Monday, April 29, 2013

Not Good Enough?

I have been hearing stories about couples who were considering adoption or becoming foster parents and then changed their mind during the application process because of some questions in particular. I don’t claim to be an expert, but I thought I’d shed some light on the situation from our point of view.

We struggled at the beginning of this process as well. One of the questions on the application to the agency asks what kind of cases we are willing to handle. They ask about very specific medical and emotional problems. It was really hard for us to say no to some of these specific cases. It felt like we were rejecting a child in need and saying they weren’t good enough for us.

This weighed on our minds for days as we debated if we should even send in our application. After much research and prayer we decided we absolutely should turn in our application. Not only that, but we should not feel guilty about what we said we could or could not handle.

These children deserve the very best home for their needs. If we don’t have the knowledge or emotional understanding to handle a certain case we are not saying they aren’t good enough for us, we are saying we are not good enough for them.

This is not meant in a self deprecating way at all. We will be excellent parents and will love our future children no matter what the circumstances. We are simply saying to know your limits when it comes to foster children. Caring for any child is a lot of work. We currently have no children so to go straight into caring for a child we just met that has serious medical or emotional needs would probably overwhelm us. This would make it hard to be the caring stable parents that child deserved.

If you feel you could handle more than the basic problems that is wonderful. You are truly a special person/couple that can bless the lives of equally special children.  However if you are concerned about your limits do not feel bad and do not avoid the process out of guilt!! You can still change a child’s life and have a wonderful family. You can always go back and expand your comfort range for future placements.   Also consider the fact that although these children seem perfectly and healthy now, you don’t know what may have happened to them had they not joined your family when they did.

We felt we would be okay with basic medical issues such as asthma, diabetes and food allergies. Also the fact that we selected the age range of new born to age 4 means that there may be underlying emotional issues if we are placed with an older child. However at age 4 children are still very resilient. After talking to several people we learned that as long as we are careful and seek help when needed, there is a high chance a 4 year old that has suffered trauma could fully recover with minimal lasting trauma.

We also were excited to check “yes” to sibling sets of 2. We heard from several people that this could be such a blessing on both ends. The obvious benefit for the children is that they will get to stay together. This means they have a built in friend that understands exactly what they’re going through. This by default makes our job as parents easier since we don’t have a firsthand understanding of what they’re going through. There is the fact that there would be two children rather than one which means more work. But we’re okay with that.

We have decided these are our limits for now and we are very confident that these are the correct choices for our family.  The moral of the story is every family is different. Make whatever choices you feel are best for your current and future family. Once you have, don’t let yourself or anyone else make you feel guilty about your decision.

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