I want to be a foster mom once I'm old enough and out of graduate school (2-3 years from now) and I'll likely still be single, can I work full time and still have foster children? How does that work - especially with younger children?
That’s what I do! I know foster care rules and policies and “how things work” differ depending on what state you live in, so you’ll want to do some research for yourself, but this has been my experience in Upstate New York (from what I can tell from Fosterhood and others, NYC is a different beast).
I work full-time at a fairly demanding job. It’s mostly 9-5 (well, 7:30-3:30… I work in K-12 education), but requires some evenings and weekends, especially when deadlines loom. Day-to-day, Ray attends a local daycare, which the county pays for. He attends a center-based daycare, which I prefer, but the county also paid for the home-based daycare that James briefly attended while on the waiting list for the center-based daycare.
Ray’s once-weekly visits happen during my work day, so the agency worker transports him to and from daycare to the visits, which she also supervises. I transport when it fits into my schedule or when it makes sense (for example, when he had an appointment immediately afterward), but that’s rare. Instead, I try to maintain a good relationship with his parents by regularly sending photos and/or notes in the diaper bag.
I do take time off to take Ray to doctor appointments - just like any parent would. I don’t really understand foster parents who ask case workers to take the kids to these appointments… I also take time off to attend permanency hearings and any other important court proceedings. My employer and client are both very understanding and supportive.
I also have a fabulous support system that really makes it possible for me to thrive as a single parent. My mom visits about once a month, and we usually time her visits for when she can be helpful when it comes to childcare - for example, during her last visit, she watched Ray while I attended my school’s graduation. I also have two primary evening/weekend babysitters (entire families, actually) and probably six back-ups that I’ve never had to use. One of the families actually likes to “borrow” Ray on a weekend day occasionally to give me a break from mom-ing and an opportunity to do housework, projects, cooking, etc.
So, yes, it can be done! And it is incredibly rewarding. So, finish grad school and do it! 😁 Best of luck to you and hopefully we’ll see you join the family of fumblrs soon!