I’m sure we’ve all heard a lot of different words to describe foster parents and/or foster parenting. Hopefully phrases such as, “hearts of gold” and “selfless heroes” outnumber the negative and inaccurate sentiments that too often plague this noble and challenging life choice many (but not enough) make.
Tag: foster parenting
We did not start our marriage necessarily intending to adopt. We experienced infertility, but quickly realized that there were many ways to become parents. When we learned about the countless number of girls in orphanages in China that needed a family we decided to pursue adopting internationally. It took five years to adopt our now eleven year old daughter, and once we became parents we knew we wanted to adopt more kids.
When Denise and Lee became adoptive foster parents, they were full of excited anticipation. While unsure of what to expect, they were excited to care for someone who truly needed them. That someone would turn out to be Cora--a nine year old girl who was placed in Emergency Shelter Care when her grandparents could no longer care for her. Without parents or other family, and after being repeatedly disappointed by life, Cora had little hope of finding a family of her own. Little did she know who was waiting for her.
Hi, my name is Natalie Watson, and I’m obsessed with foster care! I can’t wait to one day be a foster parent, and here’s why….
I recently started a quest with my 16 year old son to complete three endurance obstacle course races within one calendar year. The shorter of the races is three to five miles with 20-25 obstacles; and the longest is 12 to 14 miles with 30-35 obstacles. Then there is one somewhere in the middle of those two. One really important piece to know is that you don’t really know how far the race is or which obstacles you will encounter until race day. Some obstacles are even kept secret from you until you round a corner and see it in front of you.
Emergency Shelter Foster Care is just that--an emergency. The name implies that something has happened; something that is putting a child’s safety at risk and the only immediate solution is to move that child into a different home, away from whatever is causing them or triggering their trauma. As you might imagine, being placed in Emergency Shelter Foster Care is very difficult for a child or youth, and the likelihood that they will need a lot of extra hands and support is very high.
“Foster Care” has come a long way over the past couple of centuries and is yet experiencing another significant transformation. Foster care in the USA has its origins in English Poor Law, which basically allowed an abandoned or orphaned child to be forced into indentured servitude until they became of age. Kids basically became slaves for the individuals housing them. The argument in favor of this practice was that this arrangement provided children with the “basic skills they needed to survive in life.” America’s first foster child was Benjamin Eaton, age 7, in the Jamestown Colony.
No matter your spiritual beliefs, the Christmas Story provides a beautiful parallel for foster and adoptive parents, or really any of us who seek to love someone challenging.
My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. It’s a time when all across America, people stop to reflect on the things that they are grateful for. I am grateful for many of the same things as most people, however, as a foster parent, my gratitude also often comes in varied, unconventional ways. Some of the things I have been grateful for over the years might be, to some people, kind of strange. Like the time one of our boys fell asleep on the living room couch.
The more a human being has been hurt, the more natural it is to be self-protecting and to believe that the only person you can count on is yourself. But many great philosophers, spiritual leaders, artists, therapists and social scientist have come to the same conclusion: relationships are what heal.