Totum Stories: I Finally Understood What Being a Foster Parent Meant
By Cecy Hansen
After learning that we would never be able to have a baby on our own, my husband and I made it a matter of prayer what to do next. We looked into agencies for adoption and with no answers, we decided to start looking into fostering to adopt. Chances were better through this method, or at least we thought so. We met with a group that fosters drug-exposed and medically fragile children, and we fell in love with all of the stories about these special needs children.
For months and months, I prayed for a baby, and even though we fostered for three years, none of the babies placed with us stayed. I was heartbroken. I was so attached to these kiddos that I would cry and cry every time I sent them home. I felt like it would never happen, and that I was ending up loving these precious children with no chances of adopting.
But then, I had a placement of a little girl that called me “mommy.” She was so convinced that I was her mom, and her love was so sincere; it filled my heart with joy. Sadly, she too had to move to a different placement, but this time I knew something was different. I had made her life better; I made her feel safe for once in her short life. She called me mommy because she trusted me, and she wanted her reality to be me. I finally understood what fostering meant: you, as a foster parent, will change that little kid’s life. You showed them what a family is like, what a loving environment feels like. That was a turning point for me, because no matter how much I miss her, I know she will trust, she will love, and have the chance to be great at anything.
Life as a foster parent will never be easy, but life as a biological parent isn’t easy either. We go through the same ups and downs. I have to learn to be strong for these babies. I learn to rely on my husband and our amazing family and friends. I rejoice just like a biological parent would with their kid’s accomplishments. I have learned to see the world through the unconditional love these kids give me. I live by this saying: They give me the eyes to see the world as it is, and I give them the eyes to see how it could be. Being a mom of these amazing kids is my best accomplishment.
Our dreams for adoption were definitely a challenge. As a military family facing the challenges of military relocations and deployments, it seemed like an impossible dream to us. But once we started the process, we knew this was the right way to grow our family.
From the time that we started the process, our whole family embraced our journey and stood behind us in every way. Although some of our family members live far away, it felt like they were right here supporting us. My husband was nervous at first, but after our first foster placement, he was confident that this was our calling. And my children from a previous relationship, ages 16 and 10, were also excited to welcome foster kids to our home.
Approximately 18 months ago, we started fostering a little baby boy with special needs. My relationship with my children shifted to a different level when I was able to see how much compassion and love my children have to offer to him. They wanted to make sure that he was welcomed and felt like part of our family. My whole world evolved; I saw the most intimate emotion one can have as a parent.
Our baby’s Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) through Voices for Children has been a pillar of our journey. She has followed him from his placement with us until now, helping us research, advocate, and find all of the services for our precious little boy. She goes above and beyond to make sure his special needs are met. We could not do it without our CASA by our side.
My dear husband, baby’s social workers, and his CASA – we all work as a team. We all come together to plan for the best possible outcome for our baby boy, and I know he is growing stronger each day with such an amazing team dedicated to his well-being.