What I’ve Learned After Two Weeks as a Foster Mom

Processed with VSCO with b1 preset
Zoe and Claire

Our journey into foster care is two weeks old now, so let me tell you everything I know – it won’t take long.

  1. I don’t know much at all.
    There is a steep learning curve and I’m in it. This was a respite stay that became a placement – not the typical way one becomes a foster parent. We have been scrambling to get licensed and I think we’re nearly there. We’ll have six months to complete our training.
  2. There are a lot of people involved.
    I’m constantly meeting people with different roles and responsibilities. I need a chart showing who everyone is and what their responsibilities are. I’m pretty sure I’m calling the wrong person about the wrong thing most of the time.
  3. There are lots of boxes to check.
    Sunday night I wrote my autobiography, quickly and simply, but I wrote it. We’ve reported our monthly income and expenses, asked friends to be references, been background checked and fingerprinted, and given our doctors permission to share our medical info.  Did I mention it’s all worth it?
  4. Safety matters.
    We’ve put up a new smoke/carbon monoxide detector, rehung the interior garage door we had taken down to repair the weather stripping, our well is being tested, and we’re getting safer by the second.
  5. There are rules and regulations to learn.
    I’m reading about rules and regulations – like not crossing state lines. I haven’t actually read that one yet, only heard about it. Did I mention we practically live on a state line? I’m pretty sure that running to our favorite pizza place doesn’t count. Or does it?  One more thing to find out.
  6. Teen girls have a lot of stuff.
    Beza and Zoe (nickname) have the biggest bedroom in the house and they’ve managed to fill it with clothes, shoes, and stuff. Beza is in Colorado at camp this week, so Claire has migrated down to that bedroom adding some of her stuff too. Mercy, they have a lot of stuff! I think we need more shelving, or magical storage space.

One thing I do know is that my girls have big hearts and they have taken in  Zoe as if she has always been part of their lives. They’ve played numerous games of Life, listened to music, tried to persuade her to dance, baked cookies, cooked dinner, decorated bedrooms, and gone to the farmers market for mini doughnuts.

I overheard Beza say, “I like you. I like people who’ve been through hard times.” She left off, “Like me,” but that’s what she meant.

They understand each other – they can relax with one another. No need to be fake around our house; we’re not strangers to hard times.

We still don’t know what is going to happen, we only know that we’re glad she’s here and thankful that God chose us for this time in her life.

Last night Wogauyu said, “Zoe, it seems like you’ve always been here.” She replied, “If I leave, you won’t even remember me.” I said, “That’s not true. We won’t forget you – already, we won’t forget you.”

We have a good father who loves these kids so much – what a privilege to get to love them too.

[note: Since writing this I’ve learned that we can cross into WA state or Montana to a nearby city for the day without permission. If we travel overnight, we need permission. I just submitted our travel plans and hope we’ll be able to take Zoe with us to Whidbey Island this summer. You know how much we love that place!]

[I explained to Zoe that I have a blog and that I will never write anything about her without her permission, nor will I share her story. Most of what I write about foster care will be what I learn in my journey of becoming a foster mom. Also, she chose the name Zoe as her blog nickname, it is not her real name.]

Lisa

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.

23 Comments

  1. Sondra
    June 23, 2016

    After 11 years of fostering, I’ve finally started to figure out which worker to call for which question. Hang in there! As soon as you figure it all out, they’ll restructure the whole system.

    I am SO GLAD you can take older kids. They need nurturing as much as the babies do.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      June 23, 2016

      Good to know, Sondra! It’s a pretty neat thing, because I never would have thought we would take a teen, until I met Zoe. She is a special girl.

      Reply
      1. Lolo
        June 28, 2016

        I was a foster child at age 9. I still remember our foster mom. As a result we have been looking into doing emergency foster care. Thanks for the perspective.

        Reply
        1. Lisa Qualls
          June 28, 2016

          That is wonderful, Lolo. You will be a special gift to the children God brings into your home and life.

          Reply
  2. Cindy Walker
    June 23, 2016

    Wow. That is exciting news! Happy for everyone, and hope all the adjustments are smooth.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      June 23, 2016

      Thank you, Cindy. So far, so good!

