Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Thoughts on Becoming Foster Parents When We Didn't Expect To

We didn't expect to foster but we are now and this is what we've learned so far.

I don't even know where to start this post. Becoming resource parents wasn't something we planned. We talked about it not being an option for months and then it was like God asked what if? So we decided to explore whether it was even a possibility with our current living situation. We have a two-bedroom with 2 toddlers and one on the way. To our surprise, it was totally okay. We didn't even need to change a whole lot to be approved for an emergency placement. We went through the initial background check and home visit over the course of 2 days and then welcomed home a new addition to our family that same week.

It's been about a month since growing our family in this way and I'm at a place to share (what we can) with those we love. It's a fine line, sharing fostering information/stories, so if you're surprised by this information and wondering why you're hearing it on here, it's because it's a tricky situation. I don't want to share nothing but I also don't want to overshare a journey that isn't just ours. We have the privilege of journeying with this young lady and have every intention of respecting her. For those of you who know me personally, I have a very private processing...well, process. This blog is a space for me to share a lot of that processing with the world in a way I'm comfortable with.

The Advice We Should Have Taken
Over the summer I was talking to a co-worker who has fostered to adopt to just pick his brain. It was very much for future for when we're empty nesters. Ha! I wish we would have taken his advice, but at that point, we really, at least as a couple, were a hard no on fostering until our kiddos were bigger. And even this was a maybe. His advice was to start the resource parent process right away so that if we ever decided to do it, we would be ready to go. Such amazing advice!

Man. If we would have already been resource parents, the last month would have been a bit more focused on our family adjusting to being a family of 5. That would have been nice. However, even with all the classes and appointments and paperwork, it's been a blessing. It's been hectic with moments of feeling like we're drowning, but we're really on the upside of the process. We're almost official resource parents. Almost.

The Positives
-I am falling more in love with my husband
-I'm in awe of how easily kids open their hearts to love others
-Our friends and family have shown up in crazy ways from moving heavy furniture to prepare for our home visit to babysitting to dinner to Target runs. Plus, every single person has welcomed our new family member with open arms, even if they are taken aback by the news
-Jesus is at work in so many lives!

It's not all unicorns and rainbows over here but it is pretty colorful.

My Expectations
I'm trying to keep most of my expectations pointed toward Josh and I. We actually have some control in this area. Here are a few...
-Provide a safe and loving home
-Stock our kitchen with foods that are liked and healthy
-Continue having date nights
-Attend therapy both together and separately

Deep down, I want to see big changes in the life of our foster child. Like. Right. Now. But I am also being challenged to see the small positives. For instance, the morning after the first night at our home she said she slept better than she ever has. I'm holding onto that with all that I am. I keep going back to that over and over and over. *a little shout out to the friend who really prepped me for this area by sharing her own experience

Dealing with the Unknown
Everything. Length, depth, width. Even questions I think we should know the answers to are unanswerable. That 12-Step saying "one day at a time" is definitely providing great wisdom on this journey. That and focusing on what we do know: we were called to this place and God knows all the details so we don't have to.

Moving Forward/Our Next Steps
Logistically we still have to finish some paperwork and an interview. At least to be officially approved but then there is always paperwork and home visits to complete and schedule. From what we've heard, planning on red tape being a normal part of life is a good plan. Spiritually and emotionally we have to keep taking it one day at a time.

We're nowhere near equipped to give advice on becoming resource parents except to say we really don't think there is a right way to do it or even a way to be fully prepared. If you're considering it, take the advice of my co-worker and just jump in. It's better to be ahead of the game. I think this is good advice about anything you have an inkling about. If God has placed a desire on your heart, don't wait for the worldly pieces to line up; you'll likely wait a lifetime.

If you're interested in learning more, here is a link to the California Social Services website.

Our tips about foster parenting and how to go about it

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