Monday, January 28, 2008
Being a Foster Parent Does Not Make Me A Saint
Oronzo and I have been foster parents for all of two months, since Baby Bug was delivered to us in the wee hours of the morning on 28 November.

During these past two months, we've had a lot of support from family and friends (in-person and on-line) and the encouragement has meant the world to us however, I must confess that I've been caught off guard and feeling a bit uncomfortable by comments that make Oronzo and I out to be saints for being foster parents.

One well-meaning friend's comment stands out in my mind, "You're so noble to be fostering this baby girl."

A family member said, "It must be so hard to get attached and then have to give her back. I couldn't do what you're doing. "

Let me assure you that Oronzo and I are not noble people and we're certainly not the saints that some people try to make us out to be. We are ordinary people who actually became licensed foster parents for selfish reasons, so that we could adopt a second child. And anyone reading my blog consistently knows that it took me a good year to let go of my fears of fostering and take the plunge to get licensed. As might be expected, I have good days and bad days when it comes to fostering.

On the bad days, I have a tendency to dwell on the likelihood that Baby Bug will be returned to her parents, possibly in April. I feel down, I shed tears, I worry about what kind of life Baby Bug will have after she leaves us, I wish she could stay with us and become a part of our family forever, and I wonder how letting her go will affect our family emotionally.

On the good days, I'm able to focus on the positives of fostering this precious baby girl. I've had the opportunity to help a failure-to-thrive baby grow and flourish into a happy, healthy baby that is quick to smile and is beginning to laugh out loud. I've watched in amazement as her parents have done everything that the state has asked of them, with 100% compliancy. It's clear that Baby Bug has a family who loves her and wants her back. I'm seeing the "system" actually work in the way it was intended to work and it feels good to be doing our part to allow that to happen. I'm even surprised that Oronzo and I are interacting with Baby Bug's parents in ways we never expected to be comfortable with (sharing notes and pictures pertaining to Baby Bug, striking up conversations at court hearings and team meetings, getting an invite to walk through their apartment when dropping Baby Bug off for one of her supervised visits, etc.).

Not long ago two bloggers left comments that caught my attention and made me reflect on the benefits of sharing our foster care experiences with others.

abebech wrote:

Thanks so much for sharing about baby bug. Dh and I have been having long talks about fostering, in large part because of the way it's working out for your family.

Happy Momma wrote:

Maybe the Lord is going to use your family and this experience with baby bug to shine light onto the Foster Parenting system. It far too often gets a negative wrap and yours may show others that not all of it is so negative.

It warms my heart to know that by sharing our personal experiences with foster care, a family such as abebech's is talking about the possibility of one day becoming foster parents. I know fostering is not for everyone (for the longest time I didn't think it was for me) and that's okay, but if sharing our experiences helps a family to at least consider it, than I am happy to share.

And, until receiving Happy Momma's comment, it honestly didn't even cross my mind that the Lord might be using our family to shine a positive light on Foster Parents. I'm more than happy to be used by the Lord in this manner, but please don't consider me a saint. Nothing could be further from the truth. I'm simply an ordinary woman who is taking it day by day and trying to do my very best for the children that come through our door, no matter how long they're meant to stay. There are many others like me out there.

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6:00 AM

At 3:54 AM, Blogger heidi @ ggip said...

What a great post about sharing your honest feelings about the whole thing.
I feel like I have to comment on the idea that some other people feel that "they couldn't do it themselves." I think so much of what we do that seems noble is just stuff that we do because we have to. We are dealt a certain set of cards, and it is our job to deal with them the best we can.
However, I think it is good to see that you actually chose this to be vulnerable to this situation, and that isn't something that everyone will be able to do.
I very much agree with this shining a good light on foster parenting in general. Thanks for sharing.

At 5:19 AM, Blogger PR said...

I, personally, would never consider you a saint for being a foster parent. Especially a foster parent with an adoption agenda. I do commend you for stating that the real parents are doing everything they can in an effort to get their kid back. Most of the other foster parents I read would do everything possible to bash them and thwart their reunification efforts because they had fallen in love with and want to adopt the child.

At 6:20 AM, Blogger Chrissy said...

May you give and receive all of the blessings intended for this time. :-)

At 6:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think your ability to do this despite your ambivalence makes you a very strong person, even if you are not a saint.

At 7:56 AM, Blogger The Stepford Stepmom said...

Back in the day, I worked in public safety and had a lot of contact with foster agencies. It seems to me that being a foster parent is either the easiest hard job you'll ever have, or the hardest easy job. Some days, all it takes is love and devotion and tenderness to a child who needs it probably more than anybody can realize. And I think it's so easy to love a child, even if it does hurt to do so sometimes. But on other days, you've got to deal with the other stuff... Custody battles, worry and fear, heartache as the child is returned to their parents (maybe forever, maybe until they need another foster). Some days are just so easy, and some days are just so hard.

