Hi all, I am looking for someone who's BTDT. We are a 49 and 50, and have been fostering for about 13 years now. Many kids have come and gone. We have adopted and Biological kids who are all in their late teens, early 20's. We now have a 5 yr old FD who's parents will be TPRd pretty soon. I love this little girl to pieces, as does everyone in our family. She has been with us for 19 mths. She has been in and out of foster care quite a bit and has really settled in with our family. My dilemma is whether or not to adopt. I REALLY felt like we were done adopting, and now we are fostering to "help out" if you will. My dh and I both love her, but we were looking forward to spending time with each other now that our kids are getting older. However, we can't help but wonder if we should adopt once again. She has come such a long way since she's been with us, after going through such horrible abuse and neglect. She finally trusts us and is doing so well. How do we just move her?
It seems so heartless to let her go after being here for so long and thriving so much. Anyway, we are seriously thinking about adopting her, for her best interest. (don't get me wrong, we absolutely do love her, and if it were 5 years ago, we would have done it in a heartbeat.) My question is, has anyone ever adopted but later on regretted the decision. Does love really conquer all???
Maybe no one has ever been through this particular scenario, but I've noticed on this forum that many people take their fc's siblings and adopt them so the kids can be together. Maybe that's somewhat close to what I'm asking about regrets?
Maybe you can have both? Could this child be adopted by a wonderful family that will allow frequent contact? Skype and picture messaging are amazing things if they ended up living a good drive away. Almost like an open adoption with birth parents, except it would be the foster parents instead?
My mom is in her mid-fifties. She and I each had children young. I was sure hubby and I were supposed to have a big family. My mom thinks we're nuts for even considering starting all over. She has had a MARVELOUS life the last 16+years and we have enjoyed watching her do so. And there are aspects of it that are very appealing, especially less worry about money!
Or imagine raising another set of kids....and with all the wonderful parts of parenting, these ones come with an extra big helping of challenge.
We've chosen the latter (at least if things work out...). There certainly is nothing wrong with sipping wine on a mountain top inn in Colorado and biking to Florida though!
If you truly "can't imagine life without her" then maybe she is supposed to stay. But if you think you may be able to live with "thankful she was part of your life," then maybe another family is supposed to be hers.
Where I live "older parent" adoption from foster care is pretty popular. Heck, older people parenting is on the rise, period. Not to mention grandparent parenting...
I've been part of a foster/ foster-adopt support group since 2005. There's a group of older parents who began fostering when their kids were older or in college. Many of them are on their 5th or 7th... adoptions! They're probably in their early 60's now. Caseworkers love them, because they're just incredible parents, they know their limits, and do such a fabulous job with children. One couple takes medically fragile children, she's a nurse: they took a baby boy expected to die soon... he's now about 12 or 13, and *brilliant*. Likely he would've died without them. Another couple just love being parents, both are *so* great with children, the mom especially has the knack, is funny but strict, the kids just love her, always leaning on her. They adopted a 2-year-old at 60-ish, similar scenario as yours. He had become a part of their family, they just couldn't imagine letting him go, worrying if he'd be able to adjust elsewhere or not. Just his anguish at losing them.
Me? I'm older, too. I told my friends, "You go take your art classes or travel in Europe, I want have a second family and heal children." It's my choice, it's what I enjoy most, perhaps because it's so complex. My niche is boys with high emotional/psychological damage, healing them is tons of work but so rewarding. RAD, PTSD, etc. I have support from friends with children, I don't parent "alone" tho single. My aunt calls me "her niece with a calling." I think it is a calling for myself and many others.
Is it a calling for you? Do you love being parents?
If you were to choose not to adopt your little girl, would you guys continue to foster? If so, for how much longer? I'm thinking that if you were planning on continuing to "help out" anyways, maybe adoption would be a good choice. If you were planning on being done with foster care after she left then there might be a chance later on of regretting adopting. Hope this makes sense?
We will be adopting our 19 mo. old great-nephew soon. Dh is 55 and I'm 53. We have a four year old and two teenagers also. I think my only regrets are not being to do physically some of what I'd like to do. In the winter, I fantasize about going some place warm also.
I think you can do it, but I also think it would be fine to let someone else adopt her. I never had any second thoughts about adopting my girls, but we had to do a lot of soul-searching on the little guys because of our age.
We are on the other side of the coin. While we are not young parents (Dh 38, me 41), we got our children from foster parents who were "too old" to start over. In fact, the foster family intended to close their home after these kids left. But took a baby at the last minute to ease the blow.
