Curious about foster care? You’re not alone. If you’ve been following any of my foster care posts, you’ll have already learned a little background as to why we choose to be foster parents. I’ve also shared answers to frequently asked questions that foster parents here. There’s even some great ways you can help without being a foster parent yourself. Or catch up on 8 Emotional Realities That Foster Parents Can Expect. But today, I thought it would be a good time to share some of the best and worst parts of being a foster parent. So I partnered with National Geographic, who sent me their Welcome Little One Keepsake Baby Book.
The Good, The Bad, The Ugly – Life Of A Foster Parent
No two foster care experiences or placements are ever the same. We learned that very quickly. And we’ve learned a lot over the past year and a half that we’ve been licensed. There’s plenty of pleasant and not so pleasant things about being a foster parent.
The Best And Worst Parts Of Being A Foster Parent
+ It’s a lot of fun to share love with children who need it so badly at that particular time in their life.
– But not all kids will accept that love willingly. Some have been through some very tough situations and are, understandably, skeptical. Or maybe even cynical at what life has offered them.
+ The excitement that you feel at the confirmation of a new placement. I mean… We did go into this with the hopes of helping and we can’t do that without children coming in.
– But there’s also pain in knowing that a parent has lost their child so that you now have them. That pain is real for everyone involved.
+ Another great part of being a foster parent is when the hurt child you’ve spent months working with to feel safe, finally learns to trust you.
– But sometimes, there’s heartbreak of having to let them go (even knowing the odds are against them in some cases).
+ The small victories of healing and growth, in both children and their parents, is amazing to see.
– But not all caseworkers are good. Too often, foster parents are treated poorly, lied too, and looked at like glorified babysitters.
+ Knowing I’m making a difference in the life of a child/family is why we got into this.
– But the system is broken. Kids are rarely put first. Dealing with the system, lack of communication, and poor funding for foster families is hard. So very hard.
+ Being able to provide stability and a safe home to children who haven’t had that is a huge cornerstone in these kids’ lives.
– But foster parents get very little support or respect.
+ Seeing a family reunite is amazing! Watching when parents work extra hard to get their family back makes my “job” even more fulfilling.
Honestly, there are more parts of “the Best And Worst Parts Of Being A Foster Parent” but I want to stop and stress something. This is probably THE hardest “job” I’ve ever done but also so very rewarding. I’m not sure how long our family will continue this journey. But for now, it’s where we feel God is calling us and we want to serve him as he does. 1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”
Experiences Vary From Case To Case, Child To Child
So far, we’ve had a variety of situations come through our doors. To date, the oldest foster child we’ve taken in has been 9 and the youngest has been 2 days. We’ve had kids for as little as two days when offering respite care. (Respite is when the current foster family needs a break or is headed on vacation and can’t take the kids with. So they request a respite provider to take the child/ren for a short time.) And our longest has been just four months. Although many foster families have placements much longer if cases get extended.
Kids Miss Out On So Much
Sad but true. Many foster children lack what most families take for granted. We had three sisters (ages 9, 7, and 6) who had never been to a hotel. So we took them. They had never been to a dance. So my husband brought them to the Father/Daughter Ball along with our bio daughter. And much too often, the time spent in foster care is left without a record, especially for the younger children.
A Keepsake Forever
While a Keepsake Baby Book is something that many children have started for them as infants, it’s just not the case with many foster kids. I’ve struggled to find a good quality book in the past that would allow me to adequately fill in their time spent with me, while easily flowing into the next chapter of their life. But the search is over. The Welcome Little One Keepsake Baby Book is the perfect solution.
Not Your Average Baby Book
Welcome Little One: A Keepsake Baby Book not only features ample room for personalization, it also features month by month sections, colorful pages, beautiful quotes, and more. Best of all, there are even monthly milestone stickers for those fun milestone month photos!
The month by month sections are perfect as they have space for a photo, height and inches recording, and then two full pages for notes. The questions give room to tell about favorite memories, what was learned, a typical day, favorite things to do, and places and people baby saw.
Additional pages give space for all the fun milestones and memories that tend to happen during that first year of life. And the book rounds off with a “Look At Me Grow” section. There’s space for one picture a year all the way through twelfth grade! How cool is that?!
Absolutely THE Best Baby Book I’ve Ever Seen! – I love how versatile this book is. There’s space for everything! It’s gender neutral and the layout is so user-friendly.
I had always struggled to find baby books for my kids and I so wish this one from National Geographic had been around. I just can’t believe how beautiful and perfect it is!
Buy It: Head over to National Geographic to learn more and pick up your copy of Welcome Little One.