Thursday, July 28, 2011

Our Timeline of Fostering

We wanted to expand our family, we were dealing with infertility, we always talked about adoption and knew even if we hadn’t dealt with infertility that adoption was in our hearts. Hubby didn’t want to go out of the country, we both felt like a need would be better served here locally. Not to say it is the wrong way to go, it just wasn’t the way for us. My sister was adopted. I was there in the hospital when Jocie was just 8 hours old, I got to see her, hold her and I cried when I met her. She was so perfect and she was going home with us. I think because of Jocie, I always wanted to adopt, also.

We decided to go to a foster parent orientation in July of 2008. We started our MAPP classes shortly after that. MAPP classes were once a week in the evening for 9 weeks for three hours. It was the first time we consistently hired a baby sitter for C. I can’t say I learned a lot, but I do think they were valuable. Only one foster parent dropped out during the classes.

The two things I learned in that class that still stand out were:

1. We did a marbles exercise where we used different color marbles to represent different races, yellow for White, blue for Black, red for Asian, green for Hispanic, etc. Then we got to put a certain number of Marbles in for each time a statement was said and the color of the person represented in the statement. I.e. Put three marbles in for your neighbors, put two in for your school, put one in for your doctor, one for your dentist. At the end you look at your jar and see how colorful it is or isn’t. It is supposed to make you think how you would expand your “jar” if you had a child of a different color in your home.

2. We were told to close our eyes and imagine our neighborhood, our house, our favorite place to sit, our favorite things, and so on. This is to get you really comfortable in your thoughts and how comfortable you are in your house and with your stuff. Then we were told, “Imagine now that all of that is gone, all of the things that make you happy and comfortable are taken away”. Now imagine how a child feels, they were removed from all they know and taken to a stranger, to a strange place and these new people are so excited to see them, but they aren’t excited to see them because they want to be back home with their stuff, with their family, with the people they know. It was really heartbreaking and was supposed to make you realize that yes, you may be excited you got a placement, but temper that excitement because the kids will be suffering an emotional loss.

The classes ended in November and we filled out our mountain of paperwork, got our finger prints, and got approved to be sent off to the state to get approved as foster parents. It was a 60 business day review timeframe for the paperwork. Our SW for the MAPP classes came out to the house in early December and finished up all the paperwork to send our profile off to the state. She commented that we were the fastest to ever get everything done. Maybe she didn’t realize how excited we were, how much we wanted to add to our family. We wanted to adopt and through foster care was how we wanted to proceed. We got approved around March 2009, had a fire inspection and our house approved and then we sold our house and moved 20 minutes away (same county luckily) so we had to get our house re-inspected by the SW and a new fire inspection. It was August 6, 2009 that we had everything in place to get certified in the new house. (Ironically, it was August 2010 that Maya was adopted).

We then needed to get a Licensing Social Worker assigned to us, she came to visit us and then in October she went out on medical leave, she returned shortly in December before Christmas vacation. I was so ansty to get that first call, the one where we would have a child placed with us. It was our worker that I called on January 3 when I returned back to the office and she was returning back from Christmas break. I left a message (one that I had left almost every other week since September). Hi, I was just calling to see how things were going, etc. etc. etc. Trying not to sound too stalkerish eager. She called me back with a potential placement that afternoon. A little boy, free for adoption. She sent his paperwork over and I read all of it, Hubby read all of it. I was ready to say yes. I was hesitant, I wanted more information, there wasn’t more. I told her we needed to think about it overnight. I talked with my mother-in-law and my mom that night. I was pretty sure it wasn’t the right situation. I didn’t want to say no, though. Hubby and I went to lunch on Tuesday to discuss again (like we had been that whole night). We finally decided it wasn’t going to work. I slumped back to my desk not eager to make the call that we couldn’t. I got back to my desk and my Social Worker called. I apologized for not getting back to her sooner, that it wasn’t the right situation. She replied with a simple, “That’s okay, I was actually calling you about a little girl, 5 months old, we are 99% sure it will be adoption.” She then gave me a lot more information and the little girls Social Worker’s information. I told her I needed to call my husband, but that it sounded positive. I relayed the information to hubby and he simply said, “I think you can make the call.” What?!?! I get to decide. No, he meant I can make the call to the Social Worker to tell her yes.

I talked with the Social Worker and over the course of the next day we decided that we would get her on Friday after her bio-mom visit. We had been given the option of meeting her first and then deciding whether to take her or getting her sooner. I simply said I don’t need to meet her first, we want her, meeting her won’t change that. I couldn’t imagine saying no to a baby. We had information on her from birth, her medical history, mom’s prenatal care, etc. It was enough.

The first thing I bought was an Ergo carrier. I had told myself that if I was ever lucky enough to have another kid, I would get an Ergo carrier to carry them around in. The next and silly thing was a swim suit, yes a swim suit for a 5 month old. I managed to get a crib, get it put together, and set her room up with a crib and dresser set. We got rid of the full size bed we had in there since we didn’t know what age placement we would get. We were ready and I was walking on Cloud 9 all week.

Friday morning it started to snow a little and I was so worried the weather would delay me meeting her. Fortunately, it didn’t snow too bad Friday morning. She arrived at 10:30 am. I think she was the most prepared baby ever in foster care. She came with two huge plastic tubs of clothes, shoes, diaper, wipes, bottles, food, and formula. Along with two bags and her car seat. I had heard stories of kid’s coming with just the clothes on their back and nothing more. Miss M had everything we would need to get us through the weekend and more.

Here is Miss M in the first few hours she arrived with us:


Here she is sleeping in her crib in the first few hours:


Here is the Proud Big Brother that first day:


Story to be continued…

1 comment:

LauraC said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog! We also considered fostering and I went to the initial foster care info session last winter but we're not ready to do it at this point. Love reading your story!