Foster Care (and single)


#1

Not sure what I am looking for here, maybe advice, support, encouragement, whatever. You are all so wonderful so I figured this would be a good place to talk about my confusion, anxiety, eagerness, etc.

I am 34 years old, single, never married with no children. I am a teacher, been working with children for over 15 years. Currently I work with special needs kids. I very much long to be a wife and a mother. However, meeting the man of my dreams has yet to happen. I am very happy, blessed with a wonderful family and many wonderful friends. I keep myself busy and active. So you are all wondering where the title (foster care) comes in.

For quite a few years I have had a desire to do foster care. Of course I always thought this would be something I would pursue when I was married with children of my own. Last year the calling became much stronger so I started to take the classes. After the 3rd or 4th class I scared myself out of it and quit the classes. I told myself I would pray more about it and possibly restart the classes in the Spring. So I ended up taking the classes and finished in June. During the process I sold my place and bought a new one. In the transition I had to put my licensing on hold (had to live somewhere temporarily while place was being finished etc.). Then my caseworker had to take time off for health reasons etc. Well now I have an appointment to finish up everything on Tuesday, which means I could be ready in a few weeks or so. So you would think I would be excited right? Nope now the fear is setting in, I go through all the what ifs. I know God will not give me more than I can handle, yet I can’t help but worry. Some of the things that come to mind are…

  1. What affect will this have on my dating life, will guys find it strange or cool that I am doing this?

  2. What if I do this and cannot handle it?

  3. What if a child is placed with me and causes me to miss a ton of work?

Of course there are other concerns, but I am curious what you think about the above. Sorry for the long post.

God Bless!


#2

#3

maybe you have already done this, but consider volunteering with
Big Sisters before you go the whole foster care route. both daughters did this before marriage and found it a wonderful experience, learned a lot, one got a volunter job at a private foster care agency through Big Sisters, and knows the “system” from inside out in her state. personally in our former state (Ohio) the regs were so onerous we just gave up after a while.

I would not date a guy who thought it was strange for me to have a foster child to care for, what a jerk.


#4

Hey AZgirl, I could have written some of your post!! I’m 30, married with no kids and we just completed our foster parenting classes. We do the adoption classes in Feb and will most likely be licensed by March. I’m absolutely terrified. I have questions 2 and 3 running through my head daily. What if we can handle this? What if this is a mistake? My job is flexible, but is it flexible enough to handle the demands of fostering?

The biggest sticking point for us is dealing with the birth families. We heard over and over again that the best foster arrangements are those where the foster parents are mentors to the birth parents. Neither DH and I are comfortable with extensive mentorship until we get our feet under us.

I’ll pray for you!! Please pray for DH and I.


#5

I wish I had some advice to give you. All I can offer you is my prayers. You have such a warm and open heart, Jesus will help you discern his plan for your life whatever that may be. God bless you.


#6

I am 23, single, a grad student, and recently went through the classes in my state. I will not be providing full time care, but will be providing respite care, please let me know if you have any questions. To answer the ones you have:

1.) There will be guys who feel both ways, but you should not make your decision based on you think I guy will find it cool (not that you necessarily are). There are some who will definitely run the other way, but if this is a goal for your life then you need to find a man who will support that goal.

2.) Start out small, take just one placement and ask lots of questions. You have every right to refuse a placement. Let them know you’re not ready to take a special needs placement yet, perhaps try an infant since they are the least likely to suffer from Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). If you have a child you cannot handle, tell them immediately, there are many options available to you including respite care and even moving the child as a last resort.

3.) Jobs can be a problem. Try taking a child who is the same age as the kids you teach or even goes to that school. You wouldn’t have to worry about childcare or taking them to a different school. Be up front with your principal and have contingency plans in place. You are not required to go to every court appointment, although you are encouraged, you do not have to drive them to visits, although you are certainly encouraged.

I would encourage you to contact DCFS in your state and start the process. It can take up to a year (or even longer) to get certified. You have to take some pretty intense classes, go through a very intrusive home study, etc. You are under no obligation to actually foster if you go through the classes, but they will give you the information you need to make the right decision. You can always do respite or emergency placements only, in fact, most recommend that is how new foster parents start out. There is a desperate need for great foster parents, if you think this is what you are called to do, I encourage you to at least start the process.


#7

The biggest sticking point for us is dealing with the birth families. We heard over and over again that the best foster arrangements are those where the foster parents are mentors to the birth parents. Neither DH and I are comfortable with extensive mentorship until we get our feet under us.

