When I mention becoming a foster parent, people often bring up that foster children are troubled and that it will be extremely challenging trying to raise “someone else’s kid” in my house. I am well aware that a child who has been neglected, taken away from the only parents they've ever known and bounced from foster home to foster home is not going to be delighted to find themselves in yet another house that does not contain their biological parents in a sober, positive, life state. But I believe, I hope, I can be a person that can love them and help them along their journey.
You see, you can warn a pregnant woman that she will have many sleepless nights, that all her money will go to her kids and that she will worry for the rest of her life, but that won’t erase the eagerness she feels while rubbing her belly. I look at the room I've set up with a day bed and trundle bed, I peek at the baskets in the bedroom closet, waiting for clothes and cherished items to fill them, I gaze at my backyard, ready to be trampled by children playing tag, and I can’t help but feel I am on the right path.
Like any parent, I know there will be days that I will be tearing my hair out. When I want them to go back to bed as soon as they wake up. Days when I wonder if I can raise a child alone or even with an army of helpers. But I don’t care, I want to be a mother. I want to love a kid so much my heart – and theirs – feels like it’s going to explode. I want to be in their corner and help them achieve all they desire and more. I don’t believe genes are all that make people family; I think being there for each other, through thick and thin, with love, makes people family.
People compliment me on what I’ll be doing “for the children,” but this is not all about charity. No one realizes that those children are giving me what I want too. Someone to love and care for. A purpose in life besides self-gratification. The chance to look at the world through children’s eyes. A family. Temporarily or permanently, I will be an important factor in another human’s life, and I hope I can do right by them. That they feel the love emanating from me, that my discipline gives them much-needed boundaries, and that we can share in giggles and movie nights together as well.
It has taken me a year to gather all the necessary documents, receive a medical evaluation, and submit answers to the numerous questions the foster care agency has requested. I don’t quite have a due date, but the day is coming when I will be, for the first time ever, a mom. I am looking forward to it.