My #1 Piece of Advice for Foster Parents

Ron and I started discussing adoption when we lived in a small 2 bedroom house with 6 kids. The worker that came out for the initial talk was gracious enough not to laugh. I don’t think I could have kept a straight face if I were her.

I just wanted this so badly.

Eventually we moved to a larger house and one of the first things I did was call CAS to get the process started.

In another post I will share the process for getting approved.

I wanted to share what has been on my heart.

One of the MOST important pieces of advice I have to give is this –


I say this because this journey is not easy. Worth it, yes but not easy.

You will go to training and classes that tell you all about trauma and how exhausting this can be. This is usually before approval. While this is helpful you don’t actually get it until you do it.

I did not anticipate all that is involved.

It is literally an emotional rollercoaster.

You wait for a phone call. Whether the phone rings or not you will have high levels of excitement, stress, what if’s, disappointment, nervousness, impatience and the list goes on.

You get a call.

Do you say yes? Are they a good fit? Is this going to change your family? When are they coming?

You wait. And wait. And wait.

You get a child who has just been taken from the only home they have ever known and dropped off in the middle of confusion. The unknown. This child would need superhuman power to not be terrified and lost.

Behaviours. Tantrums. Food. Sleep. Crying. Clinging. Language.

Everything changes for all of you.

As you are trying to connect with this child, you have initial doctor appointments, worker appointments, access visits that can start behaviours all over again…each time. You may have parents who are angry that you are raising Their child and you just can’t do anything right.

You may not get along well with the worker. Not all personalities mesh well and not every worker is great. (Neither is every foster parent)

Worker isn’t answering your calls or texts.

You feel unappreciated. Disrespected. Unheard.

You are attaching to this child that you have had for months. This child calls you mom and dad. You pour your everything into this little person who needed you so badly.

Said worker calls to tell you that court just ended and to pack up little one’s belongings. She’ll be there in an hour.

The bottom falls out of your world. You can’t breathe. But they are a part of me. A beautiful part of me. What just happened?

Worker arrives and a part of you walks out that door. You feel broken.

Will they be safe? Will they cry for me? You will cry for them.

You will grieve. You may grieve hard.

You will begin to heal.

Your phone rings.


Before we fostered I would tuck my children into bed at night. I would kiss their little faces and pray with them.

They felt safe. They felt loved. I believe every child deserves exactly that.

That is my Why.

When I am in the hard – the moments I go to my why.

This is for them. Those children without blankets. Those children hearing their parents scream and beat each other daily. Those children who are hungry. Forgotten. Neglected. Scared. Cold.

Those children who need me.

They are my Why.

It isn’t about my hurts. It isn’t about that worker. It isn’t about my frustration. It isn’t about court or saying goodbye. It is about that child who deserves, who NEEDS my home. My family. Me.

I trudge through my hurt by clinging to my why with everything I’ve got.

They’re worth it

(There are so many absolutely beautiful stories, life-changing moments on this fostering and adoption journey. Not only are we changing little lives but my family and I have been changed in so many ways it is breathtaking!

I am going to share some of those moments. Those moments of pure awe. There are so many but I will share a few.

The first night a little girl arrived she ran around our living room with my children, sunglasses in place singing Let It Go on the top of her lungs. I love her.

‘Our’ beautiful Oh so beautiful twins. One was feisty and tiny. The other was wonderfully chunky and laid back. I think about them often and yearn for their arms around my neck. We were so incredibly blessed to have them in our home.

Trust. The first time a child trust’s you. That is everything. I can’t describe that feeling.

When they run to you for safety.

When I know that we have had big parts in their beginning and have helped shape who they are.

I wouldn’t change our experiences for the world.

Sometimes, though, I do need to REMEMBER MY WHY.

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Kerry Wolgen
Kerry Wolgen
1 year ago

Love this Neely!

1 year ago

so well said! So very true!