Foster Care is not easy, and no one said it would be. I think some assumed John and I were naive to this fact, but we weren't. Remember 9+ months of training. We knew it was hard. But the hardest part........
It isn't being handed a crying shaking confused child while your social worker wished you luck
It isn't being handed a child with only the clothes on their back
It isn't holding the child who won't stop crying because he is in a new scary place
It isn't watching your child be uncomfortable for weeks, because of their new environment causing them to be fussy and/or looking uninterested
It isn't all the doctors' appointments
It isn't trying to schedule all those appointments, considering your work schedule, your husband's work and school schedule; while the doctors and specialists couldn't care less about all those things
It isn't dealing with insurance
It isn't waking up 10 times in the middle of the night or sleeping in their room because they are scared and haven't adjusted to their new environment
It isn't the dealing with the aftermath of parent visits
It isn't dealing with various people coming into your home, constantly making sure you are a "suitable" parent
It isn't daycare telling you the odd things they notice
It isn't people staring and asking random (and sometimes inappropriate) questions because your kid is obviously a different ethnicity
It isn't worrying and trying to give your child all the experiences they need and deserve so they can catch up developmentally
It isn't learning their personalities and all the little tricks you can do to keep your child happy and calm
It isn't the slight panicking every time you take your child somewhere new because you have learned they have anxiety and these situations make it hard on them
It isn't trying to juggle discipline, understanding various behaviors because this is a a child from a hard place vs development
It isn't numerous people watching you
It isn't the crazy questions you get about your fertility when people find out you are fostering
It isn't the trying to juggle what to pack and not pack in the weekend parent visit bag, because you don't want to offend the parent, but you want your child to have everything he needs for a wonderful weekend
It isn't knowing your child has become comfortable with you, but would still choose his biological parent if given the choice
The hardest, worst part is packing up and watching a child you love with all your heart leave your home, going to a place you may never know is truly ready and good enough for him.
We can do our best as foster parents. We love these kids with everything we have. John and I truly love as if they are our own kids knowing full well they are going home. But we never know if these families have really done everything they can, if they are really prepared, if they won't relapse and end up in the same situation that caused them to have their kids placed in foster care. These families are from hard places and unfortunately that is always the situation they face. We have to watch these kids go back and pray like hell it works out for everyone without ever knowing the outcome.
It is the hardest thing John and I have ever had to go through.