I have a lot on my mind. I’m not sure what to share so here are a few random thoughts about things:
- My foster son is African American. If you doubt racism exists, I can confirm for you that it does. Go ahead and stay in your safe little corner if you disagree. But, I’ll also tell you that it exists across all lines and cultures. I’ve been looked at with disdain by people of a few different colors, when we’re out and about. The kids in the neighborhood don’t care. His favorite friend is a little Caucasian girl that’s in the same grade. They became quick friends. It’s sad that adults are so f’d up. I wonder sometimes if our culture is beyond healing.
- In brighter news, today I took FS6 shopping. DSS provided me with a voucher for some clothing, shoes, and personal items. On top of some summer shoes & clothes, I bought him some hair care and skin products. I read up on skin care and hair care for African American children. I still haven’t picked out a barber for him though. Anyway, the checker at the store was an older African American woman. She looked at the lotion and hair products I bought and though I’d spent some time reading about them she said, “You’re not really sure what to buy are you?” I said, “No.” Honestly, I’m not. I’m just trying to find the best things for his skin & hair. She said, “See what you do is, you find a barber near home. You take him there every two weeks and let them take care of his hair and show you what he needs. They’ll teach him how to comb it and care for it. If you like the first one you go to, ask him to be your personal barber. He’ll take care of him, for you.”
- I was touched, to be honest. It’s one of the first times that anyone has kindly given me advice (versus looking at me with disdain). She talked a bit about her own daughter. At one point, my FS6 was acting up a little. Not much, because he’s a good kid, but he honestly didn’t listen to me. Well, she took care of that and told him to knock it off and act right. 🙂 He sure did. To be honest, one of my prayers right now is that if he’s with me long term, I will know how best to keep him connected to his African American community. I so appreciate her kindness.
- She also told me she thought about fostering at one time. Many people have told me that. It’s not easy to step out and do it. Frankly, it’s not easy once you’re in it. But if it’s on your heart somewhere, it’s worth pursuing a little until your figure out your place in the world of fostering.
- Maybe you’re not meant to foster. But if your heart is with those who do, maybe finding a way to support organizations or families who do, is a great place to start.
For the random people that run across my blog because of foster care, one word of advice I’d offer the single women – particularly if you’re over 40 like me. Take a long, hard look at where you stand with your own journey with having biological children. If you’re still grieving the life you don’t have, maybe hold off on fostering for a bit.
It’s not a life that is without pain and grief. My gut feeling some time back was that if I wasn’t going to be given the gift of biological children, perhaps I should adopt an infant before becoming a foster parent.
I can tell you that this is absolutely what I should have done. Being 42 and knowing that your chances to have a biological child are fairly non-existent is a grief that isn’t easy to process. And as such, foster care isn’t the right answer for that kind of grief. It doesn’t mean it’s not part of my calling. But I do know for a fact now that rushing myself through these painful feelings was not good for me.
And it makes fostering, which is complex and filled with some sad and painful moments, that much harder. Actually, if you’re a couple struggling with infertility, I’d probably offer the same advice. Make sure you’ve really processed through the complex feelings regarding having bio kids, before you jump in.
It’s not that it won’t ever be right for you. It’s that maybe you need a little time to work through what won’t be, before you’re fully ready. I was not fully ready. But here I am so . . . I keep movin’.
My FS6 is a sweet boy and for however long he needs the safety and stability here, he’ll have it. I pray in the meantime God hears my prayer for healing and…for a baby. When I’m feeling really cray cray, I ask for the opportunity to give birth. But that’s probably getting really crazy. 🙂