What I Wish I Would Have Known Before I Started
A few weeks ago, Tapestry hosted a Foster Care and Foster Adoption informational meeting. Tapestry also asked some of their foster and adoptive parents to speak out about the things the wish they would have known before starting the foster care or foster/adopt journey.
- I wish I had known of the need to be clearer about our desire to adopt and I wish I had reached out directly to our agency’s adoption coordinator earlier in the process. Instead, I let my frustration grow as we continued to wait, only to finally realize that we were not on the adoption list (even though we assumed we were). — from a foster-to-adopt mom
- I wish I had known about Texas Health Steps (THS) as a resource to find doctors and dentists in my area who accept Medicaid. THS provided us with a much longer list of doctors and dentists than what we received from the Medicaid office, and the THS list included practitioners much closer to my home than those on the Medicaid list. We also learned that THS will provide transportation to and from medical appointments or money for gas for those who need it. For more information about Texas Health Steps call 1-877-THSTEPS (847-8377) or visit THS online at www.dshs.state.tx.us/thsteps/default.shtm. —from a mom who adopted from foster care
- I wish I had known to relax, enjoy every moment with our child, pray for him, his family and all of those involved in the case, and trust the Lord with all of the details. A majority of adult adoptees, especially from a closed adoption, wonder about their birth parents. With our foster-to-adopt placement, we hung on every word about the case that we heard from our CASA or CPS caseworker. This led to quite a ‘roller coaster’ of emotions. To be honest, I knew this but it was all too easy to forget and instead let the worrying take over. — from a foster-to-adopt mom
- I wish I had known before we started fostering how careful you have to be with your foster child. It is critically important to follow all of the rules – even the ones that don’t make sense. Accidents can and will happen, but when they do it is very important to be sure to comply with all of the reporting procedures. There are some real risks in terms of being a foster parent – and this reality cannot be ignored. — from a foster and adoptive family
- I wish I had known just how pressed and overburdened the system is. CPS, the courts, attorneys, agencies, counselors, ad litems – every aspect of the system is ‘maxed out.’ As I came to understand this I began to realize that one of my many roles on behalf of my foster kids was to be a voice for them – at times, a really loud voice. Now, I am not the least bit timid to let people know what my kids need. I am their advocate as well as the person to offer them love, care and protection. — from a foster mom of 17 years
- I wish I had known that even though CPS does not require or expect you to attend the Family Group Conference or the Permanency Planning Conferences, I should have gone anyway. Knowing what I know now, my advice is to attend these conferences and be an active (even proactive) participant. Bring pictures of the child and be prepared to talk in detail about the child since he or she came into your care. Try to be an impartial advocate for the needs of the child. It’s your job to give the child a face, so they are not just another case to everyone involved. No one knows how the child is progressing better than you! — from a foster-to-adopt mom
- I wish I had known that, despite my best attempts to be well-informed and well-educated regarding the process, our child’s future with us was not guaranteed. There was no guarantee that he would be ‘ours’ forever until many things happened first. But in spite of all that – the moment we laid eyes on him we loved him as if he was our very own and our ability to remain truly objective about his future was gone in an instant! — from a foster-to-adopt mom
- I wish I had known before adopting from foster care how great it would feel once the adoption was finalized. Had I understood this I may not have been so stressed and grief stricken about the process. Foster care adoption has many, many challenges – but the deep love you feel for a child who has come from a ‘hard place’ and so desperately needs a Mommy as much as you need a child is unparalleled with anything else in the world! — from a foster and adoptive mom
If you would like to talk to an experienced foster or adoptive parent in contact us at [email protected].
Also Found In: Getting Started, Serving Children in Foster Care, Tapestry Blog