Christ calls us out of our need? Any foster parents?


#1

Just looking to open a discussion. DH and I are in an awkward financial situation. I had to quit my job due to safety concerns (some of you may remember my post months ago about a severe electric shock), and while we are not poor by any means, we are unable to repay a large sum of money owed to a family member.

It’s been two months and I haven’t been able to find a job. It seems like no one will take a degreed, experienced engineer seriously when she applies for a position at the local grocer. There are virtually no positions available in my field in this part of the world. So, I’m stuck.

Maryland has a foster care program for special needs children that includes a stipend to help with expenses and compensate the foster family. Lately I’ve been very drawn to this program. Now, I will admit, my first thought was “Wow, this would be great, I would be able to stay at home, making me available to start a family with DH, and we would still have enough leftover to pay grandpa back, albeit slower than we had planned.”

DH does not like this idea. He calls my motives are selfish, but then complains about how “we wouldn’t be able to do the things we enjoy anymore.” I’m not trying to shove this down his throat, but I would sincerely appreciate if he would at least give me enough respect to have a civil, respectful conversation about it where he didn’t call it a “horrible idea,” and demand to know “what planet I was on when I thought this scheme up.”

I guess I’d just like to hear if any of you have foster care experiences or from those of you caring for children with special needs how it has effected your lifestyle and ability to go on vacations, be active, and basically live a ‘normal’ life.

I’m also wondering what a reasonable expectation is as far as how expensive having a child is, because I really cannot fathom how one would spend even half of the monthly stipend offered by this program exclusively on the child.

I don’t intend to bring this up again with DH for some time, but I’m praying about it and want to have some real opinions if he decides he wants to revisit the topic.


#2

Trust me, having a child with a disability will cost you ten times what you expect it to. Custom designed stuff and therapy and medical bills will all add up. Don’t go into fostering for the money.

Doesn’t your state check on foster parents to make sure they’re able to provide a (financially) stable environment before even giving foster children anyway?

By all means, go into foster care, it’s something my fiancee and I have thought about ourselves for when we marry, and it’s a really great way to make a difference to others’ lives. You have got to know what you’re getting into though. You’ve also got to be agreed with your husband that it’s what you want.

Having children, your own or someone else’s, has got to be about giving, not about taking.


#3

Your husband has said no. So the answer is no.

Just as if he brought an idea to you that would change your whole lives, you would have every right to say no. So does he. His fears, concerns, and answer needs to be respected by you.

If he does not even want to have a conversation about it, that should show you how adamant he is in his stance.

Having a special needs child takes more out of you financially and emotionally than you could ever calculate.

Vester


#4

Surely, you have a bright mind and generous heart. Surely, you are open to life and are attempting to integrate Catholic social justice and/or charity in your particular life in accord with your state. No doubt, you are high energy.

All this is good and a gift to be shared.

At this point, being newly wed, recently moved 500+ miles, bought a new home, in a new State, probably away from a solid network of family and friends, etc. This translates as lots of chaos.

If you were my sister - daughter - niece - friend, I would say:

Relax. Just stop and smell the flowers.

Go work as a volunteer at a special needs school. Get to know the kids, their parents, etc. It is a 25-hour day on a good day and one false move, one normal consequence of childhood and it is a 36-hour day or more. Once you have worked and loved the kids at school, made friends with the parents, maybe even babysat for a night or weekend, then you can properly discern the calling, understanding the terms of the call.

Right now, it is a nice idea. I would say a righteous and fine idea, even holy, probably inspired. Surely, you are good and having read your posts, you are one I admire and respect.

However, being well intended is not enough and you need to disect the financial motive to understand it. One needs to try on the vocation (like engagement for the married or seminary for the priesthood) before one commits to it.

It may be the best thing you ever did. It may be what God created you to accomplish, a genuine vocational call from the Almighty. Right now you are at step one on the discernment process - awareness of a possible call. Start with a three or six-month commitment as a volunteer in a special needs school.


#5

Daniel,

I would agree with you to a point. She may go ahead and find great comfort and satisfaction in volunteering, but at the end of the day if she truly wants to foster parent a child (special needs or not) and her husband does not, that is where the conversation ends…and that was her question as I understood it.

However, I do agree that you have some WONDERFUL ideas for her to somehow fulfill herself in this area without causing marital discord. What a wonderful and creative response!!! I hope she takes you up on it! :slight_smile:

Vester


#6

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