Children in Foster Care, Forgotten Fridays, Foster ParentingJan. 20, 2017

Forgotten Friday | Can I Ask You Something? (Part 1)

People usually have a lot of questions when my foster journey comes up. Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

The homage to my childhood nickname--Why Bird--on my mantel

The homage to my childhood nickname–Why Bird–on my mantel

1. You’re not married, so how does that work?
Well, since I don’t actually have to bear the child, that cuts down on a lot of front-end complication of becoming a single mom. When I accept a placement, the social worker will bring the kid(s) to my house (usually, it’s same-day delivery). But really, after the first bit, it pretty much works the same way as any single-working-parent situation. And as much as I love it that my mom stayed home with me, that’s just not really an option, so nannies and daycare will play a role, and I’ll get used to more responsibility and less sleep.

2. Why are the kids in foster care?
These are children who have been removed from their biological family for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common include neglect, drug or alcohol abuse, inadequate housing, abandonment, physical or sexual abuse, incarceration, and/or a caretaker’s inability to cope.

3. How long will you have them?
It could be two days. It could be two years. You don’t really know walking into it, and once you think you know, it often changes.

4. How old will they be?
Technically, the rule is the parent has to be at least 10 years older than the child, but I’m not ready for an 18 year old yet. I really want to stick to kids that could easily be my kids age-wise. I also don’t need a newborn who will be up every couple of hours every night, because I won’t have anybody to tag-team, and I have to actually be awake at work. I’ve told them 18 months to 7 years, but I have some flexibility on both ends of the spectrum.

5. How many will you have at a time?
My preference is one to start, but if they have a sibling group of two that they will split if I don’t take both, then I’ll take two. I don’t have enough rooms or beds or hands for more than that right now.

6. Will they have behavioral/emotional issues?
Not every foster kid has Reactive Attachment Disorder if that’s what your asking. These kids are coming out of trauma situations, and just like adults who have experienced trauma, each child will handle it differently. Some will act out. Some will be highly emotional. Some will be desperate to please. Some will be angry. Some will be distant. Some will be clingy. There’s just really no way to know what will happen until you get in the middle of it.

7. Will you have to talk to/see the birth family?
It varies by situation. Early on in the placement, it is unlikely that I will have any contact at all with the birth family. That is for the protection of the child and myself. Depending on the parents’ adherence to the judge’s plan for reunification, I may have some contact with them as the program progresses.

8. How do you not hate the birth parents?
You know, I’ve not been there yet, but the best way I’ve been able to think about it is to remember that people who hurt others have usually been pretty badly hurt themselves. Sometimes the parents come from abusive situations, and it’s all they know. Sometimes they just don’t know how to parent because they were never parented. Bottom line, God didn’t just call me to love the kid. He called me to love the whole family.

9. Can you adopt them?
Once family rights have been terminated, yes, as the foster parent, I will have the first chance to adopt. It’s highly likely I will adopt if my kid(s) became available. That being said, I am not entering this on the foster-to-adopt track. My number one goal is always going to be reunification. God is in the business of redeeming hopeless situations, and I really want to be able to see the redemption of the whole family—just think of the ripple effect potential in that family’s community if the whole family comes to Christ!

10. Won’t it be hard to give them up?
Another way this one gets phrased is, “I could never do that because I would get too attached.” I get it, and I used to say that, too. But then I realized that the perspective in that statement is all wrong. The problem is the subject of that sentence—I. Yes, it will be hard, but it’s not about me. God calls us to do hard things, and each and every one of those children is worth it.

11. Don’t you want to have your own first?
A. I’m not married, so that’s not really an option.
B. I’m not going to love children any differently just because they do or don’t share my DNA.
C. I’ve just never been the kind of girl who felt the need to experience pregnancy or birth, so if I never have a biological child, I don’t think I’ll be disappointed.

12. You know it will be harder to find someone to date/marry, right?
Statistically speaking, yes, you’re right. There are fewer guys willing to date single moms. The good news is my chief end is not to find a man and get married. It’s to love God and enjoy Him forever. Married or single, I can do that. God never promised me an earthy marriage. If God wants me to marry, praise the Lord! That will be good. If God wants me to be single, praise the Lord! That will also be good. Someday, I get to enjoy Him forever as the bride of Christ, anyway. What more could I ask?

13. Don’t you want your kids to have a dad?
This one is tough because I have an amazing relationship with my dad, and, yes, I do want that for my kids. That’s when I get to claim God’s promise that He will be a Father to the fatherless.

Sing to God, sing praises to his name;
lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts;
his name is the Lord;
exult before him!

Father of the fatherless and protector of widows
is God in his holy habitation.
God settles the solitary in a home;
he leads out the prisoners to prosperity,
but the rebellious dwell in a parched land. Psalm 68:4-6

Anything else you want to know? Just ask! If I don’t know, I’ll find out.

K. Faith Morgan

k-faith-morganI am a dyslexic writer, asthmatic singer, world traveler with a rotten sense of direction, and single foster mom learning how to parent by God’s grace. I am foster mom to one and aunt to quadruplets. I am a southern girl, but design is my football. I can’t follow X’s on a football field, but John Singer Sargent’s portrait of Madame X makes my heart skip a beat. I believe great design can change lives, and life is too short for beige. Free is my favorite word, clearance is my second favorite word, and sesquipedalian is my third favorite word. Learn more about my fostering journey at momunprepared.wordpress.com.

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