It’s Not a Mid-Life Crisis, Is It?

Recently, one of my sons told me that one of his friends who frequently stays here said that they like being here because we seem like a normal family.  That made me feel really happy, because sometimes I feel like we’re just goofy.  I’ve matured to the point where I don’t actually worry about what other people think of me, but sometimes I still wonder.  There’s me, singing along really loudly with the radio as I do the dishes.  There’s Oldest Son, the nightstalker, with his weird insomniac sleep patterns, jabbering away about his latest video game exploits or brilliant creative invention idea in words that sometimes only a college professor would understand.  Big Daddy has the ability to disappear like a ninja, but can usually be found “playing in the dirt,” doing some new landscaping project in our big back yard.  The younger two boys, I’m sorry, I just look at them sometimes and have to crack up.  And we all joke about our dog being gay.  She’s strong and muscular, and she just loves to snuggle up to the boys’ female guests boobs.  So, normal family?  That makes me laugh.

Although I’m skeptical about how normal we may be, I know we’re a good family, and our house is a fun place to be most of the time.  There’s lots of love here, and good vibes most of the time.  And we’re ready to share.

Remember when I said I may need something to do to give my life a little more structure?  I was thinking about finding a temporary job until tax season starts to force me to get up earlier and get more things done.  And the first thing I saw when I turned to the classified ads page was an ad looking for foster parents.

This is something we’ve talked about, off and on, for years.  In fact, I had even placed a call maybe like 15 years ago, to an agency and a caseworker was going to evaluate us.  The day she was supposed to come, a huge snowstorm hit and she couldn’t make it.  I took this as a sign that maybe this wasn’t the right thing at the time, and I didn’t reschedule.  My own kids were still pretty young at the time, and while I knew we could provide a fun and loving home for another child, I kind of worried about the safety of my own children if we were given a particularly needy child to care for.  I too often read about children placed in foster homes that end up being abused as badly as the home they were originally taken out of, and it makes me angry and breaks my heart.  Recently, there were four little brothers, ranging in age from 2 to about 9, who “escaped” a local foster home to hitchhike to their father’s home about 30 miles away in Pittsburgh.  They were malnourished, neglected, and the baby had bruises.  I wanted to take them in and read to them, and kick soccer balls with them in our big back yard.

I’m not going into this blindly.  I realize any child we get may have some psychological scars.  But we’re all old enough here now to deal with that.  And I have some time on my hands, and experience to back me up.  My preference is for an elementary school-aged child, so I’ll still have a few free hours to myself to run errands and go jogging.  But I’ll have to get up early to get the child safely onto the school bus.  And I guess I’ll have the dreaded homework to deal with again!

I hope I’m not being premature by spilling the beans.  We’re scheduled for a preliminary evaluation next week.  Who knows?  We may not even make the grade.  Maybe they won’t be able to find a compatible child even if we do pass their tests.  But I feel good about this decision.  I agree with Cyndi, that we women are so much more than a mom, but being a mom brings out the very best in me.

21 Responses to “It’s Not a Mid-Life Crisis, Is It?”

  1. 3 lynette October 22, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    oh, wow, les, what an amazing decision! being a mom is the most important thing in the world to me, and i know what you mean.

    i think it is beautiful, what you are considering doing.

  2. 5 Cyndi October 22, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    Oh Les, you will be living my dream. This is so amazing, I love it! I want to be a foster family in the worst way. I’m not sure if you remember but I once blogged about a little guy who was mauled to death by his foster parent’s dog the day before he was to be moved to a new foster home. That had a profound effect on me (as I’m sure it did everyone). He was a distant relative of my husband’s cousin. He has 3 remaining brothers. They were all split up but 2 of the younger ones had foster families ready to adopt them. The older child, who is right around my oldest son’s age, was in a mental institution due to all the abuse he had suffered at the hands of his parents and multiple foster parents after that. He broke my heart. At his brother’s wake, his psychiatrist was with him the entire time. I wasn’t working then and looked into becoming his foster parents right away. We were denied because they would not place him in a home with other kids because he was already acting out the abuse he himself had suffered. I hope you do this so badly. There are so many kids out there that need a fun, loving home. And I hope you’ll blog all about it so I can live vicariously through you.

