Waiting lists.

Waiting lists.

Foster care is filled with questions. And very few answers.

Complex psychological questions about how to best love a hurting child. Deep philosophical questions about who should be caring for these precious kiddos. And challenging practical questions about where, when and how to do it all.

Never having parented, I’m sure we had an extra set of practical questions that most seasoned parents solved long before adding in the extras of fostering. Trampolines. Detangling conditioner. Markers that can only color on certain paper. The world is full of magic that other kind parents are sharing with us.

Even with all that magic, some things don’t seem to add up in the foster world.

My husband Jonathan and I both work outside the home. Which means we need a daycare for littles and after-school care for bigger kids. The solution seems simple except that most good daycares and programs come with a long waiting list.

Waiting lists require knowing the age, sex and number of children who need care. And unfortunately knowing ahead of time is inherently missing from foster care.

Kids are often pulled from a home after a parent is arrested. After a drug bust. After abuse or neglect.

If only we could know. If only we could stop it.

So foster care can’t really do waiting lists. We sometimes get an hour’s notice before kids come through our door. But because we often can’t confirm daycares or after-school care in time, we can’t even open our door. We can’t say yes.

Other foster parents I know face similar dilemmas. Finding good options or even an option can become the biggest hurdle to caring for these kids. And as friends have reached out to busy caseworkers or overloaded licensing agents, too often the only advice they receive is to “google it.”

While google has many answers, it doesn’t have this one.

Somehow we need to get creative. Befriend daycare directors. Pull strings in school districts. Share whatever resources we find with each other. Together, we can stop this red tape from keeping our doors closed.