Father's Day… Like Mother's Day, it can be a difficult time for some. For me, I have mixed feelings. I miss my father, who passed away 2 years ago from ALS. At the same time, after experiencing infertility, I am happy and thankful that my husband and I get to celebrate this Father's Day with a son of our own.
What is a Father?
Fathers come in many forms. When my father died, people told my family that in many ways, my dad was like a father to them. So a father is about more than DNA. You can be a father to someone and not be biologically related to them. Likewise, someone can be a biological father, and yet, not act like a father figure at all.
Yearning to be a Father
Maybe you're like my husband and me in past years, and maybe you yearn for a child of your own, but for whatever reason are unable to have a biological child. Maybe you had a child, but they passed away. Or maybe your children have all grown up and left home, and you miss the pitter patter of children in your home. Just as you yearn to be a father figure, there are children who yearn for a father. Let me repeat that so it sinks in. There are families who want children, and likewise, there are children who want families.
I'm writing this not because I'm trying to tell someone else what to do. But I want to share insights from my infertility journey. On the path of infertility, my husband and I pursued foster care/adoption. I'd like to share some of the information I discovered.
Did you know that some states, such as New Jersey, do not have an upper limit on the age of a foster parent? According to the state of New Jersey, foster parents just need to be in reasonably good health. So don’t let your age stop you from considering being a foster/adoptive parent.
Don’t let finances discourage you either. From my own experience, my husband and I paid nothing to become foster parents. I did fill out a lot of paperwork and go through training, but in most instances, the county will pay for your training. Also, I didn’t mind the background checks because I have nothing to hide, and I think it’s good that the state checks out parents in order to protect children in their care.
Many counties/states offer foster-to-adopt programs. So, for example, if you fostered a child and he/she became eligible for adoption, you could adopt them. Financial assistance is available to help parents adopt. Some children are already available for adoption, but if you are looking to adopt a younger child, I would suggest fostering first, because usually foster parents adopt younger children.
Are you not ready to make the commitment to foster care or adoption? Perhaps consider orphan hosting. Usually, you host an orphan from another country in your home for several weeks.
Still not your cup of tea? Perhaps consider sponsoring an orphan or providing a scholarship for someone else to host an orphan.
Foster Care/Adoption Resources
Orphan Hosting Resources
Orphan Sponsorship Resources