    • 6 les@mamaneeds2rant October 22, 2009 at 2:00 pm

      It’s funny how we’re alike in a lot of different ways. Like I said, it’s very early in the process and I don’t even know for sure if we’ll be approved. The guy I talked to on the phone though said so far I gave all the right answers–not that I was trying to give the “right” answers. I just told the truth. I just want to provide a safe place for a child. Seeing where some of these poor kids end up, I know I can do a much better job!

  3. 7 Tammy October 22, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    I don’t know what the criteria is for becoming a foster family but from everything that I have read on your blog I think you family would be wonderful! I admire those that can be selfless escpecially when it comes to children.

    GOOD LUCK! Many good thoughts and wishes are being sent your way.

  4. 9 Evenshine October 22, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    WOW. Huge step, but if anyone I “know” can do it, you can. Best wishes as you begin this difficult, heartbreaking process!

  5. 10 robinaltman October 22, 2009 at 5:54 pm

    I am so happy for you! What a wonderful thing to do. I’ve lobbied to be a foster parent for years, but my husband shuts me down as fast as he can. He has zero interest. It’s such a bummer. But I see these poor kids who need a family so badly, and I think it’s one of the best things a person can do. You guys are going to be fantastic.

    • 11 les@mamaneeds2rant October 22, 2009 at 6:07 pm

      Thanks, Evenshine and Robin. Hubby’s concerned about getting too attached and then having to let go, but I still think it’s better to offer a happy safe place, even for a short time. He’s also concerned about getting a girl, because if we had one long enough for her to start dating, he’d be a bit protective. But he’s definitely on board, and even the kids seem excited. I think we’ll get as much out of this as the child, if all works out.

  6. 12 myra36 October 22, 2009 at 11:43 pm

    Wow! What a heart-warming, humbling, and beautiful thing to take on.

    Sending good thoughts and best wishes your way!

  7. 14 Consuella Banana Hammock October 23, 2009 at 9:40 am

    foster parents and adoptive parents are my heros. seriously, my bestfriend fostered and then adopted a sibling set. it was amazing. she has tough days but just giving those kids a safe, secure home makes it worth it. i watch her everyday. i see how those kids are blossoming and for the first time really have a chance at life. so i thank God that he calls people like you to take in children. i hope it works out for you. i only know you from here but i think you would be a true blessing to any kid.

  8. 16 nicole October 23, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    best of luck to you guys. i coudlnt think of a better family to be a foster family. just remember if you get a girl, invest in a chastity belt and all will be good lol.

  9. 18 Dawn October 23, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    Earlier today I was thinking about what I value and the value that I bring to the world. The ‘value’ of what I do with the hours I am given in a day. After factoring in the mother ‘stuff’ it dawned on me that my feminine assets are supremely valuable … dare I say priceless?

    Nothing could be more valued or more purpose-filled than loving and guiding children who have no point of reference of what a healthy parent is or what a ‘normal’ family looks like.

    I am in awe of you and your whole family. Totally fascinated, hopeful and happy for you Les 🙂

    • 19 les@mamaneeds2rant October 23, 2009 at 10:36 pm

      You’re doing a pretty awesome job in that category yourself, Dawn. Raising happy healthy children, with good self-esteem and yet without that destructive “sense of entitlement” is what is going to sustain this world.

  10. 20 Kathleen October 31, 2009 at 7:29 am

    What a beautiful thing you are trying to do. You are in my thoughts and prayers. It would be kind of funny to see my brother with a daughter…

    • 21 les@mamaneeds2rant October 31, 2009 at 2:04 pm

      I know. I’m getting more and more excited about having another rugrat around here. The rest of them all pretty much want a boy, but I keep thinking maybe I am ready for another girl around here. We’ll take whatever we get…

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