Thursday, March 26, 2009

Foster Kidding

I mentioned in an earlier post that I came out of the infertility closet to my mother and sister based on my application to become a foster parent. So here's the skinny on that.

I honestly can't remember what came first, wanting to start a family or wanting to become a foster parent. The two are mutually exclusive activities in my mind and I don’t intend to substitute one for the other. I don’t feel that I want to be a foster parent because I can’t have a child and I don’t feel that once I have a child I will no longer want to be a foster parent. But who knows if I am being honest with myself.

At this point we have made an application to be a foster parent, but we are at the stage where we are trying to learn more about the process and haven’t made a final decision if this is right. I remember the idea of becoming a foster parent coming to me.

When I met my husband he had a lucrative career in sales, but was very unhappy. I encouraged him to go back to school to become a school guidance counselor and supported him in grad school. He makes less money now, but he loves his job. He gets an enormous amount of job satisfaction through helping kids. I like my job too, but let's face it; I'm an accountant, I don’t exactly make a difference. And that’s where the fostering idea came from, wanting to give back, wanting to help kids who never really had a chance in life. I feel that my husband and I are common sense people, financially secure, and caring. I think we could provide a lot of stability for a foster child.

Initially my husband was against the idea. He felt that it would be too much like bringing his work home with him. I understood what he was saying and I didn’t push the idea. But now we are both ready to explore this option as a possibility for our lives. What changed his mind was a little girl in foster care on the local news who said that her biggest dream was to go to the local amusement park. I turned to my husband and said, “It just breaks my heart to hear that. I feel like bringing that girl home and taking her to the amusement park the next day and then saying, OK. What’s your dream now?” My husband is a sucker for a little girl.

I think my biggest challenge right now is trying to pry off my rose colored glasses regarding my expectations for this experience. Right now our intention is to foster, not adopt, and we want older kids, not babies or toddlers. I know I will need to learn how to relate to these children whose lives are going to be incredibly foreign to me. My parents were married for almost thirty years before my father passed away. I was never abused and I always had everything I needed, although not much of what I wanted. I know that I will need to learn to accept that my house will no longer be perfect. I know that these children will have learning disabilities and behavior problems. I know that this whole experience will be completely different and much harder than I could ever imagine.

But for right now, I feel drawn to it. I feel that it’s something I need to explore. I’m interested if anyone has any feedback or experience with this.

14 comments:

Mo and Will said...

A blog about foster parenting that you might want to check out: http://herebaby.blogspot.com/

It's tough but I would imagine also extremely rewarding!


Mo

areyoukiddingme said...

It takes serious dedication and strength of character to be a foster parent. You and your husband have my admiration.

Lori said...

A fellow ColoBlogger is writing now about her first placement with twins. You can find it here:
http://coloradodentons.blogspot.com/

Jill said...

Your views on this mirror my own. The Hubs isn't really there, though, and it breaks my heart that I can't reach out in the way I would like to. Good luck with this process! I'm sure you're going to be a fantastic foster mom.

B MoM said...

The story about how your DH changed is mind is beautiful and heartrendering. I've also recently read that one other blogger would not consider fostering at this point in her life because she longs to be a mom and could not stand the thought of the foster child returning to their biological parents. She accepted that the goal of fostering is to eventually return the child back and she could not bear to think of that situation. That perception put a whole new spin on fostering for me.

womb for improvement said...

I think this is a fantastic post. You seem to have your eyes wide open as to how tough it might be and still want to do it. I really respect that.

Modern Orthodox IF said...

wow! this is amazing! And you're very lucky your husband is supportive of this now. I'm still working on my husband (for adoption) but he's still not ready. Good luck to you two!!

Kristin said...

I admire you for possibly taking this on. It's a very noble thing you're doing. Sorry I can't offer any advice... I have no idea what it's like.

Betty Rubble said...

We went through the classes, finished them actually...then when push came to shove the county couldn't resolve our desire to still want to have a baby through infertility treatments with being a foster parent (there had just been bad press regarding CYF).

My advice therefore is to really go through this with a fine tooth comb. Get their rules and regulations and ASK if you can speak to some current parents.

Good luck to you!

Michelle said...

I think it takes really special people to be foster parents. I think you will do a beautiful job!

Just Caz said...

fostering is a very special thing to Do.
I completely admire your decsion and also that its not something you take lightly.
Its absouletly great that you intend to share the love you have in your heart with children who so need it.

But as im sure you know its a long road, one with many twists and turns.. but it will be so rewarding.
All the best

TTC Little Miracle said...

My co-worker is a foster parent and although it takes a lot of hard work it is also very rewarding. He adopted his young son out of foster care.

You have to go into it knowing what kind of person you will be though truthfully. Don't tell yourself you can handle more than you really know that you can. Foster care really focuses on getting the children back with the birth family so you have to make sure that you're not going to be terribly depressed if/when they are ever placed back with blood relatives. For me, I think it would be just too hard. I love children too much to let go.

My advice is to go through all of the classes and go to meetings. It will help prepare you. Read any books that you can about foster parenting.

You can also check out adoptuskids.org and look at kids in your area that need homes. Most of them are older and most of the younger ones have mental and physical disabilities (at least in my area they do). But these are kids that need homes desperately and need to be adopted and loved. If you're interested in adopting, I strongly suggested Adoption for Idiots, lol. It's a really good read - I felt less confusion about the adoption process after I read it.

Leslie Laine said...

I used to work in foster care, and I always tell people it was the toughest job I ever loved. I wasn't an actual foster parent, but I ran a foster care agency.

My biggest recommendation to you is to find the right Agency, especially if you're going to be working with older kids. You want to have professional assistance readily available whenever you need it, 24 hours a day.

I'm sure there are tons of Agencies in your area, and I would look for the one that feels right to you. They'll be thrilled to get you all as foster parents because Foster Care Agencies are ALWAYS looking for good foster parents - there aren't enough out there.

The best of luck to you as you pursue this decision. Let me know if you ever want to talk about what you're seeing in terms of the Agencies you're dealing with. The fit is vital!

Thinking of you all!!

kirke said...

The story of the little girl just broke my heart. I admire what you are taking on, especially the fact that you are reaching out to older children. I think you are going to make such a huge difference in someone's life.

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