Saturday, September 12, 2009

Our Next Big Decision

I really wanted a baby. I have always dreamed of being a mom. I wanted to live the American Dream...graduate from college, get married, start a career, and have 3 or 4 children. The hardest part with the whole stroke situation has not been what most people think. It has been the realization that I may never have my own biological children. The doctors have told me that I am "not allowed" to use fertility medicine or anything that contains estrogen, because it could cause another stroke, which could ultimately kill me.

Within a month or so of getting out of the hospital, my husband and I started looking into adoption. We never realized how expensive it was! We didn't have that kind of money after all the money we had spent on fertility treatments and now my stroke. At the time, I had to see my doctor twice a week for blood tests (to monitor the Coumadin I was on) and see a speech therapist once or twice a week. I also wasn't able to go back to work right away, so we were depending on my husband's income. We knew we needed to come up with another plan.

One day while my husband was at work, his friend, "D" mentioned his foster children. My husband asked "D" lots of questions about how he and his wife got involved in becoming foster parents. It turns out that "D" and his wife also had fertility issues and adoption was too expensive for them as well. So they looked into foster care. At the time, they had three foster children all under the age of 4! My husband came home from work and told me he found a way for us to become parents and to help children at the same time. He recommended that I talk to them at the Family Day Picnic his work was having the following weekend. He said they were nice people and would answer any questions that I might have. He also said that "D" had told him that all we had to do was fill out some paperwork, do a home study, take a nine week class, and have a background check. It all seemed relatively easy.
At the picnic, my husband introduced me to "D", his wife, and their 3 children. I must have asked them a million questions about being foster parents. They were great! They were brutally honest. They told me all the good stuff associated with being foster parents and they also told me all the stuff you don't learn until after you have the children in your home (ie. court hearings every 3 to 6 months, the doctor appointments, the home visits one a month, and the visitation with parents every week). They gave me the name and number of their social worker. The next day, I called and explained that my husband and I wanted to be foster parents. She was very kind, but said that we lived too far from her agency and we needed to contact the agency in our area. Then she gave me the name and number of someone to call.  I called the next day. The receptionist said that they would mail a packet with forms that needed to be filled out as soon as possible, so we could start taking the PRIDE class. I was thrilled until I realized that they may not accept us if they knew I had a stroke. At the time, I thought because I had a stroke everyone thought that I was "brain damaged" or stupid. Looking back now, I realize I was stupid to ever think like that. I think I was just feeling sorry for myself and looking for excuses as to why things might not work out for me.