Written by Dawn Ross, KVC foster and adoptive parent
Having children had never been a priority for me. I’ve never been one of those women who “go goo-goo-ga-ga” every time they see a baby. But when I was 35 I met a wonderful man who became my husband and wanted children. At my age, however, the idea of having kids made me uncertain. Not only did I have a friend who died in childbirth, but I also had other health concerns to compound my fears. Despite this, I tried anyway. Unfortunately, thousands of dollars in fertility treatments and several months later yielded no results. What were we to do?
For a time my husband and I gave up. Our lives went quietly by.
Eventually the prospect of having children came up again, but I didn’t want to go through the expensive fertility treatments another time. And since I was even older, I didn’t want to attempt having a child naturally.
We decided to consider a surrogate mother. While we researched this, we decided to become foster parents. Several things inspired this idea. First, we were in a financially comfortable position. Second, we had a neighbor once who fostered children. Third, we wanted to gain experience in taking care of children. Finally, my mother had lived in foster care for most of her childhood. I remember her telling me horror stories about how bad some of the parents were. I thought to myself, “We can be the exception. We will make great foster parents!”
We decided to begin fostering children between the ages of 6 and 12 on a respite or emergency need basis. At that time I thought fostering teenagers would be too hard.
While providing short-term care, we decided a surrogate mother was going to be too expensive. As a result, my husband and I both agreed that we were open to adopting and decided to adopt a child from China because he and his family are from there.
While the year-long process of adopting a child from China was in progress, we were asked if we would take in two teenagers for the short term of one month. It was a tight fit. We had to squeeze our bedroom into our home office so that each of the teenagers could have their own room. After all, it was only short term, right?
They were supposed to be placed with their grandmother, but it kept falling through. One month turned into two, then three, then four. By the time we were ready to go to China to get our two-year-old son, eight months had passed by. It was early December when we left for China. In the meantime, the two teens went into temporary respite care.
They were to be placed with their grandmother before we returned on Christmas Eve. However, this didn’t happen, but maybe not for the reason you think. When we arrived home, they came back and asked if we would adopt them too. We gladly said yes!
We got three kids for Christmas. Our family of two became a family of five. It was the best Christmas gift ever.
The need is high for safe, nurturing family environments for children who have been removed from their homes as a result of abuse, neglect or other family challenges. We are constantly recruiting and training foster and adoptive parents from all walks of life in order to make sure each child who has to enter foster care has a loving home to stay in while their parents work towards reunification. If you’re interested in fostering or adopting, click here to download a free questionnaire or click here to speak with someone who will help you get started!