Few things took me by surprise when I became a foster parent, but spending most of my holidays toting tots to and from supervised family visits was unexpected. I was prepared for family visits at the foster agency two to three times a week, but I didn’t envision spending hours on Christmas Day waiting at a police station waiting for my foster daughter’s mom to arrive (first to pick her up and then again to return her). Or, spending Halloween or the evening before Thanksgiving at the foster agency.
Of course, it makes sense a foster child spend the holidays with their family, no matter how much I consider him or her to be a part of my own family. In fact, seeing as the foster agency is closed for major holidays (e.g. Thanksgiving, Christmas) it’s unfortunate that foster children and their families can’t spend the full holiday together. It’s a lose-lose anyway it’s done. But of course, telling others that foster care is a bad situation isn’t a newsflash. Neither am I throwing myself a pity party. Seeing as my family is in Florida and I’m in New York, I’m actually a good candidate to spend my holidays in a less traditional fashion and I’m happy to help.
Now’s probably the part where I’m supposed to write “5 Ways to Make The Holidays Easier For Your Foster Child!” but that feels trite right now. Also, my foster daughter’s been with me since her birth and she transitions between visits and home well.
If I have anything to offer, it’s to encourage more people to give foster parenting a go while they are young and childless. There are several advantages to being a foster parent before having or adopting your own children (if that’s even something desired). Spending holidays according to what’s best for your foster child, and not having to simultaneously consider your pre-existing children’s holiday best, is just one example. I’ll make sure to share more in posts to come. I still have some Christmas presents to wrap tonight!
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