Warnings for New Foster Parents
By Jill Rippy
The system is broken because humans manage it; don’t use this as an excuse to quit. You knew it was broken way before its attempt to break you.
Your calling doesn’t end just because it gets too hard.
Being a team player is critical. When you are angry, try to gain the perspective of whomever is causing you to feel angry.
This will be the hardest thing you’ve ever done, but they will be worth it. And you will learn more than you ever imagined.
Returning rage with rage never ends well.
Social workers joined this profession because once upon a time, they wanted to change the world just like you. Social workers and foster parents have similar heartbeats.
The first two weeks of a new placement is as exhausting as having a newborn baby.
Group play needs to happen in a common area of the house. Playing doctor and Sexy Barbie’s is a thing. Eyes and ears on kids at all times.
You will develop a heightened sense of awareness. Don’t get complacent. 👆🏻 See Sexy Barbie post above.
You are about to experience the true meaning of perseverance.
Picking up the phone and calling the professional is always better than sending a heated email. Certainly follow up with an email, but pick up the phone first. And be reasonable.
You will regret it a week into a new placement, but it will pass. At 30 days, you will feel normalish again.
You will experience bickering like never before from little people who have been raised in chaos. Family Meetings solve most household problems. Squash it in a family meeting 1-7 times per week.
People will say really stupid stuff to you. No, really…it will be really stupid. And offensive. Most of the time they need educated. Rarely, they are just donkeys.
These are not your kids. Do not enter into this thinking they will be yours forever. Most parents deserve a good chance to heal and reunify.
Some friends & family will drift away because of fear, inconvenience & judgement. It sucks.
You might feel weak, but you aren’t, so buck up.
Your kids will grieve too, but will be better humans because of the experience. Listen to them and talk it out together. We experience grief our entire lives. We are wired for grief. Cry together then model positive coping skills.
You will be tempted to join in negativity; rather than seeing through the lens of being a victim, ask what this experience is trying to teach you.
Venting to a non-fostering friend perpetuates foster fear and does little good. They really don’t understand anyway. Cry and gain perspective from fellow fosterers.
Hurtful words from kids aren’t personal, though it feels that way. Chances are, those words are aimed at another person who isn’t there to take it. Hug it out.
You will see lots of negativity in foster parent social media groups. Do not be tempted to join in. Confidentiality is critical and screen shots are real. And that crap is just tacky.
Humans, heartbreaks, exhaustion, injustices & brokenness will try to make you stop. Be unstoppable.
Join my Facebook Group: THE FRUGAL FAMILY