…. I interview fostering parents talk with the workers at DFCS. What does it take to be this kind of parents and how can we all be of some help to over 110,000 children that need to fill a void in their lives.
In the next two segments, I’m going to write about what it is like to be a foster parent. In segments three and four I’ll write about the system. It will be difficult, because to understand what it is like being a foster parent is to try to understand what it is like being the mother of the child where the courts now have jurisdiction of your child. About how a foster mother and father feels "investing" time and their lives, love and compassion into a child, not knowing how this will affect the life of that child.
This couple lives in Gwinnett county where they have fostered over 30 children ranging from infants just a few months old to teen mothers with their own children. In this first part I write about the foster parents and the compassion and their longing to have their own family one day only to find that it was not to be. In the other two sections I will write about the system, the overcrowding the success and the failures. I wish I could write to you and tell you that there are no problems and that everything is "hunky-dory" but it is not. I never really thought much of the foster parent program, mostly because, just as most people in life today, we do not want to get involved, after all raising someone else’s child is not my problem, We all have enough problems in life without adding this burden to our lives. It’s not my fault that the parent and child relationship just happened they way it did. And I can think of many other excuses for not wanting to get involved. And that is only part of the problem, nobody wants to get involved and everyone has a valid reason for not wanting to. Unfortunately there is no easy or quick solution to this ever increasing problem, I sure wish there was. As I did my homework before writing, I found out that there are many different ways that we can help without doing the foster parent thing. But it does take involvement and it will take time and it will take some effort on the part of those who want to make a difference in the life of a troubled child.
And now the foster mother…ever since she was sixteen, she was looking forward to getting married and having children. This part is about a woman who’s one desire was to be a mother. At the age of 21 she found out that she was physically unable to have children. This is going to be a story of how a woman, a wife, overcame her disability and came to be more than just a mother, of how she and her husband fostered more that 30 children, a story of hope and heartache. A story of a woman who refused to give up on her desire to share her motherly love with so many different children who really needed a mother’s love.
It’s also about her husband, his support and help, who, at first said, "I was very leery about this and not sure that this is what I wanted to do, but now, I wouldn’t traded it for the world".
Next, what is so special about this couple.
What is it like to be a foster parent, part 2 by Nick Harmon
What is so special about this couple? Well, for starters, I would have to ask the question, what does it take to be a foster parent? How do you handle infants that hadn’t had a mother’s care because the mother is all the time absent, how do you treat children who were abused by one or more of the mother’s boyfriends? Or a teenage girl that comes to you and has a baby of her own?
How do you deal with adolescent children trying to figure out loyalty between foster parents and their real parents? What do you say when an adolescent tells you, "why should I trust any adult?"
These are just a few questions that foster parents are posed with everyday. Foster parents have to have a demeanor to be able cope with the stress and anxiety that comes with these deeply troubled children.
Becoming a foster parent means to be a counselor, to be responsible parents, a provider, to be able to see into the lives of these children and give them hope and guidance in an otherwise hopeless situation.