Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Would I do it again?

This is the question posed by Kathryn, in the comments to my previous post. Would I do it again?

I've been struggling to work out my thoughts on this subject for a few days now. I mean, I am still doing it, so I guess that's one indicator, right? And PB and I talk a good game about continuing to foster even if we get to adopt one of the babies. So that suggests yes.

But knowing what I know now, would I still embark on this path? Hmmm. This is where it gets a little tricky.

See, I wouldn't trade my experiences with Baby Bear and BeBe and Lily for anything in the world, given that I have survived them. They are, without a doubt, some of the most intense growth opportunities I've ever had and I think (dare I even say this?) I am a better person for them.

But the reality is that each of my kids has heartbreak attached to them. Lots and lots of heartbreak. I can't even imagine what it will be like when Lily leaves. Cannot contemplate it. OTOH, I am really proud of the work we've done with Lily and I feel like we are making a real difference in her life.

I suspect, for me, the question in complicated by the fact that we are foster-to-adopt parents. Despite my best intentions I think there is a part of me that hopes that Lily will stay forever. Even though I try not to, I still do, because I love her and I feel like her mom. Who doesn't want their daughter to stay with them forever?

Sometimes I wonder if this would be easier if I had at least one biological or adopted child already. Because it's weird to be a parent, then no longer be a parent. I wonder if I could embrace fostering more fully if I wasn't relying on it to build a family. In fact, I sometimes wonder if fostering-to-adopt isn't about the worst idea ever. There's a post building on that but I can't seem to get it right.

Plus, we haven't even talked about the crappiness of dealing with the system. I am lucky enough to live in a county where (I think) stipends are relatively generous AND I have a great caseworker. But, the fact of the matter is that foster parents are often treated like glorified babysitters... sometimes just babysitters. That's hard, when you are pouring all of your effort into doing the very best for the child in your care.

It's also hard to realize that child protection is not really about children or protection.... well maybe it is about protection on second thought, but mostly protecting the state against liability. It's hard to watch months and months of a child's life be frittered away in limbo, simply because their current placement is satisfactory and there aren't enough workers to go around. And it sucks to actually hear a c/w say "Yes, most of our kids have attachment disorders... there's pretty much no way around it," in regards to a one-month-old infant.

Finally, knowing what I know now, about the need for foster parents, about the crappy foster parents some kids have to live with, about the wonderful foster parents who have been doing everything they can for years... well... that makes it *really* hard to just walk away, makes it hard to say "No, I wouldn't do it all over again."

Even though I sometimes want to.

9 comments:

Yondalla said...

I think I know what you mean about foster-to-adopt. On one hand it seems the most reasonable for the kids. If they come up for adoption the family they are already attached to may adopt them -- fewer moves, less trauma. Sounds great.

On the other hand, parents are asked to work towards goals that are contrary to their motivation for getting involved in the first place. We are asking people to live and work in a state of internal conflict.

It does seem like the worst idea ever -- except maybe for the alternatives.

FosterAbba said...

The whole system is just so broken. What's worse, I don't think there's really a way to fix it.

Rebecca said...

I don't think foster to adopt is a bad idea. I do think our county's implementation of foster to adopt is a terrible idea. I understand there aren't enough foster families for the kids that need the families, but it's not right to place children in which there is no chance for adoption with a foster to adopt family. It's contrary to the family's end goal, and it's not right to expect this family to just not feel anything about being treated as a babysitter. You have stated your goal. It would be nice if our county, like others in our state, respected your goal and put a few more odds in your favor.

JUST A MOM said...

yyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyep

BuckeyeFosterMama said...

I can't wait to read your post on why foster to adopt is the worst idea ever - I have though that myself and wondered if we should switch to straight adoption.

While my heart is breaking b/c we have just been confronted with the fact that our little one is probably leaving. We are still in the yes we would do it again column. I feel this is how our family is supposed to be built, its just hard not knowing which children will get to stay and which ones will leave. But I know, eventually someone will get to stay.

Jody said...

I have to agree with the other comments. We are a foster-to-adopt family. We've been told our little girl wouldn't leave. She did. If Hubby would have gotten his way, we'd no longer be foster parents. It's HARD and that's an understatement at best. BUT...where would these kids be without us? If we had quit last Nov when G left us, we wouldn't have Em & JP now. Yes they are older than we originally thought we would accept as an adoptive placement, but it just feels right.

Good luck with it all. It is very hard to work towards re-unification when you know it won't work, but it's what we have to do sometimes....afterall, it's called FOSTER to adopt and we all know what FOSTER CARE means.

I have pics of all of our foster kids on the wall...it's my FOSTER CARE FAMILY WALL. Whether they were with us for 1 year or 7 days (as the case may be longest stay to shortest stay) they are "our" kids and will always be a part of our family.

FosterMommy said...

Yup. That.
It's the weirdest thing ever to be a parent without a child.
I wouldn't take back my experiences with any of our fosters (well, except Joy...) but was it a Good Idea to get into foster/adopt? I can't rightly say....

Robin said...

Wow! That was so well said I don't really have a comment except I can't imagnie how you are still so positive; but I really admire it!

Cookie's Mom said...

FWIW...once we had Cookie all ours permanently, it was so much easier for me to foster again. We had a baby for 3 weeks that then left to go to family, and I didn't even cry (now, 3 weeks isn't long, I realize). But now we are forever parents and no matter what happens, no one can ever take her away. So, for me - yeah, it got way easier. But if anyone dares take away Honey Bun, I may have to go to jail for what I would do to them. *ahem* Yeah, so, um. It still sucks A.

For us, it is still the best. 4 kids left before Cookie stayed forever. And we got our babies right from the hospital - an amazing blessing right there.

So, we'd do it all over again.
Wait...we are! LOL