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.