Once you take the leap of faith and commit to beginning the crazy journey of foster care a lot happens.
A LOT of sitting and Power Points and information overload. Eighteen hours in fact to start with (at least in KY). You commit to 3 hours every Thursday evening (in our session) for 6 weeks straight. Plus side-our classes were held at OUR home church (of all places, right?!), so at least we know where the bathrooms are! You walk away each week knowing that you cannot un-hear what you have heard or un-see what you have watched… perspective forever changed.
A LOT more sitting while completing at home required education modules. And LOTS of snacking.
A TON of Paperwork. So you buy binders and a 3 hole punch, paperclips, staples, file folders, etc… and get creative on how to get it all done while watching and entertaining 2 toddlers at home. For us some of that looked like copying my paperwork so Eli, my stubborn (but sweet) 3 year old who is over naps, could do his own “paperwork” at nap time while I did mine, side by side in the office. I copied the check “YES” or “NO” type paperwork and he decided whether we could manage a child with ADHD (“hyper” as I described when he asked “Mommy what does this one say?”) or a child who has trouble hearing (like him most days!). For the record he checked “YES” for every possibility (that I read- I did not read certain sensitive things to him of course) AND most of my paperwork was NOT accomplished during these attempts! Hey, i tried! But it was heartwarming to see him check “YES” and talk about how he wants “TWO 2 year old boys AND a baby”…and that the two boys will sleep on his bottom bunk (he calls TOP) and the baby in a Pack-n-Play IN HIS ROOM TOO. Thank God we have spare bedrooms and that will NOT be happening!
A LOT of re-organizing & prepping. You plan who will sleep where, in what, and purchase 2 sets of bunk beds. Your husband gets to put said bunk beds AND new dresser together. He also gets to remove ceiling fan and replace with ceiling lighting because one said bunk bed is within ceiling fan reach. You don’t know if you are expecting a newborn or a 3 year old so you have all bed and bedding options just in case! You start checking off home study safety requirements: 5 pound fire-extinguisher- check! Outlet covers- check! Medications high (I need a stool to reach high) AND locked- check! Smoke detectors and CO2 detectors in necessary locations and in working order- check! Fire escape route created and posted (yes, even for a 0-3 year old!!)- check! If you are REALLY interested I can get you a complete checklist BUT I will not bore you any further with all the safety requirements. Bottom line, our house is incredibly SAFE now (I think it was before…but now…SAFE).
You make a LOT of appointments and phone calls. For physicals for the family, for fingerprinting/background checks, to secure personal references, to request credit references, to set home study dates, etc.
You use a LOT of ink. Once you FIND all this stuff it must be copied for their records: Marriage certificate, proof of citizenship, health insurance cards, auto insurance cards, driver’s license, pet vaccinations, credit reference letters, immunization certificates for all children in the home, etc. Again, I will not bore you but there is a complete list available if interested.
You clean a LOT. Way too much. Like I may have vacuumed my garage. At midnight. And cleaned out every drawer and cabinet in the house. You will feel like you are pregnant and “nesting.”
You answer a LOT of personal questions. You have 2 home studies, sometimes 3. They are to collect above paperwork, to interview each of us and our children (as much as a 1.5 and 3.5 yr old “interview”), and to do a run through of the checklist to ensure our home is indeed SAFE. You ask your husband 500 times after the caseworker leaves if he thinks it went well. And he just brings up that the caseworker didn’t even ask to see the garage. Until he of course told her she better because I vacuumed it for her. At midnight the night before.
A LOT of WAITING. So you start a blog…and wait some more…
Mark 9:37: “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.”