that turns out to be untrue. Fiesty Pants punched me in the face tonight and it was nothing like it. She is, of course, small, but she also had a toy in her hand, and it was entirely unexpected (and unintended).
Being a foster parent is more, I imagine, like recovering from a terrible burn. It hurts with a constant presence. It’s exhausting.
I got investigated last week (unfounded), but it was awful. These children are probably going to leave me, so the sacrifices I make for them, the sort of pre-hurt I feel regarding them leaving, and the exhaustion all adds up to one of the hardest things I’ve ever done or imagined. As such, someone saying they’re at risk with me, I’m not seeing to their care properly, or I’m legitimately hurting them makes me so angry, I could–in fact–punch them in the face.
Added to that pressure is the conversation I had with the investigator who tells me that to cover my patootie, I need to document every bruise (that toddlers get!!!) and that I have a huge number of mandated reporters in my life. She basically alluded to the very nature of being a foster parents means I’ll be investigated.
I feel like I’m in a fish bowl and everyone watching are required to judge me and find me wanting. To cover their patooties they’ll err on the side of caution, and my life will be taken over, once again, by agencies who will pry into how I’m taking care of the children (who are clearly blossoming) ask about my dogs, checkup cleanliness level, etc.
And this giant headache comes why?
Oh for that service I’m doing. The one where they can’t get enough good homes (like mine, BTW). The one where they could never ever ever pay you enough. The one that has upped my stress level so high I can’t listen to Harry Potter 5 because its TOO stressful. That service.
Do I recommend being a foster parent? That gets a resounding no. Absolutely not. Never.
Will I continue? Certainly while I have Fiesty Pants and Boy Blue. Maybe until I can adopt and then never again.
* caveat- they really do need good homes and the kids aren’t the problem, maybe you’re a better person than me? don’t let me dissuade you should you feel called. after all, that’s how I feel. and maybe I’ll feel differently when I’m not so mad*
——— damn it
5 thoughts on “On being a foster parent, part 2.”
Man, I’m sorry that’s happening to you. Parenting in any arrangement is stressful beyond what you imagine going into it. But having all the extra bureaucracy over you just multiplies it. I guess you stay focused on the kids who you’re helping and do what you can for them.
Love, love, LOVE your honesty and bare emotions. I’m sure so many people have similar experiences and will love to hear from someone they can identify with. These poor children are stuck in a broken system and unfortunately it’s the children and the foster parents that are left to clean up the mess of the bio parents. Keep fighting the good fight. I sincerely pray that you get what you need in terms of strength to endure and also in getting to keep some babies. As you know, motherhood is the greatest blessing and I so admire that hardship you are willing to endure to get there.
OOH Amanda:) You my dear are incredible & don’t you ever doubt that again!!! Your gigantic heart & patience to take this on is awe inspiring for sure. And if nothing else remember that God never gives us more than we can handle (whether you believe it at the moment of some crazy unfounded investigation or some epic toddler melt down, it is true & He can help give you the strength, patience, energy, & even endurance to be at peace & continue being the greatest thing to happen to those kids.). I love you & will be praying for you much more. YOU’RE THE BEST!!!!!
I feel your pain. You have expressed the experience of fostering so perfectly! It is the most wonderful, terrible, exhausting, thankless, heart breaking experience I have ever had. And yet, when you do get to adopt those sweet children that are meant to be yours it is magical and absolutely worth all the suffering you have endured. Hang in there!
Thanks Dana! I think of you often when it comes to this and I tell myself, Dana got two loveliest daughters–maybe I can too.