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8 Emotional Realities Of Foster Care

My husband and I have been licensed foster parents for about 1 1/2 years now.  To say it’s been a roller coaster is an understatement. You can read about our Intense Weekend & 7 Ways You Can Help Foster Families from last year.  I also shared about our Emotional Roller Coaster Weekend with three girls we had been hoping to adopt.  From both of those posts, it’s easy to see that foster care is a crazy journey.  Yet, we still feel that God is calling us here at this time in our lives.  So we press forward.  But I wanted to share with you the emotional realities of foster care and let you know they are completely normal!

foster care

Foster Care Is An Emotional Journey

No matter the reason for doing foster care, it’s an emotional journey.  From losing a placement we had been told was going to be ours forever to struggling with REALLY hard cases.  I’ve laughed and cried and cried some more.  However, the journey is also so rewarding too.

A New Placement

We just got a call for our first hospital placement.  Honestly, this has been the call I’ve been waiting for since we got licensed.  I absolutely adore babies so a newborn felt like a good age for me.  However, there is so much more to it than that.

8 Emotional Realities Of Foster Care

8 Emotional Realities Of Foster Care

  1. Excitement:  Honestly, this is probably the first thing I feel.  We did get licensed to help out children and families in need.  Without that call, it can’t happen.
  2. Fear:  The “oh my goodness what am I getting myself into” mode kicks in.  Because honestly, you just never know what issues will be coming through that door.  From a drug-exposed newborn to an abused older child, the unknowns are big.
  3. Sadness:  Then it hits you.  Yes, YOUR family is growing.  At least for a time.  But that means that another family will be without their child(ren).  Another mother is losing her baby.  I can’t imagine what she’s going through at that moment.  The reality of that hits hard.  Posted by a birth mom to her Facebook page:
    8 Emotional Realities Of Foster Care
  4. Work Mode: Whenever a possible call comes in, I tend to start cleaning.  I want a welcoming and organized environment for any foster children who cross our threshold.
  5. Shock:  Once the confirmation call comes in that this placement isn’t falling through because many times they do, (Family may step forward or the county may decide to work with the parents without pulling the children. ) I tend to have a moment of shock that this is really happening…again.
  6. Scramble:  Now that you know the kids are coming, it’s time to rush around and gather clothes and toys in their sizes.  I have to dig bins out of our crawl space and set up my Joovy playard.  More often than not, kids come with the clothes on their backs and little else.
  7. Frustration:  Sometimes, after the kids show up, frustration creeps in.  I’ve been handed kids for weeks at a time without a shred of paperwork.  Getting answers is almost impossible.  Timelines are unknown.  And frustration over the fact that these children have lived in less than ideal situations.
  8. Regret:  Now this emotion may not happen with every placement.  However, when the going gets tough, it’s so easy to fall into regret and a desire to just quit.

Our First Newborn

So as I picked up this sweet little boy from the hospital, my emotions were all over the board.  But what foster parents need to know is that they are not alone.  I’ve joined some online foster parent groups and the best thing I’ve learned is that everything above is completely normal.

As I brought “Clark” (not his real name but the nurse was accidentally calling him that because she thought it was) back home, I began the scramble to get things ready.  Since I had to leave minutes after receiving the call because he was being discharged, I didn’t have time to prep beforehand.  Out came the bins of clothes as I try to find anything that will fit.

Peace Of Mind

For now, all is well.  I know that baby is safe.  The case plan is set in motion.  And I pray that we can be a blessing to this family as they walk through their struggles.  Another journey has begun.

8 Emotional Realities Of Foster Care

Learn More About The Foster World

You may also be interested in learning the Best And Worst Parts Of Being A Foster Parent, based off our experiences to date.  And I’ve also written about Frequently Asked Questions That Foster Parents Hear as there is a lot of curiosity about this topic.

Nidhi Chauhan

Thursday 14th of June 2018

You are doing amazing job with all those unfortunate kids. This is such an inspirational post. we all have to do something for them. They also deserves the best!


Tuesday 12th of June 2018


Interesting post - thank you for sharing your experiences. My Husband and I are licensed to foster/adopt for a while now, but so far nothing has happened. We would like to adopt child or a sib group of 2 and are also open to do a short term respite foster care. In the state we live in, there have been some changes within last year or so. It seems that it mostly has to do with state funds. Suddenly, a local kids shelter was closed and there seem to be "no need for foster care" and practically no adoption from foster care. So, following an advise from our case worker, we have turned to national resources such as Adopt US Kids and a Family for Every Child. However, this too is not looking promising...and yes, it's very emotionally draining. Most of our inquiries do get an initial response, but after this ...nothing. We are asked to provide a home study and later often there is no follow up. Many of the information ( on both websites) are not up to date, so we sometimes inquire on children that are already in the process of being placed. It's very discouraging ... it appears that there is such a need for foster & adoptive parents in the country and yet when it comes to it...the process seem not to be in favor of the children nor people who would like to help them. Just my thoughts...


Wednesday 30th of May 2018

Thank you for this post. My husband and I have started to application process to be foster parents. It has always been a desire in my heart, but over the last minths I have definitely had a strange range of emotions over it. A lot of fear. I truly believe this is what God has called us, but the reality of everything has been a little overwhelming.


Thursday 31st of May 2018

Best of luck Keylea! It's been a much harder journey that what we originally expected. However, there have been many moments of joy and satisfaction mixed in with the hard times. I definitely don't regret this journey, however, I'm not sure how long our family will be able to handle all it entails either. We will plan to continue until God gives us a change of heart and direction. :)

rochelle haynes

Friday 25th of May 2018

This is a nice thing to do for unfortunate kids


Tuesday 6th of March 2018

I really love these posts regarding Foster Care. My husband and I have one bio son and are in the beginning stages of foster-to-adopt licensing. I am looking for all of the stories, information, etc that I can, and being a fan of Thrifty Nifty Mommy, I love that there are articles right here to read!