Welcome back to Taylor Talks!
For a week in which there was a day off from school, it certainly felt like it's taken forever to get to Friday! I can't even imagine what next week is going to feel like when there is an entire week of school again. The kids have had Mondays off two weeks in a row now, and it's going to be a shock when they only have a two-day weekend this time. And yes, you're right, I'm not the one going to school, so it shouldn't be tiring me out, but I do set my alarm for 6:30am every school day to help my mom with the twins, so I'm exhausted too.
Tonight's Foster Parent Friday interview comes from another blogger who's located in Utah, Mary M. Her blog discusses her personal experiences with foster care and adoption as a mother, and I have to say that it's a beautiful blog. Mary also has a running list of other foster and adoptive blogs on her site, which may be of interest to those of you who are trying to collect as much information as possible about the fostering journey before embarking on your own adventure.
How long have you been a foster parent?
"I have been a foster parent for nine years now."
Do you do respite, short-term, or long-term care?
"We take short-term, long-term, and respite placements."
How many children have you taken in over that period of time?
"We have had 12 foster children in our care over the past nine years."
Do you limit your care to a certain age group? If so, what ages do you take in?
"Up to this point we have limited our care to children younger than our oldest daughter (who is now eight years old)."
Have you ever adopted any children? If so, how many?
"All of our children are adopted - our oldest as a newborn through a private adoption and our two youngest (a sibling group) were in our care as foster children for a year and a half before we adopted them."
Did you have any biological children when you started foster care? If so, how many? How old were they at the time?
"No biological children."
What were your biggest concerns as you started your foster care journey?
"Without a doubt the biggest concern about fostering that my husband and I both shared was the pain of reunification and heartache of having to say goodbye to a child. I have learned that you have to put the child's needs above your own fears in that regard. Another foster mother who blogs, Angie, put it beautifully when she said, 'I am not afraid to grieve. I am afraid of what would happen to those children if no one took the risk to love them.'"
What is the biggest lesson you learned from being a foster parent?
"The biggest lesson I continue to learn through fostering is not to judge our foster children's bio families. People generally do the best they know how and many of the reasons for a child''s removal - addictions, abuse, neglect, etc. - are so cyclical in nature. If I had been raised in the same kind of environment that many of my foster children's parents came from then I would have many risk factors stacked against me."
Is there anything you would change about your experience as a foster parent?
"I wish that we would have taken a sibling group sooner. For many years we were cautious about fostering more than one child at a time which prevented us from taking any sibling groups. Although we've only fostered two sibling groups so far, I've found that there are advantages to fostering siblings and perhaps the greatest advantage is that they are able to help each other adjust to their new environment and not feel so 'alone.'"
Do you have any words of wisdom for future or new foster parents?
"It can be very hard not to do at times, but try not to think of your foster children's bio parents as 'the enemy.' Instead, remember that you are not just helping a child but you are a resource for an entire family unit. In many cases, these families don't have the support many other families have (such as relatives or friends who are suitable to step in and care for their children). Even if you feel like you don't have much in common with the parents of your foster child, you can find unity in your shared love for their child."
Mary talks about that shared love that the foster family and bio family share for the foster child. It's true... you may completely disagree with the biological parents, and maybe you can't understand how someone could lose their child to the foster care system, but chances are that you all just want what's best for the child. Now, personally, I know of at least one situation that my family has dealt with, where I truly believe the biological "parents" did not care for, or love, the children involved. When you talk about a physically abusive situation the likes of what these children were exposed to, there is not a doubt in my mind that the so-called parents had no love for the kids. But we did have some foster children placed with us whose parents really wanted the best for them, even if they couldn't be the ones to provide that care at the moment. For example, I once wrote about a sibling pair who was placed with us, and their mom was really looking out for their best interests because she loved them. You definitely shouldn't just generalize and say that all biological parents are 'the enemy,' as Mary put it, because you need to look at each case individually.
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!
I’d greatly appreciate it if you would share this blog with friends and family through your favorite social media sites. If you’re sharing on Twitter, don’t forget to tag me (@TayTayK02) and use the hashtag #TaylorTalks.
My family has been doing foster care since I was three years old. I'm the only biological child in my family, though I now have five permanent siblings. Having nineteen siblings over the course of my lifetime has been an incredible experience, and I'm hoping that by sharing some of the ups and downs of being the only bio kid in a foster family, other foster families or people looking into doing foster care will be able to learn a bit of what life can be like. I also like to share what life is like on my journey to becoming a published author, as well as where my schooling and career choice are taking me.