Sunday, June 22, 2008

The path to Foster Care Adoption

From February to May was a bleak time. I was depressed and had no idea what to do with my time. I would jump every time the phone rang hoping it was the agency. I was worried that we were too old, did not look nice enough, did not have enough money. The thought that another women held my future in her hands was more than I could handle most days.

Our oldest son was involved in a group at school called Destination Imagination. It was an improvisational group that had their final show on a Saturday in April. I ended up carpooling with a family that I did not know. As we were driving along, we got to talking and when she asked about other children I mentioned that we were waiting to adopt. She prodded me a little and my whole story came flooding out with plenty of tears. I guess I was at a breaking point and gushing to a stranger was easy.

She went on to tell me that she had adopted three of her children from foster care. I told her that we wanted a baby and CPS had already told me they do not have babies for adoption. They had basically told me if you want a baby, leave the meeting. She laughed and told me all three of her children came to her under 4 weeks of age. I was very interested and she went on to give me a brief overview of adoption from foster care.

I went home and told my husband the whole conversation. He was sceptical but did not want to burst my bubble. On Monday I called our local office and was told they did not have any classes starting soon, and we would have to wait. I pushed a little harder and she told me we could go to a larger county for the classes but they did not usually allow outsiders in their class. I was on a mission! I called that county and bugged them daily until they agreed for us to attend the next class in two weeks. PRAISE GOD.

We had no idea what the next 10 weeks were going to be like! We walked into the first night and sat next to a couple from our county that did exactly what I did, pestered themselves into the class. It was a great group of people. I would guess that the majority of the class were Christians. We had a pastor, several deceans and the instructor had a PhD in Theology.

For the next 10 weeks we sat and listened to the worst case scenarios. The most horrible stories about abuse, neglect, and how the kids behaved after coming out of these families. It was definitely a scare tactic to weed out the weak.

At the end you had to decide if you wanted to only adopt or if you wanted to be foster parents and adopt a foster child placed in your home if they became available. I will explain the difference in my next post.

This is where we started praying very hard about God's plan. It turned out we had time because our paperwork went on vacation on multiple workers desks. By the time I found the live person who had our file we felt God was telling us to go the Foster Care route. This was scary. We would be taking a HUGE risk but we felt peace that God was calling us down this path. If we can survive two failed placements we could survive a lost placement. His grace is sufficient and He will heal all wounds.

Back in 2003, the placement process was not computerized or organized. We waited from Aug - October for our first placement. Our worker would watch her e-mail for a "broadcast" of a child needing placement in foster care. She had an idea what we wanted, and what she wanted to give us. She did not feel inter-racial placements were right and would not put a child in our home that was not caucasion. We did not know this was the case, so we could not object to her theory.

I was working for myself at the time and was at a clients office when she called and told me about a 6 month old boy who needed foster care only. This case was not going toward adoption. I felt forwarned and decided I wanted to get my feet wet and learn what foster care was all about. Our youngest son, is this child! I raced home, called my best friend to come over and help get the house ready. We cleaned, moved, stored, and nested for many hours. I was so nervous I did not know what to do. My husband was oblivious to all this. He did not have his cell phone charged and did not know I was calling him every five minutes. He pulled up into the driveway and I pounced on him with the good news. He was so overwhelmed he did not have enough time to catch his breath. The worker pulled into the drive less than 15 minutes after him.

It is the strangest feeling to have a women ring your doorbell and hand you a baby.

Our little boy, was very developmentally and physically delayed. Unfortunatly, he had been in foster care but was in a home that had to be closed due to neglect of their foster children. Little Z was so tiny and had met none of his milestones. My heart broke for this child. I started calling doctors and other foster parents to find out what I needed to do. We got him an evaluation for private therapy the next week.

About four weeks later, we received another call from our worker explaining to us that Z's older brother needed to be placed in foster care again and would we take him? What a question. We were very overwhelmed with the first child. He was work. He did not sleep, did not eat, and we had no idea what we were doing. We had exactly 30 minutes to make a decision. How could we say no and split up the brothers. They had never lived in the same home but we knew they needed to. We prayed quick and said Yes. Our middle son is this little boy!

The next 15 months were a roller coaster! (but worth every heart stopping drop)

1 comment:

Laura said...

Thank you for your blog! I just found it on RLC! We have 2 bio sons and adopted our daughter from Guatemala. I attended the Orphan Summit in May and we were so inspired by the church that hosted it and what they have done for Foster Care in Ft. Lauderdale! I am looking for ways to reach out to the foster community in my region and although not currently pursuing fostering, it has come up in discussions! I love to read about people who have stepped out in faith!