“Get away, you’re not my mummy,” the nearly three-year-old boy shrieked, his high-pitched voice echoing perfectly across the supermarket.
Lindsay felt the glares of random strangers hit her back like daggers as she prayed no one would try to intervene.
So before anyone could step in, Lindsay grabbed the little boy – bundling him and his younger brother, then aged 15 months, out of the shop and into the car at warp speed.
“What a mistake. We were NOT cut out for this. This was my reaction every night for several weeks. I felt guilty and broken, and pathetically unmotherly.”
"We became foster parents after trying to conceive without success"
This was especially hard for Lindsay to face as becoming a mum had been something she wanted for as long as she could remember.
In fact, he and her husband, Roman, had unsuccessfully tried for kids of their own for years before deciding to become foster parents.
They finally received a call about their first ever foster placement in 2018, with their case worker explaining that she had a pair of brothers in care, but knew the couple only wanted to foster one child.
“She asked if we had a preference of which of the boys we wanted, because they were going to have to be separated,” Lindsay remembered.
“I put the phone on mute and asked Roman, ‘Can we really handle two kids right now?’ ‘Absolutely not,’ was his response.
“‘But can we be the reason these boys are separated?’ I mumbled, brokenhearted. Again, he replied, ‘Absolutely not.’ So, we agreed to take them. We agreed to ‘try.’
Lindsay and Roman's first foster kids, two brothers, stayed with them for nearly a year. Source: Lindsay Prokopchuk
"Our first foster kids took some time to adjust to our home"
So, just like that, Lindsay and Roman became foster parents to the little boys – which initially felt like a lot more than they could handle.
The older brother’s behaviour was especially tricky, with Lindsay explaining that he had a very hard time adjusting to their home.
“He had a lot of behavioural issues. He would scream, yell, curse, hit and throw things, break things and defecate everywhere,” she explained.
“It was such an overwhelming whirlwind, it took our breath away.”
But eventually they realised that the toddler was simply expressing his grief and confusion about the situation in the only way he knew how.
“How could we even expect someone this young to process and vocalise what he was feeling?” Lindsay added.
“It took us some time to truly understand this. But he was a vulnerable child who was ripped away from his mother and placed in a stranger’s home. Twice. The best day of our lives was one of the worst of his.”
The two brothers eventually returned to their biological mum, which foster mum Lindsay said "broke her heart" a bit. Source: Lindsay Prokopchuk
"Losing our boys was like someone had died - we knew we wouldn't see them again"
Once they realised this, Lindsay and Roman were quickly able to help the little boy manage his feelings, which went a long way towards helping the toddler feel at home with them.
Before long, it seemed like the brothers belonged in their house, with Lindsay explaining that she and her husband felt “very much in love with our boys” and “absolutely head over heels in love with being their parents.”
But then, after nearly a year, they received another phone call, this time informing them that the boys would be returning to their biological mum in just a couple of days.
“It felt like someone had ripped my heart out,” Lindsay recalled of the painful moment she and Roman waved goodbye to their boys.
“It is so difficult to explain the type of pain a foster parent feels when their children leave. You grieve like you do when a loved one has died, except its worse
“We knew we would most likely never see them again.”
Lindsay and Roman have now fostered 25 kids in just over two years. Source: Lindsay Prokopchuk
"But we've now gone on to foster 25 kids in two years"
For many this experience would have been too painful to consider continuing with foster care – but not for Lindsay and Roman.
“We chose to become, and will continue to be, foster parents, because these children did not decide to become foster children,” Lindsay explained.
She went on to say that none of the kids in care ever asked to be “abused, neglected, starved, ripped away from their families and dropped off at a complete stranger’s house”.
“They are vulnerable, helpless, and in need love, affection, support and guidance,” she added.
“Since June 1, 2018, we have had 25 children live under our roof.
“We never really could have imagined what these last two-and-a-half years would have been like for us, and they certainly weren’t always easy.
“But, at the end of each day, we remind ourselves these children are just that: children. Remembering that means we may never be able to stop doing what we do.”
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