In the end, you might not be a saint for what you're doing, but you're certainly (no matter what your motives) agreeing to do something most couldn't, and you have a profound impact on the life of another. That's certainly something.

At 8:42 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

I so get this. I'm amazed and often dumbstruck by comments people have made to me about adopting. People will comment on how lucky our daughter is to be adopted, and then make outlandish statements about China. I know we'll always be an obviously adopted family, since we're a transracial family, so I have given lots of thought on how to respond. The bottom line is that we didn't adopt to "save" a child, but to create our family. We adopted for very selfish reasons. We wanted to love and raise a child. We are the lucky ones.

At 11:46 AM, Blogger Amanda said...

I agree. I feel very uncomfortable when people tell us what good people we are. It's my privelage to take care of Lily for however long she stays.

And the most annoying is the "attached" thing - I've heard it a hundred times. Of course you would get attached, JUST LIKE I DO. But that doesn't mean you couldn't do it.

I am glad you have a good relationship with the bioparents. That's very important.

At 5:03 PM, Blogger Kara said...

I, too, commend you for your dedication to this child. God has a plan and even if Baby Bug doesn't get to stay in your family you have experienced the joy that comes with unconditional love. I'm sure you will continue to be blessed:)

At 6:23 PM, Blogger on the Rock said...

I agree about the wide range of mixed emotions, and yet your "selfish" act can also be a Godesend to someone else. There's so many levels to all of this.

Hubby and I were prepared through our agency to adopt through the foster system or find a relinquishment adoption. We were so set on finding a young sibling group. But it seems God has other plans for us. Drop by for our update:)

Yet I sure appreciate everything I've learned about the foster system from our experience.

At 7:17 PM, Blogger Clickin Mama J said...

I work with children in foster care and I have seen the benefits of kind and generous foster families. I'm always grateful that people step forward to foster. Honestly the impact foster parents have on children and their biological parents is an amazing thing to witness. So often foster parents are the ones that help bio parents by showing a positive example. Thank you for being one of the great non saints! :-)

As for the comment you left me about the blog carnival I'm really excited that you want to participate. 10 posts would be quite a few. But I was thinking if you submit the first one then I could let the folks know you have 9 follow up posts to that one.

At 9:22 PM, Blogger threesidesofcrazy said...

I think you can boil it down to 'A Leap of Faith'. You took it and that is what makes you a special couple no matter your adoption agenda. Stepping up to the plate to become foster parents is admirable. Learning to interact with baby bug's parents was a necessity, but doing it with such open kindness is is what makes you special.

At 12:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I worked with troubled youth, many did not have a helping start. What you are doing now is a good thing. You are not only helping baby bug but her family as well. They are focused and trying to the best for their baby girl, something they needed help with. I think when people do something outside the box others feel like they are not doing enough therefore place the people on a pedestal. Sainthood, probably not but you are still doing an amazing thing for that family and hopefully your own. Just my thoughts.

At 11:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I grew up in foster care. Some licensed, some chosen loosely by family and people my mom knew. I had one very precious home. This family loved the Lord and forever changed my life. One licensed family who took only one child in, me. Then they conceived after seven years of trying. I moved on, but in my forties I share the story of them, from over thirty years ago. They made all the difference. Who would have known? Bless you guys as you look to complete your family and comfort orphans along your way! You are not saints, but to a child you may seem like angels.

At 6:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you sicken me.

God would never appoint you - to shine light on others.God doesnt endorse selfishness and greed.

You outright said we're not saints we're doing this to adopt.

As a Christian, I'm outraged.Foster parents are just that - are there for a temporary amount of time until the courts decide who will raise the child.

youre nothing more then a baby theif. May God have mercy on your soul lady.

At 11:22 AM, Blogger Ms. Kathleen said...

I think it is fabulous that you are sharing your feelings. Larry and I got licensed but never did foster care due to our daughters situation. We were guardians of a teenage girl for several years. She eventually went to Boys Town, which was the best thing for her. During that time we were still her legal guardians.

I firmly believe it takes a special kind of person to do fostering. My youngest sister and her hubby have been foster parents to teens for about 5 years now.

I also don't think your reasons are at all selfish. Wanting to adopt is a wonderful thing to do and I know God will bless you mightily.

Sainthood? That comes later ♥

At 11:26 AM, Blogger Angi said...

Ya know, often people (myself especially) go around "feeling sorry" for so and so, or "wishing they could help" or "wishing things were different" - but it takes a special kind of person to do something about the situation they are referring to. It's the "do something" people that make a difference in this world. The "do something" people are ordinary people who do extraordinary things. Thanks for listening to the Lord's nudging and being one of the "do something" people in the world.

