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    19 Things Nobody Tells You About Becoming A Foster Parent

    Every state’s foster care system is run with different structure and rules, but one thing applies everywhere: there's actual kids underneath all those policies and paperwork.

    1. You are not allowed to cut your child’s hair.


    You can give consent for emergency surgery, but you’d better have a signed permission slip before you make any trips to the salon or barbershop.

    2. Foster parent classes are not about parenting.


    Many foster parenting classes are so aware that there is no amount of training (short of a Masters in social work) that can prepare you for the millions of challenges you’re about to face, so they don’t even try. Instead, they teach you how to do paperwork, and who to call in an emergency.

    3. We don’t say “foster child” anymore.

    20th Century Fox

    We say "child in care."

    4. We don’t say “put up for adoption,” either.


    You really want to refer to your kid standing on an auction platform and being “adopted” to the highest bidder? Because that’s how they used to do it. In the 1800s. We say “legally free,” now. That shows that the child’s biological parents’ rights have been terminated and they can be adopted.

    5. You live at the thrift shop.

    Most kids don't arrive with anything. If you’re lucky, they’ll sometimes have a trash bag with a toy and a toothbrush. Either way, you'll be hitting the thrift shop ASAP.

    6. Some people will call you a saint or an angel.


    And some will call you a "babysitter" or "not a real parent." The ones whose opinions actually matter will call you Mom and Dad (or your name, if you're not doing the whole Mom or Dad thing).

    7. If you haven’t before, you’ll learn what it’s like to live at the whims of the government.


    And watch the state budget like a hawk to see what funding your kids will get this year.

    8. You’ll think nothing of asking your close friends to get a criminal background check so you can leave your kids with them for five minutes while you go to the bathroom.


    9. The questions when you’re out in public. Oh my, the questions.


    10. You will hoard children’s clothing in every single size.


    And kids will still complain that they have nothing to wear.

    11. You will classify every bump and scratch on your kids as “must fill out the form” or “no form necessary.”


    "child shows bruise approx 2"x2" on upper left thigh. was either caused by coffee table or skateboard, or both."

    12. You will learn to leave food within easy sight and reach at all times.


    If kids don’t feel secure about being able to have food when they need it, they’ll hide it in their rooms — and you won’t find out until the ants arrive.

    13. The heartbreak is real. Support groups are vital.


    Because nobody knows it like another foster parent.

    14. While other people are Instagramming the heck out of their kids’ smiles, you will be posting photos of their feet, or the backs of their heads – if at all.

    Privacy and protection policies are serious — you don’t always know what or who you’re protecting a kid from.

    15. Your non-fostering friends will think your rules are ridiculous.


    “One person per piece of furniture” is no joke.

    16. You will be calling to file abuse reports – on yourself.

    Fox Searchlight

    “Yes, hi, I’d like to report that a child in my care has a large bruise on his left hip that he got from rollerblading down my stairs and the doctor’s report is on its way. You’ll be out tomorrow to interview him about it? Thanks.”

    17. Your own parents may not ever get it.


    (Unless, of course, they were foster parents, too.)

    18. But other foster parents will keep you sane, answer your questions, give you all the stuff you need and be the finest people you’ll ever know.


    19. DNA doesn't make a family.

    ABC / Via tumblr

    Love does.

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