Today I’m a single parent of four, working a little less than full time and going to law school half time. I’ve become an expert in juggling responsibilities, time management, and prioritization. I really enjoy helping new foster parents navigate the system. What the future holds for me beyond this current adoption is uncertain, but my heart always has room for another child to love!
For the first time in our lives my husband and I know without a shadow of doubt God's will for our lives.......Fostering. I had always thought about fostering and felt the tugging at my heart but thought there was no way we could ever do it. At that time my husband said no because he thought there was no way I could handle getting attached to a child and them leaving. We found ourselves helping a family member who had entered foster care and needed our help. After a long 18 months of helping this family member and battling through a contested adoption only to lose and see the family member returned to a bad situation we were devastated.
We witnessed first hand with this family member how the system ....all systems can fail a child. From the case worker, county, county attorney, all the way up to the judge we saw every aspect of the system fail for this child. After loosing her we still continued to hear our calling to foster care. Knowing when we stepped up to this calling we would see the system fail at times but we continue to look everyday at what we "can" do while a child is placed with us.
We have had already been approved for kinship adoption so we pressed on to become a licensed foster home. We sold our home because it was not large enough. Moved into a larger home and became licensed April, 2010. We are now on our third placement and thank God for this opportunity.
It continues to amaze me how many times people say to you, "Oh that is so wonderful that you foster but I could never do that because I would get so attached to the children". I just want to say, "Oh really, that's strange.....I've never thought of getting attached to the children"! Instead, I always respond by telling each person that the pain we feel when a child leaves us after we have gotten attached and love the child is nothing compared to the pain this child felt in an abusive and/or neglectful situation.
Thank you God for setting our feet upon this path.......
When she is not busy advocating foster care, she enjoys photography, home projects, camping, and spending time with her family- including her children's birthmothers.
Kylee - My exposure to foster care began over ten years ago, at the age of eight, when my parents made the decision to become licensed foster parents. At the time I had three older biological sisters, and with very little understanding I entered head first into this foster care world. As I innocently helped my mom feed babies their bottles in the early years of fostering, I had no idea how drastically this ministry would change my life!
Our family of six entered this journey in October of 2000 with no intention of adopting, but simply looking for a practical, tangible, ministry that we could be involved in as a family. I laugh at that now, because if there is one thing I have learned over the past ten years it is this: God's plans are so often different than our own. We were not out searching for children to adopt, but God had different plans for us! He chose to let us be the forever family to not one child, or two, or three...but to FOUR children!
So now here I sit, 18 years old and big sister to four wonderful, incredible (very challenging), adopted kids. They are currently 10, 9, 6, and 3, and all have come from different backgrounds and pasts. Over the past ten years of fostering, as well as through these adoptions, God has built within me a passion for orphans and foster children. I plan to pursue that passion by majoring in Social Work as I head off to college this Fall.
Right now though, while still at home, one thing I can do is share my experiences, as well as talk about the great need there is for foster and adoptive families. I desire to be a voice for the voiceless! I am so excited to share with y'all on this panel about what it was like to grow up emerged in the "system". I have a very different perspective of the system then many people, due to being aware about it from such an early age. I listened into conversations, met birth mothers, helped care for critically abused children, said goodbye to kids I loved as my own siblings, and learned the many negative effects of sex, drugs, and alcohol. My blog, learingtoabandon.blogspot.com, is where I write about some of my memories, as well as where I chronicle this adoption journey we are walking. With a mixture of many daily joys and struggles, I can hardly write fast enough to keep up with it all!
Mama Foster - My name is Mama Foster and I have been a foster mom ever since I was placed with my first foster daughter almost 2 years ago now. My little core family consists of me, my husband & my 8 yr. old son that I gave birth too.
It seems like a lifetime ago, but I think we started fostering to adopt. Yes, that is what is was...we were going to jump into foster care, grab our kids, adopt them, and get out.
You all can stop laughing now.
Since then I have become a real foster parent, the kind that fall in love with a child and then hand them back to their biological parent because they have no other choice. I do try to maintain a good relationship with all people involved, even the bio parents, but sometimes that just doesn't work.
Currently we are fostering because we have seen the need and cannot turn our backs on it, despite how much the system makes us want to. We have had 5 foster children so far, 3 are still with us. We also have one failed foster/adoption under our belts as well. We ended up choosing not to adopt him before he moved in, but trust me, it felt like a failure.
I am just a regular person who decided to do foster care. I ended up falling in love with a bunch of little people that are trapped in a world most people want to pretend doesn't exist. Often I want to pack up and move on as well, but I can't. These children that I have fallen in love with (that includes all foster children, not just the ones who have lived in our house) have no option to leave, so I decided to stay here and do whatever I can to protect that as much as I am allowed to.
You can follow our journey at http://mamafoster.blogspot.com/
the process to become foster parents in Jan 2007 hoping to adopt through our state’s foster care program. After a move back to our hometown and struggles with state licensing staff, we were licensed as an adoption-only home in September of that year. Not the dual-licensed foster to adoptive home we had requested. After complaining to the right person, we became dual licensed in February 2008 and officially became foster parents of 8-month-old Stinkpot on March 4, 2008. Surprisingly enough, we adopted this "foster only" boy over a year later on my husband’s 50th birthday in August 2009. An adoption success with our first placement!
Through this journey, we have also been foster parents to 4 girls (age 2-12), having to say goodbye and wonder how they are doing. We currently have a 20-month-old baby boy (Lil Bit) that we foster and will adopt him after he becomes a U.S. citizen!
On my blog, Foster2Forever.com, I share our struggles and joys of being foster parents and eventually becoming a forever family!
And last, but not least... ;-)
After struggling with endometriosis for most of my adult life, I made the decision to have a hysterectomy at the age of 30. Finally pain-free after 12 years, I knew that I had made the best decision possible even though it meant that I would never be able to carry a child of my own. I spent the next 4 years trying to find a way to become the mom that I always wanted to be.
The idea of fostering always terrified me. I couldn't bear thought of losing a child who I loved as my own, but this little voice kept telling me that this was something that I could do to make a difference. I went into foster care after many, many prayerful years. I finally began to trust that God wouldn't have planted this seed in my heart only to leave me hurting and devastated, so I threw myself into loving these kids with my whole heart. I'm not sure if I can say that I've ever fully felt God's presence until I began this journey. But I can feel the change within me as more and more time goes on, and I know that can only be His promise to heal the hurt as I love these kids and let them go. With each child who comes into and out of my life, I've found that I have a stronger sense of peace, a more compassionate heart, and a faith that I had always HOPED to have, but never really knew that I could find.
One thing I do know is that God is healing my heart beyond what I had ever hoped or thought possible. Yes, it does hurt when my children leave my home and my arms, but His promise to heal that hurt has proven true time and time again. And after every healing, I find myself more and more excited and filled with the anticipation of loving another one of these children who so desperately need me for however long I'm blessed to have them in my life.
Most days I think "I Must Be Trippin'" when I talk about all of the craziness that is Foster/Adopt Land in one breath, and how much I LOVE MY LIFE in the next. Because I DO love my life, and I wouldn't change a thing.