As a woman of childbearing age who does not want to bear her own children, I often find myself doing a tricky dance around the subject. Explaining to people that fostering and/or adopting is my first choice for creating a family is like telling people I'd rather walk across the country than take a plane or a car. It's a much harder route. Why would I do that?
Last week, I went to the doctor and listened to the "make sure you take those folic acid pills for the future baby" lecture I have heard a million times before. In the past, I would launch into a counter speech, but at some point I realized that my doctors didn't believe me; didn't understand me, and they definitely didn't care to listen to my anti-childbirth diatribe. This time, I just nodded my head, while thinking about how ironic it was that later that night Tommie and I were headed over to a couple's house to learn about the foster care system.
This couple, still in their 30's, has four children of their own and has fostered five children over the past few years. It was a welcome change to be able to discuss our plans openly with people and get their firsthand account. Even though the process is as emotional as one would expect, and the system is as frustrating as most systems are, talking to this couple made me more excited about the idea.
People ask why put in the effort when the kids assigned to you are likely to leave after a such short time?
After discussing one of their most difficult good-byes with a pair of siblings they thought they were going to get to adopt, the husband we were talking to looked at his wife and said, "Don't you feel like the kids were in a much better position after being with us than when they arrived?" And she answered, "They were." And if that's all I do, it's worth it.
The woman left me with a list of books to check out. I'll share them here for anyone who might be interested.
* "One Small Boat" and "Another Place at the Table," by Kathy Harrison
* "Three Little Words," by Ashely Rhodes-Courter
* "Damaged" and "Happy Kids," by Cathy Glass