‘She struggled to get out of bed. It was like giving up her own child.’: Foster dad shares his appreciation for his wife’s role, ‘I am so proud of the heart she has’

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“My wife, Katie, is a stay-at-home foster mom, and I work full time outside our home. This often results in an inordinate amount of the burden of foster care ‘things’ falling on her.

The vast majority of the time, she is the one transporting kids to visits, interacting with birth parents, talking with social workers, going to court hearings, meeting with workers for monthly home visits, taking kids to therapy, and more. Of course, this is all in addition to everything else a stay-at-home mom does during the day.

All of the things I mentioned above can be frustrating and annoying and are often emotionally exhausting.

I try my best to step into the role of dad as soon as I get home and take some of the burden off. I’ll take the boys to the park or out in the backyard to give Katie a few minutes of quiet.

There is still so much I cannot make up for, and I often take it for granted until I am the one sitting in the courthouse waiting an hour for a 10-minute hearing or calling three different people who won’t get back to you just to find out what’s going on with a child’s case.

I am so thankful for the part Katie is willing to play and the extra responsibilities she takes on in order to care for the children in our home.

Taking kids to visits, sometimes more than once a day, all while juggling the other kids.

Constantly talking with social workers to inform them of how the kids in care are doing and advocating for them when it’s needed.

Nurturing relationships with birth parents, which are often difficult and awkward.

I am so proud of the heart she has for them and her willingness to put in work and fight for their well-being.

Another consequence of the uneven sharing of responsibilities happened with the first child placed with us. He was only in our house for three months, and almost half of the weekends we did have him, he was with one or the other birth parent for overnight visits.

This all resulted in Katie spending a lot of time with him, becoming very connected and attached (which he very much needed, and we were able to see him grow and learn because of it), while I spent significantly less time with him and, therefore, was not nearly as close to him.

The grief we both experienced when he left our care was very different. It hurt for me, but it was more like giving up a nephew or close friend’s child than my own child. For Katie, it was very much like giving up her own child (and first child, at that), and the grief lasted much longer and was felt much stronger.

Katie struggled to get out of bed and to go about life as usual. I could see the hurt in every smile she plastered on her face while she faked her way through the holidays and time with family.

I hurt for her. I missed our little guy, but it was more than that for her. I don’t think this is good or bad. It is just one of the unexpected experiences that come along with foster care.

Foster care is different, difficult, and strange at times, but it is also so rewarding, fulfilling, and very much needed.

I hope and pray Katie inspires some of you to look into how you might be able to contribute to the children in need in our communities.

It doesn’t need to look the same for everyone, but the more people there are who do something, the less of a need there will be.”

Parents kneel on the ground near a boy in a red plaid shirt
Courtesy of Katie Day

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Tim Day and his wife, Katie, from Binghamton, NY. You can follow their journey on Instagram and Facebook. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more from Tim’s wife Katie:

‘Did he think we abandoned him?’ I was still grieving. He hardly slept day or night. I struggled to feel connection.’: Couple foster to adopt, ‘If you don’t get attached, you’re doing it wrong’

‘We’re here for you.’ Foster care isn’t all broken or messy.’: Foster mom reflects on the beauty of foster care, ‘It’s not all hard’

Read more stories like this:

‘That night I cried in my driveway for a child. 10 minutes later, I got a call. ‘Can you take in 1-year old twin boys?’: 26-year-old single foster mom says ‘I was called for plans bigger than myself’

‘My father sent me out for cigarettes. I decided to run away. I needed to find a place he’d never find me.’: Man rescued from abusive family, returns favor by fostering children in need

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