When beginning the journey into foster and/or adoption I think we all have many ideas of what it will be like. However, if we were to look back years later I wonder if the journey we expected is exactly the one we ended up on. I certainly know that my journey took some very unexpected roads, bypasses and stops along the way. Years after originally filling out all of our paperwork on what we felt we were capable of parenting for our original adoption home study I found the papers in my desk. I have to say if nothing else they gave me a great laugh!
I seriously had to wonder what the heck I thought we were getting into when we became foster parents and decided to adopt from the foster care system. I think honestly I had no idea about parenting at all much less parenting children who had other needs. I knew enough about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome that I had circled this as a condition we could not handle and not only circled it but underlined it 3 times and written that I did not feel I had the skills to parent a child with this condition. I also put that I did not feel I wanted to parent a child with any medical conditions as it would just be too hard on us as a couple. With us both working and all. I also put that kids with mental health issues were out. Hmmm….not a lot left is there?
So honestly for those of you who don’t know me well I have to tell you that of the 9 children we adopted they all have some form of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and other than 3 of them they all have fairly involved medical needs. We also have all of the interesting mental health issues associated with prenatally exposed kids and children with abuse histories. I think God must have been laughing when we filled out these papers and I am very glad that they never got turned in. If they had been perhaps we would have ended up on the straight road journey we apparently expected but wow we would have missed a lot. For those of you who know how much fun a journey can be when you take side roads I say welcome to the fun.
We know that life with children whose brains have been altered forever due to prenatal exposure to drugs and alcohol can be interesting but doesn’t have to be negative. We know that we will learn and see new things every day. We learn to have a sense of humor no matter what. We also learn to find friends who are the kind who stick no matter what. So welcome to the journey….