Alisa is a 32 year
old single foster mom who is the “authoress” of the blog Attempting Agape, which highlights her real
life journeys as a full time foster parent.
Much like the blog title implies (agape means “unconditional love” in Greek),
Alisa feels that it is her calling to love her foster children unconditionally
and as she writes, “with mercy, grace, and truth.”
She was licensed as a foster mother in 2010, and the goal of her blog is to
inform people of what it’s like to be a foster parent and to help other foster
parents realize why they make the sacrifices that they do. So far she has
changed the lives of 16 foster children and has reached countless reader in the
Alisa currently shares her unconditional love with Buddy and Bug, who she
writes are “two of the sweetest children in the world. They are 7 and 4
years old and have been with me for 7 months. Buddy loves all things
superhero. Bug is the most thoughtful 4 year old I have ever met.
She is tender and kind so much of the time. I am deeply enjoying spending
everyday with her.” And Baby Girl, “my littlest placement to date, she is under
a year old and beautiful! She arrived mid-June and I am still getting to
We were lucky enough to get a quick Q&A in with Alisa on the joys and
tribulations of being a single foster mom.
What first got you interested in foster care? For about two years, I worked in the
international adoption field, helping inform prospective parents on the process
and recruiting for waiting children overseas. I’d look at these beautiful
children’s faces everyday and think, “I want to be their mom.” When I
came to the point in my life when I weighed money over purpose, I choose
purpose and signed up for an foster care information meeting. The rest is
What do you think would be the greatest gift you
could give to a foster child? Stability and a sense of normalcy. My
kids come to me in chaos. Whether from their life at home or the move
itself, their world is left reeling. Day in day out, I can help settle
down the swirling by being consistent, letting them know what to expect and
helping them understand they are not alone. It’s amazing when kids
realize they are not the only ones in foster care and that many parents need to
learn how to be better parents.
What’s been your most memorable experience while
being a foster parent? Memorable. I think that has to be the
first time my Pumpkin called me Mamma. The one thing everyone asks is,
“How can do you do this emotionally? How can you let go?” And my
answer always is that I have no idea, but I do. Even though I ache as
Pumpkin has now moved on to an adoptive home (and away from me), we are both
better from having had each other for that year. She changed me into a
mother and I believe I helped her know how to be a daughter.
At the end of a hard day battling the system, what
keeps you going? When I tuck the kids in and they give me
their huge hugs. It keeps me going to be able to tell them, “I will
see in the morning.” Trite but true, the kids make it all worth it.
Those who by love and consistency start to heal, love and trust again.
If your family were to be on the cover of your
favorite newspaper or magazine in five years, what would the story be about? Tough question – hopefully the story would
be the follow up of the children who have been through my home (16 so far) and
where their lives are at. The prayer would be that these children are
better off from knowing me and are now safely settled back in with their
families or in an amazing adoptive home.
What's one piece of wisdom or advice that you would
like to share with people outside the foster community or prospective foster
educate. For those already foster parenting,
continue to learn and challenge your understandings. Many foster parents
I have met are content to do what they have always done with kids and then we
get the same results we have always gotten. I constantly challenge people
to do better than we have in the past. When a placement of mine leaves, I
am always asking myself, “What can I do better next time? What will serve
the next child better?” I cannot claim perfection and thus always need to
keep learning. For those just looking into foster
parenting, research the heck out of foster care in your area and then join a
foster parent support group online or in person. Ask questions.
Talk to adults who have been through the system. Research trauma,
resiliency, attachment and creative parenting techniques. Then, DO IT.
It’s sad to me when people do all the work to be a foster parent and then
get scared off. Instead, do the work, learn your stuff and jump in.
Sure it’s scary, but aren’t all great things a little frightening at