We hit our 1 year fostering anniversary!
If you have been following for a while, you know that we became a foster family early last year. Just two months ago, we hit our 1 year fostering anniversary. Since then, we have welcomed children numerous times into our home. We have had children anywhere from 8 months to 8 years old.
You can read more about our fostering journey here and here if you are interested in a little background information. May also happens to be foster care awareness month so I thought this was also fitting. I wanted to post this last month but with summer break and with the kids home, I’m sure you understand. 😉
Since early last year, our family committed to becoming a foster respite family. Basically, we partner with other local foster families in our area to provide respite for them. Full time foster families need a ton of support. We do this part time and it’s not easy by any means. But in this season of life with 3 kids and both of us working full time, respite fostering is what we can do best. We also love our respite kids so much and are happy to help provide some assistance to our local foster families.
If you have had any desires to becoming a foster family and are a bit scared, respite fostering is such a great way to start. The training is all the same and you are required to get certified just like a normal fostering family.
You will care for children with different backgrounds but they have all gone through so much in their young age. It’s hard not to be heart broken about their circumstances. The last ten days, we provided respite for a sibling pair and their situation has not changed in the year that I have known them.
Foster care is not meant to be long term but sometimes, these children with their complicated situations force them to be in this season of care for way too long. They need stability, security and a long term placement but that’s not what always happens. We have known and cared for children who have been in foster care for over 5 years. It’s truly heart wrenching when you know some of their circumstances. There is so much more we wish we could do. I’ll be honest. It’s a constant act of faith because I sometimes struggle with trusting God’s provision over their lives.
I get a lot of questions on fostering so I thought I would do a little Q and A of the most frequently asked ones.
How do you do it? I would be so sad letting the kids go.
-Yes, it’s hard. There are a couple of children that we have had to say good bye to but we were happy because that meant they were going to live with either one of their parents or their extended family members. My friend reminded me that when we care for them temporarily, we still have the power and opportunity to pray for these children while they are in our care. We pray that they experience the love of Christ and that we can help plant seeds in their little hearts so they understand that they are loved and so so precious.
I can’t even deal with my own kids. How do you handle disciplining foster children?
-Ha!! SAME!! We don’t foster because we are so good at dealing with our own kids. We still have different challenges with our own biological children because they will always need discipline while they are living under our roof. We do try to keep it strict in our homes when it comes to routines and structure because our foster children seem to do better with them. We try our best to discipline them in a loving and patient manner because they have different needs and histories. But I think fostering has helped us become even better parents. It has helped us grow in patience, understanding and grace.
Why do they stay in foster care so long? Is it difficult for them to get adopted?
-Each child has a different background and it’s always a complicated situation. Many times, the biological parents still want visitation once every weekend because they are legally allowed to have them but sometimes, they don’t make the necessary changes for them to gain back custody. This can be drawn out for years and it’s frustrating because you know that the kids need more but there’s really nothing you can do. The system is broken but it’s also because there are so many foster kids in need and not even manpower to help them all.
How do you do it with 3 kids of your own and a job and managing a household?
-I don’t. My husband is my partner and takes on the same amount as I do. We both have a job but make sure to help each other all the time. I’m so thankful for a husband who does all the laundry and helps manage our household with me. Fostering should be a decision made by both partners because it is a lot mentally, emotionally and physically. Our kids are also very good at helping. I also have a house cleaner that comes once a month. I have family and some of my closest friends that live in my neighborhood. All these important factors help play a huge role in doing what we do. We could not do it on our own and we don’t. Since respite is temporary, it is still easier in many ways and we have found this is what we can do best in this particular season of our lives.
Do you feel sad when they leave?
-Most of the times, we have relationships with these kids for a while. There have been a couple of instances where the kids were reunified with a biological family member. When this happens, of course we are sad that we won’t see them again. But we are so happy that they are reunified with their families and pray that they return to a safe, loving and healthy environment.
What was the process of getting licensed like?
-You can read more about this on this particular post. The process was long and very thorough as it should be. Our entire family got interviewed and our home was checked which included 3 home study visits. You have to go through a class and get licensed through the state. Every year, we have to continue training and keep up with the necessary hours to keep our license.
How long does it take the family (especially children) to adjust to adding other children.
-Again, we are a respite family so we don’t have foster children for long periods of time. Our children love it and adapt quite quickly. The foster children have all adapted quickly as well. They love that we have children and that tends to help them be more comfortable. For Emmy, I love that it’s all she’ll ever know. She doesn’t understand what fostering is completely but has gotten so used to having kids come stay with us. My kids’ childhood memories will be full of welcoming other kids into our home and I just love that.
How old were your kids when you started fostering?
10,8 and 4.
Do you ever worry about the safety of your biological children while fostering?
-No, we have not worried about this. We also asked for kids under the age of 10.
How much warning do you get before children are placed with you?
-Because we are respite, we usually plan ahead of time unless it’s an emergency. For typical foster families, you have to be ready at all times for that phone call.
What do you do with your kids when you are working?
-My kids usually go stay with my in laws who live next door. When I’m working, our foster kids go to day care which is funded by the state.
How long do you usually keep foster kids?
-It varies from one day to 10 days or more. It just depends on the situation.
How long did it take to get certified?
-It took us almost a year but it doesn’t have to take that long. It just took us a long time to get all our paperwork, home studies and training finished.
I hope I answered all your questions. There were so many good ones and I love answering these because I am passionate about spreading awareness about fostering and encouraging others to get involved. You don’t have to become a foster parent but if you know of someone who is, I would encourage you to support them whether through meals, rides for the kids or provide a listening ear. If you have any other questions, please leave them in the comment section and I will add them to this post.
Thanks so much for reading. Summer is in full swing over here. Blogging won’t be as frequent and I’m trying to work less and spend more time with the kids while they are home. I still have some fun things that are planned around here for the summer so stay tuned!
Let all that you do be done in Love. 1 Corinthians 16:14