Foster Adoption: Challenges for the New Family

Sometimes it’s hard having a new family,” said the five-year-old, as Ken pushed her on the swing.

Yes, it is. For all of us.

I’ve talked about how crazy and difficult things must be from the perspective of our new 4- and 5-year-old. But this post is about how foster adoption affects the rest of the family; in fact, that’s one of the most common questions I get from readers considering non-infant adoption.

Kathryn’s perspective:

During the time the kids were visiting with us but had not moved in yet, Kathryn woke up frantic one morning, asking where they were. She had dreamed that their birth mom showed up at our house, intent on taking them. In this dream, although Kathryn tried to hide them, the mom had found and taken Scout. Kathryn understands that however improbable, there is still a chance the kids will not stay with us.

On the flip side of those emotions, there have been times Kathryn has been in tears because she is so angry and frustrated with the kids. Some days, she’s not so sure this was the best idea. It’s hard on her, and that’s hard on me. She knows, as Ken and I do, that this is a mission field right here in our house, but that doesn’t make it easy.


I have to brag on her, though. She is only 12, but her big heart and empathetic nature have enabled her to do so much already to bless these little ones. She plays with them, reads with them, entertains them, finds ways to affirm them. She shares her room, her mom, her home. She has sacrificed alone time, time for hobbies and crafts. And yes, sometimes she gets really grumpy with them — but so do I, and I’m not 12 years old, so I have much less excuse.

Clearly, Ken has the short end of the deal.

Ken deals with all the things I’m dealing with, plus he has to deal with me: the wife with a fuse that has been dangerously short lately. He has picked up the slack when I’m about to lose my mind, and I’ve really not been able to give much back in return.

Oh, and of course, Ken still has his job to deal with, too. Providing for our family and all that. He is a good man. One of these days, I’ll be a good wife again.


I am thankful our marriage is strong because this has been a challenging time. In the past six weeks, we have had only ONE time out of the house together with no kids, and that was for our anniversary. This is a huge change for us, as we are accustomed to spending a great deal of time alone together, whether at home, on a date night, or just running errands. It’s not all adoption-related, of course; grief and exhaustion have played a big part, too.

WonderDog is a wonderful dog:

I must say: I did a darn good job of choosing our dog from the rescue. If I was her, I’d have eaten the children’s faces off by now. Seriously. They have pulled her tail, put their hands in her mouth, yanked her ears, grabbed her face and squealed at her, fallen on her, crawled under her, played with her paws, hugged/tackled her, “pet” her with a stick in the yard, and I even caught one of them growling and clawing at her like a dog trying to fight. We have tried to supervise them with her at all times, but it only takes a second, and they cannot seem to get into their heads WHY they should not act this way with her.

Thankfully, WonderDog is a MUCH better dog than I would be.


She does like having little people to run around the yard with her — and she sure does seem to sleep well at night.

The rest of the gang:

Brandon and Diane babysat for us to go out that one night; a HUGE help. The kids adore them, and the feeling seems to be mutual. Of course, they don’t live here, so the impact on their lives has been minimal.

The same goes for Lindsey; although she does live under our roof, she is rarely here. She has worked 40+ hours the past few weeks to pay for her mission trip on top of her other expenses, and when she’s here, she is often doing schoolwork in her room. But she, too, has had dreams of the kids’ birth mom showing up.

And then there’s me…

You know that sleep-deprived introvert with no alone time? With no time to exercise? Who is hit or miss in making time for Bible study? And who’s still trying to wrap her mind around living in a world without her dad?

Yeah, that’s me.

So last week on twitter I said,

Some folks thought I was kidding, so I instagrammed this pic to prove it:

I’ll admit this probably isn’t my most flattering hairstyle ever, but I like it. It feels free. Every time I pass a mirror, I feel oddly just a teeny bit less stressed.
{After all, it’s just hair! ;)}

Of course, there are other things compounding my stress this week — like a husband out of the country, and preparing for my own trip this weekend (and not even thinking yet about the flying part, which I’m not fond of!)!

I must point out again that I do my best to give a realistic picture of what this foster-adoption ride is like. I believe romanticized expectations are often what cause disrupted adoptions — so you won’t get all rainbows and butterflies here, even though I’m an enthusiastic adoption advocate. As always, please feel free to contact me!