Updated on September 5, 2015
“5 Things I Want To Say About….. Foster Kids” Guest Blogger Cassaundra Magnusson
Guest Blogger: Cassaundra Magnusson
My name is Cassandra Magnusson, I am 31 and I have been a foster parent for 10 years. I have had 75 kids come and go from my home and right now I am the almost “forever mom” to 5 wonderful kids who were my foster children. They are 6, 5, 4, 3 and 18 months. As well as a 4 month old foster baby. My mom became a foster mom when I was 7 and so I have grown up with foster children as my siblings. I was always the oldest, but have had about 250 younger siblings. I can’t imagine my life without foster care, it’s just an absolute part of who I am!
Here are 5 Things I Want Everyone To Know About Being A Foster Parent!!
#5 Every single one of them comes with some sort of baggage; drug or alcohol exposed as a fetus, birth family, past foster homes, hatred to ANYONE because of the neglect and abuse they have suffered, quirks, ticks and just plain “what is wrong with you?” moments…… But re-reading this, don’t all of us have these?? Okay, maybe not drug or alcohol exposed, but how many of us were carried in our moms BEFORE all the new “laws” of what you can and can’t take while pregnant…. so WHO KNOWS what you could have ingested that you shouldn’t have!
- Birth family: how many of us have that ONE person in our family that you hope no one ever knows you are related to. Or that one relative that has done something wrong and you are judged for it, even tho it had nothing to do with you.
- Past Foster Home — maybe not foster homes but maybe past relationships that didn’t work out. That was our “home” for that time of our lives and left an impression or scar.
- Abuse and neglect– I will not believe for ONE second that there is no one on earth that hasn’t suffered these in some way. Even someone flipping you off in traffic is a form of abuse. Any maybe even we have at some point been the abuser, ever without knowing!
- Quirks and Ticks– I don’t think I have to actually explain this one. You know what yours are… our your spouse has pointed them out to you… daily!
- “What is Wrong With You”? If your mom has NEVER said this to you please feel free to come to my home and tell me that I am wrong! lol
But don’t judge a book by its cover, we wouldn’t want someone to do it to us for reasons beyond our control.
#4 They have NO MANNERS— When you have a parent who is strung out, high, self-centered, really didn’t want you because you were an accident, they had you to get WIC-Welfare-SSI etc…. you are basically just as important as the fridge. They know you are there, you get them what they need and then they walk away. No one takes the time to make sure your needs are met, that you are learning skills, etc. The only people who see them during the day who can help with this is your teacher and how can she devote all the time a child deserves when she has 30 other kids she has to teach as well. So be patient with them, love them and they will learn.
#3 They will get into everything! When you grow up not having much, when you finally see a home with more than you every had you want to see it, touch it, OWN it (even if it doesn’t belong to you) but what kid really doesn’t do the same thing. It is just that these kids tend to do it a little longer than a “non-foster” child would. And if all human beings didn’t do this same thing there wouldn’t be signs at stores saying “You break it, you buy it” or “Smile you are being video-taped” So again, show them some boundaries and they will learn what they may have never if they didn’t have you!
#2 You have never been a parent It’s really not an excuse. Neither have the parents who have their first child. YOU WILL make mistakes, you WILL get angry, you WILL get discouraged, you WILL want to quit. And theeeennnn… they hug you goodnight, laugh when you tickle them, say please for the first time, get more excited to see you than their birth parent. No matter if you fail or don’t do exactly like you think you should, your home is full of more love, safety and security than they have EVER had! So even if you start out feeling more like a big brother or sister, you WILL get the hang of it! Especially the first time you get called to school cause they wet themselves and you need to bring them some dry clothes (which BELIEVE ME WILL HAPPEN! Foster children can have bladder issues when it comes to new situations and its a natural reaction. You know the saying “I was so scared I about wet myself”? Well, that is the situation they are in. You suddenly feel needed, important and there is just some feeling that you can’t explain when you get there and they need YOU! It sounds silly, but just wait and you will see.
#1 “I can’t do it, if they leave my heart will be broken” I am liable to slap some silly into the next person who uses this as an excuse to not do foster care! YES your heart will be broken into a thousand pieces. YES you will bawl your eyes out! YES you will want to chase after that social worker, snatch up that child and run to Mexico and change your names to Juan and Joseph Sanchez so no one will ever find you. But this is the horrible part of foster care: you are there to love them, hold them, teach them give the sense of self worth and encouragement for as long as you have them. Then you let them go. Do we not have biological children because some day your hearth will break because you send them to college or they get married? But seriously, my most angry part about this sentence is why is your broken heart more important than their life? How do you actually justify not doing something because it might hurt. There is not much in life that won’t hurt you sometimes. Even filing a piece of paper, you can get a paper cut on your finger… and that hurts like CRAZY! And you know, your heart while breaking and while you are using a whole box of tissue to wipe away your tears, and are on your knees praying for that child’s future, there is another child just waiting for a home, and you get that call and even though you told yourself NO MORE.. you somehow hear the words coming out of your mouth… “Yes”….. And then you start back over at #5