Dear people who think, “I could never do foster care!”,
It is a statement I’ve heard way too many times. Just the other day my visiting teacher was over. She was looking at my “foster care wall” (I have pictures of each of our foster kids (and our 2 we adopted) with the quote “A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove... but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.” I can’t remember what she asked, but I commented that Yes, we are done. We’ve had 7 kids. Then the usual comment, I could NEVER do foster care. So many people tell me, I couldn’t do it, I would get too attached and then would be heartbroken when the kid left.
You know, when you are infertile and you are aching for a child, sometimes you don’t have many options. I’ve heard people say, “Oh, if you can’t afford IVF or Adoption then you can’t afford a kid.” It’s different then it cost anywhere from $7,000 to $20,000 just to make the baby. Then you still have the same expenses as all the other parents. Since we didn’t have even $7,000 lying around, we had 2 options: remain childless or try to adopt through foster care.
I HATE hearing childless couples say, “We don’t want to do foster care because the kid might go back home!” Yes, that is true. But... The most important thing to remember is, eventually one will stay! And eventually you will have that child you always dreamed of!
One of my friends works for Utah Foster Care. When we got Emma she reminded me, the average wait from the time you are approved until the child you adopt is placed in your home is 18-months. We started the foster care process in October 2006, got our first placement the day we were approved in March of 2007. Closed our file in November 2007. (So there was 8 months). Decided to Re-open our file in Jan. 2009, got approved in Aug. 2009 then was placed with Emma in April 2010. (Another 8 months, so 16 months total.) Braxdon’s- We decided to take placements again after Emma’s adoption in March 2011 and were placed with Brax in May 2012 (so, 14 months).
I’ve been left with 1 broken heart: When my sweet baby boy Ben left. He will always be my baby. He was my first. I’ve had 4 other foster children who I knew weren’t meant to be mine. BUT, I have been blessed with 2 wonderful children now. Imagine if I thought, no, I can’t do foster care. I can’t bare the thought of getting hurt. I would probably still be childless today. Plus... it is that much worse than experiencing a miscarriage after a $20,000 round of IVF, a failed or contested adoption??? All of those things could happen and bring you just as much heartache as not adopting every foster child placed in your home.
So, if you have thought, oh I couldn’t do foster care.... It’s not so bad. Would it be worse than the pain of being childless or aching for another baby, but can’t have it. I’ve been there and it is not. Even handing Ben over, experiencing that pain, at least for 3 months I got to play mommy to one of the sweetest, funniest baby boys I’ve ever met. I got to watch him get healthy and strong, laugh and smile, and say his first words (Maggie, our dogs name). It was worth it. The pain of not adopting him eventually faded. I still miss him. I wonder how he is doing and what he might look like. I don’t imagine my life if we adopted him, because it doesn’t matter. I am a mom now, to 2 perfect children. Foster Care made me a Mother!
Even if you are able to have children of your own, It is an amazing experience being a part of these children’s lives. I can’t explain how much I saw Ben learn and grow in 3 short months. It was something I will never forget. Honestly, the only reason we stopped doing foster care is because we don’t want to adopt more children! If I could get nothing but little ones I get to play with and take care of for a few months and then let them go to their forever families (and if I didn’t work 60 hours a week) I would do foster care again in a heartbeat!
Utah Foster Care