“My Story Monday” is a weekly segment where foster parents anonymously share their stories, tips, and advice. It is intended to encourage prospective foster parents and demystify the journey of fostering. You can view past stories here: My Story Monday.
My Story Monday: Attached
I got tired of reading stories about children in foster care being harmed worse than the situations that they were removed from. So when I could, I decided to be the change and be at least one place where a child could be safe and be loved.
We were licensed in four to five months. Although we had three respite cases and we said yes to all placement calls, we didn’t get our first placement for a year after we were licensed. To date, we’ve had 4 infant placements. We are in the process of adopting our 2 year old who came to us at 3 months.
When she arrived, she had never been away from her parents and had even co-slept with her mom. She cried for the first two weeks non-stop. I ate with her, I slept next to her crib on the floor, and carried her with me wherever I went. Even though I had a newborn baby, I spent more time with her than I did my biological child. It took two weeks of constant attachment and never leaving her sight, but one day she smiled, and she was a kid again.
There have been daily ups and downs, but understanding the bureaucracy of the system and navigating it has been one of my biggest struggles. Your heart wants to do it for the children, but the rest of you is going to get fed up with the system. There are challenges with restrictions on travel. There are disruptions in schedules, routines, and plans. There are pressures to perform at a higher standard in regard to your appearance, how your home looks with workers coming in and out, your foster children’s behaviors, their manners, your family’s handling of finances, etc. There are hoops to jump through. But when you have had enough of this system and you want to walk away, you have to remind yourself that you’re in it for the children.
It’s not always easy. You have to have patience, love, understanding, a willingness to change, a willingness to learn, and a willingness to give individualized care. If you can stick with it, you will experience the absolute, pure joy and satisfaction of making a difference in a child’s life.
[This interview has been edited for readability]
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