I KNEW it would lead to this. I didn't know how long it would take, I didn't know who would be the first to say it, but it happened tonight, week three, said by someone in the class who has "friends" who work for d*h*r. "You know if you want babies, you pretty much *have* to foste* to adopt."
I KNEW they would get you involved in the class, telling you up front that fostering was NOT required, let you do all this bookwork and answering questions and writing a paper and commit to 30 hours for 10 weeks, because who's gonna say "No thanks," after all of that? ... And then come back and try to talk you into fos*tering, because that's what they really need. I majored in psychology at a university that drills be*havior ana*lysis into your head the whole time, so I know how this works. I may have forgotten the technical term over the years, perhaps it's close approximations of the desired behavior? The desired behavior is becoming an fp. Perhaps the closest approximation in the beginning is that you contact the agency to inquire about adoption. They reward you by letting you in this class. They ask you carefully crafted questions about adoption/fostering, with focus on fostering. They reward you with a week closer to your imagined child. You answer questions about this imaginary child, and what would make you change your mind about fostering. They reward you by feeding your desire for said imaginary child. "Suddenly," by the end of week 10, they have roped you closer and closer to desiring to become an fp. By this point, you've put in 30 hours of class time, you've spent several more hours answering questions, writing a paper, and preparing your home for a visit by a worker. Surely, if you have invested this much work, time, effort, and even some money, into this, you'll change your mind and decide to foster if that's what it takes to get your desired imagined child.
Except for a few things...
1) I got a degree in this. I know how it works.
2) I have yet to feel peace about this whole thing, and I'm still hypervigilent and on edge about the whole reunification thing.
3) I still don't want to end up in a mental hospital because you promised me a child, let me have it for a few months/years, then took it away. Because, as you say, I need to "know my family," and I know myself enough to know I WILL get attached to any child who lives with me.
4) While it is true I am a very agreeable and flexible person, sometimes to a fault, this is one time when I will NOT back down. We did not go into this to foster. We do not want to be "substitute" parents. While it is true that we have chosen not to pursue fertility treatments in part because there are plenty of children who already exist who need parents, it is equally true that we are not JUST doing this "for the kids."
This is not our only option. This is not a "last resort." This is not the sole way we feel we HAVE to aquire children. We have spent the past years/months/weeks/days discussing and considering adoption options. Some of our thoughts and feelings change, and some remain the same. As recently as tonight, decisions continue to be made. On the way home, I was thinking about the comments made by our fellow classmate, and reached a new conclusion on the foster/not foster subject. If it comes down to always being "just the aunt," or fostering to adopt, I dare say I would be content to remain the f*un aunt and love on everyone else's children. My sanity matters that much.