Author: Julie H., Foster Mom
Tomorrow brings our foster daughter to our household. We’ve had the joy of having her on some weekends the past six months, so when she needed a new full-time placement, it seemed like a path we might want to take with her. We had discussions with our Norris Caseworkers, the Children’s Hospital caseworker, the CASA worker, her current foster mom, and, of course, the “child”. I put quotations on this because I know she wouldn’t want to be labeled that way. She’s not a child. She’s 13 and is a vivacious, resilient, and strong young woman!
We are headed back from a sporting event with our 14-year-old son where we were gone for the weekend, so tonight will be checking all the smoke alarms and Carbon monoxide detectors, cleaning out the closet in “her” bedroom from the last of our oldest son’s things (who moved out last year) and getting what should be locked up, locked up. We are hopeful but nervous. We’ve never had a girl in our household. We’ve had three boys for as long as I can remember. Can I help raise a girl? Will I open my mouth when I shouldn’t? Will I offend her at some point? I’m guessing the answer will be yes to these questions and it will be ok, I will be ok, my kids will be ok, my husband will be ok, she will be ok. In fact, we are hoping she “doesn’t just survive, she thrives” (that quote was taken from a friend of the family)!
Reactions from our community have been interesting, to say the least. I don’t exactly understand why some people jump to “the one movie about a foster kid where they burned a house”, but we’ve heard it. Do you laugh it off? Is everyone ready for trauma sensitivity training? Inevitably, it then moves to “you are crazy”, “I thought you were done with more kids” and ends with “but good for you, how can we help?” Our friends and community, at the core of their beings, are helpers. They care about others. As the
old cliche goes: “they would literally give you the shirt off their backs”. This is ultimately why our answer to fostering was a yes. We knew we had supports for ourselves and any foster child we had live with us. From our close friends, to our extended family, to the “chirppers” (mom group), to my niece who is always ready with a “yay” on text, to co-workers, to our Waterford community, and, of course, to our Norris caseworkers, Teresa and Kori, we are as ready as we think we can be.