By: Deirdre Littlefield
I have wanted to adopt a child from foster care since I was a little girl. Ever since I saw the movie Annie, I was hooked on the idea. I wondered how it was possible that there are children that nobody wants. Children without a family.
It took many years for me follow my instincts and start the process. It’s such a scary idea to bring a child into your home that you’ve never met. You don’t know their genetics, their background or family history. You do know that there are thousands of kids living in your state who live in foster care. You also know that you have the skills to parent and the capacity to love any child. That was finally enough for me to jump in.
There are a few different ways you can parent a child in foster care. We knew our long term goal was adoption but decided to do emergency care while we waited. Our first placement arrived wearing a hospital johnny the night before Thanksgiving in 2011. He was 4 years old and appeared almost as scared as I was upon his arrival. He slept well that first night.
This poor little guy sat bravely amongst our typical Irish Catholic family proudly wearing his dreads. He slowly came out of his shell that day telling us his likes and dislikes. My kids and their cousins treated this young boy as if they had known him forever. They included him in their games and stories. That is the day that it really sunk in—foster children are exactly like my children. They just have that ugly word ahead of their name everywhere they go: foster.
It’s hard to forget the other kids we’ve had. From the mischievous toddler twins to the three-year-old boy who clearly had not been cared for. We’ve had some lovely tween girls who came in and felt the need to parent my little one, because that’s all they knew. We had one ten-year-old boy who put on rollerblades for the first time here. He was such a natural and skated well immediately. It doesn’t seem right to think that he has never had the opportunity to be part of a team and all of the lifelong benefits that brings. There are so many kids who have hidden behind the furniture when their worker pulls into my driveway. They don’t want to go back to that office. My all-time favorite though was a ten-year-old girl. She was so athletic, sassy and capable. This little girl could rule the world if somebody would just give her a chance, if she just had a family.
We met our son in late 2012. He came directly from the hospital at 4 lbs. All he needed was our love and stability and a home to thrive in. This little guy has grown into the funniest, most lovable guy you can imagine.
Every child needs and deserves a family so they can contribute to this world as an adult. It is in all of our best interest to offer what we can. There are so many ways to enrich the life of a child in foster care and literally leave a lifelong imprint on this world. If we can do it, anybody can!
3 thoughts on “The Evolution of a Foster Parent”
This is so beautiful! You and your family are an inspiration.
I love being a foster parent, just like you. Thanks for being a positive voice, letting people know how great fostering can be. The Peace Corps was wrong… Fostering is the toughest job you’ll ever love.