A Stark Comparison

Whew! After the past 3 1/2 hours I feel like I just went through the most exhausting parenting workout ever. Running around like a mad woman trying to figure out the 10938493420934029384 things that are required of you when you need to take a sick foster child to the doctor last minute is both physically and mentally exhausting. As I was in the middle of this chaos I realized JUST how complicated a seemingly simple task really is when you’re a foster parent. Being a special education teacher I understand the insane amount of documentation and paperwork you must fill out in order to do the simplest things but let me tell you, foster care takes it to a whole new level. For example:

Steps for Taking Biological Child to Doctor

  1. Find out baby is sick and is not allowed to be at daycare the next day until seen by a doctor.
  2. Figure out who is staying home with said child the following day.
  3. Take child to the doctor.
  4. Pick up prescriptions if needed at your regular pharmacy.


Steps for Taking Foster Child to Doctor

  1. Find out baby is sick and is not allowed at daycare the next day until seen by a doctor.
  2. Figure out who is staying home with said child the following day.
  3. Text family support worker to make sure taking foster child to urgent care is allowed.
  4. Go home to grab foster child’s resource binder full of all the paperwork you need to take child to the doctor.
  5. Text and email foster child’s case manager to tell her the foster child won’t be at daycare due to being ill and ask how that will affect visitation.
  6. Don’t get a response from case manager, so text family support worker and ask if there is anything else that can be done.
  7. Finally arrive at urgent care and realize they don’t accept the child’s health insurance so you’ll have to pay out of pocket (luckily family support worker was awesome enough to tell us we should get reimbursed for out of pocket expenses due to doctor’s visit).
  8. While waiting in waiting room finally hear back from case manager who has asked for me to contact the transporter to inform them that visitation is cancelled for the following day.
  9. Text transporter and explain situation, hoping they’ll respond back, which luckily they do.
  10. Finally see doctor and explain that a form is required that they fill out before we leave.
  11. Go to Walgreens to fill foster child’s prescription.
  12. Drive home only to get a call from Walgreens saying they don’t accept the foster child’s insurance and won’t cover the prescription.
  13. Have husband drive to Walgreens and get prescriptions and take to CVS to be filled.
  14. Take pictures of medical forms and receipt and email to family support worker for documentation and reimbursement.

TEN STEPS. Ten whole extra things that are required of me just to care for a sick baby. That’s the joy of foster care, nothing is easy. And now I understand why so many foster parents burn out, it’s a tough job. The daily task of living and caring for broken children that aren’t your own is difficult within itself, but then you add in the ridiculous amount of red tape you have to climb through just to get something as simple as a doctor’s visit done and you’ve got major burn out.

Being a teacher I understand what it’s like to burn out. You pour yourself into these little beings, children that aren’t your own, and at the end of the day you have adults telling you the thousand things you did wrong and need to be doing differently. You feel like you’ve made such progress with this little human, reminding him how many gains he’s made since August, but then are forced to give him a report card that doesn’t have one positive mark on it because the grading scale is 3 grade levels above his abilities. It’s all the things you’re “forced” to do in education that cause so many teachers to give up, and I’ve realized that it’s the EXACT SAME THING in foster care.

We’re forced to contact 5 people just to get a sick child to the doctor before the day is over. We’re not allowed to cross state lines without a travel order from a judge, making family vacations out of state nearly impossible without many months notice. We are forced to say goodbye to our sweet children, knowing all well that the reunification isn’t going to last long, even though we so badly wish it would.

But even through the red tape we still fight for our kiddos, whether a teacher or a foster parent. We learn to navigate the rocky seas and not give up when we feel like we’re drowning. We know that at the end of the day that those kids are worth it, that their life is precious and they need someone fighting for them, because if we aren’t then no one will.


The only good thing about a sick baby are these sweet cuddles.




2 thoughts on “A Stark Comparison

  1. I would love all of those things after yesterday’s adventure. Thanks for your support! We managed to survive the 24 hours without daycare so I feel like we can do anything at this point lol!


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