I have a Facebook post that pops up every fall. It’s a picture of my daughter age 3, and it reads “Enjoying her fleeting days as an only child….we are beginning the journey of adopting through foster care!” Every year when I see it, I am reminded that nothing is simple or timely in foster care. We’ve had 5 foster children in our home over the past 6 years and we still are nowhere near adopting.
A Difficult Subject
In general, it’s really hard for me to share about fostering, because it is so very difficult. It is a difficult journey, full of uncertainty, and a lot of hard work. There’s so many factors that I am not allowed to talk about. Other things, have to be “muted” and shared in a careful manner. So you might see their sweet little faces covered with sunglasses or a heart sticker, or even a picture of just their backs. When we first get a placement, it is SO hard not to share their sweet face with you!
I think the hardest thing about fostering is the uncertainty. At no point in any case have we ever truly known where the case was headed. We’ve had cases where it felt like the child was staying forever and then a random family member pops up a month later and takes the child. There’s been times that bio parents disappear for long stretches and then reappear and get right on target with what the state requires. My husband and I always talk in percentage chance…there’s a 90% chance they will be here for Christmas, etc. All that to say, there is a lot of uncertainty in fostering.
Fostering is busy. Not only do you suddenly have more kids to take care of, but also you have more messes, more laundry, more food to cook, more tantrums, more everything. Something I learned really quick is that foster parents have a lot of appointments in the first few months of a placement. There were weeks that I counted 5-7 appointments for the children per week. We had doctor and dentist appointments, therapies, bio parent visits, DCFS workers checking in, CASA workers, early childhood intervention assessments and court. There are so many things that have to be ticked off the checklist. Luckily over time, many of these appointments dissipate…therapies reach completion, medical needs are met, assessments are made, etc.
I would never want to discourage someone from fostering. I think that is the main reason I don’t talk about it. But just because it’s hard doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile. Every case is different and everyone’s story is different. My family would love to adopt someday, but our day has not come yet. Our bio children are young (currently 4 & 9) and when we began this journey, I was quite eager to adopt and “complete” our family. However, nothing is ever definite, or done in a timely manner in foster care. The name of the game is patience and finding joy in the moments you have together. Never looking to complete things, but rather enjoying the journey. I see now that we may never “complete” our family, but we will have helped some sweet souls along the way.
Some other articles you may enjoy:
Fostering Against Stereotypes
4 Ways to Support Foster Parents