My mom is still going through old paperwork, and one of today's finds was so funny that I had to share here... Please, take a look at the note for yourself. I had to take a picture because my mom and I couldn't believe that she had actually written this note to herself.
We don't have any idea what this note means, but it's an odd one. Why would there be orange kangaroos in Denmark? Why did my mom need to remember that there weren't any orange kangaroos in Denmark? Sometimes going through old belongings just leaves you super confused, but at least it's fun to get a laugh once in a while!
"We were foster parents for 6 years. We have been 'retired' for 3 years now."
Do you do respite, short-term, or long-term care?
"We did all 3 types of foster care, but primarily long-term."
How many children have you taken in over that period of time?
"We had 35 foster children during the time we were foster parents, which includes children we had for respite."
Do you limit your care to a certain age group? If so, what ages do you take in?
"For long-term placements we only took children younger than our youngest child, who was 3 years old when we started foster care. We primarily fostered medically fragile babies. For respite and emergency situations we occasionally took school-age children."
Have you ever adopted any children? If so, how many?
"We have 2 children we adopted from foster care, who were babies when they came into our home, both with significant medical needs, and they are now 6 and 11 years old. One of our children will have medical needs for life. The other is doing well now medically. Both have intense behavioral and emotional needs."
Did you have any biological children when you started foster care? If so, how many? How old were they at the time?
"Our biological children were 3, 7, and 9 when we started foster care."
What were your biggest concerns as you started your foster care journey?
"Our biggest concerns were for the well-being of our biological children, if we could handle the needs of foster children, and fears of allegations."
What is the biggest lesson you learned from being a foster parent?
"We have learned many lessons from being foster parents. I learned how to navigate in a big, broken system. I learned when to stand up and when it's okay to let things go. I tend to be a 'mama bear,' which is great, but it's important to also realize not every battle is worth fighting or you will always be in battle. I also learned that advocating is a marathon, not a sprint. It's easy to get caught up in one judge's decision, one birth mom visit, one phone call... but even though it feels like it... these things are cumulative. If you don't get the desired outcome, with prayer and more advocating, you might get what you need tomorrow. The second lesson I learned is that I HAD to take better care of myself. If you had asked me at the time, I would have said I was taking care of myself, but I was getting really depleted over time. Burn-out among foster and adoptive parents is so high. The third lesson is that behavioral needs are part of the equation whether you think you are getting them or not. Many issues that we thought we were not getting - we got. Stuff we said we were drawing the line with and we wouldn't do, we ended up needing to handle. If it ends up being with children you've had placed with you for years, or an adopted child, you simply move forward and learn the next step. There's no turning back."
Is there anything you would change about your experience as a foster parent?
"You always wish you weren't so blind going into it, but the blindness is what gives us the pure heart to move forward in love and conviction, and that is okay. YOU DO HAVE TO BE A LITTLE CRAZY TO BE A FOSTER PARENT AND THAT IS OKAY. It's so fantastically hard to do this job. There is no pay. You have no rights. No one in their right mind would do it. Yet we do."
Do you have any words of wisdom for future or new foster parents?
"Stay informed and involved. Take good notes. Keep calling back. You aren't being annoying. And even if you are - oh well. Case workers, GALs, and others involved have tons of cases and lots going on. They are going to get busy and distracted. Your phone calls and emails will make a difference. Email is great because it leaves a trail. We later had people tell us our notes and involvement made a difference in how a case turned out positively for a child."
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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