We would not have our dream if this particular foster family did not realize their own limits. We were extremely open for the kids having another set of grandparents in their lives. In our case, the openness part did not work out unfortunately for our kids.
However, I am grateful I had the opportunity to raise these children.
Follow your heart. Whether you keep them or continue to foster, either way the kids you have will be blessed beyond measure.
Here is the simplest way to decide. Ask yourself the following question:
Can I imagine my life without her?
If you can't, then she is meant to be with you. I am not talking about thinking about all the stuff you will miss, but asking if you can live life without her. The "my world is empty without her" feeling. You have fostered many kiddos, so you know what I mean by that. If you can easily picture life without her, then she should go to another family, because the future you already had planned is the right one.
I say this because there are many times when I sit there after a hard day and go "Wow, we have 5, can we really do this???" Then I realize that the idea of giving even one of them up is something I can't face, and just the idea breaks my heart and leaves me shaking.
As a side note, I do support RU 1000% with my kids, and have had some kids go home. If the parents get it together, that is where they belong, and my job is to help it happen. My feelings don't matter, the kids do. When I say I can't imagine giving them up, I mean that if the parents don't then we would keep them, KWIM?
when Bubba and Flowergirl became part of our family 2 years ago, i was 48 and ToolMan was 50. the kids were 4 and 6. i am where you are.
we have 3 adult kids in their 20s. we have a teenager--nearly 16. we have 2 littles. i'll be 63 when my baby graduates. we, too, had thought we were finished and were only fostering. surprise!
here's how we decided: could we see our lives without the kids in it? the answer was no, we could not. we wanted to be their parents. we did think long and hard--we were almost to the "finish line!" but we just couldn't quite wrap our brains or hearts around them going somewhere else.
so we chose to adopt. regrets? not yet. i'm the oldest 1st grade mom--that has to count for something! i can't run and play for a million hours straight any more. i have to seriously think about climbing the trees, and let's not talk about jumping out of the swing, but i can still do all of the really good stuff like cuddling, understanding, reading stories and chasing monsters from under beds. no, i won't get to retire sooner or have ToolMan all to myself right away, but that's alright by me--i'm going to be 63 anyway.
right now? i can see me doing it again.
but i'm not you. just be honest with yourself about what you want. if you want her to stay, then adopt. if you think otherwise, let her go with your blessing. it's not heartless--it's honest.
whatever you decide, i wish you joy and peace in the decision. good luck!
Is8enough
Thank you so much for all the helpful insights. I have to say that it's not really my age that makes me have doubts. I know a few parents my age that also have small kids. The issue I have is that I'm not sure if I want to start over again. I've been a parent for 24 years and my hubby and I were looking forward to having some time to ourselves. Of course, that all means nothing when you are living with a child that is such a part of your family and you can't imagine life without her.
This is a very difficult place to be. I will share out current experience just for your consideration. Our STBAKs have been with their FPs for 27 months. The FPs are slightly older than you, but like you, age isn't really the issue...DH and I are both 42, but we are in an earlier stage of parenting, where they are in a much later phase. They are both retired from careers and run a small farm as their retirement strategy. They are looking forward to this last phase of their lives. I really and truly admire them for making the decision to support an adoptive placement - There is no doubt they would be good parents to these kids, but they also knew they were conflicted to the point where they could possibly develop resentment down the road. In the end the were ready to embrace retirement and grandparenthood fully. They were involved in the review of family assessments and we will keep them in the kids lives as grandparents.
Either way, the decision is yours and I think you are wise to consider not just how you feel today but also the long term implications and impact. Good luck!
I won't advice you, either way, I'll just tell you my experience. I had my "first" family when I was very young. When they were grown I didn't feel as if I was "done" with being a mom so I began fostering when I was 49 yrs. My first placements were a brother/sister ages 2-1/2 yrs and 12 months. Two years later I adopted them :arrow: ---I was 51 yrs old!! So now I am raising my "second" family, this time as a single mom, and I am still fostering 8 yrs later.
I had a 5 yr old foster daughter that I adored. She had been a behavior problem in previous homes but she fit in perfectly with my crew and I didn't have any problems with her at all. She had an infant sister that was living in a separate foster home and when they both were available for adoption I decided that I would LOVE to adopt her but felt I was too old to also adopt her baby sister.
Two years later she is in her 2nd adoptive home :confused: and there is a possibility that this one will be disrupting, also. My regret is that I didn't adopt her when I had the chance. There is still a good chance that she will be coming back to me, if her present adoption disrupts, but I'm sure that she has experienced trauma in the 2 yrs that she has been gone since both adoptive mothers couldn't stand her. I realize now that they adopted her just so that they could adopt her infant sister and she was just extra baggage :( to them.
