Having children was a difficult decision. We knew we wanted kids, but weren't sure how to expand our family.
In my past post, I talked about all the different ways my husband and I could become a family, despite my inability to carry children. We made a plan to research all the options in depth, all at once. We called adoption agencies, looked into surrogacy costs/centers, and decided to start taking foster care classes. The classes were free, and -- even if we didn't become foster parents -- we still wanted to learn about it.
By the second class, however, we knew without a doubt that we were made for fostering. We learned how the foster system was overflowing with kids in our area. We also heard from past foster children about how a placement can have a real impact on them. We both felt moved and knew this was going to be our life.
Although we knew we could do a lot of good for the children, there were other benefits to fostering over the other options we first sought out as well.
For starters, fostering allowed us to have control over the ages and level of care of the children we brought into our home. I have always been nervous to be a mom to a newborn, as I am not able to physically carry around a baby for a long period of time and need a good amount of sleep to function. So, we decided to only accept toddlers and kids up to 12 years old (since we aren't really old enough ourselves to do older than 12).
We also knew that I couldn't be around a kid with an immune-compromised medical problem (like CF, cancer, etc.). Any other medical, learning, or developmental problems were okay, though. We also wanted to limit the number of kids in our home to two children. We felt that accepting two at a time would keep siblings together, without being too much for us to handle. We knew that saying goodbye to the kids we loved and cared for would be difficult, but it also meant breaks from parenting -- giving me time to focus on my health and medications.
After nine weeks of classes, we were licensed and ready to become foster parents! On Aug. 4, 2017, three children, aged 12, 10, and 2 years old, were placed with us. Yes, three! When the agency called, they explained that they had no place for the kids and no records on them (as they had originally been out of the state). We were a little hesitant to accept three on our first placement, especially without knowing anything about their backgrounds. However, we accepted. We wanted kids and we were ready!
We were beyond excited to receive our placement of three kids and learned a lot during the period we had all of them. We grew to love all of them, however a few months into our placement the older two were removed for private, biological family matters. We still see the older two every month during their sibling visit with their half brother, who is currently our only foster child.
It was challenging every single day, but we love the kiddos we cared for and wouldn't change it for the world. When I look back, I'm not sure how we managed with three kids -- especially now that we just have the one toddler. We learned that a lot can change, and plans don't turn out how you picture them. But, we also learned that it all works out. We learned to go with the flow more, while still being organized. We also are sticking to our original ages and numbers from now on.
Our agency has already called asking us to take on two more toddlers, but we stuck to our guns and said no. After all, I knew there was no way we could handle three kids between the ages of two and three years old. I mean, we can't even fit three car seats in our car!
Although I feel bad turning down a placement, we have learned our limit. We know we need to be flexible, but we are also being smart about our placements and fostering in the future. This is not only for my sake (health-wise), but it will also be beneficial to our whole family, including any kiddos we have in our home! We can't wait to see how fostering continues to shape our lives.