People often suggest adoption as an option for those of us who can’t have children for whatever reason. They don’t realize that it’s a long hard process, that some of us don’t want somebody else’s child, and that partners opposed to biological parenthood aren’t likely to want to adopt children either.
One option to consider is becoming a foster parent with the possibility of adoption down the road. Fostering is not an easy way to go. In many cases, the hope is that the child will eventually be able to go home to his biological parents. But nearly half never go home, which makes them available for adoption. Whether it’s temporary or forever, becoming a foster parent is a way to use your parenting energy to help a child, a way to become a mom or dad. Not the same as raising your own? No, but it can come close.
Two of my late husband’s three children were adopted as infants. They are as much a part of the family as their little brother. They don’t look the same. They don’t carry the same genes, but they are Licks just the same. Last year, my stepdaughter found her biological mother and a large biological family. This doesn’t always turn out well, but Gretchen had a wonderful reunion with her birth family, gaining a mom, brothers and sisters, cousins and more. That doesn’t take away from the parents and siblings she grew up with.
My brother adopted his wife’s son after his father gave up his parental rights. I constantly forget that he’s not biologically related to me.
Yesterday my niece’s adoption of a little boy she named Bobby became official. It has been a long process. Single, working full time, she jumped through lots of hoops to become a foster parent, with the hope of eventually adopting a child. After a year of waiting, the first child placed with her, a boy about three years old whose mother was on drugs during the pregnancy, had major behavioral problems. He didn’t speak, he rarely slept, and he threw violent tantrums. She gave him up to another family and became foster mother to Bobby, an infant. This was a much better match. The legal process took another year. Home inspections, court appearances. His biological mother had to give up her rights to the child. But it finally happened. My brother and his wife have a new grandchild. I have a great-nephew.
My father doesn’t understand why my niece didn’t just get married and have children in the usual way. How is she going to take care of a child when she works full-time? Well, she didn’t have a man, and she wanted to be a mother. Bobby needed a mother. Like any single parent, she’s making it work. I’m proud of her.
Could I have done it alone like she has? Probably not. I’m a workaholic. I have trouble taking care of my dog. I would only want a biological child. But for others, fostering and/or adopting can be a wonderful thing.
The articles below offer information and debunk some of the myths about foster adoptions. Did you know that you do not have to married, it does not cost a fortune, and almost half of foster kids wind up becoming available for adoption?
I welcome your comments as always.
“About Adoption from Foster Care”
“Curious About Adopting from Foster Care? Here’s What It’s Really Like?”
“5 Reasons Why You Won’t Adopt from Foster Care, and Why They’re Wrong”
8 thoughts on “Childless? Have You Considered Adopting a Foster Child?”
My husband and I applied for fostering to adopt because we wanted more children, and we went through all the checks. We each have a child from previous marriages and were not having any luck getting pregnant together (probably age-related; I was 37 at the time, he was 46). We were open to siblings, all ages, some developmental issues (as long as our children at home would be safe). Loving home, big house, good incomes, nice yard and camper, happy and loving extended families, caring, patient, knew what we might be walking into, etc. All was well except my husband has chronic pain and takes pretty strong pain medications for it. That was enough to have us declined from being considered acceptable. He was frustrated, but at the end of the day, I knew it was not about our egos, it’s what would be best for the children. So, I can say we really trie In the end, we still wanted more kids, so we went through fertility treatments with donor eggs and sperm and ended up with boy/girl twins. Very fortunate, but I wasn’t focused on having ‘babies’, we would have been thrilled at the time to welcome children who needed a home. It hurt to think we weren’t ‘good enough’ for the program. People shake their heads in disbelief when they find out we were not allowed to foster. I share this as I admire people who do it, but your point about fostering and adoption is so true. It’s not easy. I have been reading your blog for years as we went through our challenges, and am constantly amazed by everyone’s strength.
Thank you for sharing this. Fostering is definitely not a sure thing.
That is so sad that you were not able to foster or adopt because of a needed medication, but you were fine to just have your own children with medical interventions. I’m happy you were able to have your children, but sad for the children you could have loved that needed a home. Thank you for sharing.
Absolutely never wanted to be a foster parent. I was a stepparent and to me that was pretty much the same thing. It was a child that wouldn’t be truly mine. It would be a child that already had a mother, whether present or potentially present. Plus it would be a third person in the house with baggage. It all just seemed way too much. I sincerely admire those people who have that gift, I just wasn’t one of them.
I don’t think I ever was either, but God bless those people who can do it.
I’ve always been a fearful of the idea of fostering. In our small town, I think it would be a nightmare for a foster kid to be shuffled in and out of our school system, having to explain that the people he lives with aren’t “Mom and Dad”. Not to mention plopping a school aged kid into a home where the husband and wife wouldn’t have a clue how to do anything child-related. I mean, we’d figure it out, but could we do it successfully before this kid is shipped back to their own family?
And then mixing a kid into our extended family. My family would certainly find it uncomfortable. My dad would likely be worried about not wanting to adjust his will. Not in a mean way, just because he worries about things like this. My husband’s family has tons of small children and a few who are suspicious of others. I sense that a foster kid would be watched like a hawk and blamed for any drama that may happen.
Ah, but my husband’s cousin adopted children. And they are welcomed warmly. Babies always win over the masses. I held their latest addition this past weekend. He didn’t look like the rest of the clan, but he was so sweet and perfect. I hated to hand him back.
We’re in our 40’s. We’re just not up to these challenges. We can’t see the reward in our current lives. We haven’t been spending years preparing. Our church had an informational meeting recently and I mentioned it reluctantly. My husband didn’t jump on the idea, and for him that means something. We didn’t go.
I feel God nudging me to explore this avenue. But I told my husband once, “I could see us in a foster/adoption situation, but I think it would have to be an incredibly special child and situation.” I’m confident that God will do his will. It’s just a bit sad sometimes to be a square peg in a round hole.
Anon S., thank you for this. You’re right, fostering or adoption is not easy and has repercussions throughout the family, but when it works, it can be beautiful.
When I was teaching, and single, I looked into fostering a child who was in my classroom, but it didn’t work out. I had a friend from England who took kids in to her home for years, and she said it was a very rewarding experience but you had to always support their mom and dad and go in, remembering that they are not yours. A foster parent can’t get too attached because until they are legally yours, they are someone else’s.
My husband and I also talked about fostering a former student of mine that was always being shifted between homes, but we decided against it and she ended up getting into the best home for her.