How to Help Foster Parents

National Foster Care Month, Foster Care,

It’s National Foster Care Month. People probably have two responses to foster care – “I could never do that.” Or, “I think I’m supposed to do this.”

If your response is “I could never do that” but you care about people who do or you think “I’m supposed to do this but I’m not quite ready,” here’s what you can do right now.

Limping. That’s what I’m doing right now.

The Sunday dread is starting to settle in. Before some changes started taking place in my home in February, my Sunday doldrums were usually about going back to work. With a “new” program at work, without much guidance to go on for implementing it – I was having trouble feeling motivated.

Now on Sundays, I’m gearing up for what has become a Monday-Friday cycle of worsening behavior struggles for my kiddo.

He has his moments on the weekend. He had one yesterday in a restaurant. I saw the signs and asked my mom to pay our bill so he and I could go sit in the car. We sat in the car, we talked about what was starting to happen, and he admitted to me what was bothering him. We de-escalated the situation before it blew up.

That’s how it should work & how it was working until February.

But during the week, I can’t do that for him when it’s happening. By the time he comes home, he has long since past the point of no return. I wish every day I could be home with him. I’ve never been a home school type. Until now.

The behaviors have grown worse & worse.

I’m tired. Exhausted really. I don’t think there’s any one answer about what is happening. I think there are a few things going on. None of which are resolved easily. One of these reasons will end the last day of school. I’m not necessarily known for being super logical (haha) – you can blame the artist in me. But it doesn’t take a genius to see the pattern.

Whatever the reasons, our lives have become so very hard Monday-Friday – I know one thing to be true – you cannot be a foster parent, alone. Not everyone is cut out to be a foster parent. So if you’re not cut out to be a foster parent, but have foster parent friends or you know them from church, or they’re your neighbor, you’re close enough to make a difference because they cannot do this alone.

If you have a friend that is a foster parent, there are likely times (okay, 100% likely) they feel as I do now. My anxiety is . . . phew. It’s a lot this morning. To the point that I just doubled up on a dose of CBD oil and have the “calm body” essential oil blend diffusing.

What can you do? Maybe you’re not called to foster or adopt. But maybe you still feel a burden to help in some way. Here are a few ideas:

  • Start a meal train – or randomly tell a foster parent you’re sending them dinner
  • Send a message that says you’re coming to pick up laundry & want to know the best time to do that. Do the laundry & then drop it off when it’s all clean and smelling purty
  • Offer to become respite care parents (caring for a foster kiddo for a day, a few hours, a weekend – and you get paid for it while helping your friends)
  • Send a “care package” from Amazon Prime – maybe a movie night for the kids & a pampering theme for mom/parents
  • Pray for them & tell them you are
  • Become a Guardian ad Litem or CASA (court appointed special advocate)
  • Be a mentor for a child in foster care
  • Donate supplies to foster pantries in your area
  • Depending on agency restrictions – offer to take your friend’s kiddo out for ice cream, or a trip to the McDonald’s with the best playground in town, and tell mom to take a nap.

We had nearly 11 months without the kind of stuff we are dealing with now. It has been jarring to my system. There are foster parents out there who need you. I promise you. There are foster parents out there that just need to know you see them. Send them a text, FB message, or DM on Insta, and tell them you care and are thinking about them.

Just reach out in some way. It’s a dizzying journey and the best way to support is to just do something. Don’t ask how you can help – just do it.

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