First of all, let me just say–woah–it’s been almost a year since I’ve blogged. That’s out of control. Let me assure you I’ve just slapped myself on the wrist a few times and promised to carve out time to blog more diligently. In the past year I’ve accepted a new job (the perfect fit for me), started working with new people (love ’em), made new friends (they rock), and moved to a new state (eh. . . that’s a mixed bag– I love being closer to NYC, enjoy the vibe of Syracuse, but LOATHE the winter). No wonder I haven’t blogged, right? (OK, I can tell you’re not cutting me any slack, all right, all right, I’ve slapped myself on the wrist again. Happy now?)
Anyway . . . THAT is not the journey I was talking about, as exciting as that is. Instead I’m talking about a journey that began about 12 years ago in Missouri. I was working on my masters degree and also working full-time at a shelter for kids who were awaiting foster or kinship placement. My team and I became surrogate parents to the many kids who came in and out of our shelter. I fed babies, comforted confused preschoolers, helped with homework, sat on hospital ER floors with crying babies at one in the morning, administered countless lice treatments, and listened to kids share their stories of abuse so disturbing it made me question if I was really a pacifist, because if I ever found those adults I do not want to be responsible for what would happen. I also worked with case workers, CASA, doctors, agency reps, and shelter staff, supervised visits and phone calls, and documented more facts and snipits of information than I would have ever imagined it possible to document. I loved on kids so much it hurt–every time they left, every time they went to a new placement and I worried about their safety, every time they came back from a foster care placement that was worse than their biological home, every time they called me momma and I knew I couldn’t be. It was, by far, the most challenging job I have ever had. And the most rewarding.
During my time there I knew that someday I wanted to become a foster parent. I wanted to make a difference from the inside. That was 12 years ago, and I’ve never stopped wanting to make a difference in kids lives through fostering. But the timing never seemed right. I moved–15 times to three different states and 2 countries outside of the U.S. But a couple of weeks ago on vacation I began to sense that the time had come. I feel settled here in the ‘Cuse. Is it the perfect time? No, but is there ever a perfect time to have a kid? None of my friends with kids seem to think so.
And so the journey began . . .
I started on Monday. I did a lot of research online about fostering. I even found where they keep that ninety-some page book they call a foster parent handbook. I read about 85% of it. After hours of digging through the Internet I found a number and called. They promptly gave me another number, which didn’t work. I called multiple times and it rang and rang-no answer, no voicemail-eventually it just hung up. But I wasn’t giving up. I have connections-friends who foster, friends who adopted through foster care, and friends who work at shelters similar to the one I worked in. I called them up and got new numbers. And then I found the site with pure gold . . . Well, not really, but it had a downloadable pre-application, and I was on a roll!
Tuesday morning my friends started emailing and texting with the accurate phone numbers. I called and left a message, filled out the pre-application and faxed it in. Wednesday morning an awesome home-finder called me up and did the phone interview that’s supposed to happen before the pre-application. By Thursday they had approved the pre-app and called back for the next phone interview. They’re currently reviewing my answers from that interview, and then the next step will be to invite me to the 11 week training class. Only bad thing is, the next one doesn’t start till the end of August, which will put me at mid-November before I can do my home study. I was hoping to have my first kid this fall. So, it won’t happen as quickly as I hoped, but that’s ok.
Coming soon . . . I’m going to attempt to do a FAQ section to answer all the questions that inquiring minds are already beginning to ask. Also, I just bought the first purchases for my as yet unknown foster kiddos. Pics will be uploaded soon.
Also, if you’re interested in fostering or learning more about the system, I recommend you check out this blog-it’s quickly becoming my favorite.
And one more thing . . . I just typed this whole thing on my iPad, for which I deserve mad props, because me and the space bar on my screen have some serious issues.