What if family or friends don’t agree with your desire to foster or adopt? What do you do when you only hear horror stories and concerns? The disagreement of extended family or friends should not weigh into your final decision but should be considered. Remember, most resistant family members worry that you and your family will get hurt. However, they are on the outside looking in and sometimes can see things from a perspective that you cannot amid the emotion. All of 10.18’s training and resources are available to your family, friends, and support system to aid in this decision and ongoing support. We highly encourage everyone within your support system to go through our How Do I Know if I Am Ready to Foster/Adopt and Watchful Eye Child Protection training together.
If you have a strong desire and encounter resistance, it is crucial to identify WHY there is a disagreement. There can be a lot of reasons. It may not be an issue of willingness but ability. Sometimes, their emotional bandwidth with family and work is limited, their trauma history or fear of making their heart vulnerable is a factor.
Unity is Not Optional; it is Essential.
Unity is one of the most critical elements to a healthy fostering or adoption journey. The challenges you face amid fostering or adoption are unlike anything you will ever experience. It is taxing on time, money, emotions, and family rhythms. You cannot do it without support. Having your WHOLE household involved and unified is vital to achieving a positive outcome. This includes your spouse, children, or other adults living in the house.
We highly encourage parents to have age-appropriate children in the decision-making process. We recommend including children seven and older in your decision, depending on their maturity level. Be sure to give them a voice and keep them involved throughout the process. The choice to foster and/or adopt affects their lives significantly; they need a voice throughout every step!
What you can do amid disunity:
- Go through the training we mentioned above.
- Start a non-pressured dialogue.
- Hear them out.
- Seek counsel from a peace-filled experienced foster/adoptive family together.
- Discuss your choices. It may be a specific decision and not the whole idea that’s creating the conflict.
- Ask lots of questions; because they may not even know why.
- If needed, give it time.
- If you are waiting, there are many other ways to get involved and help!
It is All Hard
The reality is that ALL forms of adoption or fostering are challenging! All ages are hard. They are hard in different ways. There is no easy route to adoption or fostering. They all have their challenges, roller-coasters of emotions, and surprises. At the same time, it is one of the most gratifying decisions you will ever make!
No two foster or adoptive parents’ journeys will be the same: no two cases you have will be the same, and no two kids will be the same. The fastest way to lose hope is to compare yourself to others. Don’t allow anyone to expect or pressure you because of their “opinions”, profession, or experiences. Often your decision comes with a lifetime impact. The key is to understand that everyone has limitations, and limitations are not bad.
When you come face-to-face with victimized children’s gross injustices, it will touch your pain. Even in situations with no abuse history, the emotional process can still be a trigger. Fostering and adopting children is a very emotional process. Your pain points will be touched to some degree, no matter the level of healing you have obtained. That is not a bad thing; it is just something you need to be aware of in your decision-making process. Know that “your hard is your hard.” Someone else’s hard will be your easy, and vice-versa. We are here to help smooth your path as much as possible, but only you can determine WHY you want to do it!
Seek Peace & Pursue It
Wherever you have peace, pursue it (Psalms 34). Anything that doesn’t give you peace do NOT do it, no matter what anyone says to you. The entire trajectory of a child’s life is in the balance, and it is not the time to do what everyone wants. It is time to listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit within you and keep the child whole! Make the child the center of every decision. Having peace does NOT mean you won’t feel a tinge of fear or concern when you think about it. After a time of contemplation, dialogue, and prayer, what do you feel deep in your gut? Do you feel more at peace about it than you do about not doing it? Wherever you find that inner peace, pursue it!
Am I Ready to Foster or Adopt a Child?
Through our interactive information class we guide you through the most common and complex questions families have. No matter the need, this is a big decision that will impact every member of your family in some way. Get your questions answered from the collective perspectives of former foster youth, foster parents, and child welfare professionals.