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Vieraskieliset / In-english

Blog: Ex­pe­rien­ces of sup­port and fos­ter pa­ren­ting

Vieraskieliset / In-english
11.9.2020 13.40

Juttua muokattu:

11.9. 15:02
2020091115020520200911134000

While fol­lo­wing the li­ves of my sib­lings’ fa­mi­lies and child­ren as a yo­ung girl, I dre­a­med of a fa­mi­ly of my own. But the He­a­ven­ly Fat­her had dif­fe­rent plans for me.

I went on li­ving my life, and as I grew ol­der, my dream be­gan to seem more and more elu­si­ve. I sha­red my thoughts with ot­her pe­op­le in the same life si­tu­a­ti­on. For my­self as well as for many of my friends, es­pe­ci­al­ly the hap­pi­ness and joy of fa­mi­lies ce­leb­ra­ting Mot­hers’ Day see­med to ac­cen­tu­a­te our pain­ful awa­re­ness of child­les­s­ness.

I was over 40 ye­ars old when I met my hus­band and mo­ved to a new lo­ca­li­ty. Ever sin­ce the be­gin­ning of our mar­ri­a­ge, we knew we could not have child­ren. Des­pi­te that know­led­ge, we had to pro­cess the di­sap­point­ment of our child­les­s­ness. At first it see­med dif­fi­cult to find a place among the new brot­hers and sis­ters and to feel equ­al to the lo­cal lar­ge fa­mi­lies.

But we have trus­ted in God’s care and wis­dom in all things. God cre­a­ted us uni­que and va­lu­ab­le and gave us a life that is good for us.

Both while li­ving sing­le and af­ter get­ting mar­ried, my hus­band and I have ap­p­re­ci­a­ted our godc­hild­ren and our sib­lings’ child­ren. We have tra­ve­led to­get­her with my nie­ces and nep­hews and la­ter even with my sib­lings’ grandc­hild­ren. Many of them have sta­yed with us du­ring their school ho­li­da­ys. We have been ab­le to show love and ca­ring to ot­hers, but have al­so ex­pe­rien­ced abun­dant love and care our­sel­ves.

We gra­du­al­ly be­gan to con­si­der fos­ter pa­ren­ting. At sum­mer ser­vi­ces and ot­her gat­he­rings I found my­self ob­ser­ving friends and ac­qu­ain­tan­ces who had fos­ter child­ren. The very idea see­med ap­pe­a­ling. On­ce du­ring a work­day, when I was scan­ning through the city of­fi­ci­als’ phone num­bers, I no­ti­ced an ad that said, “The city is loo­king for fos­ter fa­mi­lies. Would you like to be­co­me a fos­ter pa­rent?”.

That he­a­ding oc­cu­pied my mind for a long time, un­til I fi­nal­ly read some more about the to­pic and emai­led to the fa­mi­ly care so­ci­al wor­ker. She soon res­pon­ded and en­cou­ra­ged us to sign up for a pre­pa­ra­to­ry cour­se on adop­ti­ve and fos­ter pa­ren­ting that was due to be­gin that fall.

My hus­band and I dis­cus­sed the idea, exc­han­ging many kinds of thoughts. There were ti­mes when we felt we were ta­king a step in­to the great unk­nown and could not de­ci­de what to do. But when the cour­se star­ted, we found our­sel­ves sit­ting at a lar­ge tab­le to­get­her with pe­op­le who pro­bab­ly sha­red our fee­lings.

Du­ring that int­ro­duc­to­ry cour­se, we dis­cus­sed our life his­to­ries, our spou­sal re­la­ti­ons­hip and our abi­li­ty and wil­ling­ness to ser­ve as fos­ter or sup­port fa­mi­lies. Du­ring and af­ter the cour­se, the fa­mi­ly care wor­kers hel­ped us ap­p­rai­se our no­ti­on of fos­ter pa­rent­hood from both our own view­point and that of a child. Af­ter all those sta­ges and eva­lu­a­ti­ons, we he­ard we had been ac­cep­ted to ser­ve as fos­ter pa­rents.

