By Chelsea Morgan
Have you ever heard of kinship fostering? It is not as common as one would think – but it’s where our fostering story begins.
We know the birth parents of June, and chose to become foster parents when she was born. We had no prior experience or time with an agency.
Because the case is still active, I can’t go into much detail about who or why, but I can talk about my perspective.
We knew that June, our foster daughter, was due to arrive in the world any day – and her parents were not that stable. Captain Morgan and I already agreed to be her caretakers until they were stable enough to be her parents, but they did not want the county to be involved.
When June did make her grand entrance into the world, the doctors had no choice but to call CYS – thus starting our path to foster parenting. June was to be in the hospital for two days, and we had to race around getting everything ready. Outlets plugged, baby girl clothes bought (Boogie was just shy of HIS first birthday), and figuring out who would stay home with her before she could attend daycare! Little did we know how much harder this was all going to get – I did not know it yet, but I was pregnant and we hadn’t even been assigned an agency yet!
Once we were assigned an agency, we had 30-60 days to write out our life history three times (not really exaggerating, they ask you the same question many different ways) There were classes to attend: two weekends for eight hours a day. Our house needed to be up to their standards with a fire extinguisher, escape plans, and so much more. On top of it all we were dealing with a new born! When you decide to become a foster parent WITHOUT being kinship – the process should take 4-6 months. We jam packed it all in by day 45.
You can’t forget the court hearings either. In York County, and trust me – every county is different – the child, the parents, and the guardians are all asked to be in attendance. We had court 5 days after she was born, 2.5 weeks after that, then at 3 months. There was a lot of waiting just to hear the same things. But that’s what you do when a child’s case is so new.
The worst part, in my opinion, is dealing with your emotions over being a kinship provider. Of course – no one wants to see a child be abused, neglected, etc but when the parents are someone of close relation, you don’t know how to convey your feelings anymore. Yes, I want June’s mother and father to get better, but I have loved this little girl from the moment she was born. She is safe with my husband and I, and well provided for. I know that they can’t offer her what we can – but they’re still her parents and deserve thus deserve a chance to parent her. It is very hard to separate your thoughts and emotions from the official view of how things should be, to an extent they understand that.
Kinship isn’t for the faint of heart, that’s for sure, but it is so rewarding as well. You are able to know the child is well taken care of, in a familiar setting, and continues to see biological family on a regular basis. Maybe you’ve never considered kinship fostering because you never had a reason to, but if the opportunity arises, I pray you take it. It’s a rewarding experience.
If you want to hear more about our journey – please feel free to follow me at Monday with the Morgan’s.
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