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The foster dilemma: Whether to adopt
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Fostering first: An occasional series

Times Metro Editor Shannon Casas and her husband became foster parents last year. This series explores her experiences in that special role.

I thought the judge would make all the decisions.

Whether to take the children away from their parents. Whether to return them.

But very early on my husband and I were asked to think about one very important decision: whether we would adopt the two little ones who we are foster parenting.

For a long time, the answer was maybe.

I went back and forth. My husband went back and forth. It seemed everyone else wanted us to adopt them.

We didn’t become foster parents in order to adopt, but we were open to the idea.

With the outcome of their case unclear, I stuck with the “maybe” answer.

But I couldn’t say “maybe” forever.

From the outside looking in, we appear to be a complete family. My husband and I don’t have biological children, and these two have been living with us now for more than a year.

In many ways we are a complete family, except for one nagging problem — they belong to someone else.

They have a family who loves them. And while they may not be able to care for them right now, for various reasons, I can still see those emotions on their faces.

We could say, “Yes, if you cannot care for the children, we will become their family.”

It would be simpler for these two adorable kids.

But there’s another nagging problem: the almost 200 or so children in foster care each month who need someone to care for them. The number of local homes to care for them falls short of the demand.

I know I can’t help them all. But I know I can help.

Some foster parents adopt, have their own kids and still foster, caring for a brood of kids 24/7. God bless them — I’m not one of them. Two children has been demanding enough.

Adoption some day might be our choice. And I’m thankful for those who are in that place now and may be able to provide a home for these amazing little ones.

For now, I struggle every time someone asks “Are you going to adopt them?” It seems “yes” is the easier answer. That doesn’t make it the right answer.

I will do my best to make sure these children grow up in a loving home. And then I’ll do it for the children who come next.

Shannon Casas is metro editor of The Times.

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