Challenges in foster care! There are so many! My husband and I became foster parents because we wanted to keep siblings together! Sounds easy right? There is nothing easy about it! Fostering is demanding, time consuming, exhausting, and pays next to nothing despite what people think! I was once asked if I did it for the money! My response was that I made as much as I did when I was a Caseworker! What that person did not know is that Caseworkers are grossly underpaid! It is depleting when you work to make a difference in the life of others and then have to listen to the criticism of people who have no idea about what they were talking about! When a child is brought to a foster home very little information about that child is given to the foster parent! The foster parent is then left with the job of discovering everything on their own! From allergies to asthma everything is a mystery! Those are the easy things! The hard things are fetal alcohol syndrome, reactive attachment disorder, and behaviors directly associated with past trauma! My husband and I took three boys ages 1, 3, and 4! At that time we were the only home in the Denver Metro area that would take three siblings! Initially, things were rough! The boys were removed from a neglectful situation and then placed in three foster homes in a six week period! Looking back my heart breaks when I think about how scared the boys must of been! The first five months were spent getting the boys calmed down! I was relentlessly consistent in my parenting! The boys had almost no sugar! Instead we focused on fruits and vegetables! I still worked hard to discover what their favorite foods were and would fix the boys their favorites a few days a week! This was hard as the boys did not know the names nor had ever seen most of the fruits and vegetables I served! After a few months one of the boys exclaimed, “if I eat my macaroni and cheese I can have more broccoli!” This of course was not my rule but a self imposed rule he had made up! It made me smile though because I knew he valued the veggies! I mentioned earlier that fostering is time consuming and exhausting! There were days ( many) that I barely made it back up the stairs after putting the boys to bed so I could immediately fall into the bed! It wasn’t that I wasn’t used to it! I ran a daycare and was used to having multiple children with me! Children who come into care are different! Trauma does horrible things to children! The boys were violent, constantly made bad choices and required line of sight supervision! I needed help! Even if I had a mother’s helper or someone who came to the house a couple of hours a day I believe I could have been a better parent! Additionally, I could have benefited from some respite care! In a ten month period I had four days off! Despite all of the hardships I would have done it all over! My husband and I got to know the sweetest boys! It took a while to get there but it was so worth it! In the end it is all about love! Love is what changed the boys and love is what changed my husband and I!