The biggest challenges foster parents face...hmmm. I am sure the challenges differ from child to child and family to family. What trauma did the foster child experience before entering their new "placement"? How many foster homes has the child been in before entering their new "placement"? How experienced are the foster parents? How many foster children have they had in their home prior to the new foster child?
I am not only a foster parent, but I write this with the perspective of having a Master of Social Work and Master of Education degree and having professionally worked with foster children and foster parents. However, no degree or professional background could have prepared me for the personal experience of the "lack of gratitude". While I always taught and lectured foster parents to be prepared for the behaviors and emotional challenges of working and parenting foster children, I was never emotionally prepared for my own challenges. We never expected or requested appreciation. But when you are slapped in the face with complete disregard for the efforts and time put in making all things equal in your house for not only your child but also your foster child, and what you receive in return is a lack of disregard for the birthday party, the gifts, the special meal, the classes...With your own child, you can discipline, have discussions, lectures and screaming matches to make sure your message of gratitude is understood. But, with your foster child, the lesson needs to be taught well differently and more creatively...and even then the message may never be received. And, in the end why should they be greatful for being in foster care, for having to experience their birthday with strangers, for all the gifts and special arrangements they never requested...when all they wanted was to be with their parent! Why should a foster child have gratitude when their childhood was disrupted? What should make a foster child say "thanks" when their parent could not parent them?