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A few months ago I was asked to write an article for a nationally published magazine that has to do with adoption. To date it hasn't been published, so I decided to post it on the web site because I thought it might be of interest to you. Each of my children contributed to it and gave an opinion about an adoption issue.

Foster Care to Adoption "The Greatest Adventure"

                                 by dad-of-8 & all 8 of the kids    PAGE 1               PAGE 2   PAGE 3     

 

I have often been asked, "Why did you and your wife become foster parents?". I usually took the easy way out and replied "why not" or "or we had nothing better to do" or if a business customer would ask, I gave a reply something like "we wanted to help kids" trying to impress him.

There was another reason that was a little selfish on our parts. We had a five year old son and we did not want him growing up as an only child. When my wife gave birth to my son, after a troublesome pregnancy, she had a terribly long painful delivery. So much so, she knew it was something she would never be willing to go through again. We didn't have the financial resources to even consider some of the adoption alternatives. Fortunately, my wife befriended a neighbor who happened to be a foster parent.

Until then, we had no idea about foster care or the types of kids that are in the foster care system. We did have a lot of pre-conceived notions. This neighbor had one foster daughter about six years old. Every inaccurate opinion I ever had about foster children, this six year old shattered. She was cute, polite, friendly, obviously intelligent, and if that wasn't enough, the most talented young gymnast I had ever seen. She gave us a demonstration of hand walking, cartwheels, and numerous other tricks that was amazing.  While we didn't end up with any gymnasts, we were foster parents for dozens and dozens of children and were extremely fortunate enough to be able to adopt seven of them.

Becoming a foster parent wasn't difficult. We contacted our local county Department of Social Services. There were interviews, some paperwork, and training classes to attend. Since there was a shortage of families willing to be foster parents at the time (there probably still is) "Social Services" treated any family, who they thought of as a good candidate, extremely well. In fact, the shortage was so acute that we received our first foster care placement even before we were certified.

I would describe what my family has done as the "Greatest Adventure". People skydive, ski, ride motorcycles, etc. for the feeling of adventure and excitement. I only had to come home from work. For a while, when we were active as emergency foster parents, (willing to accept kids on an emergency basis anytime of the day or night) I never knew how many kids would be in the house when I came home (anywhere from 8 -14). I can also tell you that while these kids came to us, usually to be removed from a "problem situation", they were, on the whole, no problem to us. In the end, many kids came and left but there were seven who stayed to be adopted. No vacation, no trip to the amusement park and no success at work could ever compare to the excitement and emotional satisfaction that these kids have brought to my life. Yes, there were some problems, disappointments, and "emotional lows", but, they were minor in comparison to the overall picture.

Well, enough about me. I'd like to give you a chance to hear from the kids. To do that I first wrote a little description of each and asked each kid a question I thought might be of interest to you and posted their answers below:

BOY #1 - Our oldest son entered the family by birth 30 years ago. A great child that was willing to share his parents, his house, his possessions, with those that were placed with us and especially those we were fortunate enough to adopt. He is now happily married, making a six figure income, and soon looking forward to starting his own family. I gave him the following question:

How do you now feel about having seven brothers and sister instead of growing up as an only child?

BOY#1's answer:
Asking me how I feel about having seven brothers and sisters instead of growing up as an only child is not quite fair. I don't know how it would feel NOT having them in my life. I don't think I would be the same person without them. They all are a part of me and I would not want it any other way.

As I get older and I don't see everyone as much, I can't tell you how much I look forward to big holidays, so we can all get together and catch up. I loved last year's Thanksgiving getting everyone together at my house.

I know how much that you and Mom enjoy the kids. It has been hard on both of you to have brought up so many with different personalities. Both of you have given each one of us your love and life. All I can hope is to be as good as a person as both of you have been to us.

GIRL #1 - A lovely 27 year old young lady that is very close to my wife and I. She is a college graduate that is doing quite well. As the oldest girl she has been of enormous help with the other kids that came into the house. She currently shares an apartment with her boyfriend. Fortunately, the apartment is located within walking distance from us. She was placed with us as a foster child when she was nine years old and adopted a few years after that. If you have ever wondered whether an older adoption can be successful, this young lady has proved it can. Here's her question:

 

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