Foster parenting is a roller coaster ride of emotions. You love the children you’re caring for, you’re in it because of passion, but you often face a system that can be drawn out, strenuous, and sometimes inefficient. How do you survive the first few years of this journey, which are often the hardest?
We learned just 3 months after beginning our foster parenting journey that it would be difficult. Apart from navigating the system and the revolving door of case managers, many children in our care came from traumatic places, including those who we later adopted. It took a great toll on us.
In the 9 years that we served as foster parents, we met very few case workers who were active foster parents. We always found this odd, especially since we were relying on them to give us guidance and support on the difficult road of foster care.
I get it. I really do. The foster care system is a mess, and case work is hard, regardless of the state you’re from. It’s hard to find a case worker who is not both grossly overworked and grossly underpaid. The turnover rate is beyond measure.
In our time as foster parents we met some fantastic case workers with energy, passion to love children, and a dream change the system. With nearly everyone like this, however, we became sad because we knew they wouldn’t last. We were certain that in a year, or less, they would move on to greener pastures, better paying jobs, and fresh opportunities, because it was too much. Or too little.