Shopping for a kid?

During the first part of our home study to become foster parents, we had to talk about what things we were willing to accept in possible placements and what things we weren’t. It’s an awkward thing. Our preference is an infant under a year. We don’t particularly care about sex or race. And we are open to the idea that the baby could have some medical needs.

But we struggled to find the words to express that we would not prefer a child that’s going to need constant care for his/her whole life due to severe physical or mental disability.

The social worker then asked us what we would do if we had an infant placed with us, but then a few years later it became clear that s/he had severe issues. I told her that I honestly don’t know, but that it’s hard to imagine willingly giving up a child that I’d been caring for for that long.

It’s a confusing emotional place. I think about people I know who had and still have serious medical issues and certainly I’d be happy to raise someone like them. And nobody has any guarantee that their children will be exactly like they might picture them. If I gave birth to a kid, I don’t imagine I’d give him/her up. And yet, because we do have a choice, I can’t deny the fact that I have some preferences.

I think at one point, J said, “It sounds horrible, but…” And the social worker assured here it didn’t. They want us to be honest because that’s what’s in the best interest of everyone.

But it feels kind of horrible. All kids need love and stability and nourishment of all kinds. On the one hand, if I don’t have the energy to provide what the kid needs, then it’s probably better to say so. But is it really true that I don’t? If I can envision a situation in which I’d find a way?

I am struggling with this quite a bit. I guess the discordance comes from the fact that what I would do for an individual that I love is very different from what I’m willing to do for a hypothetical person that I don’t know. As with most things related to this journey, I have trouble predicting my emotions of this completely new, foreign experience.

We have some time to figure it out. So, I continue to read posts on support groups, and think about things, and imagine our future. The social worker assured us that attending training can also be really helpful. And we know a few other couples who have fostered and plan to reach out and spend some time talking with them as well. So far I’ve been pretty successful in just taking this all one day at a time.