Wrongly Considered Adventure

My husband and I chose to become foster parents.  Our family and friends did not choose to be a part of the foster experience.  If they continue to have us in their lives they are forced to be apart of it.  What we did not foresee is the difficulty it would cause for some of those closest to us.  We love and respect our close family and friends.  While we have received insurmountable amounts of kindness and support; we never thought we would also face such judgement and negativity.

7 Frustrating Things You May Not Have Expected When Deciding To Become Foster Parents

  1. Other parents may resist their children interacting with your new family members out of fear of negative influence.
  2. Despite explaining and preparing those closets to you the best you can, they still may not understand your new family’s needs.  Such as the inability to make plans in advance due to unforeseen visits or appointments.
  3. If your new family members are of different ethnic background, you may experience pity or negative glares and comments in public.
  4. Many, MANY people will likely share their own personal experience involving foster care, adoption, group homes, or shelters with you.  More people than you think have been touched by similar experiences and may now feel comfortable opening up to you.
  5. You may continually hear “I’ve always wanted to do that, but ___insert various rationals here__”.
  6. You may experience intrusive questions from the same people on a weekly basis like:
    1. “How long will they be with you?”
    2. “Were they abused?”
    3. “When are you going to adopt them?”
  7. Some people not only feel very fulfilled by living a life devoted to others, they also consider it a competition.  Some strange comments we’ve received include:
    1. “We thought about doing foster care, but felt guiltily about the state paying us. So we paid to do a private adoption instead.”
    2. “We volunteer every summer in a 3rd world country because foster care children in the U.S. have it easy compared to other places in the world.”

“An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered.  An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.”  -G.k. Chesterton

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The Most Important Work

Our second placement has been with us for a month.  They are five and six year old siblings.  They are amazingly sweet and have wonderful personalities!  We feel fortunate for everyday we have the opportunity to parent and love them.  There have been many emotions and challenges during the past month.  The youngest struggles to understand what is going on and the oldest understands too much for her age.  I find my days are now filled with purpose, worry, joy, exhaustion, and laughter.

4 Lessons In Parenting

  1. Unwavering consistency works miracles for behavior at home and school.
  2. Visual timers, rewards, encouragement, Love and Logic, and compromise are paramount.
  3. Empty threats are damaging to the progress of any relationship.
  4. A calm demeanor can change the outcome of even the worst situation.

http://www.loveandlogic.com

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Came and Went

Our first placement was a sibling group of three.  A twelve year old girl, fourteen year old boy, and sixteen year old boy.  They came from over 85 miles away at 3:20am in the morning.  Our time together was a short eight day whirlwind of last minute appointments, continuous calls from unknown numbers, and learning to live hour to hour not knowing what to expect.  It was also eight of the most joy filled days of our lives.

The hardest part of our first placement was not the kids, their family, or the major change in our lifestyle.  The hardest part was being part of a system that is overworked, underpaid, and scrutinized instead of supported by society.  This crushed system, who’s intent is to protect children, made it more difficult for the three in our care.

5 Things Our First Foster Care Placement Taught Me

  1. The true intentions of others are easily deciphered by those in the midst of tragedy.
  2. We have at least one thing in common with everyone we meet.
  3. Words can not adequately express thoughts or emotions.
  4. What may appear to be an insignificant action, could be very significant in the lives of others.
  5. Judges need to be held accountable for their decisions.

“came and went like moths among the whisperings” F. Scott Fitzgerald