Thursday, July 17, 2014

An Introduction and an Announcement.

My name is Kaley. I’m a 20-something woman living in the lovely Heart of Texas. I’m in the early stages of my career as a social worker. I enjoy spending time with people I care about, playing and listening to music, baking, crafting, drinking coffee and being outside. I like traveling, sipping on a good (or cheap) glass of wine, and playing with my dogs.

This is me- looking super sassy because I just got bangs for the first time since 1st grade.
They look better in person.


I’m also a foster parent.

Well, to be more accurate at the moment, I’m applying to be a foster parent.

I haven’t told very many people about this decision- mostly because it’s early in the process, and not talking about it seems like the easiest way to keep people’s thoughts, opinions and judgments at bay.  That might seem unnecessary, but in all honesty, I get really nervous about what other people think about this decision.

So far the people I’ve told have been- for the most part- very encouraging. Most have been incredibly excited for me, which is thrilling. But I have received a few quizzical looks, along with statements such as, “you're so young!”, “that’s going to be really hard,” and, even more simply, the perplexed- and almost indignant- “Why?!”

Jean-Ralphio's eyebrows just asked you a question.

Whenever I tell someone about my decision for the first time, I anxiously anticipate that type of response. I tend to talk in circles for a bit and then rush through the “so I applied to be a foster parent” part, as if blurring the sentence into one unintelligible word will confuse the listener enough to move on without responding.

This has yet to work for me, by the way.

Thankfully, the positive responses greatly outweigh the negatives at this point. I think that’s partially because people view this as an “admirable” or “brave” undertaking. (I'm using quotation marks because those are both responses I've heard. It’s very kind of people to say, but also very generous. I don’t particularly feel as if I’m either of those things, but I'll take it.)

I think the other reason I’ve gotten mostly positive feedback is just that the majority of the people who know I’m taking this step also know me- my heart, my passions, and my goals.

Even so, I get pretty nervous when someone else is added to the “in the know” list. After breaking the news I wait, anxiously holding my breath during the moments between my announcement and the listeners' response- which are never as long as they feel- confident they will automatically go into a long list of reasons why I shouldn’t do this. (Because obviously they’d have that ready to go in anticipation of this exact moment.)

I expect those responses because, in my mind, they seem pretty reasonable. I can understand that it seems crazy for a young, single woman to commit to something so demanding. Shouldn’t I be soaking up my youth and enjoying my freedom? Spending time with friends? Staying up and sleeping in late instead of taking care of a small human being?

One Direction=YOLO pros.

I can understand that reasoning. Really, I can. The part of my brain that comprehends those concepts is pretty nervous about this undertaking. I mean, the Waco dating scene is pretty rough already- I can’t imagine it will get much better if I’m in charge of a toddler.

It makes no sense to do this right now.

I’m young. I’m unattached. I’m moving forward in a career that I love. I have free time and energy and passion! I can do anything I want with my life!

But, on the other hand…

I’m young. I’m unattached. I’m moving forward in a career that I love. I have free time and energy and passion! I can do anything I want with my life!

In my mind, the reasons I shouldn’t become a foster parent are the same reasons I should. (Or some of them, at any rate.)

In fact, I think they’re reasons I could be a pretty kick-ass foster parent.

I’ve been chugging along as a social worker for the past year, and I’ve recently started the process to pursue clinical licensure. I don’t want to pat myself on the back prematurely, but I think the knowledge and experience I’ve gained in this field will be really helpful things to bring to the foster parenting table.

I have energy and passion. I care about serving people- especially kids who need to hear and know they’re loved and worth loving.

I am unattached. Right now, I have free time that I might not have further down the road. So why not use that time productively?* Instead of filling my free time with Netflix marathons, I can use it to do something that makes me feel alive.

Believe me, I do enjoy Netflix marathons. I’ve championed them in the past few years. But I have found serving and caring for someone in a tangible way to be significantly more life-giving than powering through an entire season of House of Cards in a day.  

Obviously the most uplifting show on Netflix
.
All that being said, I am not so naïve as to believe this will be a leisurely stroll in the park. I recognize that it will be incredibly challenging and difficult. But I also believe that it will be good. I expect I will shed some tears in the days ahead, but I have a feeling I will also experience incredible joy.

So I’m going for it. I’m currently in the midst of a series of interviews, trainings, background checks, home inspections, and so on and so forth. It’s a pretty serious process.

But I am really excited.

Still nervous.

But mostly excited.

If you want to join me in this process- because you are excited for me, think I'm crazy, are interested in becoming a foster parent yourself, or you're just bored- feel free to check back here every once in a while. I’m planning on using this to share some updates- on my progress through licensing and, hopefully eventually, my experiences with actually having a child in my home.


I’m really looking forward to the journey, and I hope you’re looking forward to sharing it with me!




*Please note- I do not believe that “using time productively” equates to foster parenting for everyone. For many people, it might mean traveling, taking classes, spending time with friends and family, etc. For some people it might even mean Netflix marathon-ing. I’m not here to judge. You do you. And embrace it, because it’s awesome.


4 comments:

  1. I love you. I'm proud of you. And I'm excited for what ...... and who ...... lies ahead for you.
    You rock!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I could call this decision heroic, admirable, awesome, kind, loving, brave, etc. - but the best description of this choice is: CRITICAL. The entire country, and particularly our lovely little corner of Texas, is in CRITICAL need of foster homes. And to think that yours will be a kick-ass foster home (because it will be), and by that, I mean LOVING, EMPATHETIC, PATIENT, and SAFE, fills my heart to the brim. love you & love this.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Love this! We had many of the same responses with our adoption. But our kid brings laughter (and plenty of eye rolls) into our family like no other. It's crazy fun, crazy hard and crazy good.

    ReplyDelete