Caitlin and Christopher have been licensed JCFS Chicago foster parents for about a year. They welcomed their foster son (now age 10 months) into their home 7 months ago. They want to give a “shout out” to their case manager, Jenna, of whom they are big fans! They also really appreciate the other JCFS Chicago foster parents they have met who have been “wonderful, dedicated, and gracious.”
Christopher and Caitlin share a belief that they were supposed to be foster parents “the whole time. We were fighting it, but it was meant to be.” Even before they married, the two talked about possible future plans to adopt. When they looked into domestic adoption, Caitlin’s mother asked why they weren’t considering fostering. Caitlin and Christopher thought they weren’t ready to be foster parents as it was likely “too challenging for us.” Yet with much consideration, both of them “came to the same place at the same time” with their decision to foster.
Here is more from Caitlin and Christopher.
Best parts of being foster parents:
Our foster son! Also, we have seen our church and broader community and family stepping in to support us. They are making sure we are well supported and give support to our son. We have been impressed with his older brothers who are also youth in care. Our family is getting bigger and we consider these young men family too. Also, Jenna, our case manager- she’s amazing and a breath of fresh air.
Biggest challenges of being foster parents:
Keeping the perspective that he is not ours. It’s so easy to get attached and start thinking about forever. We want to support the process and fiercely want what is best for him. The lack of predictability for his future, in a lot of different ways, means we can prepare but not plan for the future. We have been able to figure out community resources and supports- such as clothing swaps or receiving “outgrown” clothing from our friends’ children. It can be daunting to gather the things necessary to raise a child and we have people who are generous with their sharing.
Advice to new foster parents:
Create room for surprise and blessings. Don’t have expectations about how things should go. Things don’t go as you plan. We have enjoyed engaging with other foster parents at JCFS Chicago, at the Foster Parent Advisory Board meetings and trainings. While we were waiting for our son, it felt like a really long time. We received so much encouragement from other families.
Thank you to Caitlin and Christopher for sharing!