This last month has been a whirlwind. In the last month, Geoff and I have been working towards becoming licensed foster parents. This path wasn’t really in our plans right now, but when God leads you down a path, you follow.
The infertility journey is heartbreaking, but it has brought us closer together. You can’t have many walls with a person when you have to openly discuss your period, bodily fluids, and effects of hormone pills. Geoff and I have been struggling with infertility for going on 2 ½ years now, but weren’t going to look into fostering till the end of the year.
The process for becoming a foster parent is long, drawn out and it leaves you feeling a little violated. I get it. They can’t just hand over a child without doing their homework.
So here we are, six weeks in and exhausted. Happily exhausted. And it’s just the beginning of this process, but I’ve learned a few thing along the way.
1. This is not a quick process
It’s naive, but I thought that we would sign the application and they would KNOW that we are good people who long to be parents. Well, maybe not exactly like that, but I didn’t think it would take this long and have SO MUCH paperwork. Guys, seriously. The amount of documents you have to fill out will give you carpal tunnel.
2. When they say jump, you jump
Forget your weekly schedule. This includes work. When CPS calls/emails/texts, you say yes ma’am and make it happen. This isn’t because they are non-human, demanding beings, but because they have so much stuff to balance. You did your fingerprints? Great! Now we have to sit here and wait for the results to come back. Bottom line is if it involves people you cannot control how quick or efficient things will move.
3. There is so much paperwork
Have I mentioned the paperwork? When we went for orientation, we walked out with four packets of paperwork (some filled out together and separately). This doesn’t include the training you have to go through. And I understand why there is so much paperwork. I think I need a stamp with all my personal info on it so I can quit rewriting it 1600 times. Or can we make this an online process where my computer already has the info saved and all I have to do is click a button?
4. You will want to take home all of the kids
The training classes will break your heart. For us, we have a total of nine training classes that we have to attend or take online. By the end of the third training class, I wanted to go buy a barn, fix it up, and foster all the children I could. There is such a need for good, safe, stable homes and the mother in me just wants to protect them all from any harm. Would it be easy. Absolutely not, but everyone deserves to be treated with love and respect. Going through the classes you learn that not everyone shares the same mind-set. I went home crying and praying.
5. You are not alone
I assumed that once the child was in your home you were on your own, but that’s not the case. Everyone is looking to foster for different reasons. Some are there specifically for family members, others to grow their families. Regardless, you’re not alone. Even if you decide to adopt, there are so many resources for your family. There are support groups, resources for sitters, and someone to guide you.
We are lucky because our church has a foster outreach program and we’ve gotten to know other families who have gone down this road and can help guide us. Having someone in your life (outside of your spouse) who gets what you’re going through has helped to ground me. And it’s even better when they send you book recommendations to help you on your journey. 🙂
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