The Joys and Sorrows of a Foster Parenting ?
caring for foster children
Foster Parenting the Realities
My husband and I always wanted a fourth child. We decided adopting might be the best option. In speaking with the Department of Social Services we found out what a great need there was for foster parents. I knew a little about the subject already having met parents at work in the hospital. I was a registered nurse in the newborn nursery and knew the hospital often kept children longer than medically necessary while DSS was looking for foster parents.
Our home was inspected by DSS and the fire marshall. We had to have all the usual protective devices for our home including working fire extinguishers, fire alarms, etc. We were finger printed and had a SLED check run on us. We passed and were ready to go.
We had agreed to special needs infants since I worked in the newborn nursery. Little William had a SIDS (sudden infant death) monitor he wore around the clock. He had been born prematurely and weighed only 4lb 3 oz. and was therefore at a higher risk of developing heart problems and or stopping breathing.
We took turns getting up through the night with William and our first experience in foster parenting was a joy. What we thought was going to be a short placement went into months as we later found was often the case.
The hardest part was giving him love ,which came naturally ,while trying not to get attached. My son especially enjoyed spending time with William. He was only 8 years old at the time. There were frequent trips to the health clinic for well baby checks and immunizations. We were given a small allowance for clothes and diapers and food stamps for formula, although I did not like using them.
William's biological father lived in the Northeast and we lived in the South. It became apparent after a couple of months that his father definitely wanted full custody. There was still the wait for William's mother to relinquish all parental rights and for him to gain enough weight to be placed with his Dad.
After 8 months (yes 8) it was finally time for William to go home. His paternal grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and father all loaded into a minivan and made the long trip to our home.
As difficult as it was to let go of Jack we were so happy for his father, Joe. The family had dinner with us and spent much of the afternoon in our home. Both Jack's father and grandfather were teachers. Joe was a kindergarten teacher. The entire family was so happy to finally meet him. Jack had doubled his weight and was close to 10 lbs.
It was finally time to say goodbye . We tearfully put him Joe's arms and sent any clothes I had purchased that still fit. As they left I could only wonder what our future foster parenting might hold. In one year we received a card and picture of William at 18 months of age. This was one of our best parenting experiences. I may will never see William again and he may never know about me but maybe somehow my family and I made a little difference in helping this little guy get a good start on life.
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