For the past few weeks I have been putting a lot of thought into some of my longer term life goals. My goals are varied from buying a home, to climbing Kilimanjaro, publishing another book, dancing at an Inaugural ball, participating in movie production, and becoming a foster parent.
I've noticed that my life goals tend to resemble some people's "Bucket Lists." I guess I tend to think in really huge goals sometimes.
Many of these goals have time stamps on them. I plan to do them by a certain age. And everything I listed above I have been telling myself in my head I would do by the time I am 35. And my 34th birthday is rapidly approaching. But 2 of my goals are going to be within my reach this year- buying a home, and becoming a foster parent. (If I'm honest with myself I could also climb Kilimanjaro and write a book and dance at an Inaugural Ball. But that requires more discipline than I really have, and I had meant to dance at a ball for a president I like, or at least voted for.)
As I have looked into the requirements for fostering, I am becoming more aware of different states and their laws, and what is required. Utah does not make it easy for singles to foster. In fact, they almost treat it like a punishment. Singles can only take in children with disabilities or major psychological problems. (There are some exceptions to the rule, but not many.) Now, I wasn't naive enough to think that I could become a foster parent and get the perfect child from fostering, but I also had never considered the gravity of these other options either.
Now its true, I have NO ties to Utah really. I could up and move to a state with slightly more convenient laws and regulations. (For instance, a state that allows singles to adopt, which Utah does not. Even though I'm still not sure I intend to adopt. I at least want the option there for me.) But that would mean uprooting my life, and starting all over again, and delaying the process that much further. So I'm not sure that's really the best option for me.
But I have never before really given much thought to the idea of taking in a child with disabilities. The truth is, while I have been exposed to a few families with disabilities within them, I have never really had a lot of experience there. This is a very new idea for me.
When I am faced with a big decision my mental process is to imagine it all the way through, and picture myself doing it. I play out the options in my head from different angles, and can get really lost in my imagination in the process. I'm sure I've confused more than one person by asking questions about potential options as if I were at that point already. But that is just how my brain works. I have to live it out in my head before I can decide what to do. But in this scenario, I don't know what my variables are, or what it would be like. So this isn't so easy for me to think about when I don't know scenarios to play out in my head.
I have always pictured myself as having my own "Brangelina" rainbow family. (Quite frankly, I was planning it long before Brangelina made it cool. Possibly since about the sixth grade when my brother was adopted, and I was disappointed he was white. Up till that point I thought all adopted babies were different colors.) But now as I approach my 34th birthday, I'm starting to realize that I'll most likely never marry, and unless my family and church make some major opinion changes, I'll probably never adopt either. (I could never adopt without the support of my family.) I've always intended to foster parent though. And I'd like to get on with the fostering.
I'd welcome input from anyone who has raised or lived with a family member with a disability. Or has had experience with the foster care system. I'm not very familiar and would appreciate first hand accounts.
And in case you need me to support myself as a candidate- I think I am the ideal foster parent. I work from home, and therefore am always home. I have the flexibility in my schedule to work around school, sports, etc. I can provide personal attention to a child who may never have had it before. I enjoy working with children. I have plenty of disposable income. And, I've just always wanted to do it.
Your input is welcome.
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