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Don't Adopt from Foster Care

"Don't Adopt from Foster Care"

Isn't this a blog about Foster Care and adoption? Why is the title, "Don't Adopt from Foster Care"?

I literally heard these words from a friend of mine who was a social worker by trade. I think she had quit her job and was teaching a few classes to potential foster parents. She heard a lot of stories. Linda* also knew our desire to have a boy.

Linda, like so many, had our best interest at heart. She knew, most likely from the second-hand experience, that foster care was hard. Foster kids could be hard. As a social worker, she had probably heard the full-gamut of stories that could be told. Our conversation went like this...

"If you can have your own kids, then you should," she said.

"Well, we just want to make sure we have a boy," I selfishly replied. "We've always wanted a boy, You know."

"Yes, but the kids in foster care have so many problems," she explained.

"What do you mean?" I was confused a bit here. So was my husband.

"They have problems."

That was where it ended. Or at last, that was where I stopped listening to her.

Problems? With Foster Kids?

I had no idea, really. However, we knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that whatever the "problems" were, our love could fix the problems.

Consequently, our parenting style could do the trick to "solve" the problems. We had one child and she was an angel. Multiple times we were complimented on our parenting style and her good behavior. [insert slow pat on the back here]

We were great parents! [insert sarcastic eye roll and giggle like "yeah right, we lucked up with that first child, perhaps..."]

Linda, the social worker, did not understand the drive for us to do this "thing". Although we did wait several years before adopting and this conversation left my mind for many years until I experienced a few real "problems". Actually, that is another blog post for another day; or several other posts for several other days.

So many friends had seemed almost queasy at the idea of bringing other kids into our home when we could have "perfectly good kids of our own" biologically.

Many people state, "I could never do that." Some are right. Foster care and adoption are NOT for everyone. It's true. No judgment here.

However, there was an innate desire to bring another child into our house.

We had both gone to a church where a family had foster children. We were both intrigued.

This was in the 1990s; Sam and I would watch them bring new kids to church and some would stay a long time and some we would see once. I remember having a desire to take one of them for a ride in my car and have a talk with him.

He was a lemon-headed boy.

This kid a very beautiful boy of about eight years old.

Don't Adopt from Foster Care?

I'll be honest. I did not understand foster care at that time. Neither did I know the reasons children go into foster care and the realities for some families. I grew up in a great home without abuse or drugs.

Perhaps I did not know it was even called foster care in the 1900s.

What I did know was that it was something I was drawn to, and it was unexplainable. I knew that someday, somehow, I would bring kids into my house like the Neely's.

Later in life, I did just that. In ten years we had over 24 children come into our home. We loved them, cared for them, cleaned up after them, fed them, took them to the beach, and watched them grow...

...some have returned to their parents,

...others have gone to a new, adoptive family,

...others, I don't know where they are right now, but I think of them often

Don't Adopt from Foster Care?

If I heard these words today from someone, I would say, "What?!" And I'd ask if it was a calling. Consider it. Ponder the notion. Pray. Seek. Find information.

*Linda's name was changed to protect her identity.

I'd like to thank Amber, a terrific social worker, for setting us straight on the process of adoption, the kids who need homes in the United States, and the process. Without her, we may have adopted from the Ukraine, where there is an abundance of lemon-headed boys.

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Impressing Minds is about creating value in the mind of a child through the foster parents. Imagine the mind of a child being made of play-doh, and you are about to make a permanent impression. What type of impression will you make? I will encourage you to make a soft, lasting, affirmative impression in their mind by giving tools to get started fostering, accomplishing a great foster care home, and serving the children in your care. I offer support to you and others fostering. An important element of Impressing Minds is the support that others have given to those in need.


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