I could have missed this – Foster Mom Life

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Court comes and goes without any change.

Very minimal details given to us as foster parents and regulations and systems that just don’t seem to make sense.

We wait and wait and wait, for a decision that could ultimately change our lives forever and no one has the same urgency or seems to care all that much. 

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We are just another number.  Another task on the list of things to do for overworked and underpaid social workers.

I want to know more details than just a date but the file isn’t updated and 2 out the three workers assigned to the case are on vacation. 

I don’t want to be a bother but THIS IS MY LIFE.

I speak with other foster parents from all over the world and things vary from country to country and agency to agency but one thing remains the same.  We all feel like we are at the very bottom of the totem pole.

The last one to know anything, many details left out.

Treated like glorified babysitters.

We are not glorified baby sitters. We love these children like our own.  We will become a forever family for that child if needed.

The workers in the system tend to forget that this is our everyday life.  We can’t go on/plan vacations.  We live in a constant schedule not our own tied down to visit days when bios don’t even show up. 

Haven’t shown up in 5 weeks?  Let’s give them 4 more weeks to try. 

A complete disregard for my life.  For not being able to go on field trips or out to that mom’s lunch because oh its visit day… we have to commit to that schedule every week even when the bio parents don’t.

I deal with the trauma. 

I deal with the negative connotations and difficult behaviours because of what bios and the system does to these kids.

I am the one up all night and who hasn’t slept through the night more than a handful of times in a 2 and a half years.

Yes, social workers are overworked but foster parents are undervalued.

All I ask is to be kept in the loop. 

Not feeling like I am harassing workers to get a tiny bit of information. 

And to be informed. Know the rules and guidelines so when I do ask it’s not “oh I will have to get back to you.”

One of the hardest things about working within the foster care system is the amount of social workers it takes to run smoothly directly coincides with, there is always another worker to pass the buck to. 

A supervisor to run things by or a managers approval or that simply doesn’t full within their specific role.

I get paperwork every year asking how the agency can better support me as a foster parent.  Does any of it ever pan out?

I deal with one worker who just gets it. I cling to the moments I am able to speak with her.  T, I am forever grateful to you for seeing it from our perspective. In her words “foster parenting is very intimate, it impacts every part of your physical, mental and emotional being” Yes T. Yes.

We all know the system is broken.  Reform and changes do happen from time to time but it doesn’t seem to be helping the kids. In our training, we learn “everything is from the eyes of the child” what is “best for the child” but rarely the outcome matches the focus.

It is like we are on this hamster wheel running and running but never getting anywhere.

It is so difficult to work within a system that seems to be fighting against everything it actually stands for. So many kids slip through the cracks.

The burn out rate for social workers is so high, there is always such a high turnaround. 

Someone is changing positions for their mental health and the kids get left behind in the dust.

This post isn’t to rant on about social workers.  I know most of them do their best and have to deal with seeing things way worse than what we do as a foster parent over and over on a daily basis.

Their mental health, relationships and time off work is affected. Thank you for doing such a hard job.

I just ask that you don’t leave us as foster parents behind.

We just want to feel like part of the team. We just want to know next steps so we can plan out the next 6-12 week increment of our lives while we wait for the next court date.

So much is expected of us that I hate feeling like I have to say “sorry to bother you” when I try to get some information.

This is all a part of the foster to adopt process.

With all of these emotions and hard things I work with within the system, I am still grateful.  Grateful to be able to help 8 children. To support 8 sets of parents and grateful to be an advocate for the children in my care.
I look over at our foster love and it is almost like a halo appears above her head.
I could have missed this.

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This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Yes, yes, and yes! I am treated like a glorified babysitter and completely undervalued, but after the hurt and heartbreak comes healing and I soon will be saying yes to another placement.

    1. For the kids. It’s why we do it. <3

  2. I can not wait to help a child, but know I am going to feel the same way you feel. Its all i read over and over. I have to tell myself, you are doing it for these precious little angels who have no voice to speak up

  3. Yes, I guess the same foster care frustration is everywhere. In South Africa we don’t even have Foster-to-Adopt! Our laws are focused on family re-unification and not adoption. Parents’ rights are only relinquished in very extreme cases, and only when it is already too late. Then that poor child ends up in a group home because nobody wants him/her. Kids stay in foster care or group homes untill they age out, or untill the parents reform, which we know rarely happens. Its very frustrating to know that a child could have had a second chance being adopted at a young age, but now they have to bear the scars of unfit parents coming and going through their childhood years, all the rejection and trauma repeating itself over and over. Not to be disrespectful but I don’t think the people who makes our rules know anything about children!

    1. Wow, that is very sad to hear how it works there. I think overall the best interests of the children are not taken into consideration 🙁

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