Welcome to week two of this Foster Care Q&A series!
If you have any questions you would like me to answer throughout this series feel free to leave a comment or send me an email.
Today’s question is one that I wondered about before we started and I have had a few people as about.
While we felt like we were being called to foster we also knew that we didn’t want to do it at the expense of our children.
How Has Fostering Has Affected My Children?
And just like the first question in this series, there is no straightforward answer.
I find there are two ways to answer this: 1) on a placement by placement basis and 2) overall.
There have both been some hard and some good things that I have seen come as a result of our foster care experience affecting my kids so far.
Honestly, our first placement was quite hard on our kids. It wasn’t all hard in a bad way, hard things make us grow, but there were some negatives to it.
It wasn’t until Buzz and Woody left us that I realized Ephraim’s funny personality had been gone for the three months they were with us. Part of this was because of the responsibility of no longer being the youngest and part of it was because Buzz kind of smothered him – always following him around playing with (and breaking) Ephraim’s toys. It was a major adjustment to add a 2 & 3 year old into our family and Ephraim definitely felt it more than Raeca because he spent more time with them.
This was not all bad at all. Ephraim is extremely extroverted and thrives around people, he still misses Buzz and Woody and playing with them but it was an adjustment since it hard for him to ever get any time for himself, something he wasn’t used to since he lived with three pretty extreme introverts for the previous five years.
It was because of this that we decided to change our range of acceptance for the foreseeable future.
Most of how I have seen fostering affect my kids has been very good.
They are learning to take take of younger kids and be more responsible.
They are learning that not everyone has as easy of a life as they do.
They have developed some major compassion.
They not only love on the boys that have come into our home, they are also rooting for their birth parents (even though they also hope the kids will stay here forever).
They also appreciate the time that they can play together more.
All in all there have been hard moments but the good far out weighs any of the hard moments. We haven’t been fostering that long yet, I have a feeling they good list will continue to grow as time goes on.
Curious about our foster care experience? You can check out our fostering timeline here.
If you foster I would love to hear how it has affected any biological and adopted children you have.
I’m excited to kick off this Foster Care Q&A series!
We’ve only been fostering for just over four months and I feel like I’ve been made keenly aware at how desperate the need for good foster families in my province (and I’m sure everywhere else too).
Just a warning, if you talk to me and express an interest in fostering I will try to talk you into it. Now you can’t say I didn’t warn you.
Prior to fostering I had a lot of questions and hesitations. With this series I hope to answer questions people have asked me as well as questions I was asking before we started (and in some cases am still asking!). Obviously I’m no expert, I’ve only got 1/3 of a year of experience under my belt, but I want to both help others wade through the decision on whether or not they should foster as well as be honest about our journey.
So, I’ve got a list of questions (and feel free to leave a comment and ask more questions, I’ll add them to my list!) and today I’m kicking the series off with this question that I was asked:
Do you think you would still foster if your own children were younger?
My short answer: No. And Yes.
My long answer is as follows:
A big part of the reason we did not foster when our kids were younger was because our second child came to us via adoption. There is (for good reason) a big emphasis on making sure your child has a healthy attachment when it comes to adoption and I think if we would have started fostering when he was younger he may have felt as though his space in our home was in jeopardy.
When you have a biological child (assuming you are there to raise them for the first few years of their life) they will automatically have a healthy sense of attachment. When you adopt a child at a year and a half who has had a number of different caregivers, who you’ve uprooted from his country and all that he knows, attachment is something you have to be intentional about.
We were very fortunate with Ephraim, he did seem to get it and attach well and quickly to us but I think that is in part because life was very stable for the first five years that he was home with us.
I think if we had started fostering when he was younger it would have been harder for him. He knows he’s adopted and I think things would have gotten a little fuzzy as to why some kids were coming and going and he was staying and would that mean he could leave at any time too?
This was just our particular situation and how we chose to handle it. For Ephraim’s sake I don’t think it would have been smart for us to foster when he was younger, but that’s because of his adoption history, not because of his age.
Now, for the yes side of things.
If we had only biological children or maybe even if we had adopted Ephraim when he was a newborn maybe we would have started fostering sooner. It’s obviously a different situation.
I see a lot of benefits of fostering when your kids are young, like you won’t have the shock of not being able to sleep through the night after being able to do it for years! For that one I think a person is just better off not knowing what they are missing. 😉 (This is kind of a joke and kind of serious. Our first placement didn’t sleep much the first week, our current little guy slept a full 12 hours the first night he was with us, your ability to sleep through the night obviously depends on a lot of factors.)
We wanted to foster kids younger than our own for a number of different reasons (birth order, homeschooling, etc – I could go more in-depth in a separate post if any one is interested) and if you also want to foster younger than your kids that is another thing to consider.
I can think of a ton of reasons for fostering when your own kids are young, here’s a few:
+ there’s the whole, not-completely-out-of-the-sleep-deprived-stage
+ you still have all the baby stuff and probably haven’t gotten rid of it all (twice) like we did
+ you’re still a baby-stage pro and don’t need to re-learn everything
+ fostering will be completely natural to your children
All in all I think what we’ve done has worked best for our family but it doesn’t mean that something else won’t be better for your family.
Have more questions for this foster care Q&A series? Leave a comment below or send me an email!
You can see our foster care timeline here.