Wednesday, June 04, 2008

You Know You're A Foster Parent When...

You know you are a foster parent when . . .

You open your garage door and passing cars stop, thinking all of the bikes, toys, and baby furniture means garage sale.
You go to a Foster Care meeting and everyone drives vans or station wagons, except for the small cars that belong to the social workers.
You get your exercise from walking or carrying the kids to time-out.
The K-Mart checker asks which school you are from, and you reply, ”We're a family.”
You spend more time with your washer and dryer than you do with your spouse.
Your heart is bigger than your brain.
Santa Claus gives you a key to a store and leaves milk, cookies, and Alka Seltzer for you.
You watch your 2-week placement go from crib to junior high.
You regard your toilet snake as a family pet.
Your local grocer tells you that if you ever move, he would like advance notice because he will have to lay off three employees.
Your personal stash of children’s clothing rivals that of the local Goodwill office.
The term “basically a good child with a few problems” doesn't mean the same thing coming from a caseworker as it does in the real world.
Saying goodnight resembles the end of the Waltons: ”Night, John Boy . . . Night, MaryEllen . . . Goodnight, Lizbeth, etc.”
Light switches, toilet handles, and door knobs last one year or less.
Your idea of a “social life” is talking to the checkers at the local Wal-Mart.
You tell the physician what medication your child needs.
You answer the question, "How many children do you have?" with, "I have x birth children, x foster children, and x adoptive children." And the other adult wishes she never asked.
Everytime you hear the phone ring, you start counting how many beds you have available.
You own an assortment of every known character Band-Aids.
You're the only one of your friends who knows every character from "Rug Rats" and "Telly Tubbies," AND you know the words to Barney's "I Love You, You Love Me."
Special time alone with your husband is a full night's sleep in your favorite baggy pajamas.
You know what the teenager's "slang words" mean and you catch yourself using them.
You get excited when there are more seats in your new mini-van.
You only buy in bulk at SAM's Club.
Your neighbors don't invite your family to barbecues anymore.
Teachers at your local school have nervous breakdowns when they see you coming.
You are surprised that your friends haven't seen the inside of the juvenile courtroom.
You're bringing the child's latest worker up-to-date on the child's case record.
Your kids ask questions about sex and you don't know the answers.
Your kids tell you the agency's policies and the changes to keep you informed.
Your pastor has to reserve a whole church pew for your family.
You go to school more than your child.
Your friends find drugs in their child's room and they ask you what it is.
The police stop you for speeding and don't give you a ticket because they know your kid.
You have to use all the fingers on both hands to count how many children you have.
You own stock in the Ritalin company.

Reprinted from “Foster Focus,” April 1997, published by the Olmsted County Foster Care Program.



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