How I overcame my doubt and concerns about becoming a foster parent

Looking back, I often wonder when and where the seed for fostering was planted in my heart. I grew up in a wonderful neighborhood with many loving families and kids all around. Several homes in my neighborhood welcomed foster children into their lives, and in turn many of these kids became my playmates. Some would stay and some only would be with these families for a short time, but it was my introduction to the gift of foster care.

Many years later I met my wonderful husband and we moved our lives to Milwaukee. On the surface, we moved here for education, but deep down there were bigger things taking root. We were here for about nine months when little moments snuck in to our lives bringing us messages of the great need for foster homes. I saw firsthand the need through my work at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, where often I had the privilege to work with these amazing kids! We saw billboards, commercials and watched movies all connected with the same messages of beautiful children in need of stable love and support. However, it wasn’t an instant decision.

Giving my fostering seed a chance to sprout

Doubt and concerns started to clutter our plans.

  • How would we afford child care?
  • How would we afford medical and dental care?
  • How could we become first time parents to a child who may only be with us for a short time?
  • How could I survive a relationship with parents who may hate me?
  • How could I learn to love a child and then let him or her go?
  • What would this do to my husband, my dogs, my house and my life?

My seed for fostering quickly became overrun with doubt. It no longer had a chance to flourish. That’s when I had the privilege of meeting some of the greatest gardeners in Milwaukee.

I found a message in my inbox at work advertising a lunch and learn opportunity about foster parenting. I listened to real stories, from real foster parents who lived, breathed, and most importantly, thrived as foster families. I asked difficult questions and started to clear out some of the barriers I let in. There would be assistance with child care, medical and dental, a thorough screening process, support systems and always someone to call when I need help. It was as if my seed finally received enough water and sunlight — that’s when it began to sprout.

Letting go of excuses

There always will be more reasons not to become a foster parent. How do we prune those fears to let real growth and beauty take root? It felt scary to let go of all excuses, but if I hadn’t, I never would have witnessed the immaculate garden that has become my family. There were days we felt like we were drying up or drowning from too much water, but each time we reached out for help, someone always was there to make sure we kept growing.

Despite the 101 reasons not to become a foster parent, the one inexcusable reason I became a foster parent was because there was a child who was counting on me to live. For reasons greater than myself. I took a risk on love because they deserved it.

We have been blessed with a son who will forever be with us, and I can’t wait to meet the others who we can help grow with the right mix of love and support, and a community who cares.

- Megan Massey, adoptive parent
Megan Massey 


Comments

How I overcame my doubt and concerns about becoming a foster parent — 7 Comments

  1. Megan, You are a true inspiration to our family and to all those lives you have been blessed to be a part of. When I was told you were going to be a foster parent I was thrilled. Working as a CASA volunteer, I knew that whatever child was placed in your and Will’s care would truly be loved and blessed beyond belief. May God continue to bless you with an abundance of love and bouquets of flowers for years to come. Hugs and kisses to your little boy. Love you.

    • Thank you! Sometimes it really amazes me to think about all we would have missed if we would have “bought” into some of those fears. We feel unbelieably lucky to have met our little guy!

  2. Megan- I really, really want to become a foster parent, but my husband is reluctant. We have four children of our own, they are wonderful children, they are on board with possibly becoming a foster family. My husband says he just wants to watch our children grow and let go of diapers, feedings, and car seats. My heart aches because I worked closely with our county’s CPS agency, I know how desperate they are for foster parents, and I know my husband and I would make great ones. Did your husband have any doubts? I keep trying to gently convince him, but I am afraid if I push too hard, I will turn him off to the idea altogether. Like you, billboards, radio ads, commercials have only fed my desire to foster parent. I feel called, but at the same time stuck. If you have any insight, I would love to hear it. Thank you for sharing your story. Perhaps, I will show him, and see what he says.

    • Hi Heather,

      My name is Will, I am Megan’s husband. I certainly had doubts, all of them real concerns, all of them selfish. Megan and I took in our then foster son in the second year of my PhD program, and adopted him in year three. We purposefully did not have our own family, because we wanted to wait until I was done with school, as being a full-time PhD student, working on a second Master’s degree, doing research and teaching is 2 full time jobs. Of course, it made no sense to do this now, and was easy to say we will do it, but not until (fill in the blank). In the end it was a spiritual decision. Megan and I believe in the Christian faith, and it is a faith that calls us to stand up for the oppressed, to support widows and orphans, and, most of all, to love. I felt that God put it on our hearts to do and I decided I could not ignore it, could not live only for my own cause. I don’t know if that helps, but really it came to a point where it was not much of a decision. As Megan said in her article, they are just kids, the need to be loved and deserved to be loved. I have worked with many inner-city and “disadvantaged” youth, and despite any problems they have, they are just kids and need to be loved. I would be happy to discuss with you or your husband if you wanted to follow-up.

    • Thank you for your message Heather! As you can see, I reached out to my husband specifically to see what his thoughts were. I do want to mention, that becoming a foster family impacts every individual in your home, and I feel that it is important to have EVERYONE on board. As mentioned, we would be happy to speak more with you and your family about what it’s like and how we over came our own fears and doubts, but in the end it should be a family decision. Good luck and on’t hesitate to reach out again for more!

      • Will and Megan-
        Thank you very much for your time in replying to my message. As you might imagine with four children we are on the go constantly and this is the first I have had a chance to reply. We are heading into our “down time” now and I think it may be the perfect time to talk again to my husband about preparing to become foster parents. I’ll admit, by no means are we perfect parents, but we have a lot of love to give. My oldest two children understand what foster parenting is and would really like to do it, my younger two don’t really understand the entire concept, but are open children and very accepting of others. We will have to make sure they understand what it means for them if we move forward. If I can get my husband to talk about it, I may take you up on your offer to speak a little more with the two of you. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


7 + 4 =

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>