Galina Angelova is a teacher by education, happily married, mother of two teenage daughters and works at a big trading company. Her life is obviously successful. This is why everyone was amazed when she left her well-paid job to stay at home and take care of a baby. Furthermore, a child that is not hers but “foreign” – she become a foster parent.
“This was a spontaneous idea provoked by my strong willingness to take care of a newborn. Coincidentally, I saw an announcement posted by “For Our Children” Foundation stating that they are looking for foster families in Sofia. I felt an overwhelming need to stay at home with a baby and it was very, very nice. And still is,” Galina said, reminiscing of the beginning.
The first foster baby was only 1 month old – gentle and sweet. Galya has serious support in the face of her husband Aleksey who helps her with every task. Her teenage daughters have their role too in changing diapers, walking around and nourishing the baby. “By becoming foster parents me and my husband fulfilled one of the greatest wishes of our children – to raise a baby that will never grow up,” remembers Galina.
Her vision is that she doesn’t look after other people’s children. This expression cannot be used at all – those kids become exactly as your own without any difference. During the past seven years I found out that when you look after your own kid, you subconsciously put your hopes in them, your hopes and plans for the future. And when I take care of a foster kid, I give my best effort at this particular moment, knowing that the child has it’s own way in life. I realised that me and the child have two personalities – the kid knows the reason for their arrival into this world and I, on the other hand, am a part of their path. You don’t build their future, you know that they have their own and walk persistently towards it. That is the only difference between “your own” and “the foster child,” Galina shared.
She admits that the most difficult thing in foster care is the separation when it’s time for the kid to move with their adoptive parents. “This is a life lesson for me. I learn how to say goodbye. I learn not to posses but to accept that every person has their own path to walk on and I don’t know it. This way of thinking doesn’t ease the pain but it helps me to go through the heartbreaking moment of the separation. The bigger the child is, the harder is for me to say goodbye, because they are already formed as a personality and all the memories and experiences we’ve had together feel stronger. The sense of emptiness is tremendous, especially in the beginning. It always hurts, but the pain decreases gradually, because my attention is drawn to the new baby, and I just don’t have that much time to miss the previous one,” Galina shares.
This pain, however cannot decrease her willingness to take care of the babies. It’s not possible not to love a baby, not to take care of them, feed them, cuddle with them or simply enjoy their presence. I wonder why more people don’t become foster parents,” she said truly amazed.
Until the present moment she took care of 4 children, all of them have already been adopted – three in Sofia and one in her home-town Shumen. I keep in touch with the parents that know each other. I see the children often and talk with them, they visit us regularly. This is basically the easiest way for separating,” she shared gratefully.
During the past year she and her husband have been taking care of a boy that arrived into their home at the delicate age of three months. The umbilical cord was wrapped around one of his legs, leaving a deep scar. In the first three months of his life, he lay still in the hospital because of this problem which probably had significantly impacted his further development.
“In comparison to other kids he began to turn around and sit up at a later point. Clapping with hands and waving for goodbye were delayed as well.
Despite what the paediatrician said – that every child develops with their own speed – I was still worried and talked with the social worker, assigned to our case. The thought that he is already 10 moths old and cannot sit up by himself, didn’t leave my mind. Then we made a consultation with a specialist in the early childhood development at “For Our Children” Foundation. He examined him and excluded cerebral paralysis as a reason for the condition, which was my biggest fear. There were no physiological reasons for the growth delay so we started rehabilitation. Two months have passed, the third one is still going on. There is a forthcoming stimulation of the neuro-psychological development of the child”.
We’ve taken care of five children so far – three are of Roma origin and two of Bulgarian. I believe the adoptive parents don’t make a difference on an ethnic basis anymore. A little girl we took care of two years ago was adopted in a family with a mother who is teacher by profession. She spends a lot of time with the girl and conducts her school training at home. In February she’s going to be five, but she is already speaking as a 10-year-old. She is able to lead intelligent conversations and disputes,” Galina said happily.
We are thankful to Angelina Dimitrova from “Maritsa” newspaper for the wonderful article.