Last week, I went on Facebook and put out an all-call for anyone interested in doing a Foster Parent Friday interview for me. I had run out of interviews to showcase, and was hoping that I wouldn't have to put an end to the interview series just yet. To my surprise, I received a question in response: What if we haven't been a foster parent for very long?
Amanda Blakely, who lives in Texas, is new to being a foster parent, and wasn't sure if I only wanted to showcase experiences from foster parents who have been caring for a long time. Actually, I was excited for the opportunity to post the perspective of a new foster mother, because I think that someone like Amanda would be the easiest person for future or new foster parents to relate to.
"A little over 2 months."
Do you do respite, short-term, or long-term care?
"Long term care. We are foster to adopt."
How many children have you taken in over that period of time?
"I have 3 boys."
Do you limit your care to a certain age group? If so, what ages do you take in?
"Yes. Under the age of 8."
Have you ever adopted any children? If so, how many?
"No. Not yet. But we are hopeful."
Did you have any biological children when you started foster care? If so, how many? How old were they at the time?
What were your biggest concerns as you started your foster care journey?
"I think my biggest fear [was] that it would drive a wedge between my husband and I. I have wanted to foster [for] my whole life and he was still wanting to go forward with IUI and IVF. After several failed attempts I was ready to find our forever kids through foster care. After he had a change of work, our insurance no longer covered fertility treatments so he agreed to start the foster care process. I have worked as a nanny for years so I know I can love a child that isn't my blood. He was unsure. After only two months he is completely in love with our youngest and now understands that blood doesn't make a family. We have found that fostering has pushed us closer together instead of further apart. We heard so many horror stories about couples divorcing after fostering kids so it was a concern but is now definitely in the rear view mirror."
What is the biggest lesson you learned from being a foster parent?
"The biggest lesson I have learned is just to roll with it. As I said before, I worked as a nanny and was used to routine. These kids blow all of that out of the water. Between CPS, CASA, our agency, school, therapy, visitation, doctors, and dentists, it is a real circus. Just be ready to go for it and be flexible."
Is there anything you would change about your experience as a foster parent?
"I don't think I would change anything. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and that changing your past changes who you are today. Taking in 3 was never part of our plan so I would say that from now on we would probably be better off with 2. We also found [that] we really enjoy younger kiddos. I think this experience of 3 has taught us a lot about us as a couple, our parenting styles, what we could work on, and where we excel. It's been a wild ride."
Do you have any words of wisdom for future or new foster parents?
"Be prepared to love these kids. We have only had ours for 2 months and I would take a bullet for them. Mine will probably be returning home and it makes me cry just thinking about it. Through the ups and downs they are YOURS and it should feel that way. I have realized that will mean that when they leave it will feel like my own kids are being taken away and it will hurt, but that is the pain that comes with the joy of being a mother, provider, and protector for these kids that need you so much."
Are you a foster parent who is interested in doing an interview for Foster Parent Fridays? Send me a message through my Contact page and I'll give you the details! I'm looking forward to sharing more interviews in the future to showcase the perspectives of other foster parents!
Thank you so much for your continued support! I look forward to sharing more stories about my experience with foster care, and hopefully hearing from readers who have questions or similar stories to share. I'm always willing to answer questions and hear about other experiences! Please don't forget to like and share my Facebook author page as well!
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