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Month of May Mothers: Fostering a family.

I am going to break the writers’ cardinal rule: never write about something you know nothing about. I know nearly nothing about foster parenting or adoption. But there is a lot of information about foster parenting. My only opinions are based on stories I’ve read in the news, and my own instincts that being a good foster mom would be, in some ways, more challenging than a birth mother. Helping take care of a child whose own parent, for whatever reason, cannot take care of them, and then letting that child go back to a situation that may or may not have totally healed seems near impossible. Conversely, the damage done by bad, incompetent, or downright evil foster parents is inextricably vile.

My maternal grandparents were foster parents. I need to ask my mom about the details of the situation, but at one time they took in a teenage girl, a few years older than my mom at the time. My mom’s the oldest of three. My mom recalls this foster sister with great fondness. It seems a little surreal to me in some ways, because stories of my grandparents are peppered with love and bewilderment. They weren’t perfect people, let’s just say that. But they did have a great capacity to love without pity, to treat others with dignity and compassion: a rare force for good.

They did teach me that we make a family where and when we need to. We define and redfine ourselves as we seek love, acceptance, and yes, dignity.

Foster Care Statistics:

Trend Fiscal year 2000 Fiscal year 2005
Entering Foster Care 293,000 311,000
In Care 552,000 514,000
Exits 272,000 287,000
Parental Rights Terminated 73,000 67,000
Waiting 131,000 115,000
Adopted 51,000 52,000
Served 811,000 800,000


For more information on why there’s a photograph of a hippo and a tortoise, click on My Happy Rainbow link: