cafe mama

entering the mind of the married mom

fostering a family - April 4, 2005

My hubbie and I both grew up in big families, with five kids on each side. We can't really imagine life without a crowd of siblings. We also are both suckers, with big hearts for the down-and-out. So from the earliest discussions of the makeup of our own family (i.e. in the five days before Everett was conceived), we've discussed the concept of adoption and/or foster parenting.

We went so far as, when looking for our house, half-joking with our real estate agent that this room or that room would be good for the foster kids. Both of us have been known to linger over that part in the local newspaper that shows the foster children who are in need of adoption. When I found out one of my athletes had spent most of his life in foster care, he became my special case. It's just something that touches us deeply.

So it seemed God-given when a woman in my church approached me yesterday at coffee hour with another woman I hadn't met. "I feel like you and Jonathan would make really great foster parents," she said. "Not now, but in a year. Mary works with foster families and I just wanted to introduce you."

Of course, we've never talked about being foster parents right away; we figured we'd wait until we were done conceiving our biological kids, and gotten them all out of diapers, for instance, before jumping into the foster child waters. We've also talked about some basic things like, I don't know, not being absolutely broke before getting into it.

But the timing was a little odd. We've definitely hit bottom financially over the past week and we have been telling each other that we're on the way up. I've been given an attractive offer for more full-time work with my "day job." Jonathan's in school, finally, and will likely be deployed in November - which means we'll have two substantial incomes but far less expenses, money for a nanny, and enough left over to seed our retirement/college/home renovation funds. This summer, our car will be paid off, and we'll be close to relieving ourselves from many of the debts that have been nagging us.

I'm working from home entirely right now, which gives me the flexibility to handle a lot more from a mom perspective. Once Jonathan gets home from his "duty," and we finish fixing up the other two of our three bedrooms, theoretically, we could handle a foster child or two, especially young ones. If Jonathan was getting school paid for by the good 'ol U.S. government, and we were getting some money from the state for our foster parent status, we could easily take care of our own responsibilities as well as a few needy souls.

It feels very karmic. In an Episcopalian way, you understand. It certainly can't hurt to start the certification process, which takes up to a year. Could I be that super a mama? Well. They say your heart keeps getting bigger. Maybe my house, and my bank account, will get bigger, too.