The Truth About Being a Foster Mom

This past week has been hard. Difficult. Excruciating. {Nearly} Impossible. Exhausting. Rough.

I've wanted to give up nearly every day. In fact, had it been up to me, I would have.

It all started on Wednesday night. We had our first.. episode.. with Little A. I had a feeling, a rumbling in my gut that told me, things were not going to end well that evening. At first, I thought it was just my negative side. Or the side of me that just wanted to be at home rather than at our church's celebration. Then, after Justin arrived with the littles, I knew it was more than just that side of me.

I tried to change my attitude; though, to be honest, I didn't try quite as hard as I could have. But we realized (a little too late) that our littles were not yet ready for such a big outing, one that took them away from their schedule and thrust them into an entire universe of unknowns.
When we got home, the unknowns continued. Justin and I are still rather new to this whole parenting thing and this whole foster parenting thing, and as newbies, we have quite a lot to learn still. This includes how to handle unknowns when arriving home. {Note: It does not involve trying to bribe children with cookies and milk and television/movies.}

Little A is still learning how to effectively communicate, and we are still learning how to understand and communicate back. Wednesday night showed how much we all have left to learn.

Wednesday was the second day I felt as though I weren't sick after a Sunday and Monday of feeling rundown and nauseous.  But that ended that evening.

I felt like I took on every emotion Little A had and felt it in my {lack of an} immune system. I was run down. And run over as though an 18-wheeler plowed through me. That all continued into Thursday, and I ended up at the doctor where I was diagnosed with an ear infection, strep throat {apparently my tonsils were utterly grotesque - so much so he didn't need to test me to confirm it was strep}, and an upper respiratory infection.

Needless to say, I spent the next 72 hours on the couch, alternating between tears and sleep, shivering and sweating, eating only chicken noodle soup and struggling to swallow. It was not pretty.

Being sick and trying to parent is virtually impossible. Especially with Little C on antibiotics from an ear infection diagnosed the weekend before and Baby T being placed on antibiotics the Friday of my sickness for an ear infection. Needless to say our house was not the most enjoyable this week, and my husband is an absolute miracle as he cared for me and for three kids predominantly on his own all week and weekend.

Did I also mention I have still been working - other than when I was on my death bed? And that it's midterms as well? Whoops.

I feel like I'm failing at everything I do. Work, {foster} motherhood, graduate school. Life in general.

And while I may not be doing everything as well as I would like, I'm still doing it. That alone should mean a lot. And it does.

Life might be easier if I took something out of the equation. Working. Or graduate school. Even foster parenting. And last week I was ready to take something out of the equation. My husband, however, stopped me. He shouldered the burden and the responsibility. He nursed me back to health. He held our family together. And he joked with me that my "not good enough" for graduate school will likely translate into a B paper instead of an A paper {which is still up for debate}.

So many people have said we're doing a great thing. That they're proud of us. And I want to tell them that it's all a facade. That really we're floundering and struggling. Because, here's the thing, I do not have it all together.

I get mad. I bite my tongue - almost until it bleeds. I clench my teeth. I use the wrong tone. I get quite exasperated. I cry {a lot}. I cringe when the kids wake up before 7am. We eat too much macaroni and cheese. I don't push vegetables {because the kids won't eat them}. I buy canned fruit. Frozen pizza and frozen lasagna have become staples. Little A's hair is constantly messy, and Little C's jeans sometimes fall off when he walks. I go three to four days without washing my hair.

And I daily {multiple times a day daily} ask for forgiveness. I also pray - like all of the time.
Foster care isn't for the faint at heart. Not only are you parenting but you are parenting kids who don't really belong to you, who might leave the next day, whose history you'll never quite get.

But life also isn't for the faint at heart. Nothing is.

So I'm going to stand firm - at least tonight. Tomorrow I might be filled with tears, wrestling a stuffy nose and crying out to God. But tonight, I'm going to remember that He is present and thank Him for a husband who is strong enough to tell me no and strong enough to nurse me back to health with lots of chicken noodle soup from Chik-Fil-A.

{Thank you to everyone who blessed us over the past week. Thank you for the dinners, the prayers, the hugs, the text messages, the Facebook posts, and the understanding. I'm overwhelmed by your thoughtfulness.}


  1. Leslie, I feel like you've been watching me through the windows of my soul!! And my house too. =P When we get stressed, our bodies react by getting sick. Not nice, is it?? We are two months in with our 3 littles under 3, and we've all been sick and lost our tempers and asked for forgiveness so many times that I've lost count. Thanks for sharing your heart, and let me encourage you from one foster mom to another - it gets easier! Then it's hard again, and then easy again. Ha. But trust me, you are not a failure. Even on my worst days, I know that my littles are MUCH more safe and loved with me than they have ever been before. And they are thriving! That's what you need to see when the enemy puts those "FAIL" thoughts in your brain. =)

  2. People say they're proud because they KNOW it can't be easy, and that's what is so admirable. You're doing the best you can and that's amazing in itself!

    I learned something this past weekend in a Bible Study: principles versus methods. The principle is that the kids need to be fed...which methods you use, as long as they are legit and safe, don't matter in the long run. "Focus on the principle and hold the methods lightly." :)



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