Update on Fostering – Part II

So I know I updated y’all recently that we were putting fostering on the back burner. Well, things have changed since then. Brad and I talked about it and realistically our house may not sell for 6 months or a year (in this market)….so why would we not foster since we can…and we have the room…and the love to share? Plus our paperwork is almost finished. SO, it starts again. We will still move forward with getting our house ready to sell and on the market, but in the meantime hopefully have a foster child.

Last night, Brad and I completed most of the remaining paperwork for DHR. We now just have to get physicals and then the ball will be in DHR’s court. It sounds like we could have a home study within a few weeks of them getting our paperwork. J David sat at the dining room table with us last night and we told him that we were signing papers so we could have a foster child soon. He told us that he wants a baby. When I asked him why he said, “because they are so cute.” I agree, buddy.

So…we’ll see what happens. Hopefully we can get our physicals done in the next week or so and then all we have to do is submit everything to DHR. We’re getting closer!

Oh, and on a somewhat related note – growing up (well from 9th grade on) we had foster children. The first three girls I remember the most because they lived with us for a while and well, they were the first girls we had. I was also still living at home while they were there. Well, last night two of them found me on Facebook. As we were sitting down to complete the paperwork for DHR Brad and I both got a friend request from Autumn and Renee. No freaking way! The girls (who are biological siblings) lived with us for a couple of years and were adopted (along with their little brother) by a fabulous family the week after we got married (in 1998). I still have a picture of them on my wedding day with me sitting on my desk at work. So it’s been 12 years since I’ve seen them. Now, through Facebook, I was able to see what they’ve been up to all these years. They look as beautiful as I remember them. Autumn is married and has an adorable 2 month old daughter and Renee is in her first year of college and wants to go into the medical field. It makes my heart so happy to know that they are doing well. Even if I won’t get to see them face to face, now we can connect on Facebook. Awesome!

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Update on fostering

You may remember when I posted this in September. Several people have asked lately what the status is….and I wanted to give y’all an update.

I made initial contacts with DHR and finally (after way too many months) got the information that we needed. We’ve nearly completed the application, but haven’t yet turned it into DHR. The problem is that we are planning to put our house on the market. Soon. We don’t feel that it’s right (to us or to a foster child) to bring them into our home only to uproot them (again) and move them to a different home and school (and who knows if we could even move a child from one county to the other – if we don’t end up staying in our current county?). So….until we sell our house and buy another one the foster care thing is on the back burner.

This makes me kind of sad, but I know it’s for the best and I am ok with that.

Realistically we’re still a few months out before we can get the house on the market. But once we are settled we’ll pick it back up and hopefully be licensed within a month or so. Since we’ve already completed the 40 hour training all we have to do is have a couple home studies and submit the application paperwork. I am looking forward to that happening, even if it’s not going to be in the immediate future.

Here we go again…

Probably everyone reading this blog (all 2 of you) know that Brad and I fostered two amazingly precious (twin) little boys about 5 years ago. It wasn’t long after we were licensed to foster that the DHR lady called asking if we could take them. I was thinking that there was NO possible way we could care for twins…they were only 18 months old. I called Brad and he instantly said “yes”. He was apparently much braver than me. So we met the boys at DHR within an hour and fell in love with them the moment we saw them. They were precious. They weren’t your typical 18 month old boys, they were babies. Literally. They were small for their size (being twins) and couldn’t talk and hardly walk. We scrounged around to find a second car seat (we were only prepared for one child) and then brought them home.

Dylan and Dawson were the best kids we could have asked for. Fostering was such a great experience for us. Of course we have our qualms with DHR (who doesn’t) but we had a great social worker and made the best of it. The boys looked a lot like us and no one knew they were our foster kids (unless of course they knew us personally). Dylan had blond curly hair (like me) and Dawson had brown straight hair (like Brad). On their own as soon as they could talk they called us mommy and daddy. They never knew any different because they were so young when they came to live with us.

We were hoping to adopt the boys, but grandma finally got her act together and was able to get custody of them. They were with us until just after their third birthday. Letting them go was quite possibly the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Not sure I’ve cried so much. Ever. I know that the ‘goal’ of fostering is to reunite the children with their family, however, that’s not always the best option for the child/children, no matter what DHR says. We had 20 months to care for them, and love them, and treat them like our own. And we did just that. They were put into our lives to bring us unspeakable joy and teach us how to be parents. And they did just that.

But God knew what He was doing. After trying for a long time to have a child, we finally got pregnant. Knowing we were losing the boys was terribly difficult, but we had the hope of a brand new baby of our very own…one that was ours to keep forever…a little boy who would be born just one month after Dylan and Dawson left. David coming into our lives helped ease the heartache of losing Dylan and Dawson. God’s timing is always perfect, even if we can’t see if from our vantage point.

Several times over the past few years Brad has mentioned fostering again. I have said ‘no’ every single time. I wasn’t ready and honestly wasn’t sure I’d ever again be ready. I’m fairly certain I have said over the past 5 years once or twice that I didn’t think we’d ever foster again. I LOVE my life as it is right now. Yes, we want more children, but things are so easy now. We can do what we want and go where we want when we want. David is almost five and he’s a great traveling companion and can do things for himself now. The break of constant care is really nice! And bringing a baby into our lives is one thing but bringing a child that has been abused or neglected or has experienced unbelievable things is something totally different. Things are just so easy. It’s just us three and I couldn’t be happier…..or maybe I could.

While I’ve been thinking about fostering again for a few months I hadn’t mentioned it to Brad yet because I think I was scared and I know he’d say “yes” as soon as I mentioned it to him. So finally, on August 30th we talked and I told him I was ready to do this again and his response was basically, “what took you so long?” Ha!

It’s not about what is easy, it’s about what is right, right?. I seriously think that God has been holding this door open for us for a while. I’m finally ready to walk through it.

Of course our long term goal is adoption because we desire more children. But even if God only places a child with us for a short time (like He did with Dylan and Dawson) then we are both open to opening our hearts to that. As much as it will hurt to foster and let a child go – I know God will give us the strength to deal with it. We’ve done it before, so why can’t we do it again?

So, the next day Brad went to the DHR website and downloaded all of the necessary documents we need to get relicensed. I called DHR and spoke to the contact in my county about getting relicensed. She told me that we do not have to go through the 30 plus hours of training because we’ve already done it. THANK GOD! She said that we only need to complete the application, get our medical records up to date, take CPR, get our house ready (which won’t take too much, other than getting a crib) and have two home studies done. She said it could take less than 2 months to be licensed and ready to foster. However, getting one county to send the other county our entire file may take an act of God in itself.

I know this time around it will be more difficult since we already have David and we have to think about him in this situation. He’ll feel the effects of another child as much if not more than we will…and we need to be sensitive to that. We’ll make it work…and I think he’ll be a fabulous big brother to whatever child is brought into our home.

So….here we go again.

(This is the only picture I could find on my computer right now of the boys…this is Christmas 2004. The boys left in August of this year and David was born in September. Seeing this picture makes my heart ache…we haven’t seen the boys in almost 5 years, and they just turned 8. But while it makes me sad and miss them – it also makes me remember all the fun/great times we had when they were ours).