Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Am I ready?

Subtitle: am I focusing too much on my frustrations?

Last night someone asked me if I'm really ready for this (parenting, foster parenting...). I am trying to think rationally about this and recognize that he was trying to encourage reflection, not that he was implying that I'm NOT ready. Or at least that's what I hope.

My response was that I don't think anyone is ever ready, at least not completely. You learn something new about the kiddo in your home every day, and no two kiddos are the same, have the same issues, respond in the same way. So while every day has had frustrations, every day has had good moments, too. Am I really not ready, just because I can't get Sabrina to go to bed and stay in bed in her own room? Am I really not ready, just because getting in and out of the car is a struggle? Am I really not ready, just because I have some trouble with consistently following through with consequences? (I know, I know...I'm working on this one.)

I am very thankful for my real-life friends who, though they haven't met Sabrina or seen me parenting her, have expressed nothing but confidence, support, and encouragement for my efforts. And for My Sister who told me that one of her students (age 3-5 with some sort of severe disability) cried for 90 minutes straight today. My Sister, who is my model for parenting and who has gobs of experience as a special ed teacher.

So this post is not a plea for props, because I get enough of those, but I do hope that you will leave a comment answering this question: Does the content of my posts imply that I am not ready for foster parenting (perhaps because they are too negative/one-sided), or does the content of my posts indicate that on the contrary I AM ready? Or any other thoughts related to this issue :-) Yes, the person who asked me this question is likely to read this post. No, I am not trying to justify myself. I think it was an important question, even if it did play into my raging insecurity! And since I am so insecure, I would like to hear from you, my adoring fans who are experienced with fostering and adopting and social working, whether my response to the question was correct.



  1. I know I haven't talked to you or commented in a while, but I think you are doing GREAT! I love your Sabrina-isms. I am learning a lot about parenting while reading about the ways you handle certain situations (and wondering how I would handle them...you know, I've been taking care of other people's kids my whole life, but am questioning how I would deal with someone else's kid who actually is MY kid for the time being...that is definitely different!) Anyway, like you say, I don't think ANYONE is really "ready" for all that comes with parenting...in fact, I think most people just "wing it" ;o) Keep up the great work!!

  2. I don't think anybody is "ready" to be a foster parent. You just do it, and either it works out or it doesn't. If you are enjoying what you are doing, then keep doing it. If you hate it and start to feel burnt out, then quit.

    My only advice is don't be in a rush to adopt, and do not finalize if you have any doubts or reservations whatsoever.

  3. I haven't commented at all I don't think but I've been following for a while. In some ways, I'm in a similar situation, in my 30s, no children, fostering for the first time this year (now have our third child with us!) oh, and jewish although very far from frum I'm afraid!
    I think your rather than frustrations it has been positivity that has been shining through to be honest and there will be frustrations that need to be aired. Best it is here where there are some people that can help however anonymously or where you can feel and record some of those frustrations as they happen but it doesn't come across that you are remotely negative and certainly, as others have said, prepared is as prepared does - if I have learnt anything over the last few months (we actually had our first foster child arrive in April - the day before the Easter holidays.. ). Is that however prepared you are, you probably aren't 'ready'.. because that's what experience makes you. I've had to adjust expectations an awful lot, my own as much as any - but through your writing you express a enormous amount of reflection and consideration as well as positivity that I've found inspiring.
    I know I'm no expert but am just a few months down the road from you.. in a lot of ways, I had and still have the same concerns - I am not a 'parent' so how will I handle x, y or z. But I expect I do the same as anyone and use a mixture of common sense and compassion - one without the other can't work!
    But I think you are doing a more than admirable job there!

  4. I think you are really doing well so far! I think most/all of the things you are struggling with are the same things that every parent I know struggles with - following through, having appopriate structure, dealing with a defiant child... ALL PERFECTLY NORMAL! And, from what I can tell, Sabrina is a pretty typical little girl who is also testing your boundaries because you are new to her! Give yourself a big pat on the back, a break, and keep trying things until something works! And of course, keep blogging about it - cause we want to hear!

  5. I think everything you write shows that you are thinking very carefully about what you are doing. You're doing just fine, and you are right... nobody is ever ready. The first doesn't even prepare for the second. It gets a little easier around six or seven...