When you, as an adult, sit down at the end of each year, every one of you set a goal for what’s to come. You change, in your mind anyway, what you know needs to be fixed or adjusted for the next year. A New Year’s Resolution, if you will, but is it? Why do we do this without fail? Is it realistically going to change you and, if so, do you really stick by it? I am a realist, I don’t have any resolutions per say – I have things that I just simply look forward to within the next year.
This year, 2018, Kristin and I are finally leaving the foster system. It’s time to pass the baton. We are very active members of the LGBT community and promoters of saving children within our foster system. We have done everything that we have thought of to make a difference. We have written about it for years. We have let you in our home to see what truth goes on. We ran donation drives to help raise awareness and to obtain possessions for foster children. Before it was legal, we pushed our county for us to adopt our first son even being a same-sex married couple, which opened the doors for many others within the country. We have helped over 400 families, just like us, foster and adopt.
People from all over the globe have contacted us and still do. We have been asked so many questions, mostly, how did we do it?
It Takes Thick Skin
When I attempted to research the articles to help these other families, either LGBT or straight, I found nothing. It was then I decided to write, to talk about the truth. The only reason was I wish someone told us what we have been telling all of you: what really goes on being a foster parent and especially being an LGBT family. The ups and downs and how through it all, it has only made our marriage stronger.
What they do not teach you in trainings to foster or adopt are the hiccups that come along the way. The family members that come out of the woodwork; case workers – some are great, and some should not be in this industry; and the judges (the ones that really have the only say here). They also do not tell you that just because you want to, doesn’t mean you should.
Some people are made to be parents, just not foster or adoptive parents. There are two different types of skin you need to have for them. The one thing that angers me more than anything is the crying you do behind closed doors. They never prepared me for that either. Some of those are angry tears and the rest are happy tears that a child is finally getting what they deserve out of love.
People throw around two misconceptions about foster parents that are LGBT. Either you are doing it for money or you’re doing it because you do not want to pay to be able to carry your own child. I am going to tell you this: most of anyone, especially LGBT, do not live this tough life for the money. There is no way in hell it is worth any money unless you are ready to fight and fight the system hard. This is a job, a very low-paying job, that is harder to do than anything else that will come your way.
Secondly, these days with options of IUI and IVF, there is a way for us in the LGBT community to conceive if we choose to do so – and it can be relatively cheap, considering.
LGBT people foster and adopt simply to save a life and to give children a home that did not choose to be here. We foster and adopt strictly to help fix an epidemic of people having children that probably should not have.
Worth the Struggle
That being said: this life is hard. Yet it is amazing. We have shown the world that LGBT people can be amazing parents – if not better than everyone else. That we can have a voice and people are going to listen, as parents we made them listen.
For every down, there were many, many more ups. If it is when your child was counted out and not expected to live, that means something. Especially when you think, yes, we had to fight hard for her to make her permanent, but she is ours now and living a full life. How about that child that was found on a website for children that needed a forever family, who was told would never be verbal? Well, yes, he still has autism, but he is in mainstream classes and talking a mile a minute. He loves hearing that story, they all do, of how we became an US; we are now one story, not eight different stories.
This time though, this is it for us. We have hit so many ups and downs, too many times to count. We may have pushed our limit too far, to the point where you forget who you are at times. Almost like letting yourself go as a sacrifice for everything else.
Just like I said in the beginning, this life isn’t for everyone. We gave it a shot, but stayed in it for far too long. Our family is complete, and we know this, although we said that when we were pregnant with Gavin, we mean it now (I think).
Anyway, I can say today that I can lay my head down at night and feel complete and accomplished. How many people can say that same thing? Yes, it is exhausting at times, but what isn’t? The feeling that you took a chance to expand your heart and you get to be reminded of this every day, it is a great feeling.
It’s rare that a New Year’s Resolution can give you that much gratitude and stick with you until the end of time. This year, it is about closing a chapter and just growing from what we have created from the years that past.