Cathy,
That must break your heart. I can't imagine the pain. I hope she does come back to you and hopefully you can start the healing process for her.
Have you considered getting respite for the weekend and seeing how you feel? It might help you sort out your true feelings. You may love having time for yourself or you may miss her so much you can't wait to go pick her up.
I did a week of respite for a family that was unsure about adopting their placement. In this case it helped them decide not to adopt and he was moved to a placement that was a much better match. He is excelling and they are still maintaining contact with him a year later.
When I recently had to use respite for my very difficult 3yo, I thought it would turn out to be a nice break. Instead I couldn't wait for him to be back home. I was worried about him and missed him so much. So obviously we are thrilled that his parents decided to relinquish their rights. He is going to be an exhausting child to raise but we feel so lucky that we will get to have him in our family!
Good luck with your decision!
cabbagepatchkid
I won't advice you, either way, I'll just tell you my experience. I had my "first" family when I was very young. When they were grown I didn't feel as if I was "done" with being a mom so I began fostering when I was 49 yrs. My first placements were a brother/sister ages 2-1/2 yrs and 12 months. Two years later I adopted them :arrow: ---I was 51 yrs old!! So now I am raising my "second" family, this time as a single mom, and I am still fostering 8 yrs later.
I had a 5 yr old foster daughter that I adored. She had been a behavior problem in previous homes but she fit in perfectly with my crew and I didn't have any problems with her at all. She had an infant sister that was living in a separate foster home and when they both were available for adoption I decided that I would LOVE to adopt her but felt I was too old to also adopt her baby sister.
Two years later she is in her 2nd adoptive home :confused: and there is a possibility that this one will be disrupting, also. My regret is that I didn't adopt her when I had the chance. There is still a good chance that she will be coming back to me, if her present adoption disrupts, but I'm sure that she has experienced trauma in the 2 yrs that she has been gone since both adoptive mothers couldn't stand her. I realize now that they adopted her just so that they could adopt her infant sister and she was just extra baggage :( to them.
Wow that really is heartbreaking. I hope they decide soon if they intend on moving her and she comes to you asap to start her healing. Have you had any contact with her since she left?
I did have a previous foster child a few years ago that for various reasons we chose not to adopt. He was a really good kid and had made a lot of progress with us. He got adopted by a wonderful family, but he didn't adapt well at all. He became completely withdrawn and could not attach to this family. He had been in a few foster homes before mine, and it seemed that this last move from my home completely broke him. 6 years later his adoptive mom tells me that he still isn't doing very well. He has severe attachment issues, no friends, no bond to her or her husband. It really breaks my heart. I always wonder what he would have been like if we had decided to adopt him. He was such a happy kid, and very attached. I guess kids can only bend so much before they break.
This keeps going through my mind when I think of letting my fd move on. My husband admits that he thinks we should adopt her for her best interest, not really because he can't live without her. Although he does love her. I am more on the side of I can't live without her, as well as adopting for her best interest.
Debralous
This is a very difficult place to be. I will share out current experience just for your consideration. Our STBAKs have been with their FPs for 27 months. The FPs are slightly older than you, but like you, age isn't really the issue...DH and I are both 42, but we are in an earlier stage of parenting, where they are in a much later phase. They are both retired from careers and run a small farm as their retirement strategy. They are looking forward to this last phase of their lives. I really and truly admire them for making the decision to support an adoptive placement - There is no doubt they would be good parents to these kids, but they also knew they were conflicted to the point where they could possibly develop resentment down the road. In the end the were ready to embrace retirement and grandparenthood fully. They were involved in the review of family assessments and we will keep them in the kids lives as grandparents.
Either way, the decision is yours and I think you are wise to consider not just how you feel today but also the long term implications and impact. Good luck!
How did your kids transition into your home? Was it very difficult for them since they were with the fp's for so long? 27 months is such a long time!! How old are your kids? Thanks.
cabbagepatchkid
I realize now that they adopted her just so that they could adopt her infant sister and she was just extra baggage :( to them.
I think that happens more often than we think. I understand that to be the case with Chubbs' siblings too. They didn't want the older 3, just the baby, but had to take all of them. And these 3 are older kids, so they aren't stupid.
There are enough adoptive homes out there to place children with families that want them all, but this was the foster family. I am hopeful that if I get to keep the boy that I'll find out the details on the other kids too.