A few weeks af­ter the end of the cour­se, a so­ci­al wor­ker cal­led us about their need for a sup­port fa­mi­ly. We met some fa­mi­ly care wor­kers as well as a tod­d­ler and his mot­her in our home. The child wal­ked around in the hou­se and see­med to feel fa­mi­li­ar with the sur­roun­dings. Soon af­ter that mee­ting, we star­ted as their sup­port fa­mi­ly and still con­ti­nue to meet that tod­d­ler, who is now in his teens.

A few months la­ter there was anot­her phone call from the fa­mi­ly wor­ker. She as­ked if we could start fos­te­ring a tee­na­ger who nee­ded fa­mi­ly care. Af­ter some ne­go­ti­a­ti­ons and mee­tings, we re­mai­ned to con­si­der the of­fer. Ot­her pe­op­le’s re­ac­ti­ons va­ried, and one even said, ”Are you in yo­ur right mind? Think about it se­ri­ous­ly.”

We con­ti­nu­ed to think un­til the spring and then be­gan to de­co­ra­te a room for the tee­na­ger who came to live with us. By now, this yo­ung boy has mo­ved out and is li­ving in­de­pen­dent­ly. But we are still part of his life, mee­ting him re­gu­lar­ly.

We al­so ope­ned the doors of our home to sib­lings who nee­ded a sup­port fa­mi­ly as well as child­ren in need of pla­ce­ments of va­ri­ous du­ra­ti­ons. We are now a short-term fos­ter fa­mi­ly, which me­ans that we take in a child wit­hout much pre­pa­ra­ti­on for just a few days or months. About on­ce a month, a child that was al­re­a­dy in our care as a baby co­mes for an over­night vi­sit.

As fos­ter pa­rents, we have of­ten been told that we are doing “va­lu­ab­le work”. While doing this, we have felt the bur­den of great res­pon­si­bi­li­ty and ex­pe­rien­ced mo­ments of joy and hap­pi­ness as well as fai­lu­re. We have been ab­le to share the dai­ly life of school child­ren, sit at mee­tings and meet “our” child­ren’s bi­o­lo­gi­cal pa­rents and re­la­ti­ves. As a short-term fos­ter fa­mi­ly, we have even ta­ken care of ba­bies, le­ar­ning about night feeds and di­a­per chan­ges.

The fos­ter pa­rents’ cour­ses pro­vi­ded by Opis­tos have gi­ven us ans­wers to many qu­es­ti­ons as well as peer sup­port and ad­vi­ce. The sup­port of be­lie­ving fos­ter fa­mi­lies and fa­mi­ly care pro­vi­ders has been in­dis­pen­sab­le in dif­fi­cult si­tu­a­ti­ons. When I was stan­ding at the al­tar with my new hus­band, whom I had pro­mi­sed to love at good and bad ti­mes, I could not have ima­gi­ned life as a fos­ter mot­her. I can the­re­fo­re say with con­vic­ti­on: ”The ways of God are won­der­ful.”


I could ne­ver

put on a ma­ter­ni­ty dress

have a school pic­tu­re on the books­helf,

play with my grandc­hild


but I was sur­roun­ded

by ma­ter­nal love

that taught me

to car­ry in my arms

and care for a child

who sta­yed with me

for a flee­ting mo­ment


to see the child’s joy

the stab­le and the man­ger


to trust and love

like the mot­hers

who shine forth the light

of their child­ren’s ey­es.


Text: Vau­la Es­ke­li

Trans­la­ti­on: Sirk­ka-Lii­sa Lei­no­nen

You will find the ori­gi­nal blog post here.

19.9.2020

Muis­ta­kaa tämä: joka niu­kas­ti kyl­vää, se niu­kas­ti niit­tää, ja joka run­saas­ti kyl­vää, se run­saas­ti niit­tää. 2. Kor. 9:6

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