Childless Heart Failure Patients?
The topic of having children as a heart failure patient is near and dear to my heart. I was diagnosed with heart failure at 35 before I had gotten a chance to start a family. It was, and sometimes still is, a profound loss. The ability to have a biological child is something that is at the core of many people. So, I share that to say that my ideas below are not intended to 'solve' the issue. Some losses are so big they cannot be 'fixed.' For anyone in my shoes, I hope that we can find a path forward that brings joy while still acknowledging that it comes from a pretty big loss.
Ideas for when having biological children as a heart failure patient may not be an option
Aunts and uncles
The first idea is to be a terrific aunt or uncle, if possible. In my opinion, the issue with this option is that you are not the parent. Point blank. As that, you do not have any say about how to solve issues if the kiddos are struggling, etc. If your ideas are welcome, congrats! I would not say to count on that, however. Whether this satisfies you probably depends on how involved you want to be in a child's life.
Fostering and adoption
I have written on this topic before, but another idea is fostering and adoption. There are multiple ways to go about adoption, like international, through a private domestic organization, or the state for children whose parents have had their parental rights terminated. I will not get into all of that, as there is another post on it already. I will say, keep in mind the costs between those options vary greatly, as well as the level of trauma the kids may go through. Adoption is a great thing, but it also comes from a place of loss. You must be able to hold the beauty and sadness of adoption, in my opinion.
Fostering is a system where you help kids who have been removed from their home. There might be reunification, but there might not be. You can have the kids for varying amounts of time. If this is something people want to learn more about, please put that in the comments below! I have never fostered, but I did go through the foster training process and have thought A LOT about that process. Keep in mind that younger children typically get adopted more quickly than older children. If you have it in your heart to foster older kids or teenagers, there is a definite need for that. Also, each state has its own foster care system. If you are interested in learning more lookup foster care agencies in your area.
A new-to-me option
A new option that I recently came across is actually a combination of the two! At least in my area, there is a program to mentor kids in the foster care system. If you think mentoring a child (or children) would fulfill a need, there are probably mentorship opportunities aside from the foster care system as well. Boy and Girls Club of America comes to mind, as an example. However, going to back fostering kids in the foster care system, seems like a pretty structured program. And maybe it's a way to have an impact and help fill a true need in someone else's life as well. Mentoring could be a good compromise for those of us who have limited, and variable, energy levels. You also need a doctor's sign-off to become a foster or adoptive parent as well, just to note.
Does this topic resonate with you?
I hope these ideas can help someone within this heart failure community. Anyone who wants to learn about anything in more detail mentioned here, please leave a comment below.
Do you have an implanted/monitoring device?