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I was a single foster parent. I ended up adopting my first placement.

Joyce Morse   

I was a single foster parent. I ended up adopting my first placement.
  • I've always wanted kids but never found a partner to build a family with.
  • I became a licensed foster parent and four months later a 2-week-old baby was placed with me.

I had always wanted kids. When it seemed like I would never find Mr. Right, I decided to build my family alone. I learned about fostering and became a licensed foster parent. I felt I had a good support team with my sister and a few close friends. Surprisingly, my boss said he was on board with the idea, though he wasn't much of a family person.

Just four months after being licensed, a two-week-old girl was placed in my home on a Friday afternoon in February. I was over the moon at the idea of raising a newborn though I knew it might be only temporary.

After getting settled over the weekend, I had to figure out what to do about my job as a leasing agent for an apartment complex. I had very little PTO, and the baby was too young to go to day care. With my boss's approval, I decided to take her to work temporarily. The baby slept under my desk and my receptionist would watch her while I showed apartments to prospective tenants.

I almost lost my job

The arrangement only lasted a couple of weeks before my boss gave me an ultimatum: either find somewhere else to leave the baby, or I would lose my job. He refused to allow me to use my vacation time or unpaid leave, saying I was needed at work. Though I knew it was illegal to refuse time off for someone who had gone through childbirth, I wasn't sure fostering worked the same way. I had to find a solution now.

I found a day care that would take a 4-week-old baby, which allowed me to go back to work. I began job-hunting and soon found a position with a more understanding employer.

The birth mom eventually gave up her rights

My next challenge came with the baby's one-hour visits with her mother once a week. Though foster parents aren't required to transport the children to parental visits, my caseworker threatened to remove the baby from my care if I refused. My heart filled with fear, I agreed immediately though I didn't know how I could make it work. My sister later offered to help transport the baby every other week, solving another problem.

I had no idea what would happen with the baby in the long term. The mother wasn't meeting the requirements to have the baby returned to her and finally decided to give up her rights. The team changed the plan to adoption. As the foster parent, I had the right to seek adoption. In many cases, the foster parents are granted adoption rights, but I knew I had a challenge to prove I was a better choice than a two-parent home.

The process lasted several months, and I was anxious about losing this child I had come to love as my own. Though I had friends to share my struggles with, I still felt alone. They couldn't understand the overwhelming fear of loss that I dealt with. Fortunately, the team approved me as the adoptive parent.

On a warm, sunny day in February, two days before her first birthday, I stood with my little girl in front of the judge who approved the adoption. The challenges of the past year faded away as I held my new daughter in my arms.

Though new challenges awaited, I would face them with the same faith and determination as an example to my daughter about overcoming difficult odds together.