by Jill Rippy
19 Feb 2015
If you want to evoke the passion of a quality foster parent, please spew the phrase, “Foster parents are only in it for the money.”
This short phrase will no doubt be reciprocated with a smile, a deep breath and silence as they work to channel Jesus and try hard not to unleash the whirlwind of emotions and fury this statement conjures.
If that statement was even worth arguing, this is what you might hear in response from a quality foster parent.
That $1.05 an hour makes it all worth it…
-When I pick children up at midnight and have to take them to the hospital for sexual assault exams
-When a child comes to my home with lice and I have to spend 4 hours treating, combing and picking nits all while trying to be silly and laugh so she doesn’t feel ashamed
-When I am awakened in the night by the shrill screams of a traumatized child who relives abuse night after night in her dreams
-When I have to explain to my bio children at 3 AM that she was just dreaming. No one is in her bedroom hurting her
-When I have to train that eight-year-old night after night to get up at 1AM to use the bathroom rather than poop in his bed
-When I have to be taught by a nurse how to clean and care for a little girl’s rape wounds
-When I am called a bitch and screamed at because of all the bottled up anger that teen girl has toward her mother. But I am the only mother still standing who will bear it
-When I have to teach that 11-year-old how to properly shower because we are on day 5 of the fake showers and I can’t stand the smell any longer
-When I have to tell that raging 13-year-old girl, no, she isn’t allowed to have a boyfriend, regardless of the fact that her mom let her have her first real boyfriend and become sexually active at age 11
-When a child tells me how her previous foster mother threatened to cut her fingers off if she stole her lipstick from her purse again.
-When I have to tell a teen that no, her father will not be prosecuted for the years of sexual abuse because of lack of physical evidence
-When I have to appear in court, stand beside that vile monster of a father and maintain my professionalism when I really just want to carry out one of the many glorious scenarios that run through my head
-When I get an unexpected email or call from the bio family
-When I wonder how they ^^^ got my personal email address and what other personal information do they have?
-When I worry about whether that bio parent will show up at my door
-When I argue with the school to change the bus stop to my front door so I know this child won’t be intercepted by a vindictive bio dad at the bus stop
-When a dear friend sincerely shares the stigma of foster parents being “a step above welfare recipients”
-When I am in public with my kids and an adult mentions to them that they look nothing like me
-When I am in public with my teen foster children, have my 1-year-old bio son on my hip and the comments flow about how I am crazy for “starting over again”
-When I have to look into the eyes of this child whom I love with every ounce of my being and give them back to the parent they don’t want to go home to
-When others do the math and judge me with their assumption that I must have been a very young teen mother, when in fact, I birthed my first child at age 30
-When I write my phone number in their shoes, inside the arm of their jacket and on other sneaky places with Sharpie marker so if they are ever being sexually abuse or beaten again, they can call me for help
-When I catch grief from those I love because their life is inconvenienced because I foster
-Five children, five weeks of colds only to then repeat
-The gut wrenching pain I feel when they go home
-The images I can never un-see
-The many appointments
-The running here, there and everywhere
-The constant listening ear
-The same conversations 100 times over
-The time away from my own children
So, yes, you got me. I only foster for the money.
Why do you foster?
Oh wait…you don’t?
Thank a Foster Parent HERE
Thank a DCS Professional HERE
Being a foster mom is one of the biggest blessings of my life. Bio mom of two and foster mom to many, I count myself lucky to be on this foster journey. My mission is to change the lives of children who enter the foster care system and to recruit quality foster parents to join in this life changing work. I consider it a blessing to be a mother, foster mother, teacher, author and inspirer.