More Than One Way to Motherhood
“There’s More Than One Way to Motherhood”
Barbi Beckman’s foster and adoptive experiences are unique in that she’s gone full circle from being a birth mother, foster parent, to adoptive mother. Being first a birth mother at 15 years old, and then adopting a child 23 years later, Barbi can empathize with the whole spectrum.
She calls it the ultimate irony. When Barbi was 15 and gave a baby up for adoption, she assumed she would have kids when she was older. It never occurred to her that once she was married and established she wouldn’t be able to have another child. Adopting her daughter, Charlene, in 2009 was like it was meant to be.
After years of trying to conceive, Barbi and her husband, Jim, decided to try a FosAdopt program with the hope to eventually adopt. Figuring if the experience didn’t end up with being able to adopt, at least they could provide a stable, loving environment for a child, or children, and went through the training process and got their foster license in 2004.
They received their first placement a month after getting their license, and it ended up being quite the learning experience. The child falsely accused of abuse. Through a painful, messy process where Barbi felt she was treated like a criminal, the birth mother ended up admitting to putting the child up to it. A bit of a slap to the face as their first foster experience, the Beckman’s decided to wait a while before accepting another child. They waited six months and re-evaluated the experience, which resulted in the decision to take in only younger kids aged 0-2 years old.
Their next placement was a 5 month-old, and they went into the situation more cautious and realistic, and concentrating on the relationship with the birth mother. As the birth mother made progress, the Beckmans knew the child would go back. For two years they provided a safe and loving foundation until he did reunite with his birth mother. The relationship created with the birth mother was maintained and they still see the boy every week, providing two loving families for the child.
The next child they received was a baby girl they took home from the hospital. She had a good chance of adoption with the mother’s rights terminated, and they had her for one year until the birth father stepped up. She went to the birth father for seven months, and then back to the Beckmans after he had a drug relapse. She remains with them and just turned two as the case is in the courts right now over who will gain custody.
Their fourth child was an 11 month-old girl. The birth mother terminated her rights two weeks after she arrived with the Beckmans. Ten months later in May 2009, the adoption was finalized and Barbi and Jim officially added Charlene Beckman to their family. They hope to have more foster kids and eventually adopt one more once Charlene is a little older and able to understand what being a foster family means.
In the end, it has all worked out and the Beckmans have had love for a lot of kids. She’s been a mother to many, including the girl she gave up for adoption and now has a relationship with. She hopes that in the long run, the kids who have stayed with her and her husband will know love and stability from the time they spent together. Barbi knows it from the side of being a birth mother, foster, and an adoptive mother and knows that all mothers, no matter the circumstance, are mothers who love and worry about their children. She knows because she’s been lucky enough to be a mother in every way and sense of the word.