We've had a lot of perspective foster and adoptive dads join lately, so we wanted to cover expectations going into fostering and adopting children. Anyone who has gone through the process would probably say it may not be good to have too many expectations. And, quite honestly, that's true.
Yes, most places will have you fill out a form sharing what preferences you would like when it comes to a child from age, race, and even what special needs you can and cannot handle. However, this doesn't necessarily mean that all of your criteria will be met.
So what expectations can you have? Great question! Let us shed some light:
It Will Be Hard. Some folks go into foster care expecting this fairy tale story of "rescuing" a child and living happily ever after. This may happen on rare occasions, but these children are in the system for a reason. They have trauma. They have hurt. They feel unwanted. And that comes out in their actions and emotions. It is going to be hard. We do not share this to stop you from doing what you're doing, but it's just the truth.
You Won't Know Everything About Your Child. DSS and agencies do their absolute best to find out everything about the child you are about to take into your home, but they don't (and can't) know everything they have been through. Some children are in the system at such an early age that they cannot recall all that they have been through and something down the road might trigger something that they cannot explain. Things may have happened before DSS intervened. The truth is you won't know everything about your child and that's OK. You will learn by experience and triggers that you will find out on the fly.
It Will Be Worth It. Can I be real for second? Some days I want to flip out. Some days I want to give up. But you know what? At the end of the day, this journey is worth every second. Maybe not in the moment after a melt down, but in hindsight, I wouldn't trade anything for this feeling and responsibility. Know this, no matter how many hard times you have, nothing beats the feeling of when you walk in the door from work, or an errand, and your child runs to you to give you a hug. It's the best feeling in the world. Remember this...It. Is. Worth. It.
Those are the expectations you should have going into foster care and adoption. While this isn't an exhaustive list, this is a great start. Feel free to ask questions below or in the Facebook group!