With J moving fast towards reunification, and with Baby S’s case all over the place right now it’s a little emotional all the way around. Even with everything that is going on, I really enjoy answering questions that we get on a daily basis about our foster journey! One of the most asked questions I get is “is fostering what you thought it would be?”
The answer is absolutely not!
Here are a few things that I wish I knew BEFORE we started fostering….
* When the phone rings things happen fast – as in the child usually will arrive in less than 24 hours.
* It’s okay to decline a referral
* Ask questions and get as much information as you can about each referral. Both J and Baby S had incorrect medical information in their files!
* Take notes and save them. Start a binder and make sure to include all information about each child.
* Google calendar is awesome – it can be daunting to keep track of all appointments!
* Foster care is all about REUNIFICATION. Some days it’s easy to forget that.
* It’s important to have a good working relationship with the social worker. We’ve had good ones and not-so-good ones, but we have worked very hard to have open lines of communication, and I really think it makes a difference.
* The case will change from day to day, sometimes hour to hour. It’s important to go with the flow and ride the wave – even when you don’t want to.
* It’s not just about the child. It’s also about the birth parents, the case worker, the judge, the CASA, the law guardian…you get the idea. Things can get crazy in a very short amount of time.
* What I think is the best path for the child is not what usually happens – and that is a very hard thing to deal with.
* Birth parent visitations are insane – and usually at the worst time for the child.
* While we are allowed to care for a child, we have no real *power* with the child. We fight what we can, but there are a lot of battles that we aren’t allowed to deal with.
Foster care is not an easy road. We’ve had more bumps, twists, turns than I can count. I have to admit, that even on the days when it feels like all I do is drive from appointment to appointment this really is worth it. Knowing that J and Baby S are safe and thriving makes it all good.