Becoming a Foster Mom: One Month

chicken pot pie

Today I begin my second month as a foster mom.

This is what I’ve learned so far.

  1. I have so many questions.
    Since we came to foster care in an unusual way, I feel like I’m simultaneously in the remedial program and the accelerated group. I have lots of very basic questions, while also being trusted to use common sense and experienced mommy-wisdom, either that or everyone is holding their breath hoping I don’t do anything really stupid. I think I’m doing pretty well, most of the time.
  2. Zoe* is blending in well with the family.
    The girls are together a lot – enough to get on each other’s nerves at times, but for the most part, they enjoy each other. Zoe doesn’t feel like a guest or a stranger anymore. I find myself thinking about how much we’ll miss her when she leaves some day.
  3. Being a foster parent to a teen with a cell phone changes things.
    There is no illusion of being in control of contact with family or friends – not that I need to be in control, but somehow I thought it would be different. I also thought our identity would be private – um, no. That might be true with younger children, but not with teens.
  4. Being a foster parent to a teen is an amazing opportunity.
    Having a teenager dropped into our family lends itself to really interesting conversations about family stories, life goals, and plans. Our families have some things in common, like grandmas who make the same special cookie recipe, and grandpas who are loggers.
    It’s also a great time to teach new skills like cooking. The girls made chicken pot pie last weekend, and Zoe has become a stellar salad maker. It’s an incredible time to step into a young person’s life.
  5. My Resource Peer Mentor is a godsend.
    She is an experienced foster mom who answers my questions, gives me advice when I ask, and checks in to see how I’m doing. Plus she texts, even in the evening, which is perfect for me (I try not to drive her crazy).
  6. Case managers work hard.
    I’m pretty sure I’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg, but their jobs are no joke. Because we live in a rural area, not only do the case managers work long hours, they travel long distances. The program coordinator stopped by my house Friday night on her way from one town to another – a distance of 185 miles each way.

This is a very different experience from international adoption. Back then we were dealing with agencies that were in other states. We had one local social worker who did our home study, but I never saw anyone else in person.

One month in and I think we’re doing well. I had a moment of panic when I helped Zoe get her first job and then realized I didn’t even know if it was allowed – thankfully it was.  So far, so good.

Our newest question involves driving. Zoe just completed Driver’s Ed and has 50 hours of driving practice to complete. We’re working with her Independent Living case manager to hammer out questions of auto insurance, liability, who she can practice with, etc.

I’ll keep you posted!

You might like to read: What I’ve Learned About Being a Foster Mom After Two Weeks

*Zoe is a nickname chosen by my foster daughter.

with hope and gratitude,

Lisa

Portrait-small

This post may contain Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

10 Comments

  1. Jessi
    July 11, 2016

    Foster care is something I really hope I’m able to do eventually. I am really interested to read these posts as you learn to navigate it.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      July 11, 2016

      Thanks, Jessi – I always thought we would do it some day too, it just came sooner than we expected. 🙂

      Reply
  2. Kim
    July 11, 2016

    We foster-adopted a teen girl last year, and the biggest thing I’ve learned is how little I know. My 4 bio kids, and growing up with adopted siblings didn’t quite prepare me for this experience. Our adopted teen is a wonderful addition and blessing, and she fits in wonderfully with our crazy family, but I was surprised to discover that the biggest learning curve is mine. God is teaching me (or attempting to teach me) so many things. I am humbled every single day. I would like your mentors phone number, please. Lol.
    I am so excited to hear that you are able to foster a teen. God has given us a heart for the older kids and teens that need a loving family, and it warms my heart every time I hear that someone has opened their home to a young person in need. Blessings to you and your family. I look forward to hearing what God does through you.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      July 11, 2016

      Kim, I would love to hear about your experience of fostering and adopting a teen. Would you consider writing a My Thankful Life guest post? You can find the guidelines here: http://thankfulmoms.com/contact/thankful-life/

      Reply
  3. fairygodmother
    July 11, 2016

    Tell Zoe we hope we can meet her sometime! xoxo

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      July 11, 2016

      Maybe soon!

      Reply
  4. Melissa
    July 11, 2016

    Thank you for doing this series. As much as I would like to adopt internationally, it’s just not my husband’s heart, so unless God changes that, it’s not in the cards. But we have mentioned that teen fostering would be something we’d both like to do some day. I’ve taught 8th grade to kids from really hard backgrounds, so I don’t have many illusions of it being always easy or fun. I’m interested to hear more of your story with Zoe as it unfolds.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      July 11, 2016

      Melissa, it sounds like you and your husband might be just perfect for teens and pre-teens. If you can teach 8th graders, you’re practically a super hero already!

      Reply
  5. Beth
    July 11, 2016

    Six years in and I still have questions! Seems like there’s a new adventure every day. Thankfully, God gives us the grace needed for each day. Prayers for blessings on your journey!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      July 12, 2016

      Thank you, Beth. It was great meeting you.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

I accept the Privacy Policy