Friday, May 7, 2010

Benefits of being a foster parent

  • You get a crash course in all the negative aspects of your personality without having to pay for psychotherapy
  • Who needs an early morning jog for exercise and to wake up when you can have foster children wake you at 5.30 am to change two dirty nappies the contents of which are spread all over the house?
  • You can test the truth of your glib acceptance of "people matter more than things" when you realise that a misbehaving foster child just broke your best cup which will cost three full days fostering allowance to replace
  • You realise that your birth children are well dressed because they own undies and socks, have clothes and shoes that fit and even have pyjama tops and bottoms that match. You also realise that if your birth children went to stay elsewhere they would not carry their clothes in bin-liners
  • You get to know how limited your own self-calming strategies are when a foster child with no self-calming strategies has a tantrum lasting over an hour
  • You get to value and use every second of free time you get
  • You get a crash course in asthma management over the internet one evening when a wheezing foster child arrives with asthma medication but no instructions
  • You realise that sleep is life's ultimate luxury and all that's needed to make you happy is a bedtime of 9.30
  • You realise that your birth children have tons of possessions when you buy foster children a new toothbrush (first rule of fostering - no child comes into care with a toothbrush) and they value it so much that they take it to bed with them
  • Who needs to lift weights for exercise when you can have a tantruming three year old foster child refuse to walk so that you get to walk to kindy carrying him under one arm while pushing two other children in a double buggy?
  • You get to test your patience with children when you spend twenty days straight teaching them to say "biscuit please" and they still whine "Wanna biscuit"
  • You get to test your patience with adults when another one says "I couldn't foster, I would never want to give them back"
  • You get to read multiple parenting books to try to reassure yourself that you are doing everything right when after implementing a wonderful calming wind-down bedtime routine for twenty days straight, you still need to spend up to two hours sitting quietly in their bedroom before the foster children will settle
  • You realise that perhaps for the first time in their lives, two little boys are being put to bed with a bedtime routine and sleeping in a house that is safe and that makes it all worthwhile.


Carmen said...

Wow! Those kids gave you a lot of insight! Such positive thoughts, coming from such a heart wrenching situation. What a mix of all the emotions. I think you and your family can pat yourselves on the back. You got through it and if even for a little bit, those boys were able to have a bit of "normalcy" in their lives. Well done.

Nan P. said...


My virtual hat to you Angela.

Once again, you make me realise how priviledge we all are! Thank you.

Sharon said...

Great post Angela. You really made me think about my own kids and other less fortunate kids.