20 Mar Both a Long And A Short Road
Technically speaking, we are new to this. We are not biological parents; we are not adoptive parents; this is our first time fostering.
That said, we have done a lot of preparation for this phase of our lives.
First, we have spent a lifetime taking care of other people’s children. From babysitting to teaching professionally in classrooms and summer camps, from working as a full-time nanny to simply being two proud, doting aunties to our many nieces and nephews, Beloved Spouse and I have each done some form of child care since our elementary and middle school years.
Second, we are the kind of nerds who do serious research and analysis before committing to anything. As preparation for life as foster moms, we read book upon book, researched academic journals, took graduate level courses in youth and child development, and picked the brains of everyone we knew who was in any way involved in or knowledgeable about the Foster Care System. We are not saints and we are not perfect, but we *are* determined to do this well, and we have an extensive and enthusiastic support system in place, ready to help us succeed.
Emotionally speaking, the two of us have always had that deep-seated biological urge to raise children, but we have never wanted to bear them. Some may think this is odd, but since there are children who are already here, right here, right now, who need love and attention as well as a safe place to heal and flourish, and since we have rarely if ever passed up an opportunity to help a child grow, fostering struck us as the perfect investment of our emotional energy and a fulfillment of the biological urges we were given.
After researching all of the foster agencies in the area, we decided Angels had the combination of qualities we were looking for: high standards, a supportive community, a narrow enough focus in terms of age range and desired outcomes that we felt like we knew what we were getting into, and an absolute commitment to the well-being of children. These are all values we share, so it was easy to make the mental leap from agency-shopping to total commitment. In terms of paperwork and appointments, it took us five months to go from Orientation to Certification– just over half the length of a full-term pregnancy. It has been both a long and a short road.
Bring on the babies!