I have always been an independent woman; I’ve also known that I’ve always wanted a child. I’m an ‘“all in or not at all” kinda gal, so I decided to foster a child, with the intent to adopt if he or she did not return to their birth family.
The process took longer than my patience would allow. When I finally got the call asking if I would take a baby, I nearly jumped through the phone answering “Yes!” I took my mom with me to pick up the child. As we entered the room, the social worker said to the staff: “We found takers for this baby.” I could not believe my ears. I thought: You’re talking about my baby! It was definitely meant to be, because I got peed on before we even left the building.
I do not think there is any way anyone can prepare you for the emotional journey you take as a parent. I believe that children, no matter how young, need to have things explained to them in an age-appropriate manner. I was careful with my promises: As a foster parent you have limited rights to the child, so none of the legal decisions were in my hands. I could not guarantee “forever.” I shared those messages, but with a careful, methodical approach.
What followed was a long, three-and-a-half year roller coaster ride that featured visits with the birth family, court dates and a heavy heart. I look back and I feel as if I were frozen in “leaning forward” that whole time; waiting and hoping for what the next step would be. I could have dealt with my child going back to the birth family if, in my heart, I knew it would be best; though I’m not saying it wouldn’t have killed me.
Whether you’re a mom for a day or an eternity, you must do what’s best for your child, no matter how much it might hurt. And as a foster mom, you must walk a fine line to make sure that you are advocating effectively for that child, even when emotions are involved that make your heart feel like it might explode; especially when your child’s fate is out of your control and you want only the best for them.
On adoption day, I was both a mess and the proudest mom ever. I think I almost appreciate my adopted child more than if I’d given birth myself. I’m now that annoying mom with treat bags at every holiday, and am cherishing every moment of it. I still wake up and think about how I have been so blessed to be a mom. I still look into my child’s eyes and see pure love.