Hello. I would like to share my foster parenting experience. I was diagnosed infertile about 4 years ago, so me and my husband had accepted the fact that our lives would be kid free. We have eight nieces and nephews between the two of us, so we were content with just spoiling them. The kinship guardian for my one set of nephews hit 70 and she was looking for someone to take over caring for the two boys, ages 9 and 11. We had just bought a 4BR home assuming we would be taking care of our parents someday, and there were no other family members to take them. So we were the best candidate. They moved in around Sept and there have been highs and lows. Bio parents are both still alive, but one is not financially able to take care of them and the other is in and out of jail/rehab. I will say first off, just erase whatever happy picture you are painting and throw it out the window. While you are at it, take your entire life you are living now and be prepared to change everything. My husband and I were very career focused and loved our jobs. About two months after their arrival, we starting noticing our opinion of our jobs being altered. We felt unfocused at work, and all we kept thinking about were the "why's" and "how's" of our situation. Our focus was no longer on our career, it was on them. I am in an online bachelors program and I also was not able to focus on my schoolwork with the same fervor I had before.
Before I start to sound selfish, let me clarify that we were excited and honored to be chosen as their caregivers. We love them and we cannot wait to see what great, young men they become. We are going to do anything and everything possible to make sure they succeed and live happy lives. But all of that will come at the expense of our happiness. The first 3-4 weeks are the hardest. Me and my husband were fighting, crying, regretting, not sleeping, and totally unsure of what we just agreed too. After a while I realized, we reacted that way because we were having to say goodbye to our old lives and who we used to be. We had to be different people and we also had to make room for their relatives/friends that were being injected into our already busy family network. We emptied our savings account to make sure they had everything they needed to start off right which included room renovations, stocking the pantry, new furniture, gaming systems, tv's, clothes, bikes, tablet, cell phone, laptops, and various sports equipment. They have always known us to spoil them and we didnt want to disappoint. And while they enjoyed the privileges, we were in a complete frenzy with doubled laundry loads and meal portions, drives to doctor appointments, school functions and family visits, and behavioral issues associated with the adjustment. The state offered free therapy is great and that has helped the boys deal with the change.
But for us, there is no help. Some of our friends and family think we did the right thing, but others think we should have declined the offer. One of the reasons being, no matter what we do for these kids, they will continue to put their parents on a pedestal higher than us because they are still actively in their lives and because, well, they are their parents. And while they get to live life "free of their obligations", we are paying for their kids braces, medications, essentials, and eventually cars, insurance, college, camps, and whatever else comes along. One of my newly married friends even told me my experience was making her not want to have her own children because of the changes your life goes through.
There are a lot of good days filled with laughter. It's not all bad. But occasionally I get a breather and can live my old life for a moment. The house will be empty and quiet and I can collect myself. Sometimes we get the question "Would you still agree to do it if you could rewind time and take it back?" Some days we would answer no and other days we are on the fence. But it has only been five months. Things may get easier as they age, who knows. In Sept 2017 if no one else steps up, the KLG will be permanent and we are in it for the long haul. Thanks for taking the time to read and for letting me vent.