Wednesday, May 03, 2017

When All I Have is Not Enough {Foster Parenting}

{Each foster child placement is so unique and depends on a variety of factors such as their needs and history, your own family make-up, the social workers, the "plan" etc. Our last placement was tricky at first (in regards to sleep and anxiety) but then ended up being amazing and we are forever thankful for our Little One in our lives. This one is stretching us a little too uncomfortably. I share this to be real about the struggles and needs in being a foster parent.}

Brave is saying "yes" to taking in two kids when you have three already. Courage is saying "I need help." Wise is saying "I can't do this anymore, we need another plan. Now."

We are currently in a tricky spot as the needs in our home outweigh what we can manage and maintain. I feel like people may be thinking "Well, why did you say yes? Why would you foster if you can't do it? Maybe you're not meant for this?" – let me address it if you've ever thought that way about me or someone else.

1. We were told there were no other options.
2. We said "yes" under the assumption that it would be a two-week stay. You can do almost anything for two weeks. We are now into our seventh week as we await a long term home to be available for two kids.
3. When presented with a child/children, the social worker gives you a few facts that they have gathered about the kids. We learned their names, birth date, they liked McDonalds and hot dogs, that there were some special needs (not specific) and a bit of mom's situation. That's it. A decision needed to made from those facts.

Why can't we do this? We had been mentally prepared for a six-month break from receiving a placement and operating as a relief home instead. We said goodbye to our last Little One, went on a trip and came home ready for a new chapter in our lives. That lasted four days. Also, I can't share specifics about kids in care but in this case our family cannot be all together at the same time as there is too much conflict between the kids, specifically #2 and #4. When one parent has to take two kids and another take the other three, it's really hard to enjoy family time. We have been granted some relief care which has allowed us to continue to function but we are not thriving (although the Littles are doing very well!). My days with the three youngest are exhausting. I know what it's like to have three kids at home but have never had to constantly be "on" and have two kids unable to sit for five minutes at a time especially with so many rainy days.

I struggled with guilt–why can't I do it? How do others do it? I know that I am actually doing the best I can and cannot maintain this. I told the social workers what I could and could not do and they have pushed me beyond my limit. We need a long-term home for these children–a place where they can thrive together for as long as need be.

What do I know in this messy place?

1. I love these kids. Yes, I'm mentally exhausted and raise my voice but I love them and they love their cuddles with aunty. They are sweet, busy, busy, kids.
2. Routine and boundaries make a huge difference in just a few weeks and are so important.
3. When a social worker says "there are no other options", there must be other options. I do not want to be guilted into it again.
4. There are certain characteristics that won't work with our current family if/when we foster again.
5. Asking for and receiving help is no longer hard when you're barely afloat.
6. There are many foster homes needed which means there are so many hurting families out there as well as other foster homes that are burning out.
7. Even if I say "I'm never potty training again" I know I can. I have now done it for three kids in the past year.
8. I need to connect with those that truly get it because it's a small group of people who can understand what we're going through.
9. I need to ask the questions and seek the answers. If I want something done I need to be on it over and over. Another phone call. Another email. Another visit in person.
10. My mental health, marriage, and family comes first. We have had a rough year as a family and then throwing this on top is not marriage building.
11. Sleep is everything. So thankful these two sleep usually until 6 AM.

So that is where we are. Is being a foster parent hard? Each situation is different, but in most cases, yes. Is being a foster child harder? I would imagine so.



  1. Thank you for your honesty Louise! You might not feel like you are doing an amazing job, but what you are doing is amazing. I hope that you are able to inspire other people to become foster parents!

    1. I'm not sure this post is inspiring but I don't want to mislead anyone. And thank you :)

  2. Anonymous5:11 PM

    You don't know me, but know this. You have my wheels turning about fostering. Not today, but your posts are resonating with me to do something more purposeful with my life. Thank you for what you do.

    1. Happy to hear this! And yes, today wasn't very inspiring but I do want to keep it real. Thank you for reading and commenting and keep those wheels turning!

  3. I hope that not one person has wondered those first few questions you asked in your post. You are amazing and inspiring, especially, in your honest ability to reflect. I think it is not only wise, but courageous too, to know when you just can't give anymore and to be willing to be vulnerable about that too. So many hugs!

    1. Thank you, Terri. No one has asked me but I have asked myself which is maybe why I feel others would. :)

  4. Wow, hugs! You are amazing and I'm sorry this time is difficult for you. I hope there's a solution soon, so things can improve both for the Little Ones and your family. :)