      Reply
  3. Mary DeGennaro
    June 23, 2016

    This made me cry, when you told her you would never forget her.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      June 23, 2016

      She is pretty special.

      Reply
  4. Angela
    June 23, 2016

    Welcome to the world of foster care ! We have been foster parents for 8 years and one of the best things they have recently come up with us called ” prudent parenting” . It gives us permission to do some things without getting permission….check it out! Good luck!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      June 23, 2016

      That sounds really interesting, Angela. I’ll definitely ask about it. We’re brand new to foster parenting, but 29 years into parenting – maybe that will count for something.

      Reply
      1. Angela
        June 27, 2016

        I have followed your blog for a long time. We too adopted from Ethiopia through AAI! We also adopted from foster care through AAI.

        Reply
        1. Lisa Qualls
          June 27, 2016

          Thanks so much for commenting, Angela! Who knows the journeys God is going to take us on.

          Reply
  5. Bill Distad
    June 25, 2016

    I’m glad to hear you are a foster parent Lisa! I know your skills! God Bless!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      June 27, 2016

      So nice to hear from you, Bill! We got our start with you all those years ago as undergrads. We have fond memories of that time in our lives.

      Reply
  6. Ann Henderson
    June 25, 2016

    This makes my heart sing with gratefulness that you have stepped forward to help a foster child. The needs are at what feels like an all-time high (at least in our area) and to know a child can call your house a home for whatever time is a huge blessing. Thank you! Also, I hesitate to say this but I feel led to share that I can imagine Kalkidan is smiling from heaven, in seeing beauty from ashes. Be well my friend.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      June 26, 2016

      Ann, that is a beautiful thought – thank you.

      Reply
  7. Tricia Wilson
    June 27, 2016

    I look forward to hearing about what you learn on this journey. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      June 27, 2016

      I’m hoping to write a series as I move through this process – we’ll see how it goes!

      Reply
  8. patti mcmanamy
    June 28, 2016

    Hi, I love and appreciate your work and caring life and how you respectfully share your histories and experiences of family. Something struck me tonight as I saw a beautiful photo of a loving adult hand extending to–and being welcomed by–a young child. And something hurt. Whether you intend it or not, and I mean for all of us white loving parents of brown and black children who were and are vulnerable and taking on that big willingness to trust us, this image reinforces us as the saviors and rescuers and the children–the particular brown children–being the targets of our rescue. I wonder, since you are connected in the adoptive world and have great photographic resources and skills–what would it look like if one of your posts had a brown adult hand extended to the hand of a white child? Would our responses change? Would be challenge ourselves a bit more?

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      June 29, 2016

      Patti – oh goodness, you know I thought about that pic. It’s actually a photo of my daughter, Mimi, holding Wogauyu’s hand when he was a baby. I am at a loss for pics right now, working on a new computer that has very few of my photos and I’ve never purchased stock photos, so wasn’t ready to take that project on, and I wanted to use people not just an object and it was late Sunday night and I was tired, and Russ is in Kenya – none of which are great excuses! I really did think about it. I need new pics – I do. I hear you! I will put some effort into replacing that photo today and into either figuring out how to purchase stock photos or digging into an old external hard drive for old photos I can use and loading them into drop box. This has been on my mind. Maybe I need to put out a call to my readers for high quality photos they might like to offer in exchange for photo credit. If you have any, send them my way. Thank you – truly, this has been pressing on me.

      Reply
  9. Tammy Youngblood
    June 29, 2016

    I love what you have written regarding your journey into foster care. I will be praying for you and Zoe.

    Reply
  10. Mary (Owlhaven)
    July 5, 2016

    Wow, that’s amazing!

    I have wondered recently about being a foster mom to infants…pretty sure John would be appalled. This makes me want to at least talk to him…
    Praying for your family!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      July 5, 2016

      I keep thinking about babies too, Mary. That would be especially great for you with your medical background if a baby had some special medical needs. Nice to hear from you, friend.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I accept the Privacy Policy