At 3:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is very hard being a foster parent. So many mixed emotions. A lot of rollercoaster rides emotionally. To put the child's needs first above yourself (which is what you are doing) is a great thing especially when you aren't going to be adopting her. Saint, YES you are a Saint. I have still not gotten used to all of the praise and kindof brush it off. I think I am the lucky one for being able to adopt my three foster children. Sometimes GOD sends praises to encourage us because GOD knows we foster parents certainly need it! Keep up the good work!

At 9:23 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

Thanks for sharing your honest thoughts on this subject. Not that our situations are the same, but I've heard some similar comments about raising Kayla and I just want to say the same thing as you did! We're not doing anything extraordinary or special for raising our daughter - that's all we're doing - raising our daughter! I wish people wouldn't think we were any different or special for doing so.

I can certainly understand your mixed emotions - or having good and bad days, I'm sure I would be too. I imagine it's hard to tell your heart NOT to get attached knowing she will most likely be reunited with her birth parents. But like you said, it must be a good feeling knowing the system is working like it should be in this case and her parents are following through and showing they do want to raise their daughter - and in the meantime you guys are making a positive impact on her life.

At 10:01 AM, Blogger Jenn said...

My hubby and I have talked about fostering-to-adopt for a while now. I'll be reading your blog with interest to see how things go for you guys! Thanks for sharing your journey with us!

At 7:43 PM, Blogger asdasd said...



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Name: Overwhelmed

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It wasn't supposed to work this way...Parts 1 through 10

(the story of the private, domestic adoption of our son)

(Part 1)
(Part 2)
(Part 3)
(Part 4)
(Part 5)
(Part 6)
(Part 7)
(Part 8)
(Part 9)
(Part 10- Adoption Finalization)

Fostering isn't for the faint of heart!

(our journey to adopt again through foster-to-adopt, the good, the bad, & everything in between)

Adoption #2- considering the State
More Adoption #2 thoughts
Adoption #2- Back to considering the State
Adoption #2- The Paperwork (Round 1)
Adoption #2- The Paperwork (Round 2)
Family Foster Home Licensing Prep Checklist
Adoption #2- Long overdue update
PS-MAPP class homework assignment
Our preliminary home inspection went well!
Adoption #2: Licensing update
Adoption #2- Foster Facts
Adoption #2: I love it when things go my way!
Adoption #2- The home inspection
Adoption #2- We failed our home inspection!
Adoption #2- We passed the follow-up home inspection!
Adoption #2- Still waiting
Adoption #2- We're getting closer
Adoption #2- An update & a lead
Adoption #2- The lead that didn't pan out.
Adoption #2- We're licensed!
Adoption #2- We have a tiny baby here!
Adoption #2- Update on this precious little girl.
Adoption #2- Quick update on Baby Bug
Adoption #2- Baby Bug is staying longer!
Adoption #2- Baby Bug is growing!
Adoption #2- Overdue update on Baby Bug
Adoption #2- The latest on Baby Bug
Adoption #2- Shopping spree for Baby Bug
Being a Foster Parent Does Not Make Me A Saint
Adoption #2- Another Placement Call!
Adoption #2- Placement Meeting- UPDATED!
Adoption #2- We have Boo at our home!
Adoption #2- Meeting Boo
Adoption #2- I'm angry on Boo's behalf!
Adoption #2- A Birthday Party for Boo
Adjusting to three 3 and under!
Stressful moments in fostering.
Adoption #2- Update on our foster daughters
CPS Workers Jerking Our Chain!
It's getting much worse!
Fostering: Update on Baby Bug
Fostering: Update on Boo
The effects of fostering on Snuggle Bug
The time is drawing near to let go of Baby Bug.
Good conversation with Baby Bug's dad.
Boo has a Permanency hearing coming soon!
My heart is breaking!
Bittersweet news about Baby Bug.
Next Friday is going to be tough.
Packing up Baby Bug's belongings
It's done- Baby Bug is gone.
Working on finding peace, one day at a time.
Referral to the Early Intervention Program
Baby Bug update
Home Inspection for re-licensing
Parole granted for Boo's bio mom
Baby Bug is turning 1 year old soon.
Day 2 of Boo's permanency hearing
A prayer answered today!
Attending Baby Bug's 1st birthday party
Foster news
Good news for Boo's case
Boo's bio family visits
Termination Trial date set!
A new caseworker for Boo
I've been asked to testify in court.
Court hearing for "John Doe"
Contested termination trial begins tomorrow afternoon
Boo's adoption has been finalized!

Favorite Ingredients Friday (Super Bowl Sunday Edi...
A Feast Fit For A King
WFMW (Homemade Play Dough)
That's A Wrap! (For Your Baby)
Things I Learned While My Son Was In Daycare
Pay It Forward Book Exchange Winners!
Favorite Ingredients Friday (Ham and Potato Soup)
Adoption #2: We went on a shopping spree for Baby ...
Favorite Ingredients Friday (Pie Edition)
Adoption #2: The latest on Baby Bug

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