This got long, sorry:
My wife and I fall into that category of 30-somethings who were terrified of the prospect of parenting but took the plunge anyway, only to find that the experience has totally transformed and enriched our lives. To our horror, we’ve discovered that one such transformation is that reading and hearing stories of child abuse, particularly those against the very young, is almost unbearable.
Things came to a head last night when my wife read about this local boy
. I found her sobbing and nearly inconsolable in a heap on our living room chair. I started crying, too, when she was finally able to tell me why.
It was only the loudest and most recent indication of a growing feeling we've both been having for some time, that we need to get involved somehow with abused children. And here I thought I was just going to roast some coffee beans, listen to Joe Biden, and go to bed.
Writing a check, though something we'll do, is certainly not going to be enough.
I guess I'm looking for two things here: suggestions of ways we can volunteer time, and experiences of those who have been or currently are foster parents, which is another option we’re considering.
The foster idea is one that we’re both attracted to and afraid of — attracted, because we know we can be good parents to kids who need them; afraid, because we don’t know how much harder it will be than regular parenting. In addition, we’re both employed full-time and rely heavily on a combo my wife’s parents and a church “mother’s day out” program to help with day care. Making the commitment is fine for us, but we’re not prepared to commit my wife’s parents as well, as it just doesn’t seem fair to them.
So. I don’t know where to start, really. I’m interested in learning about foster parenting but may realistically have to wait until we’re a single-income family to actually commit. I’m so overwhelmed with questions about it that I don’t really know where to start. Still, I’d like your advice and experiences, especially from those of you who have taken the plunge.
And, of course, non-fostering volunteer opportunities as well, in case fostering isn’t a viable option for us now. What can you do to get involved?
Bonus points for stuff in/around Little Rock, Arkansas.