A Day in the Life

A day in my life. Thoughts on leadership, management, startups, technology, software, concurrent development, etc... Basically the stuff I think about from 10am to 6pm.


Adoption: Letting go of the foster children

I’ve been a foster parent for a few years now. We basically provide care through a private adoption agency so we always get newborns. Most people who I tell about this ask if it’s hard to let the babies go. So far I only had trouble once and that was when we were waiting to find out about our second son. I was in an emotionally vulnerable place and my mind knew that the infant would go to his forever family and I would continue to wait for my son, but my heart took over and I fell in love with him. I cried a lot when he left and thinking about him now chokes me up.

Most of the time it’s just great to have the opportunity to throw a lot of love at a baby. Babies have that unique baby smell and their hair and skin is so soft. Babies as young as we get really don’t do much more than eat, sleep, and poop. But knowing how important it is for them to be touched and to feel another’s heartbeat is a great excuse to get some cuddling in. Especially now that my boys are getting so independent!

This morning I was feeding JJ (our latest visitor) and it was so comforting and relaxing to me. I keep myself pretty busy and to have to slow down and look at a new life is really amazing. Who will he be? What will he do? Will he be happy with the new life his birth mom has chosen for him? I don’t know. But I thought about those things as I held him, talked to him, and watched him eat.

The other reason why letting the babies go isn’t hard for me is that I often get to meet the new parents. As I’ve posted before their joy is breathtaking. We also stay in touch with some of the families. We become a part of the child’s adoption story and we always try to fill their beginnings with all the things we wanted for our children. Because both of my kids spent time in foster care I try to love the babies as I hope my children were loved. Maybe it’s a way for me to capture the time I missed with my kids. But I also think that of it as a gift to the new family.

So, on the whole it’s not hard to love the children and then let them move on. I’m just grateful that I have the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life, even if it is for such a short amount of time.

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At May 01, 2006 6:47 PM, Blogger Lisa said...

As a former foster child and current child advocate...

I'm really happy that you do this. In a way, it's the most beautiful example of the system working (as long as the babies are placed in safe adoptive homes).

It's harder when it comes to older children.

Again -- thank you so much for what you are doing. Keep up the good work.


At May 01, 2006 7:02 PM, Blogger Kim Greenlee said...

Hi Lisa,

Yes it is harder for the older kids and as an adoptive parent of a kid who was in the "system", it's hard on the parents also.

We all just have to hang together and help each other because every family has their own unique ups and downs.

In my family we try to put the kids first but I know that my youngest son's journey is going to be hard because of the multiple losses he has already faced and the outcast feelings he'll feel the rest of his life. (We are a multi-racial family but three out of four of us can pass as white.)

All we can do is love him, listen to him, support him, and help him stay connected to his birth family.

Take care,


At May 03, 2006 11:53 PM, Anonymous Lisa Canter said...

I think it is amazing and wonderful that you are a foster parent. If all foster parents had the loving ideals that you have - the world would be a much better place for all of our children. I admire and commend you!

At May 04, 2006 12:21 PM, Blogger Kim Greenlee said...

Thanks Lisa...most of the adoption and foster community put the children first. Unfortunately not all of them, but most of them.

It would sure be nice to see more people step out of the shadows and step up to the plate; to open both their hearts and their homes to the children living in their communities. (Maybe when your girls are older? ;-) )

I would love to see American society move in the direction of providing free training in the areas of parenting and basic money management; helping with child-care expenses; and basically becoming a society that puts the children first.

If there is ever a Greenlee Fund one of my objectives would be to provide training. (I think it’s important to have big dreams if you want to do big things!) I believe if we can help parents learn some basic life skills then fewer children will removed from their homes.

But for now the society we live in doesn’t put children first and as a result too many of them are growing up without the stability children need to have confidence in themselves and their world. And we need more people to help these children.

Recruitment for foster parents never stops. I spoke on an adoption panel a couple weeks ago for Alameda County Social Services. Foster parents are required to go through special training before a child can be placed in their home. I actually talk a little about that here. The panel speaks to the class on their graduation day. This class had started with about 15 people and when it was over only 5 remained. It’s an opt-out program and the instructors try to make sure that the foster parents know exactly what they are getting into. It’s a special group of people who are still enthusiastic when it’s over. So folks are needed.

Many people think that they have to be a married couple (husband and wife), but in Alameda County and probably most places, that’s not true. Singles, couples (gay/straight), retired folks, widows, and widowers, basically anyone who has a spare room, time, love and can survive the training, are welcome.

Spread the word!


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