Fostering Hope…or Sabotaging Self?

For weeks I’ve been forming a blog post in my head about the positive reasons to host foster children in one’s home–especially for couples who want children and haven’t been able to have any.  I was going to write about how these children can really benefit from a safe and loving home, how perhaps these children can see a better way to live and stop the endless cycle of issues that result in generations of poor parenting, and maybe even fulfill the adults’ own needs to nurture a child without having to resort to other more exhausting and expensive methods.  But then reality keeps getting in the way…

I used to post on my blog quite frequently.  That was when I had time to think.  It’s been almost a year that we’ve had our girls…about the time when my blogging (among other things) slacked off.

It’s been an interesting year.  We’ve seen many changes in both the girls and ourselves.  I thought I was going to die from exhaustion the first month or so…but the upside was I lost a good 10 pounds while still shoveling in my normal daily truckload of food that I so enjoy.  Some days, everything that could go wrong did.  Bonus Baby was a tiny hyper bundle of energy that got into EVERYTHING!  If it was within her reach, it got dumped, spilled, torn or broken.  She was dropped off with her sister with only the diaper on her butt–and I only realized this after the caseworkers left and I didn’t have a car seat yet to go out and get her more.  Luckily Youngest Son just happened to stop home on his lunch break so he got to watch her spit cracker crumbs everywhere while Bonus Child helped me figure out what size diapers to buy.  That first month also brought about a frenzied drive to a family visitation an hour away that completely slipped my mind until reminded about it a half hour before we were to be there and I had only a vague idea how to get there; hosing off poopie undies and finding little brown commandoes in the pool during the summer months of toilet training; finding Baby had puked in her bed one night and managed to get chunks all through her hair (blech); and Baby waking up the morning she was scheduled for surgery with a fever and me not knowing what the hell I was supposed to do because the one thing everyone had stressed was not to cancel this appointment–and no one was around to take my call so I could tell them she got sick overnight!!

Then there’s the age span.  My boys were all very close in age and could entertain themselves and be amused by the same things.  We got baby dolls and Bieber fever here.  And sibling battles and mom as referee are once again part of our family life!!

Despite all the craziness, there are priceless moments.  Bonus Baby has grown into a bright precious assertive little girl that sometimes has us doubled over laughing at her comments and observations.  Bonus Child, when not trying to get on my last nerve, is helpful, sweet and very loving toward me.  I never thought I’d have so much fun shopping for girl clothes, and the boys never thought they’d be buried alive in glitter!

Then there was last weekend.  No school on Friday.  Both had friends over.  Mom breaking up fights all day.  Them squirting the hose everywhere.  Getting in my car when they know they’re not allowed and throwing “caterpillars” (tent worms) in my back seat.  Sticky floors and door knobs throughout the house.  Baby dumping hundreds of tiny sticky pieces of candy all over their bedroom from her sister’s candy making kit while I thought she was taking a nap.  Dad and Youngest Son enjoying a lovely game of golf…while I have yet to use the tips I learned from the golf lessons I took last spring.

Sometimes I feel like I was led to this decision.  And other times (like last weekend) I wonder if I secretly hate myself.  We were home free.  We could sleep in, go out anytime we liked, and try new recipes without little people saying “yuck.”  We were done with homework, Scout meetings, and chauffeuring.  We were done catching every stinking cold that was making the preschool rounds.

Where is this all going?  I don’t have a clue.  Just be sure you’re very flexible if you plan to take in foster children.  Your life will be very unpredictable.  And busy.  And you just might fall in love!

6 Responses to “Fostering Hope…or Sabotaging Self?”

  1. 1 lynette May 27, 2011 at 6:43 am

    you have done an amazing thing, les, and the personal sacrifice makes it all the more amazing. what an incredible example to set for your sons in giving and family. i am so glad to hear the girls are doing so well.

    you just have to remember how to factor in that much-needed “mommy time” 🙂

  2. 3 Cyndi May 27, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    I have to hand it to you Les. My boys are 10 & 12 and when we’re around our friends with younger kids I am SO thankful that we’re out of the baby and toddler stages. I loved it at the time but don’t miss it at all. I am absolutely loving the evolving relationship I have with my boys and that we now can (when the tween attitude is at a minimum) actually have intellectual conversations. I’ll probably feel differently once they are both in full blown teenager mode. But I can’t imagine having the energy or money for 2 little ones ever again. You’re a trooper! Besides that, I see that they’ve stolen your hearts, I’m SO happy for them that they have such a great family and that you get to enjoy two little girls for the first time.

    • 4 les@mamaneeds2rant May 28, 2011 at 10:08 am

      Seriously, just like childbirth, you forget some of the torture until you’re going through it again : ) Thankfully, while they’re in foster care, they do give you enough to cover their expenses–this helped with our decision to do this because we would like Big Daddy to be able to retire someday!! But what they don’t tell you is how many of these kids end up being adopted–because they DO win your hearts! Not saying this is what happening in our case, but I have met sooo many foster parents since I’ve been doing this that have adopted multiple children, many with special needs. These are the people that are truly special!!!

  3. 5 robinaltman May 28, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    That was beautiful and made me want to cry at the honesty! You are so wonderful, Les! These girls are so lucky to have you. I completely understand why so many foster kids are adopted. When you give a little piece of your heart to these kids, it’s going to break that same heart if they go. But they now have that love inside them forever, no matter what ultimately happens. I truly believe that. You’ve given them the greatest gift you can give a child – love and stability early in their development.

    • 6 les@mamaneeds2rant May 28, 2011 at 8:08 pm

      I hope that’s true Robin. Bonus Child keeps thinking we’ll forget all about her when she leaves, and I tell her she’ll always be part of our family and we’ll never forget her. I hope if they go they will always have good memories of being here.

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May 2011

Pittsburgh Bloggers

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