Sunday, October 30, 2011

Volunteer work

I was missing the volunteer work I gave up when Primo was placed with us.  I missed the adults and children I saw every week.

Then it occurred to me that I am still doing volunteer work 24/7.  Foster Care, in it's essence, is volunteer work.  I work every waking moment of the day and often during moments I would like to be sleeping without pay.  I have given over my life to the cause of Foster Care.

It is true that I receive money every month from my agency, this is for the care and keeping of Primo.  Even if I used NONE of this money to buy giant boxes of diapers and wipes and copious amounts of formula, I would be making an hourly rate of 90 cents an hour.

There is no money to be made in foster care if you are doing it right.  In my area of the country the cost of raising a child in the middle class is estimated to cost $37 a day, we receive $21 a day for Primo.

Let's not forget that I was out of the baby game for 11 years before I got into foster care.  So I needed to purchase many things for Primo.

He came with almost no clothing.  My agency gave me $150 for emergency clothing purchases.  Sounds like plenty, but some how I spent more on little onsies, outfits, socks and booties, sweaters and a winter coat, little hats, etc.

Included in Priomo's monthly check from the agency is $1 a day that must be spent on clothing.

I also purchased two bassinets one for upstairs and one for downstairs, a baby tub and towels, blankets, sheets, formula, pacifiers, bottles, a thermometer, changing pad and cover, diaper pail, nail clippers, bulb aspirator, baby Tylenol, diaper bag, a swing, play mat, bouncy seat, infant car seat, bibs, baby monitor, baby soap, ready to drink 3 oz bottles of formula for night feedings (yep, I am that exhausted).

Even as I write the above list it doesn't seem like all that much, I am sure I am forgetting things, but it all added up to hundreds of dollars.  I did two very big shopping trips, one hours before he arrived and one the day after he arrived.

If I were extremely frugal and organized (which I do hope to be when I am getting more sleep), I think I could take good care of Primo within the confines of the monthly check I receive.  But, for now the cost of some of his needs are coming out of my pocket, and I am fine with that.  I am supposed to care for Primo the same way I cared for my birth children and that is what I am doing, because let's face it, he deserves no less.


  1. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I spend waaaayyy more money the first couple of months after the kid(s) come. Things don't even out for quite awhile. Even then, there's certainly no profit in foster parenting. (And there shouldn't be! That's the wrong motivation!!)

    We receive a relatively large stipend for taking care of Pumpkin. But she is considered "specialized". She requires a lot more doctor appointments, medication and a higher level of care. Sometimes I feel like the stipend is almost too generous. But then there are days when I'm so wiped out from all her appointments that I order take-out for supper. In my opinion, that's part of what her stipend covers -- my sanity. And sometimes, not doing dishes helps maintain my sanity. :)

  2. I agree, there should not be any profit in foster parenting. I am always shocked when I hear that some people think you can make money doing foster care! I find it amazing that agencies find families willing to turn their worlds upside down and who work tirelessly for a child they don't even know. The greatest benefit is to the children who are served by good foster parents and for me as a foster parent the feeling of being of use to the world at large and to a child specifically.

    But on those exhausting days we do deserve some take out and no dishes because Lord knows we are nothing without our sanity.