The Many Hats We Wear

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What is a foster parent? Besides a person who loves kids and takes strangers into their house, what are his roles? They are diverse and constantly changing since, as foster parents, we wear many hats.

We are first and foremost caregivers. We are moms and dads who take our parenting role serious. We are the professional parents who learn all we can to do all we can for the nation's children. Our hat should be a crown since we are the elite, the royalty of parents.

One hat we wear is the chauffeur hat as we put more miles on our cars than the general public. Those constant meetings, at school, with social workers and counselors mean we are always on the go. To add to our driving are the kids who get thrown off the school bus and require daily chauffeuring to school.

We wear the hat of a nurse as we are responsible for dispensing medication and seeing the health of our foster kids is monitored. We must learn about many disorders and their cryptic labels. We must be familiar with drugs both legal and illegal. Part of our job may include being prepared for suicide attempts and the injuries associated with gang initiations. Whether it is the common cold, measles, or childhood diabetes, we must be in the know.

Roles include that of a teacher as we try to help kids learn, sometimes algebra, other times social skills. We are a confessor/ counselor/ clergyman as they come to us for advice; confession, consultation, absolution, or just a listening ear.

We put on our chef's hat as we cook many huge meals for an extended family. We change to the clown's hat as parenting always goes better with some humor. The travel guide and recreation creator will require yet another type of hat. Don't forget the banker role, which has us balancing an almost always too small budget.

Our jobs are too numerous to mention, but we as foster parents wear many hats and assume many roles. Be prepared as you choose to foster to be flexible and change suddenly from one role to the next.

Credits: Jo Ann Wentzel

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