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He's Unlocked A Bit Of My Heart I Didn't Know Existed....

My husband and I have been trying for a family for about 4 years. I was never in a hurry to jump into motherhood so was 34 when we started and I had 3 miscarriages and then nothing. Although we're still trying, my husband expressed an interest in fostering about a year ago and I was happy to go along with it (he's the primary carer). So eventually we got approved and J moved in with us a couple of months ago. He's 17 (which surprises most people) but the knocks he's had mean he's not yet ready for independent living.

I have to admit to being completly overwhelmed by the strength of feeling I had as soon as I set eyes on him. It was like some kind of alarm inside me going 'boy without mother - mother without child - hey, there's space for you here!!!!' (in fact, he does have a mother but has no contact). This surprised me because I'm not normally very maternal (don't go gooey over other peoples' babies, etc) but think maybe I've been repressing it all these years.

I think my reaction has made it really hard for my husband for several reasons: he's meant to be the primary carer so expected he'd be closer to J the kids than me; he's desperate to do a good job and help J become independent but I keep running round doing stuff for him; initially he probably wondered if I had more than a parental interest in J; initially he was worried J would develop romantic feelings for me because of how I was acting; he planned to do this on a very professionally detached level and I'm obviously completely unprofessionally attached.....

Anyway, after 2 mths, things are finally settling down and I think hubby and me are more comfortable about how we are. J is also settling in well but it's still quite hard for him and we've had 3 dodgy spells - but I would say that after each dodgy spell, things seem to move forward a lot in terms of his settling in, trusting us and starting to open up to us so I suppose in a way, it's all to the good.

My aim out of all this is two-fold. First, knowing that we are J's last stop before independence, I want to make sure he knows we're a permanent connection in the rest of his life whether it's people to call on when he feels low, somewhere to come for Sunday lunch or, hopefully, people to be invited to his wedding. The second bit is to build his self-esteem so that he can be more able to form positive relationships of his own in future and reach his full potential in life. Part of me thinks I'm being a bit naive and maybe this is too much to hope for but, hey, I can only give it a go. As I've started telling him, 'he's worth it'!!!

As for future kids we might foster, can't even imagine that at the moment but I hope I can keep up the momentum and don't become jaded over time - but probably depends how successful we are this time round......

9Jul10: J's therapist visited the other day. She confirmed it's good (necessary event) that I feel the love for him I do because he needs to have the 'whole family experience' in order to then start the detachment process and move into adulthood with a hope of forming postive relationships himself. Am soooo relieved by this news! Hubby's still struggling though, can't get his head round having to put his heart in this. Still think it's a self-protection thing but it was all his idea in the first place. Is it just me or does it seem weird that you'd apply to foster because you want to help kids but then be able to put your heart into it.....hopefully I'll have the answer in a future update!
Carol01 Carol01 36-40, F 4 Responses Jul 4, 2010

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Not been on here for years but something on TV made me think of this post and I wanted to read it again. Glad to say I'm still in touch with the boy in question 4 yrs on and have also added another boy to the list of kids I wish were mine! He has also moved on but we stay in touch. I would still describe it as the best but the hardest thing I've ever done and thankfully my husband and I worked things out eventually and are more balanced in our approach. Nearly broke us mind you but what doesn't kill you makes you stronger eh! Looking forward to the next 4 years and hoping we'll have a permanent placement soon because I'm struggling to get head over heels with the ones who see us as a stop-gap (not safe for me I guess) and I really miss what I had with the first two I've already mentioned.

I am on both sides of the coin. I was raised away from my bio mom, she was legally my sister so seen her, just didnt "live" with her. Finally when I turn 16 I basically moved out of my dads house and in with my "sister" and was being raised there.<br />
My sisters husband was extremely jelous because my sister and I could sit and have deep conversations or were close and he didnt get that time with her. He was a champ at allowing me in his home (they were my 2nd choice not 1st) but anyway it was a HUGE adjustment for all involved and I was a good kid. If I had issues OMG what would life had been like for us.<br />
I know kids who hate the world and have issues. I am old now so cant imagine what parents go through with that. The child I am fostering is just 4yrs old. He has been with me a yr plus and is great. A teen or younger child would have all kinds of battle scars to heal from. Bless each of you that are willing.

If I had to sum this up, for me, it's the best thing I ever did - but also the hardest - and in a completely different way to what I thought. I was worried about having a stranger in my house and not being able to relax and kick back when I wanted, etc. Also worried in case we got some sullen kid who hated having to be here and we'd be walking on egg shells all the time. In the event, the kid's great, happy to be here and fun to have around and it's the fight's I'm having with my husband that have been the hardest thing. To be honest, I should have expected it because we always did disagree on a lot of things but it's still been a surprise. <br />
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If you are the primary carer, the likely issue would be that you'll be totally taken up with the kid and your husband may resent it a bit. Also, if you're giving up your job to do it, you might feel a bit like a fish out of water for a while because you have to set your own routine's instead of having them imposed on you by an employer.<br />
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In terms of advice, I would say to make sure you both understand what each of you hope to get from this, ie, are you looking for someone to love or are you running a business and be prepared for a good couple of months of turmoil before things settle down between you/husband.<br />
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In terms of the kid, accept that it's a bit like two steps forward and one step back. I mentioned J had 3 major wobbles so far but it's like he has to do that to move forward. It's heart-breaking at the time but then afterwards, you can see he's more settled and opening up a lot more. <br />
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My only regret is that J had to put up with me/hubby during our settling in period - and as much as they tell you not to argue in front of the kid, he'd have to have been an idiot not to have felt the atmosphere sometimes and not to have realised he was at the heart of it!!<br />
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Oh yeah, that's another thing to think about, especially in case you have older kids that'll go to bed when you do and my not have friends in the area to get them out the house at first - how will you make time to discuss things with your husband privately if there's someone else always around!<br />
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Anyway, I wish you luck and if you even got as far as applying, I'm sure you will be great and enjoy it. Any other questions, just ask and I look forward to hearing from you when you get your first placement :D

This sounds very rewarding. Ive had the same concerns you mentioned. I am not a foster mom yet but always wanted to be be one. As for your hubby being deatched and you being more open, you cld just have different styles and goals for the kid and different ways of obtaining those goals in J's life. Male and women are different in how they often raise kids. U will eventually get the hang of eachothers styles, strengths and weakness as well as foster parents. :)

Hi my husband and I are in the middle of trying to become foster parents right now after trying 4 our own family without sucess I would love to hear any advice u have to spare 8