I am also the foster parent of a five-year-old girl. This journey began last year when I found myself working Monday through Sunday. I did a few volunteer activities here and there. I’ve always wanted to do foster care and thought this was the perfect timing—my health was doing well, I had the time, space and resources. The idea of taking care of someone else’s kid and having them return home after their situation was resolved, has always been my notion of how I would serve youth in foster care.
Going into this, I thought I was going to do respite care only. However, I do believe God had a different plan in mind. My current placement, my five-year old, started as respite. I went in with no intentions of adopting anybody. However, at this moment, I couldn’t imagine not being her mom. She has called me mom since the first day I met her. That was something I wasn’t expecting, but accepted right off the bat.
She is a level three foster child, which means she has had a significant amount of trauma and abuse. She is resilient. She is joyful, silly, creative, compassionate, and smart. She was also diagnosed with extreme attention-seeking, and very defiant. Because of her history, we had (and still have) a lot of work to do in terms of her behavior. We participated in parent-child interaction therapy (PCIT), which has helped in promoting consistency with discipline for her.
My initial thought on fostering is that it’s hard. Especially for a single individual. Being single there was a lot of adjusting on my part. While I consider myself to be very patient, this experience has shown me many areas of my character in which I can grow. Additionally, I had to adjust to the inconvenience of parenting. Prior to her placement, I could come and go as I pleased. I also had to adjust to having someone around all the time. She has attachment issues, as I am her fifth foster home in two years. For the first few months, I couldn’t do anything without her in very close proximity. This alone was frustrating, but also heartbreaking. Seeing this child, so fearful of being abandoned, was heartbreaking.
Being a foster parent is also very rewarding. In the six months that I’ve been “momma” to my five-year old, I’ve seen growth in so many areas. Prior to this placement she was being referred for evaluation of Autism Spectrum Disorder and cognitive delays. Within two months, it was evident that these indicators others had seen were a product of her former environment. Within six months she went from not knowing or recognizing letters to reading. She is in kindergarten and is currently the top reader in her class.
As I mentioned before, she is a joyful, creative, and compassionate little girl (which sometimes makes me nervous). She is very quick to notice the hungry, homeless person on the corner and offer her farmers’ market donut. She is eager to lend her brand new toy with a friend, and also nurse her play animals back to health. Counselors who have worked with her prior to her being placed in my care continually praise whatever it is that I’m doing and comment on how different she is. It is obvious to others that she is loved. I know and understand living out James 1:27 is part of my purpose.
On several occasions I’ve had to explain why I’m doing this. My response is: Why not? In terms of the marriage comments, I’m currently single. Although I hope to be married some day, we are called to honor and glorify God in whatever situation. There are many children already present, needing loving supportive homes. Being a single woman, I am providing just that.
Editor’s Note: Kiana is currently in the process of adopting her daughter and hopes to finalize the adoption in March of 2017.