The Pain of Foster Care

The Pain of Foster Care

“I don’t think I could do it, I’d get too attached and I couldn’t handle them going back home.”

If I had a dime for every time someone said this to me, or for everytime I said it to somebody before I became a foster parent, I would be filthy rich. So many people don’t think they can do foster care because it would hurt them.

It does hurt. It hurts a lot. When a child you have welcomed into your home, goes back to their families, and all you can do is trust in God that they’ll be taken care of, your heart is literally torn into a billion tiny pieces. It’s the most painful thing I have ever experienced in my life.

When I found out that our first placements were leaving, I cried for hours, days, maybe even every night that week; I was broken. I had told my husband that I never wanted to feel this pain again, and I didn’t want anymore placements. He told me if that’s how I felt, then okay, we wouldn’t take anymore placements. He was just as broken as I was.

We didn’t know we could feel such deep pain. I had never cried so hard and so long in my life. I asked myself why I was putting myself and my husband through this. Who in their right mind would put themselves in a situation where there was only going to be heartache?

But after I finally pulled myself together, I remembered why we decided to become foster parents to begin with. We didn’t do it so we could feel good about ourselves. We didn’t do it for a pat on the back. We did it for THEM. We did it for the kids who had no choice. The children in care have NO choice to feel this pain.

Each story is different, but each have a common denominator: pain. Every child that comes into foster care has experienced more pain than most people will ever experience in their entire life. Not only did they endure neglect and abuse, they also got completely uprooted from their home, friends, families and school. Their entire world has been shaken and turned upside-down.

Not only are the children taken away from everything they have ever known, but they also have to get to know completely new people and then SLEEP in a STRANGER’S home. Have you ever slept under the roof of someone you have never met? I haven’t, I would be too scared to trust a stranger while I slept. I know the kids in care feel the same way; that natural instinct just kicks in: survival mode. They are constantly in survival mode until we show them that they can trust us.

These kids are in a state of constant, emotional pain. Even when they return home (regardless if they are returning to a better situation than they came from), the world they have come to know, the family they have come to love, has been torn away from them once again.Tree time

The life of a foster child is hard. You know nothing will stay the same, and you don’t know how long you will be in a home before you are uprooted again. They need a special kind of love. They need us to love them through their pain. They need someone to care enough to endure heartache for them.

So next time you think, “I couldn’t become a foster parent, it would hurt too much,” or “I would get too attached,” please, please remember the little hearts who DON’T have a choice. They don’t have a choice to feel the pain, so I will gladly bare the pain with them, because they are worth being loved. They are worth the pain.


  1. You are an amazing woman! It’s so amazing to see God working through what you and your husband are doing. I am blessed to have taught you for 7 years and am so proud of the woman you have become. May God bless you both and all the children and their families’ lives that you touch!

  2. Nancy Hall says:

    Katie, this is a wonderful article and certainly puts this delicate issue in perspective. I have enjoyed watching you become the Godly young woman you are today! I think you are in the place God wants you right now. I believe He has great and wonderful plans for you. We love you!

  3. Lisa Fields says:

    This is wonderfully written. I am proud of you my daughter in law. My prayers are with you, Jonathan and your placements.

  4. Robin Davenport says:

    God bless you for giving to the Lord. When you have done it unto the least of these, you have done it into me….

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