frequently asked questions - foster care

1. How old are the kids you're planning to foster?
One is a teenager and one is a toddler. And both are girls. My poor husband is going to be outnumbered. He has already requested that friends be his alternate caregiver.

Me? I can't wait to buy clothes for both the kids. My poor husband may need to get an extra job or two in addition to having an alternate caregiver.

2. What made you want to foster?
I've been a social worker for about 5 years now. And since the beginning, I've known I wanted to foster and adopt. There are so many wonderful kids who simply need to be loved and told they are worth something.

We (meaning I) had planned to wait for another year to begin the process, but God apparently had other plans.

3. Do you want your own kids?
I understand this question. It comes from a place of curiosity (I think), but it's always a hard one to answer. I tend to get a little overly passionate when it comes to foster care and adoption, and sometimes I take questions personally.

For me, it doesn't matter if I birth a child or if someone else births the child. They can still be my child even without shared DNA. That being said, I'm going to consider any child that comes into our home my child. And I'll care for them as I would care for my own child.

As far as getting pregnant? I don't know.

4. When did you know that you wanted to be a mother?
I never really wanted to be a mom. I never understood it, and I thought that I would spend my days without children. And then this need for foster parents became very clear to my husband and I, and all of a sudden, I was a mom.

5. What is the hardest thing about fostering?
Our kids aren't in our house yet, so that's hard. The other thing that is so hard is how thankless foster care feels. We have an amazing support system through our church and the close relationships we have with members of our church. But there are a lot of people who don't seem to understand why we're fostering. I want to be able to explain it to them but I tend to get a bit overly passionate, so I'm letting God work on my heart and my tongue so that I can talk to people in a way that will really reach them.

6. How can you foster knowing the kids may leave?
How can I not? Foster care isn't about me or what I'm doing. I'm not doing it for myself. I'm doing it because every child deserves to have somewhere to call home. And I'm doing it because God has called me to. Also I'm not amazing for doing it; I'm simply obedient. And really my life is the one that will be changed more than a child's.

I know not everyone is called to foster, but we're all called to do something. God is the one who will provide guidance on what that something is. And these kids, these wonderful and amazing kids, need as much help and whatever kind of help people want to give.

Someone from our church bought paint so that we could turn our spare bedrooms into homes for the kids. Someone else from our church is going through the painstaking process of taping off chevron and stripes in the rooms. Another friend from church is hemming a prom dress for a girl in foster care. We have friends who have offered to be alternate caregivers and help us bolt furniture into the walls. Justin's grandma gave us a crib. One of the therapist's from my physical therapy donated a small suitace and clothes for the teenager. And countless people are actively praying for us.

Those things mean the world to me. Seeing so many people come together to help us and love on our kids reminds me of what the church is meant to be. I love that we all get to be the church to one another and to kids who may never have known what love is.

7. You get paid for fostering, right?
I hate this question, too. Because it hurts me - cuts me to the core. I know people ask because they don't understand. And I want to educate people. However, I feel like there is such a stigma attached to being paid for foster care.

Do we receive a stipend? Yes. And it all goes back to the kids. We also will receive help with daycare. I equal it to taxes for couples with their own biological children. When you have kids, you get a tax break. When you pay for daycare, you get to write some of those expenses off. We won't get a tax break or be able to write off expenses.

Also, we're not yet approved, and we won't be fully approved when the children get placed. Which means we won't receive the stipend. And I almost don't want the stipend. I know it will help, but I already consider the kids as ours and as such I will do everything I can to care for them - regardless of the stipend.

There are some people who foster for the money, and it makes me sick. These kids are people. They deserve to be loved and not seen as a paycheck. Also the stipend is nothing, so I can't comprehend how or why people would do this for the money.

8. Why did you have a shower?
Because we wanted to celebrate. It doesn't matter that the kids are already born. They deserve just as much celebration as an unborn child. And we wanted to include people in our lives - to show them what we're doing and why. We also wanted people to have the chance to meet our kids. This question hurts me because it makes me feel like I'm worth less than someone having a child biologically, and it hurts me for the kids we're getting because I want to provide as much as I can for them.

I'm so blessed to have a friend who got it and threw us a shower. I loved getting to fellowship and show off our kids. I also loved that other friends brought their foster children. I held one little boy and fell deeply in love with him and his 8-month-ol chunkiness.

