# 24 Educating Foster Children

 

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Over twenty years ago when it became apparent endometriosis had taken its toll on my body, my husband and I thought about the other ways of dealing with infertility. I remember being at Barnes and Noble, checking out our options when a giggling couple, one very pregnant, came and stood right next to me, because that was where the baby books were stored. I could barely contain my tears as I sought out my husband and told him we needed to leave. Now.

Shortly thereafter, a non-denominational meeting, with the goal of exploring adoption, was held in the next city.  A stern looking woman collected the $25.00 fee from each couple, before she began. As if she were reading a list, she went down the countries where children were available, the cost, and conditions. For instance: Russia, $24,000.00 approximately 9 years old, Money Gifts were accepted everywhere. And, as in real life, there would be no health guarantees. This woman knew of an attorney who could get us an infant for $20,000.00. And she went on and on for 45 minutes, asking if there were any questions to a room of eight stunned adults. Giving no time for anyone to ask a question, she thanked us for coming and then got up and left.

In the parking lot, on the way to our car, my husband said he was adamant we would never buy a child. We would look into adopting locally, because there must be children who needed homes. Several weeks later, we found ourselves with a large group of adults, in the Department of Children and Families. We were told prior that the waiting list for adoption was ten years. We also knew that foster parents have the right of first refusal once a child had been in their home for 365 days. This was one reason the adoption wait list was so long.

We decided to become Foster Parents, God willing, and pray God would give us the children he had planned for us to have, in his perfect timing. Over the course of several years, we adopted our daughter, Taylor, and our son, Hunter. At this time, DCF was not always forthright in giving out information, and some children we were unable to keep in our home.

I think the biggest message for educators was brilliantly stated by my daughter, Taylor.  "My best advice to foster kids is as long as you've got foster parents that love you, you're ahead of a lot of other people in this world." For the most part, foster students are very much like average children, although they may have had some neglect in their past. If you want to teach them, you need to love them first.

-Jan