Robby and I just went through PRIDE training so that we can start the process to become Foster parents. We had to complete 27 hours of training for the classes and now will have to complete 3 hours of First Aid/CPR training, a pile of paperwork over an inch thick, a physical exam (TB test and to verify we are physically able to be parents), a home study (they come check our home to make sure it's free of hazards and to get a feel for how we parent), and then we have to be fingerprinted to make sure we can clear a background check. From start to finish, it should take us 4-6 months to get certified, depending on how fast we can get all of this done.
In August of 2009, Robby and I started the adoption process. We went to our first informational meeting with FSA (Families Supporting Adoption) and were given the opportunity to attend several classes on different aspects of adoption. Originally, we were thinking that we would only adopt a healthy, white baby and have a closed adoption. After that first set of classes. We had completely changed our minds. We attended a class on Transracial adoption and both of us felt that we should be completely open to that. We attended a class on special needs and both of us felt that we should be open to drug exposure and some special needs. And, we attended a class on Foster care. After talking about it, Robby and I both felt a pull towards foster care. After considering it, we both felt we should wait. Foster care is full of ups and downs and we both thought we should wait until we had at least 1 child before we did. Then if a child went back, we would still have a little one at home to love and hold.
Several things kept calling us to Foster care. Grace's birth mom was adopted through foster care. After hearing her story and all the hardships she went through, I felt that pull towards fostering again. It seemed to come up everywhere. Movies, tv shows, family and friends, all had examples of foster care, some positive and some negative. When we decided to adopt again, we said we would wait 6 months, and then begin the foster care process. Well, after 2 months of waiting, we were chosen to adopt Joey, so once again, foster care was put on the back burner.
After Joey was born, we kept going back and forth on whether we would adopt again. We had 2 miracles. We weren't sure if we would ever be chosen again by a birth mother, or if it would take years and years. The cost was also a little daunting. We were fortunate enough to be able to use the adoption tax credit for Grace and Joey, but who knows if it would continue? But, I kept having this feeling that our family was not complete yet.
When we moved to California, I again felt the pull towards foster care. We met some new people at church that were foster parents. I kept seeing blog posts about foster care. Several friends were newly certified for foster care. It just felt right. Robby was working a lot of hours, so the only days we could do training were Saturdays. FINALLY a training came up that we could do. We were THRILLED! We went every week for 5 weeks. It was a very big commitment. We had to find baby sitters for the kids, get up early on Saturdays, and push any chores to later in the day. Our weekly date night was going to foster care trainings. We learned a lot though. Now that we are done, we are VERY excited to finish the process and become foster parents. We hope to be able to adopt, but foster care's main goal is reunifying children with their birth families, so that will be our focus.
We can't wait to be able to have more children in our home. 2 children 2 and under is tough, and I'm sure adding another baby is going to make it exponentially harder, but this is where we have been led. We hope to be able to provide stability and love to these children, even if it's just for a short time. I'm very excited to see Grace and Joey's hand me downs put to good use again. Hopefully we will be certified by the end of the year and start accepting placements in January (or sooner).