"When is it okay to put a price tag on a child?"
My name is Wendy. I have been a biological parent for 15 years, and I have been a foster parent since August of 2017. I’ve known for a very long time that parenting isn’t easy nor is it inexpensive. I’ve had a desire to be a foster parent for many years. I love being a foster parent. I’m actually really good at being a foster parent. But, the fact of the matter is, being a single-working mom let alone a single-working foster mom is incredibly challenging.
I’ve done all the things I’m supposed to do. I went to college, I have my nursing degree and I have a well-established career as a nurse. I’m able to provide all the things necessary for my son and I, which isn’t an easy task. He has autism and the financial obligation for autism alone is astronomical.
I’ve had the privilege of having the three most wonderful babies in foster care in my home over the last eight months. These three beautiful babies entered my home in need of love, comfort, bonding and help from drug exposure. When they leave my home, they have left happy and full of smiles. I love being a foster mom, but at the end of the day it’s very trying to figure out daycare expenses.
I was fortunate enough for the last eight months to have a very generous family member come into my home and be willing to take care of the babies at a next-to-nothing pay rate. She showered them with love and attention because she too wanted to set these babies up for success, just as I have.
My son and I have since moved to a different city and it is no longer an option for this family member to help take care of the babies. Unfortunately, I’m in a situation where I don’t know if I can financially take in any other foster children because the cost of child care is so gigantic. It is a significant frustration to be doing everything I can to help make the world a better place (I’ve checked off all the boxes…education, career, stability…) and yet to not be able to provide anything extra for my biological son because we are spending all our extra resources on daycare.
I’m not sure how much longer I will be able to do foster care, not because I don’t love it and not because I’m not good at it. Simply because, financially, I’m not sure that it makes sense to be barely positive at the end of each month. That’s not being responsible for my own family.
How is that fair for children out there that need homes? How is it that we need foster care homes but in a non-direct way we are telling children that they won’t get the homes they need because, to be quite frank, it’s too expensive? When is it okay to put a price tag on a child like this? Child care assistance in foster care is imperative. It opens up so many more working families to be able to provide loving homes to kids in need. It opens up the door for so much growth and opportunity for kids looking for stability and a place to be loved and call home.