Friday, July 28, 2006

Family Reactions

I wanted to post about initial family reactions to foster care...I wanted to share my own experience and here about everyone elses' ordeal when you first told your family you were interested in doing foster care to hopefully adopt...

We had been entertaining the idea of fostering for a year or two--actually it was mainly me... My husband wasn't sure he wanted to go down that road... Actually he wasn't even positive he wanted to adopt... But men are different (most--not ALL!!!)..My husband already had a child from a previous marriage. So he really didn't have that yearning to be a parent. Myself on the other hand, I was obsessed. After numerous rounds of infertility treatment that wrecked havoc on my body and soul- I was even more desperate to be a mommy. I did not care how I became a mommy-- I just wanted to be one.

Adoption was my only choice it seemed. I'm sure you all know how darn expensive domestic & international adoption is... Infertility treatments took their toll on us financially and I did not want to "save" for 4-5 years to be able to afford adoption. I wanted to be a mommy NOW!!!!
So that is what basically led us to the whole foster to adopt journey. It really was an ideal situation. It would cost us nothing; we would be parents; and a child would have an awesome home- which might not have had one otherwise.... Everyone's a winner--right???

Then it came time to break the news to the family...Afterall we did need references!! I told my mom and dad first. They were kinda supportive. I don't think they understood were all of this was coming from. We had (and still do) keep our whole infertility journey to ourselves. I didn't want anyones advice on how to get pregnant. I did not want our whole reproductive life to be gossiped about by family members... Yep thats my family--a bunch of gossip mongers..sigh..

Most of my extended family was really supportive--especially my cousins. The one person who loomed above our decision was my grandmother. Oh the questions she asked!!! Why do you want to do that??? Can't you have your own children??? You know those children are nothing but problems??? I used to know.....and her foster kids set fire to everything!!!! It would go on and on and on....
And on....
She could not fathom why we would do it. My one cousin told me about what she was saying behind my back... "Michelle & A must need the money....why else would they take in foster kids!!!!"

Now THAT was stepping over the line. First of all; my husband and I do really well for ourselves... I am her only grandchild that graduated highschool--let alone college!! I am her only grandchild who is married (before having kids)!!! I am her ONLY grandchild that BUILT our own house!! (on the beach no less WHEN I was ONLY 21!!!!)...Pretty good when you consider she has 32 grandkids!!!!!!!!

So the very idea she thought we were "doing" it for money enraged me. All we wanted was a child. That's it. I kept thinking, "who the heck could even MAKE any money being a foster parent??????". The board payments barely make up for the neccessities!! Good Lord.

So that was my general experience with my family. What was your like? How did you break the news to your family?? I have quite a few more issues to post about regarding this grandma!! Watch for those posts--it is going to be like group therapy in here!~!


MamaKBear said...

Actually, when it happened for us it was all pretty sudden. Of course we'd been trying for over a decade to have kids. All on our way could we even afford to entertain the THOUGHT of fertility treatments.

I'd long ago figured that if I was ever going to be a Mommy, that it would probably be through adoption one way or the other.

Then one day we got a call from my brother-in-law...he and his girlfriend were having their parental rights terminated to the FOUR children they'd had together, including a baby that nobody in our family had even been aware of! (She spent 3 wks in the hospital after being born, in DHS limbo, while they tried to find a home for her...lucky me! I got to bring her home from the hospital and got the baby I'd always dreamed of having.)

ANYWAY...So when all this was going down, we were in talks to take in 3 of the 4 kids. The girls have an older brother, who is 6. (We are not getting him after all because he is better off where he has been for over a year.) The 4th child is a meth baby and I just can't handle the problems she has.

I called up my Mom, and said "Hey, would you like to have 3 more grandchildren?" She got very quiet for a moment and then said "3 more?? What are you talking about?" (I wonder if she thought I was about to tell her I was finally pregnant..with triplets! hehe) I explained to her a bit what was going on, and that we would be foster parents to these kids until we could adopt them permenantly. She was a little doubtful, I think, of everything at Mom's always been kind of a pessimist. But when things started happening, and we brought the baby home, she whipped into Nana mode, and took us shopping for things that we needed for the baby. We literally had NOTHING. We'd been living on a big rig together for the last 2 1/2 years, going all over the U.S.

My Mom pretty much passed the word around to the rest of my side of the family, and for the most part the support we got was positive. I did get the "Are you sure you'll be able to handle going from having NO children to 2 or possibly 3 children?" Yes, I was sure...I worked in daycare for 3 years. I had 15 4 & 5 year olds 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. Figured if I could handle them, I could handle anything.

So far, so good....dang, I wrote ya a book! :)

MysteriousLady said...

I've never done either. My older sister is adopted, but she's older and I don't remember it. She's just always been in the family for me. I forget she's adopted 99% of the time.

Here visiting on Click and comment monday. I work tomorrow so I'm out early!

Dream Mommy said...

I heard the usual horror stories about foster children. Everyone asked me if I was sure I could handle losing the kids. Other than that, the reaction was pretty good, especially when we learned of our first placement opportunity.

Maerlowe said...

Almost everyone, with the exception of my husband's parents, has been delighted. Our kids will be the first grandchildren on both sides, and the first great-grandchildren on my side, so everyone is thrilled. However, we're not sharing with everyone yet, since we have no idea how near or far we are from bringing children home.

My in-laws were very opposed to it at first, but seemed to be softening to the idea after a few weeks. However, they called last week and let us know that we're not too old (at 27 and 31) to make our own babies... so I guess they're not adjusting too well yet.

It is kinda funny that I wrote about the same thing a few days ago.

mom2ashley said...

hi michelle
i sorta lurked over to your blog from pajamamama's blog. i think it's great that you guys decided to adopt sarah. sarah looks adorable in the picture taken with you and her on the beach. she is such a sweetie and so so lucky to have great parents.