Sunday, January 18, 2009

Foster Parenting, Dating, and Whatever Else I Feel Like Saying

Thank you to those of you who figured out that yesterday's "day in history" post was a joking reference to my birthday. Or the anniversary of my 29th birthday, if you must.

Well, the application has been turned in on the house I want. There is a good chance I won't get the house because they don't like my proposed move-in date (they are hoping to find someone to move in sooner than that), and they don't like my cat on their brand new carpets. But I went ahead and applied anyway. So now we just sit and wait and hope for the best.

And sit around and think about all the other things going on!

Like foster parenting.

I find myself constantly having to explain this, so I'll put it on the blog one more time.

My personal reasons for becoming a foster parent isn't so much that I want to be a mommy. In fact, that's only a very small portion of it at all. So small that it wasn't my original intentions, but something I came to realize would be a by-product of it all, and I realize then that I might enjoy that too. My real intention is to provide a good home to teenage girls that would otherwise be in a group home.

I was talking to my sister yesterday about a family she met that had their own children and took in a family of foster children. There were 2 younger children, and a teenage boy. The boy was very used to taking care of his siblings and being the parent in their family. This did not go over well with the new foster parents who wanted to be mommy and daddy. They didn't like this boy being the parent.

So they sent him away, and kept the 2 younger children. The older brother now lives in a boys' home.

Did you know--
(statistics from the UtahFosterCare.org website)
  • National studies have shown that when children without a permanent placement reach eighteen and leave foster care, within 12-18 months:

    40% will not have completed high school;
    50% will be unemployed;
    33% will be on public assistance.


    Studies show that 40% of these young people will experience homelessness at least once before reaching the age of 22. They are at extreme risk of poverty, victimization, and criminal involvement, illness, early childbearing, and low educational attainment. They are the fastest growing segment of the homeless population and twice as likely as the general population to be incarcerated.

So essentially this family who didn't want the trouble of a 14 year old boy just packed him up and sent him down a very scary road with little to no future.

And that is what I want to be a foster parent for. I'm hoping to be there to save at least 1 girl from the list of statistics above. Who better to prepare a teenage girl for the world beyond her 18th birthday than a single woman who takes care of herself?

I am not looking to be "mommy" to these children. I am hoping to give them a home to help prepare them for the future, give them the skills they need, and keep them safe and healthy until the state turns them out. I respect and understand that these girls have most likely been forced into taking care of themselves, their junkie parents (most children in the system are there because of junkie parents), and their siblings. But they were also most likely not provided with a good role model or the skills to take care of themselves. They had to figure it out. If nothing else, these kids are fighters, for better or worse.

So now you know why I want to do this and what I hope to provide and get back from this. But yet, I still keep getting questions and references to whether or not I will ever want to get married.

Um... I didn't know that was any of your business.

But sure, why not answer that too?

I am now a 34 yr old single woman. I've been dating for 18 years. And if memory serves me right, I've been boy-crazy for 24 years. And I'm a little over it, quite frankly. I'm ready to move on to other phases and experiences in my life where whether or not I have a date is not the defining detail. I'd like to do more with my life than just date. I'd like to provide a good, safe home for a girl. I'd like to write some more books and maybe a screenplay. I'd like to keep making notable accomplishments in marketing. I'd like to be known for my good works, and not as the single girl.

Does all of that mean I am no longer interested in getting married and/or dating? No. I've been boy-crazy for 24 years. That's a pretty hard habit to break. If a guy comes along that actually strikes my fancy, I'm sure I'll do what I've always done- crush on him, make a fool of myself, and yet never get asked out by him. Thankfully, this ridiculous cycle seems to happen less and less. Mostly because guys that strike my fancy are getting farther and further between.

So there you have it. Not that it was any of your business in the first place.

7 comments:

  1. You are right - it really isn't anyone's business, but it is nice of you to share.

    So many things you say remind me of me. I think our thought processes are the same. Anyway, I too sometimes think what a shame it would be if I were known as the "single" girl when there is always so much more to people than that.

    I think it's fantastic that you are using the good you've accomplished in life to mentor a girl that needs it. I'm sure the rewards you will feel will be immeasurable. And the rewards she will get will be immeasurable as well.

    I look forward to following your blog and hearing all about it.

    Good luck with your house situation.

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  2. Good luck Erin! It sure sounds like you've had a rough year or so, and plenty of reason to be bitter at the world. But, good for you for having such a great attitude about life. You have many admirable qualities that a young girl could learn from. She'd be lucky.

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  3. What you've described sounds a lot like mothering, to me. I can't wait to hear how things go. I'll be happy to send my virtual love to your foster kid.

    Thanks for the statistics.

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  4. I'm happy for you and whatever lucky kid gets to have you for a foster mom.

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  5. You are so great. I know that's not why you shared this - but the compliment stands so take it.

    The world could use more women like you who really want to help - and can help in the best way. It always blows me away when the 'regulations' get in the way of the best solution.

    Go you!!
    I think you're fan-frickin-tastic!

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  6. I think this is wonderful what you're doing! I'm sure you'll be the best foster parent. As for the people giving you a hard time...tell them to go and sit on a sharp stick. I think it's great!

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  7. That is great! You will make a huge difference in their lives.

    As for the busy bodies - "there is no time for people like that." I'm always surprised when people that aren't close friends ask these questions. I'm assuming they need more info for their rumor mills. I'm so old I sometimes play games and entertain them with just partial facts to see what shows up on the other end of the game.

    Oh, and by the way...Happy Belated Birthday!

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