And we have a lot of needs. This is our first time becoming parents, and so just like any first time parents, we need things like bottles and cups and playpens and toys and clothes and diapers. We still have a lot of those needs and are on the look-out for good deals. Some of our needs were filled on Sunday, and we are so grateful.

9. What do you need?
We still need diapers. And a stroller. We also need a bedding set. And toys. I would love a second playpen, too. And that's just for the toddler. For the teen, we need things like a hair straightener and a comforter set. I could honestly continue the list, but the stuff isn't the most important thing. Yes, it helps, but love and support and friendship and prayer are more important. God has called us to foster, and so I know He will provide. We're registered at Target and Babies R Us, and I plan to look for similar items at garage sales.
9. What do you wish people knew about foster care?
A lot.

I wish people were more accepting. I wish more people would talk to us about our decision to foster. I wish that people didn't think it was so weird. I know it's different and confusing and that people have a hard time understanding it. But I'd love for people to truly talk to us about it.

I also wish people knew how common it is. Since we announced our decision to foster, we've been able to meet others who share a similar heart, and I've loved getting to know those people and have loved that so many people have come alongside us to help us and support us. It brought me so much joy on Sunday to see that happen.

I also wish people understood how little these kids often have. It doesn't matter how old they are; they still have needs. So many kids in foster care move with just trash bags full of belongings. They store some things at offices because they can't take everything to their new "homes" and often those "homes" are not permanent so they lose more every time they move. That's one thing I want to make sure of. I want every child, especially our soon-to-be kids, that this is their home.

I also wish people knew that they could do something. Really do something to change lives. And I wish people would talk to me about it more. I would love to be able to share my heart.

linking up with lauren for heart + home today.


  1. Leslie, I was brought to tears so many times while reading your post. I feel like -giving the gift of love- is what we are all called to do. No one should ever question how you are giving love through foster care. I think it's a beautiful thing what you and your husband are called to do, able to do and excited to do. These are life long decisions and I know you will create a family of life long memories and bonds. Beautiful post, thank you for sharing!!

  2. I love this post, and I love what you're doing.

  3. Yes. Exactly.
    I will keep saying it - I am so excited to hear more about your journey.
    I do struggle with knowing our children, whoever they may be are not in our home yet. That struggle with the not knowing and the waiting.

  4. Leslie,

    You're so inspirational! I'm so grateful for what you're about to embark upon, and I cannot wait to read about your new family all together. Thanks for answering questions and letting us know how you're feeling about it all, and know you have a ton of people behind you supporting you through love and prayers, even from afar! Thinking of you and your family!


  5. It really amazes me that people aren't accepting of your decision to foster! To me, it's an INCREDIBLE thing. Something to be praised, supported. I am thankful God has called you into this ministry, and I can't wait to watch it grow.

    I hope you have a blessed Tuesday!

  6. This was such a great post. I have to confess, though, I was more surprised by the questions than the answers. I am very surprised that people don't "get it." How can you not get it? These children need parents. What is a better reason than that?

    I understand how someone might not feel like fostering is for them (it's a big decision, and we are all very different people), but we need people in the world like you. :)

    I've considered fostering or adoption via foster care, myself. However, I really do want a biological child. I have desperately wanted that since I was a child myself. I could maybe do both, and I have considered it.

    Anywho, this is long, sorry. I just want to say KUDOS to you and congrats!

  7. love this!

    you are great. i love your heart!

    the lord will use you in amazing ways!

  8. Your a blessing to every child you bring into your home. Every child deserves a loving home.

  9. Your answers are the same as mine. But you said it so much better. Thanks!

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  11. Thank you for honest post. I love #7:-) My husband and I currently have two foster kids making a total of 19 kids so far. The money doesn't matter, sure it helped cover costs, but we don't get ahead. We certainly did NOT become foster parents for the money, with all the training and visits it wouldn't be worth the stress if it was about the small amount we get. I feel sick to my stomach every time someone mentions to me "well at least there's good money in it." They must be crazy! None of our foster kids have come with anything decent, and I shop at Goodwill for our whole family so I don't have crazy standards of decent. When our kids move on to relative care or back to their home, they go back with plenty of good clothes, toys, and lots of books.
    Yes, people don't get it, but keep doing what you're called to do:-). I have had a lot of people say "you're really making a difference in the kids' lives," but honestly I don't know if we are. I do know that they have made an unforgettable difference in my life.



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