Wednesday, November 13, 2013

{Adoption} Fostering family from the beginning

Last year you met my cousin Mary and heard her adoption story. Her family's story is continuing to unfold as they open their house to foster children. I admire Mary and her sweet, generous spirit so much. It shows through in many ways, including her family's decision to foster. These kids need love and homes, sometimes temporarily. In this guest post, Mary give us a peek through her door and shares about that experience. 

In the six months my family has been licensed to foster, we have had two placements. Our first placement was a newborn baby girl who we had in our home just three nights. Our second placement – our foster son “K” – has been in our home for three months.

K came to us as a bubbly and giggly baby boy who knew nothing of what a bedtime was. He liked to stay up and play all night long and would only nap for a short amount of time if he was being held. At 8 ½ months old, he didn’t know what a crib was and didn’t appreciate the first time I put him in one.

From the start my daughter, Penny, has acted like a true big sister. One second she is tackling him and taking toys away from K and the next instant she is hugging and kissing him and picking up bottles he drops and giving them to him. 

K has fit into the swing of things in our home from the start. And really, that’s how it should be. We want to make sure any and every child who comes into our home knows that they are a part of our family from day one – no matter how long they are with us. 

Our foster son is 10 months younger than our daughter, so it took me a couple of weeks to learn how to be a mom to two active kids. Though K is a crawler (He took his first couple of steps the other week!), he gave my daughter a run for her money with how busy he is. I get stopped in the grocery store multiple times a week with people asking me if Penny and K are twins. It is always humorous to see the look on their faces when I tell them, “No, they are 10 months a part.” People are always baffled and ask which one of the two is older.

Our experience fostering has been great, but it hasn’t been all pretty. I knew relationships with the biological family of our foster kids wouldn’t be as smooth as they are with my daughter’s birthparents, but no one prepared me for just how different those relationships would be.

K’s biological family has a ton of love for him and they all protect each other fiercely, which I can appreciate. The first few times I met them was under stressful circumstances, but they weren’t exactly nice or civil to me. I was later told by other foster parents and professionals that this was normal and that I should try to let it roll off my back. This is probably the thing with fostering I struggle with the most. Something else that has been eye opening is how the foster care system works and the professionals involved.

K will turn 1 later this month and in two short days he will leave us to live with an extended biological relative. People ask me if I am sad and, really, I am sad for him and I am sad for my daughter. My prayer from the beginning is that the Lord would protect Penny’s heart.

We hope to permanently expand our family by adopting from foster care. This can take a while since the goal of the foster care system is reunification with biological family. A startling statistic is at least 80 percent of foster children are reunified with biological family. In the meantime, while we are waiting, we will continue to welcome children into our family and show them Jesus’ love for them.

This is the sixth post in the ongoing adoption series celebrating National Adoption Awareness Month. Find all the posts here, as they are published throughout the month. 

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  1. I haven't figured out why yet, but I'm so drawn to these stories of fostering. The other night I talked at length with my aunt who fostered 79 children in total. This was many years ago but her eyes light up when she talks about those days. She began fostering to process the grief she was going through after losing her son in a car accident. While she says fostering wasn't always easy it was the best thing she ever did. She shared the main thing she learned is how there are so many people that just need to be loved. Many blessings to you and your family. Thank you for sharing your story.

  2. KristinHillTaylor11/13/2013 3:04 PM

    Whether you foster or not, your aunts simple wisdom that people need to be loved is so true. Thanks for sharing here, Beth.

  3. Matthew Steffen11/19/2013 8:10 AM

    Our mission is to brighten the lives of Foster Children all over the state of New Jersey.

    We do this in a lot of ways! For example…

    Right now we’re hosting a toy drive so foster children all over New Jersey will have plenty of presents under their tree.
    Thanks a lot. Please visit our website to know details.

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