A friend recently sent us an e-mail asking for prayer as they are considering adopting from an agency or pursuing foster care with the hopes of adopting. The following are 10 things from my experience that expand on my response to our friend. Today, I’ll share the first five.
Consider Your Motives
There’s a belief in some circles that becoming a foster parent with the intention to adopt is bad. I disagree. Adopting is expensive, prohibitively more so than rearing a child in some cases. And, don’t foster children without the opportunity for reunification deserve “forever families?” But, if you go this route, remember that by its nature, foster care is temporary. You have to be prepared to love and let go many times before you receive your forever child.
Consider Your Priorities
Children are not removed from wholesome, happy, safe homes. In other words, as a foster parent, your child will have issues. Some will fade quickly. Others, will require work, like a five-year old that doesn’t know how basic hygiene. Others require intensive love and therapy, like a child that has been sexually assaulted, starved and beaten. What an opportunity to care for one of God’s creations. But, what a need from you of your time, energy and commitment.
Consider Your Network
You will need a strong support system. Or, you will at least need to know where your friends and family stand. We’re blessed with a large network of friends and family, many of whom have volunteered to go through layers of background checks to be babysitters for us, per our county’s rules. But, we also know where we’re not invited and to whom we don’t speak of fostering. And, there are those friends who pray for us, allow us be human and bear our struggles and our weaknesses with us. You need those too.
Consider Your Patience
Have you ever been in a five-hour tantrum? What about a standoff with a four-year old? Have you ever been forced to wait forever for a government employee to do this or that? What about filling out form number 10 just to be seen at the doctor? Or, have you had to reteach a child a basic task for the 15,000th time? And, then there’s my personal favorite, not slugging a doctor who says (in front of child), “well you’re just the fake dad.” Foster parenting requires patience. Lots and lots of it.
Consider Your Fortitude
Foster children are some of the most defenseless creatures on earth. They’re emotionally, physically and spiritually beaten to a pulp in many ways. As the foster parent, you’re often the only one that’s their true advocate. At times you’re the diplomat, you’re an attack dog, you’re the protector, you’re the advocate and so much more. We’ve had to remind our kids about the ugly truth about biomom and get loud and a little rude to get services. It’s gonna take fortitude. Do you have it?
We’ll look at the other five things tomorrow. What do you think about the issues above? Tell me in the comments below.