I know exactly what you mean. I don’t know how well I will do dealing with the birth families. That is probably one of my biggest fears. I have a lot of knowledge when it comes to kids through both college and my years of experience, but no experience being a parent full-time. I will keep you in my prayers - thanks for yours for me! I should be certified very soon :eek:


#8

I am almost done with the process. I took the classes last Spring/Summer. Because of moving and such I had to put the licesning process on hold. My licensing specialist is coming tomorrow for me to sign some paperwork and she said she said we should be done here pretty soon. Already had the home inspection as well. Just getting the last minute jitters. Thanks for your advice.


#9

Thank you so much!


#10

OK, I am confused because here you say

While here you say

:confused: How can you be single, date and have a DH?

I see now. I’m sorry. You don’t know how to quote yet. For anybody else who was confused, azgirl is still single. It’s aurora77 who has a DH.:shrug:


#11

The DH part is supposed to be a quote of aurora77’s post above.

James


#12

You are right, I messed up the quote on that one. OOPS :blush:


#13

Hi AZgirl,
I highly commend your zeal. Of couurse, it is a rare one. I will only advice you to ‘susum corda’(lift up your heart) and continue. Bear in mind that as you labor in the Lord’s vineyard, He also works in yours. If a guy wants you, he will come. I believe God will grant him widom to understand what you are doing. Do not be afraid.


#14

Okay here is an update. My licesning specialist came by to see my new place and have me sign some paperwork and left some more for me to fill out. She is pretty much done writing my home study, just needed the updated stuff. So then of course the anxiety started. Here’s the things that freak me out.

  1. Dealing with the biological family - how do you do this without being judgemental.

  2. Dealing with the rules and regulations that CPS has that you don’t agree with (i.e. locking up medications, hiding knives, everything out of reach, …). My friend and her kids come over quite a bit and my house is child proof.

  3. What if the child and I don’t connect or the child is extremely withdrawn and I can’t reach them.

And then of course it gets me thinking about the way I wish things would happen. Meet man, fall in love, get married, have children and provide foster care as a family. I know God’s plan is all good and I trust him completely - just somedays are easier than others. That darn biological clock is ticking and induces so much stress!


#15

I’ll try my best to answer your new questions:

1.) I belong to a foster parents message board, and I can tell you from being there for a long time that it is very hard to not to judge. Some of them you will not be able to help judging. I’m thinking of the ones who sexually abuse their children. Then there will be some who are sympathetic, like the single mother who coudn’t afford a car and walked her child several miles to daycare along a busy road and just needed help. The FPs worked with her and at the end of the weekend she had her kids back. They still baby sit for her. I think the important thing is realizing that there will be some you will never be able to feel good about, and doing what you think is right for the child. If you don’t think the parents should get the child back, you can say so. There are judges and agencies that will listen to foster parents.

2.) I’m confused by number 2 because it sounds like you already do a lot of the child proofing regulations. When it comes down to it, you will find that most FPs don’t follow every single little rule, and the agencies know it. In the end, the rules are meant to keep the kids safe, and many find that once they have the children in their house many of the rules make sense.

3.) Unfortunately that is a distinct possibility. Many of these children have behavioral issues related to what they have experienced and it can be very trying. It is crucial that you have support. It is crucial that you ask questions about the child and do not take a placement if you have any reservations. You alone know what you can handle and you have every right to say no. Just keep an open mind and you might find that it is an enjoyable experience.


#16

I think this is a wonderful idea! Praise Jesus! :slight_smile: You are so generous. Here’s my suggestions, 1. You might want to consider a school aged child, since you have to work and are single. That way after school care for a few hours is all you’ll need, and not full day care. 2. If the guy you are dating doesn’t like/can’t accept this foster child, then he’s not husband material. Who’s to say he’ll like any children. And if you find yourself unable to have children, or many children, then he doesn’t appear willing to adopt. That doesn’t sound fair or fun. 3. This might end up being your first child! You might find a man that loves this idea, marries you, and the two of you end up adopting this child. Praise Jesus that would be wonderful!

So there are so many possibilities here. It seems all good to me. What a wonderful and loving soul you are. You’d make a great foster parent. :slight_smile:


#17

#18

:shrug: That’s an expert advice for you. The fear that you are experiencing is a natural stud that weakens any noble ideal. I believe it requires you to summon courage. I don’t want to sound too preachy but I am optimistic that God will surely bring the “right” man. Wow! What a wonder to join hands together in such an idea.
May the Lord bless and keep you!


#19

My wife and I were foster parents many years ago, and now I’m sort of fostering my grandson as both parents work and Grandpa babysits.
There is a reason why God made it necessary to have two parents for a child, one male and one female. Children need to see both kinds working together to learn how to do it right. We aren’t perfect by a long shot, but it beats hollow a one sided up-bringing.

Matthew


#20

I am confused - Are you suggesting I shouldn’t do foster care because I am single? Believe me I agree children should be raised by both parents but obvisously in this situation they are not. I would much prefer to be doing this married but that is not my situation yet - hopefully someday though.


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