Stories of Friendship, Family, Fun and Food.
All the way from the Emerald Isle!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Fostering: give care or accommodation to

I was raised by wolves foster parents. In saying that, and many of you already know this, they were my biological parents but foster parents to a gazillion other babies/children. I cannot remember how old I was when they started fostering, but as I trawl through the memory banks of my childhood, it seems like there was always someone else's baby in the bassinet. For that matter, fostering was 'normal'.

Moving ahead at warp speed to present day, as I sit hear mothering my two non-biological-adopted children, I have my Mum to thank for giving me that experience as a child. She has always (always) said that 'the best present you can give a child, is another child'...

Although it is not something I will be blogging about (mostly due to child privacy/protection laws), the Chef and I have recently become foster parents. I think in my mind I was always in that frame of mind. Having a lengthy history in the service industry 'giving care' is probably what I do best. Well, year-end exam results posted last night reveal I am pretty darn good at the academic stuff too, but you catch my drift.

Very similar to the experience with local adoption in the US, we wrapped up our fostering training classes in December and by the third week in January we had been introduced to our first little taste of what was to come. We now 'give care' to three little girls and their baby brother (all of eastern European descent).

Before you fall off your chair or choke on your coffee, it is not a full-time permanent thing. The children are (like most in the system) in long-term foster care with a wonderful family that live very near us. We simply offer a break to this family every couple of weeks and take the girls (and sometime the baby boy) for a weekend. During the summer we will see lots of them (like the whole month of June!) and then once we all go back to school in September we will resume periodic weekend respite as needed.

The three girls and my two crumb catchers are thick as thieves already. The Chef and I were a little worried about what kind of an impact this would all have on our WiseFoursome but of course all our two 'want' is to have more kids around! There is a lot of extra snuggle time at bed time and I pay closer attention to what I 'overhear' in the hallway, but for the most part they will end up having an understanding of what 'fostering' is all about. 

Just like I did.

I know there are lots of my friends (both here in Ireland and across the pond in America) that have thought about (or are thinking about) adoption and fostering. It is not something you can get into lightly. There is a lot of paperwork, psychological evaluations, home inspections, medicals, financial stability, driving history ...... and lots more that the state will want to nose their way in on. Several months of class/training has to be undertaken to become certified to prepare you for the normal/worst case scenarios of the children that 'might' be placed with you.

Just 'Do It'...

Armed and ready to embrace all that is hurtling towards us at break neck speed, we are still unprepared for the question that a lonely little child asks at bedtime:

'Can I call you Mommy?'

Those are all the WiseWords I have for today as I load the 'MomMobile' and take ALL the kids to the beach for breakfast! 



Becca said...

This post made me tear up. I admire you for opening up your home and your heart to children in need of foster parents, and it's lovely to see how they are thriving under your love and care. Hope the MomMobile is running well! :)

Lorna said...

Lovely to read this. We have 2 birth kids and have just sent in an application to adopt. We are hoping to adopt 2 siblings prob at pre-schooler age (international adoption).
Many people ask me would we foster. My dilemma with fostering is how on earth could I let them go back to their natural parents (even if things had worked out and all was on the straight and narrow), Hope you all have a great time having a beach breakfast :-)

WiseMóna said...

@ Lorna - that is lovely and best of luck with it! Adoption is the most wonderful thing - needless to say we have had a great experience with our two. Fostering is equally great, just in a totally different way. I know that it is hard to 'give them back' but here (are you in IRELAND?) the HSE makes sure they do not go back to the birthparent unless the quality of life is equal to or better than the foster family life. You will make a huge difference to a child's life be they with you for a month or longer. Great to read your comment and best of luck!

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