Let me first start out by saying that this entry will probably be a long one, but I promise that if you stick with me, you’ll be glad you read this. You’ll finish reading and have a better understanding of why we chose this and how this process works.
My body does not respond well to pregnancy. After three miscarriages, I can no longer put myself or my body through the failing feeling of pregnancy loss. IVF is something I just can’t wrap my brain around trying for me. I know plenty of people that have had success using this method and I applaud and celebrate that. For me, for my body, for my mental health, I know that trying to conceive is just not a thing for me. Have I accepted that? No. Does anyone ever really accept that? Maybe, but not me. It is what it is. I didn’t choose this, this decision was made FOR me. Carrying a baby is not what God wanted for me.
Recently, the news came out on Facebook that we are in process of becoming foster parents to babies born drug addicted. The response has been overwhelming and almost everyone we know has been supportive and overjoyed for us. I get asked if I’m pregnant fairly often. It’s a stinging question. I hate saying no. It physically makes me ache to say no. It reminds me every time that my body has failed me and then I internalize that as, “I have failed.” I know that you just read that and thought it was the silliest thing ever, and you’re right, but in the weak moment of heightened sensitivity a part of me is ripped to shreds. What I wouldn’t give for that baby bump. To feel the life growing inside me, depending on me to nurture it while it’s floating around in my protective belly. Nobody is trying to be hurtful by asking this question. It’s the natural question to ask! Logically, I remind myself of that and carry on. Emotionally, I carry that around for a little while. It pinches at my heart. I can’t help it.
So that brings us to the choice to become foster parents. There will (eventually) be the opportunity to adopt a baby that we are foster parents to, but until then, we will love, nurture, swaddle, kiss, hug, feed, bathe, rock, pat, teach, laugh with, cry over, and obsess about the babies we are going to take care of. At first, we don’t plan to accept more than one baby into care at a time. We know we need to get our bearings before we allow two babies at once or an infant/toddler sibling set.
The process is a long one to become a foster parent. We’re going through Catholic Community Services, so they’re a private agency. Everything has been free, so far, but there has been miles of paperwork and red tape. For starters, we had to write a 26 page autobiography on our lives. It asks you every detail of your life from infancy to present day. Some of those questions were extremely difficult to answer, especially those pertaining to childhood, domestic violence, sexual assault, mental abuse, mental health, addiction, and things of that nature. It’s hard to rehash those painful events, especially on paper, because then you’re staring at it. You’re looking at your heartache and you’re going through those emotions all over again. This is one reason I’ve refused to go to counseling; because I don’t want to feel all of that pain again by talking it out with someone who doesn’t know me, but I wrote it all out. Word for word. Feeling for feeling. Action for action. It was really hard, but for this baby, or these babies, I let it flow. We’re already so protective over a child(ren) that we don’t even have yet. To anyone thinking that foster parents aren’t real parents, I ask you to re-read this paragraph and tell me if this isn’t what a biological parent would do for their kid.
This isn’t just about The Cushing’s or the baby for that matter. This is about the bio parent(s), too. What’s imperative to realize in this situation is that, in order for our family to grow, their family has to fall apart. We are seeking to being a blessing to these babies, yes, but also to their parents. Addiction is an illness, don’t argue with me on this point – you won’t win. While we’re snuggling with babies and watching them grow, their parents aren’t. Instead, the bio parents are attempting to grow in their own ways. Getting clean and sober, finding housing, finding transportation, a job, and finding themselves again. It’s really sad when you think about it. Statistically, these biological parents were also “in the system” as kids. Breaking the cycle is imperative. This is about building a family for us and for them. And no matter what we do to love this child, they will always love their bio parents. My dad was/is a real asshole. He’s an addict and always has been. He has chosen himself over everyone and everything. But do I sometimes wish he would have got his shit together so we could have remained a family? Do I still love him despite the disappointment, dismissal, and the heartache he has caused me? YES. It’s no different for these kids. The kids, the parents, and the family unit as a whole deserves a second chance. We’re here to support that because Mitch and I believe in doing the right thing for others, and more importantly, we believe in family.
As I said before, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. We can’t thank everyone enough for everything they’ve done for us. The common questions are wondering when we’ll get our first baby and what the gender will be. Well, we won’t know either of those things until we get “the call” that a baby needs a home. We expect to have a baby the beginning of May, when our foster parent license comes through. We’re told time and time again that there are more babies than there are homes, so we should expect to get a baby before the license even arrives in the mail. Once it’s approved by all the big wigs, it’s open season. That’s the reason we need all of the key baby items before the baby arrives. We can’t get licensed until we have everything we need. Hence, why there are TWO baby showers that have been thrown for us. There’s one this Sunday, April 3rd at 1:00 p.m. and the second one is Saturday, April 16th at 1:00 p.m. also. We registered at Target and Amazon at the request of some friends.
At first, we were afraid to really tell anyone about this. The reason? Four years ago, we made the very public announcement that we were going to become foster parents through the state. People were excited, of course, and my mom threw us a shower. After we finished the training classes through the state, we were very discouraged by things and ultimately decided that it wasn’t right for us. It was humiliating to tell people that we weren’t going through with the process at that time. Most people were nice about it and they allowed us to return gifts or send them to families that were in need. We had barely gotten through step one and just knew that going through the state wasn’t for us. We realize that four years has changed so many factors for us now. For one thing, we’re going through a private agency, but for another, we have a home of our own with lots of extra space, we have better jobs, two vehicles, and a lot more support now than we did then. Sometimes people say hurtful things, but they probably don’t mean it. They probably just don’t realize how it comes off.
I told you this entry was going to be long. I hope you have a bit of a better understanding about how this process works and what’s inside my crazy mind. I should also point out that I referenced myself for most of this entry and that shouldn’t overshadow Mitch’s position in this entire process. We are going through this together as a unified team, but it would be easier for him to write how he’s feeling than for me to explain it. So maybe Mitch will guest author an entry here so he can tell you what it feels like in his mind. I can’t wait to see who he becomes as a dad. I have negative 3,000 worries about him. He’s going to be such a great father. I can hardly stand to see him in action. Me, I’m a little more worried about. My biggest fear of being a mom stems from things that happened to me as a kid. I don’t want my kids to hurt into adulthood because of something I did or didn’t do right. No pressure!
As always, thanks for the love, support, and sharing of this blog. I sure hope I’m not the only mom to be with these thoughts, but it wouldn’t be the first time I marched the beat of my own drum and it surely won’t be the last. I hope this message brings clarity, understanding, compassion, and support. If it brings negativity, please refrain from responding.