I first felt called to foster parenting in 2003, shortly after graduating from PT school.
Side note: I feel like saying “called” is such an overused cliché religious catchphrase, and I am not a very religious person. But I think there is no other way to describe how the idea first came to me – there was no event, no patient I saw that made me want to foster, no person that inspired me; it was just something that I felt. Not logically, mind you. I didn’t have a full-time stable job (but rather several part-time/PRN jobs combined to make a not-so-comfortable income level, given my level of credit card and student loan debt), I was living in my mom’s house (by myself, but I didn’t have the authority to bring into it kids that weren’t mine), I was 26 and too young to be choosing single motherhood.
Over the next nine years, I still felt the call to fostering, but there was always a
reason excuse not to do it –
- I was living in a city away from family and trying to save up money to move back to my hometown
- I wasn’t ready for my life to change dramatically (since none of my close friends had kids, I didn’t want to choose parenthood – I liked still being able to go out and having fun)
- Once my two good friends started talking about having kids in 2008-ish, I told myself that once they had a child, I would also make the leap into parenting… because my life would by association also change significantly since they were the ones I mostly went out with. But once their daughter was born in 2010, I still didn’t do it. No reason, I just couldn’t take the plunge.
- Then I was dating someone and wanted to see where it went.
After we broke up in 2012, I began to revisit the idea of foster parenting. I never imagined that I would end up so close to 40 years old without being married or without kids. I had no control over when/if a long-term relationship and/or husband would come into my life, but I could take control over becoming a mom. Which is something I had been dreaming about since I was less than ten years old. I had signed up to take the Physical Therapy Pediatric Certification Specialist exam in March 2013, and decided that once I found out if I passed or not, I would make the decision about fostering (If I passed, I would do it at that point; if I didn’t pass, I would retake the exam in 2014 and would start fostering after that.) I got the message in June that I had passed, and I made the phone call to SC DSS about two weeks after that. That’s where my journey began….