I WISH SOMEONE TOLD ME THE SECRETS I AM ABOUT TO TELL YOU
The hardest thing about fostering is giving the child back. Oops. This is not the hardest thing about fostering. The hardest thing when fostering is the UNKNOWN and not having CONTROL. Unknown medical histories, Unknown behavioral issues, Unknown trauma histories. It’s a lot, especially for a person like myself who craves control.
As a foster parent, you have no control and often, little control over the child’s behaviors. If you are a type A personality, you will either be able to use it in your favor to become AMAZING or become another foster parent statistic who gives notice on a child and moves on. I always suggest trying out respite, a short-term placement of days/weeks, for newbies first before jumping all in with a full blown placement which can be a commitment of years. If you require control, are not coachable and are not able to be flexible, you will not survive fostering vulnerable youth. You just won’t!
Guess what? Kids with trauma histories tend to have more behavior issues than a child in a stable consistent environment. I am not a professional, I am just a mom of 33 years of eight children and this statement and every statement I make moving forward is based on my experience, not to mention, my own experience as a foster youth. I will say it again!! Children with trauma histories will have behavior issues. This means, there is not something wrong with your parenting if he/or she is not following your expectations and it doesn’t mean you were given a bad kid either. If you are not ready to learn, please do not step into the world of child welfare.
Side note, you may not be the child’s forever home, but while the child is with you, please give the child your everything and do not assume your case manager is handling everything. Keep good notes and save everything.
Let’s start here: Even if you have a child who doesn’t have a diagnosis or suspected diagnosis a child removed from everything they know will experience “LOSS.” As a result, they will experience the symptoms of grief, which result in tough behaviors for the entire family. Children in pain will show you how they feel in the most painful ways. My home is proof of this. I have learned to not become too attached to my possessions or just to remove them since I have chosen a life of loving children through their hardest days.
People ask me all the time why I do what I do. My secret is my addiction to the kids’ successes. I have a front row seat to miracles. I can not ask for more.