Sunday, February 12, 2012

On Anxiety Related to Fostering

My wife and I are NOW certified to be foster parents.  This is big.  Like, life-changing big.  Our plan is to foster two children (under the age of 4) with the intent of adopting them.  Since we, at present, have 3 children, we will soon have 66% more children!  That's a big change.  Granted, it's not first-born big (an infinitely large change), or even 2nd born big (100% ...), but it's bigger than 3rd born big!  (A measly 50% ... truthfully, for all those out there, having your 3rd child is a piece of cake compared to #1 and #2 ...)

Okay, so I'm running these numbers primarily to avoid talking about how I really feel about it.  Truth be told, it's very difficult to express how I feel.  On the one hand, we've been preparing and working towards this for a long time, dutifully making changes in our house, suffering through inspections and interviews, and attending classes (CPR yesterday, yay!).

On the other hand, this is a VERY big change we're making.  My wife and I have often stated that we're quite content with life as it is, with our children getting older and more capable of doing more grown-up things.  Now we're looking to (almost) hit the reset button on all that and again have very little people around.

My wife and I are also what we call "planning people".  No joke, we often sit down and compare our calendars out to six months or more, looking at every night to coordinate what's on our schedules.  This level of organization makes our lives run pretty smoothly, but now we're doing something that will remove a high-level of control from our lives.  Consider, for a moment, the following:

  1. We don't know how many children we're getting.  We've said we'd like two, which means we might only get 1.
  2. We don't know which sex they will be.  We've said we want at least one girl, which means we might get one girl, one boy, or one girl and one boy, or two girls.  Also, the girl might be older or the boy might be older, which will have its own implications.
  3. We don't know what kind of background they will be coming from.  Clearly they will have been removed from their biological parents, which may have been the result of drug abuse, spouse abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse, neglect, emotional abuse ... there's a long list of possibilities.  Whatever their background, they will be coming with a bit of history.
  4. Their backgrounds will likely dictate the type of developmental challenges we will be faced with.  We've said we aren't willing to take any children that are handicapped or have severe disabilities (frankly, with 3 kids already, we simply can't volunteer for such a time-consuming challenge), but there's a whole spectrum of other more minor developmental challenges that they are likely to have.
  5. We don't know what kind of interactions we will need to have with the children's biological parents during this process.  We could need to take the children to extensive visits to their parents several times a week, as directed by the judge in the case.  This would be exceptionally inconvenient and time-consuming.
  6. We don't know how far along in the court process the children are.  If they have already been in the foster system, it is possible they are quite far along in the process, and their biological parents' rights may be terminated in the not too distant future ... or reinstated.  Either way, we're at the mercy of the court.

With all these uncertainties, how can we be expected to plan for all that?!  There's just no way.

But my wife and I have felt very strongly about this for a long time.  We've known in our hearts that our little family isn't quite complete, and we feel really good about this whole process.  It may be that we receive some children to care for and they end up being returned to their biological parents.  It may be that we receive some children and we eventually conclude that we aren't prepared to adopt them.  Or it may be that everything goes swimmingly ... who knows?

We do know, however, that whatever happens, we will have been able to help a few kids who desperately needed help.  Our hope is to keep them, but you never can tell.

So it is we are clearing our calendar and I've been making arrangements to take time off from work.  We've already cancelled our spring vacation (we were planning to go to Washington D.C. as a cap-stone for our two oldest children's school years, as they are both studying U.S. history this year).  We might go to the Grand Canyon, but there's just no knowing.  We'll see how it plays out.

The bottom line, though, is that I feel ...


At peace.


melissabeeh said...

I just happened upon your blog. I commend you and your wife for opening your hearts and home for more children in need. As I read through your blog, I realized that my sister and brother-in-law are doing the very thing you are and are at the same step, approved and waiting for the child or children. They for some reason haven't been able to have children. I am excited for them and will follow your blog so I can pray for you along the way. Because of loving people like you and my sister, these children are given an opportunity they may not otherwise have. God Bless!

nh shovro said...

Wishes both of you all the best.

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AyMoN said...

Very good blog.

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