Been a Foster Parent Since...
October of 2008
Type of Foster Care Provided
I have been both a foster parent and an adoptive parent.
How the Decision Was Made to Become a Foster Parent
We made the decision to be foster parents because our state is a dual certification state (meaning that to be allowed to adopt through the state, we also have to be trained foster parents.) We had previously been back and forth on the issue - only to adopt, or also doing foster care. Our state made that decision for us, which turned out to be a very good thing. We have enjoyed both having an extra one or two around occasionally AND our adopted kids.
We decided to become foster parents when our bio children noticed that there were children out there with no parents, and asked us to help with that!
How We Shared Our Decision with Friends and Family
When we told our friends and family, we got mixed reactions. This had been our dream for many years, so they were sort of expecting it. My in-laws still struggle with some of it, but they have come so far, and the kids we adopted call them the same thing that our bio children do, so they ended up just sort of going with the flow.
We did have one very difficult visit when my in-laws told us that the adopted children would not be included in their will. Sounds harsh, but it really is their decision to make, so we just accepted that. After all, anything we were to inherit will belong to the family, anyway. In the meantime, I trust that as the children grow, and my in-laws learn that the children are to be a "permanent fixture", they will eventually come around (they usually have when we have disagreed on things in the past, so no worries for me. However, I will be praying - a lot!)
My family has been a part of foster/adoptive care as long as I can remember, and my brother was adopted when he was 18 after living with us many years. That has made that relationship a lot smoother, just because they have experience and don't have to fear the unknown.
In general, many of our friends have decided that they, too want to adopt or foster, which is very encouraging to us because it means that they have observed our experience and feel that it would also be good for their family (so it must look as good on the outside as it has been around here!)
Most people have been very supportive, both friends and family. Many have said that our story is inspiring. That seems a bit lofty to me! Really, it just comes down to our personal belief that every child deserves a loving family, and we feel like we have love to share.
- I would definitely do it again! Even the classes, the whole deal.
- Keep in touch with your social workers (yours and the child's). If they offer to refer you to services, LET THEM.
- Calling your social worker (or your child's) doesn't make you NEEDY or difficult, it is just good policy.
- If people offer to help you, let them if you can trust them. Take what they give you (even old clothes) you can always donate what you don't need to a worthy cause.
- Don't be afraid to tell your workers if you can't handle something. It may frustrate them, but it's honest.
- Have fun together! One on one time is important.