Am I Really a Mom?

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Being a mom is often seen as a natural and instinctive role, a path that many women are expected to embark on as they journey through life. But for some, like myself, the journey to motherhood takes unexpected turns, challenging traditional notions and prompting questions that linger long after the title of “mom” is given to us. 

As a foster mom, I’ve grappled with the question: Am I really a mom? It’s a question born not out of doubt but out of the unique circumstances that led me to this role. Unlike biological mothers whose journey to parenthood may be celebrated with baby showers and ultrasounds, my path to motherhood was paved with paperwork, home visits, and a rollercoaster of emotions. It wasn’t even something I was convinced I was ready or wanted to do. I did it for my husband. 

As a Foster Mom

The moment a child enters my home, whether for a brief stay or a more prolonged period, I am thrust into the role of caregiver, nurturer, and advocate. I provide love, support, and stability in a world that has often been anything but stable for these children. And yet, there are moments when doubt creeps in, whispering that perhaps I am not their “real” mom, they’re just going to be sent home, don’t get attached. 

It’s in those moments that I remind myself of the countless sleepless nights spent comforting a crying child, the laughter shared over family dinners, and the countless memories created in our shared moments. Motherhood, I’ve come to realize, is not defined by biology alone but by the love and care we pour into the lives of those entrusted to us.

But being a foster mom isn’t just about caring for children; it’s about navigating a complex system, advocating for the best interests of these vulnerable babies, and weathering the emotional highs and lows that come with the territory. It’s about celebrating milestones, no matter how small, and mourning losses, even when they are inevitable.

The importance of accessing community resources and support services

In the midst of the emotional complexities of foster parenting, the need for a strong support system becomes abundantly clear. It is a journey that demands not only personal resilience but also the unwavering support of loved ones, fellow foster parents, and community resources. Without this network of support, the challenges of foster parenting can feel overwhelming, leaving foster parents feeling isolated and ill-equipped to navigate the complexities of the system.

For me, the support of my spouse has kept me going, providing a steady source of encouragement and strength when doubts and uncertainties arise. Together, we have weathered the storms of foster parenting, leaning on each other for support and guidance every step of the way. Foster parents need reminders that they are not alone. 

In addition to the support of family, the camaraderie of fellow foster parents has been an invaluable source of encouragement and empathy. Through support groups, online forums, and community events, I have found solace in connecting with others who share similar experiences and understand the unique challenges of foster parenting. Their wisdom, empathy, and shared experiences have provided me with invaluable insights and perspectives, helping me navigate the complexities of foster care with greater confidence and resilience.

From counseling services and respite care to educational workshops and advocacy groups, these resources play a crucial role in equipping foster parents with the tools and knowledge they need to provide the best possible care for the children in their care. By tapping into these resources, foster parents can gain a deeper understanding of the foster care system, develop essential parenting skills, and access the support they need to navigate the emotional complexities of foster parenting.

In the end, the journey of foster parenting is not one that can be undertaken alone. It is a journey that requires the support of a strong, nurturing community—a community that embraces foster parents with open arms, offering encouragement, empathy, and practical assistance every step of the way. It is through this collective support that foster parents can find the strength, resilience, and courage to embrace the challenges of foster parenting with open hearts and unwavering dedication.

Yet, despite the challenges and uncertainties, there is beauty in this journey—a beauty found in the resilience of the human spirit, the capacity for love to heal wounds, and the profound impact we can have on the lives of others.

So, am I really a mom? Yes, unequivocally yes.

I may not have given birth to these children, but I have given them a home, a family, and a love that knows no bounds. And in doing so, I’ve discovered that motherhood is not simply a title placed upon us; it’s a choice we make every day to love fiercely, nurture tenderly, and embrace the beautiful chaos that comes with the territory.

As I reflect on my journey as a foster mom, I am reminded that motherhood comes in many forms, each one valid and worthy of celebration. So, to all the moms out there—biological, adoptive, foster, or otherwise—may we continue to embrace the diverse circumstances of motherhood, recognizing that love knows no boundaries and that, in the end, it is love that truly makes us moms.

Yes, I am a mom. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Need for Foster Parents In Rochester

From the Foster Care Homefinding Unit of the Department of Human and Health Services in Monroe County:

With few exceptions, most of the foster children in Monroe County are in the care and custody of the Department of Human and Health Services. On average, Monroe County has approximately 470 children in foster care of all races and ages, from birth to 21. Many of these children are returned to their own home when the crisis, which had resulted in their placement into foster care, has passed. Others, unable to return home for a variety of reasons, are adopted, often by their foster parent, or child may be placed with a relative through custody or guardianship. Your help is greatly needed to provide a safe, nurturing home for a child.

Children enter foster care as a result of abuse and/or neglect, as a juvenile delinquent PINS, or as a voluntary placement. The need for foster and foster/adoptive homes is great. Monroe County Department of Human and Health Services is looking for families who will foster infants, preschoolers, school-age children, adolescents and teens, sibling groups, pregnant and parenting teens, as well as special needs children (e.g. medically frail children). The goal is always returning the child home to a parent, however some foster children become available for adoption, and foster parents are often given the opportunity to adopt. Except for personal legal fees, the adoption entails no costs.

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Jen S.
Jen is a certified Life Coach who empowers women to break free from chronic stress and overwhelm, restoring calm, productive order to their life and career. With 17 years of experience as a social worker, Jen brings a unique blend of compassion and expertise to her coaching practice. Additionally, Jen is passionate about supporting foster parents and offers specialized coaching services tailored to navigate the unique challenges of foster care. Beyond her coaching endeavors, Jen is deeply engaged in mental health advocacy, collaborating with organizations such as the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and her County Suicide Prevention Task Force.