Friday, March 22, 2013

Fostering - What Other People Are Saying

Recently, a fellow foster parent wrote an article entitled What Foster Parents Wish Other People Knew about fostering. Honestly, she was spot on even though her tone sounded a little annoyed. But I get it. Some of the questions and comments are just too personal, especially in the midst of a new placement. Everything is so stressful, tiring and fragile. You just need people to say "I'll bring you dinner in an hour" or "what size diapers do you need?".

Today, NPR interviewed a foster mom of 15 years (she's fostered over 40 kids!!!) and they discussed the foster care system in America as well as her personal experience with fostering. Michelle (foster mom) also spoke and answered questions pertaining to the blog post.The interview was specifically about what foster parents WISH other people knew or understood about fostering and even included calls from fellow foster parents.

In light of people calling her a saint - "I didn't save him, but what really I did for him was allow him to be a small of a time as that was, he remembered." - Michelle talking about caring for a 4 year old boy for only a month long.

Elijah IN LOVE with baby J
Paraphrased from the interview : "People worry you'll damage your own children and think 'how could you do this?' but the benefits far outweigh anything else. We are learning and gaining so much more from these children than they are probably gaining from us!" I couldn't agree more. Our family is better off for having stepped into fostering than if we had just protected ourselves from a possible mess. I'm so thankful for how Dan and I have grown in our marriage and am proud of my boys and their heart for the needy.

The one I relate to most is when people ask "Are you hoping to adopt him/her?" or "How long will you have them?". The time line for knowing the long term plan is SOOOOOO long, we don't have a clue about the future. Even more, legally, foster children don't even begin down the adoption road until 18 months after being placed in a foster home.

I know this because I took the classes, am licensed and understand the process. In that way, it's unfair for us foster parents to be annoyed with those who are just interested, excited or concerned. Still, I'm hoping this blog post (and NPR interview!) will be read and heard by many. I also pray that I'll have more patience and grace in answering these questions from family and friends.

If you want to read more, Kait of Eventually Someday wrote an excellent yet raw post about her first foster placement. She and her husband have already adopted 4 children and are now answering the call to foster. Is it hard? YES! Are they crazy? NO! They are faithful to answer a call that many of us hear but turn our ears from. That does not make them saints, just faithful. I love what she says in response to this question posed to her in the fostering training class (of all places!!!): "You have that much on your plate so WHY ARE YOU HERE?"

You'll just have to read her take on it :) As always, Dan and I are true advocates for these children and believe that even though the system may be flawed, fostering is a need anyone can fill. I'm always open to talking with anyone who is interested in answering the call.


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