The Reality of Foster Care

cOUNT THE COSTThe reality of Foster Care holds a lot of potential pain and disappointment for those entering into it lightly. Make sure to count the cost carefully and inform yourself properly of all of the aspects surrounding this extremely demanding and self-sacrificial form of parenting.

THE REALITY IS:  Foster parents are expected to unconditionally welcome a foster child into their house and family, and to raise him as their own without discriminating against him or his parents in any way.   They are expected to form a secure attachment with the foster child; take him for countless therapy and doctors’ appointments; support him financially and to be there for him during times of dealing with complex trauma and fears.  At the same time Foster parents are also expected to not build future dreams with the child; remain neutral; support and encourage regular visits with the biological parents (even if the child reacts out thereafter and relives the trauma from the beginning);  have a good “working relationship” with the biological parents, and to not judge or speak negatively of them even though knowing of the reasons for the original removal.

Foster parents are also widely criticized by the biological parents, regardless of them providing the best possible care for the child.  Should the foster child enter into the process of being reconciled with his biological parents, foster parents are expected to support the process and accommodate all the aspects surrounding it.  The whole foster family will be in mourning when this process is completed, but unable to have any contact with the child – unless the biological parents agree thereto.  Each special occasion or child’s birthday will be a constant reminder of the child they have ‘lost’.

Therefore NEVER make an emotional decision to become a foster parent based on wanting to ‘adopt a child’, or feeling ‘religiously obligated’ or to ‘do the right thing’, or wanting to find a ‘friend’ for your own biological child!  Better to never give a harmed or at risk child the hope of love, nurturing and security than realizing halfway through the process that you can’t cope with the demands and reality thereof – giving up and shattering the dreams and hope of an already rejected child.


About Helouise Steenkamp

I'm a 45 plus, Devoted Wife and Mother. Adonai has blessed us with two Amazingly Wonderful Sons. We have had the privilege of being Place of Safety parents for 1 1/2 years and there after foster parents to a Darling Princess for 5 years. She was reconciled with her biological parents in Dec'14. Our hearts are still aching from the loss, but we know that as we trust Adonai with our salvation, so we can trust Him with her future. We welcomed our new 4 year old foster child on 05JUN'15.
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3 Responses to The Reality of Foster Care

  1. Retha Alberts says:

    Dankie, Helouise.

  2. Clive says:

    Helouise your post is the absolute reality and exactly what my family and the most gorgeous, adorable, loving lttle foster child went through. Our foster daughter is back with her biological mom now. We miss her like crazy and yet we are one of the lucky families. We still get to see her, for exactly 2hours every month…
    Fostering is most definitely not something to be entered into lightly!!!

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