A little more perspective
It’s been a couple of weeks since our first (and so far, only) foster care placement so I thought I’d share some more feelings/observations now that I’m a little removed from that weekend.
Observation #1: Foster care is a lot like you expect it to be. It’s hard, it’s tiring (so tiring), it’s worthwhile. This blogger has recently written about what it’s like when kids leave your home, and she’s right. You (or at least I) go through a mourning period. It almost felt disrespectful to put the house back together too soon after they’d left, and I just recently put all of the toys back and got the room completely ready again. I think since this was our first time I took their leaving especially hard, and I think next time it won’t be so bad. Of course, I know there will be times when it’ll be worse than this time, but I think on average I’ll get better at this.
Observation #2: Foster care is weird. These kids get plopped into your home, and you’re their parents for however long you have them. Then they go away again, and about 10 days later you get a check for having taken care of them. I kind of forgot we’d get paid for the weekend, and receiving the check was a strange thing. It kind of made the whole experience a little less personal, like Youthville was acknowledging we didn’t do them some favor by taking the kids. But we still kind of did those kids a favor, because we didn’t hug them and play with them and (try to) discipline them because we were getting paid to do so. And I know a lot of people think some foster parents do it for the money, and I have to tell you, that’s very stupid and not really feasible. Todd and I were each paid about $1.11 per hour for taking care of the kids.
Observation #3: Family and friends are awesome. I already mentioned the help we got the first night the kids were with us, help which meant we had a bed for the young one, toothbrushes, and milk. We also got lots of sweet texts, e-mails and calls from friends making sure we had what we needed and were doing okay. Then my parents came in town that Sunday, and they, along with my sister and her family, gave us a ton of help that day, just by being there. The weekend would’ve been a lot rougher without all the help we got.
Observation #4: Lots of people could be foster parents. People often say that they just couldn’t be a foster parent, but I don’t think that’s true. I think a lot of people don’t want to do it, which is fine and they should be willing to say that. But other people, maybe even people reading this right now, think they want to do it but they’re scared. Don’t be scared! If two nincompoops like Todd and me can do it, you can do it. And you should. For reals. The world needs more foster parents.
Speaking of more foster parents, our good friends Grant and Vanessa are in the process of becoming foster parents right this second. Vanessa, who is much more open with her feelings than I am, shares her thoughts on the experience and why they’re going through it at her blog, which you should go visit.