Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Just Say No?

It has been almost a month since we were approved to be foster parents.

There are 408,000 children are in foster care in the US and 107,000 of those are eligible for adoption, per the FosterCare Statistics 2010 Fact Sheet.

We have gotten three calls with placement offers and one call for respite care. We said no to all three placement calls. The first was a toddler who only needed a temporary placement. The other two were teenage girls.  The first was a 17 y/o girl who “just needed someone to help get her through senior year.” She turns 18 in February. The second was a 16 year old girl who had just come into custody and desperately wanted to stay at the high school near our home. I was the one to have the conversations and ultimately say no.

We watched two brothers, ages 10 and 11, Saturday night as respite care for another foster family.  They were with us for four hours and we had a lot of fun. They walked right in and made themselves at home, asking a TON of questions. They were excited to meet our dogs and give them treats.

We introduced the boys to root beer floats and Legos. They were enamored with the chalk board on the wall in Scott’s office. “You can draw ON the wall?!?” They asked all about our family, how we met, and why we didn’t have any other kids. They were shocked that they were our first foster kids. They said that they had never been anyone’s first foster kids. They were extremely polite. They said yes ma’am and yes sir. They even put their dishes in the sink. For being 10 and 11 they knew a lot about the foster system. They insisted that we do a lot of thing other adults just don’t do – I guess we do play with Legos. . . By the end of the evening they both asked to stay with us.  We told them that not every day at our house was as much fun as that night. We also do laundry, clean the litter box, and do homework. They swore that they LOVE to fold laundry.

They did really well until it was time to be picked up by their foster family. They started arguing and fighting with each other as soon as their foster-mom called and said that she was on her way. It was interesting to see how reluctant they were to make the transition. Of course it was way past a reasonable bed time for 10 and 11 year olds, but we could read them like an open book. They were tired and had a lot of hurt behind their eyes. We don’t even know what that may be.

I am struggling with the emotional impact of saying no to children I don’t know and then also to these boys that we had in our home. It’s kind of heart wrenching to say no when the child asks you directly. We have said that we want to adopt rather than pursue fertility treatments so we can put our resources toward helping kids who are already here. We prayerfully and thoughtfully created a profile that says ages 0-5 years.  But it breaks my heart to say no to children who need a home. It will be much harder for the agency to find homes for these boys than a child under 5 years old. My rational side says remember the profile; stick to the profile you created when you were not emotional. But I feel like that may just be the excuse of a scared person. What if we say no to someone just because they don’t fit the picture of what we think our family looks like? What if it is just my fear or selfishness or doubts that keeps us from being parents to someone who needs us? Sometimes I don’t think I am mature enough for this.

Lots of thoughts…I’ll just keep waiting.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wait For It . . .

Waiting. It may be the word we use the most on this blog. "Why" is the word we use most at home, but mostly that is because Scott’s little dog insists on pottying in the living room, and we don’t know why. But that is an issue for another day.

Our home study was approved last Tuesday. A week ago. We were pretty excited. I was instantly nervous (I realized we didn't have a waterproof cover for the mattress or plastic cups or plastic plates or plastic eating utensils or enough Legos).  It struck us that placement is close. Impending even.  We are in a kind of scary limbo. We have put our employers on notice that we may need some time off sometime in the next week, month or year. It is hard to plan when you don't know what to expect.

We actually got our first call on Friday, July 6. It was for a 3 year old little girl. She had more medical issues that we could probably handle and she only needed a temporary placement.  So the coordinator basically made the decision that she was not a match for us. This was a new coordinator that we had not spoken with before. She was very nice and took the time to listen to me about what type of child we are looking for.  I am excited by the conversation and feel good that we have experienced our first call. Now we wait for the next call. Maybe it will be about our children.

So again we wait. This waiting feels more exciting than all the other waiting we have done before.  But it is also more agonizing.  It feels like every time the phone rings my heart skips a beat.  Each day we wonder, "Will we meet our child today?" "By bedtime tonight will we be three instead of two?" I think after we take a placement we will look back on this waiting time that feels so long right now and say "That was just a short time. Why were we so anxious?"  At this point we have waited three and half years; what is another week or month?

We are praying for our child and the other children too. We are praying that we say yes to the child who is ours. We trust that God will work it all out. Any impatience we feel is really excitement about the upcoming arrival of our child.