Foster Parenting 101 – Feeling Guilty About Saying No to a Foster Placement?

Foster Parenting 101 – Feeling Guilty About Saying No to a Foster Placement?

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We had to say no…

It was hard and I hated doing it, but it was easier then it was in the past.

After 4 years of being a foster parent I have realized a few things that have made saying no a bit easier. Not easy that’s for sure, I mean it is a child in need of a home on the other end of that line.

In this case it was a 2.5 year old. And we said no because we know our limitations.

Sure I could say yes but how would that affect our 2 year old? We have done the artificial twinning thing before and it was so hard. Sure it was doable but those 6 months were just so hard.

When we decided to open our home to fostering again after the adoption of our daughter we put a strict 0-2 (as in 24 months) parameter on that. This came from our adoption worker and supervisor and something we agreed with.

But of course the placement workers don’t know all the intricate details of our family dynamic. So they see open to 0-2 on our file and of course call us with a 2+ year old.

Saying no was easier then it had ever had been because I had complete peace that, that child wasn’t meant to be in our family. And before you think that is heartless (because part of me thinks my decision to say no was heartless, and I think most foster parents struggle with that). Let me explain

Reasons saying NO to a foster care placement is OK

There will always be another child who needs a home, so that NO means a YES for another child. Sadly the reality is kids come into care all of the time. That is not changing any time soon.

We know our limitations and that is important for the longevity of foster parenting.

We have 3 other children to consider. Their well being and safety in the home.

My mental health. 2 strong willed toddlers might very well be just too much for this mama to handle.

Birth Order – Rosie is our forever daughter now. She is 2 years and 2 months old. Another older sister or brother might make her feel jealous and displaced meaning a hard transition for her. We already struggle with her hitting and pinching and biting… the last thing I want is for her to feel that way or for the other toddler to get hurt. I know my Rosie girl and she wants what she wants and is not afraid to go for it.

saying no to a foster care placement

We had a respite placement coming a few days later. I am totally OK with a placement overlapping for a week but two 2 year olds, a 5 month old and a 6 and 7 year old home for the summer… well… wow is all I will say.

The bottom line was at the moment that phone rang and I was told about the little one on the other end, I knew there would be another family that would be a better fit for them.

New foster parent Kait would have said yes right away. But I have learned a lot the past few years and I knew No was the right answer in this situation. My husband was shocked when I told him I said no because I am a YES girl. I say yes then figure out the details later.

So I want to encourage you to be discerning with your yeses. I know your heart is big and you want to help all the kids who need a home but the reality is you cannot help them all and I have seen too many placements breakdown when foster parents jump in too quickly. Which leads to more trauma for the child.

So don’t just say yes because you are a licensed foster parent with a big heart.

Set your limitations and parameters before hand, ask a lot of questions and don’t feel guilty when you have to say no.

You will probably always feel a little sad every time you say no because it is a child on the other end. A child who needs someone to love them an a safe place to call home. It’s OK just don’t let your sadness turn to guilt because guilt is when we say yes for the wrong reason. In the end it will not be helpful to that child.

I have a pre placement question sheet in the foster care binder. You can get the emailed to you or free by signing up at the link below!

I think we get the calls we get for a reason and God’s hand is in all of it but discernment is important and if God really wants that child in your home specifically you will likely get another call.

It is not your fault the child is in care. Don’t let guilt talk you into saying yes when you know it feels outside of your capabilities. You must know your limitations which in the long run is in the best interest of the child.

In saying that, don’t put so many limitations on your yes out of a place o fear. Be practical and logical and pray and ask for guidance.

Remember every NO means a YES to a different child.

Saying no to a foster care placement can bring a lot of feelings and guilt but wisdom and discernment is always better than disruption of a foster care placement. Foster parents do not have an easy task to help provide healing for traumatized children. #fostercare #adoption #fosterparents

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