Families come in lots of different forms. It took me eight years to become a mother of four, but Andrea Walter pulled it off in less than a year!
Walter, a clinical pharmacist in the Veteran’s Administration system, joined us on this week’s episode of Best of Both Worlds to talk about foster and adoptive parenting.
She and her husband planned to start a family the usual way, but when that didn’t happen, they decided to become licensed as foster parents. Foster parents generally care for children whose birth families can’t care for them for a certain period of time. The foster system is designed to reunite families once the situation has improved, though this doesn’t always happen. They planned to get licensed for two children, but the folks doing the licensing said they had enough space for four, so they did the paperwork for that.
In the course of this, they got a call about a newborn who was going to be put up for adoption. Walter and her husband had to decide in a few hours if they wanted to become parents. They decided to go for it. In this episode, she describes their Target trip to get all the supplies they’d need. I know plenty of people obsess about having enough baby gear, and what’s on their registries, but it turns out you can get everything in 24 hours if you need to!
After welcoming their son, Walter and her husband also had the opportunity to adopt three siblings who’d been in the foster system for a while, and who they’d gotten to know. Their foster mother was on the older side, and was happy to place them with a younger family, and take on more of a grandmother role. So in a very short period of time, Walter and her husband became a family of six.
Walter described the joys and challenges of their journey. In the foster and adoptive system, cases aren’t always clear cut. With the infant they adopted, the mother was not going to be able to care for the child, but the father wanted some involvement (as was his right) so for a while they were co-parenting. Children who’ve been in the foster care system have often experienced trauma or frequent moves. Foster parents need to be prepared to see their foster children move on, since the goal is that the original family might become stable enough to be reunited. This can be happy, of course, but also heartbreaking at the same time. Walter was able to adopt the three siblings from the foster system, but this isn’t always possible.
Anyway, I enjoyed hearing Walter’s story. Please give the episode a listen!
Also, we are celebrating our 100th episode! If you’re a long time listener, I’d love to hear about your favorite episode, and any topics you’d like to see covered more (our download stats suggest you all really love hearing about organization and life systems in general!)