11 children have set foot through our door, all for different reasons, all from different circumstances and yet in the last 3 years they have all called our home their home. Some have just stayed for a couple nights, the longest was here 11 months. Being a foster family has its challenges but it also has some beautiful moments too. But we aren’t just a foster family, we are a foster-to-adopt family. Our end game is to add a child to our family forever. We started this journey in 2014, and have had lots of ups and downs since then.
Just with the way that timing worked out, it took us just over a year to be approved. We started the process in Spring 2014 and were approved in Fall 2015. There are A LOT of interviews, some as a couple, some alone, some as a family. Some questions seemed bizarre, others ridiculous but I guess over time they have all needed to be asked at some point or another. We applied in spring but there is mandatory training anyone who wants to foster or adopt through CAS called P.R.I.D.E. This is only offered a few times a year and we missed out on the spring session so we had to wait until the fall.
Once that was done we did a few more interviews and waited for our final write up. We were now an approved foster family for up to 2 children under 4. (As a side note I don’t think a year-and-a-half is the norm for being an approved foster home. There are a couple Facebook groups I am on that I have heard of people being approved in 6 months or less, so if you are considering becoming a foster parent please don’t let the year-and-a-half scare you away from becoming a foster family. Ours was just a case of timing and availability for appointments).
Always Wait to Go Shopping….
We anxiously awaited that first phone call and in December it came! A baby needed a home temporary home. I rushed out and bought diapers, wipes and a brand new car seat and I cant even remember what else. A few hours later I got a phone call that the baby would be going to kin. Back to the store I went and returned everything. Later that winter, we got another call but this time it was for respite. Respite is when one foster family gives short term care to another foster families children. So for a weekend we went from a family of 4 to a family of 6. Over the coming months we did respite a few more times for the same little girls until they went to their forever families.
Most Important Thing I Learned
I think the best thing I learned during P.R.I.D.E. training was the invisible suitcase that kids in care bring with them. As adults we all have baggage. We have things that we have persevered through. We’ve all suffered loss, maybe a failed relationship or two or three, who knows. Chances are there’s been the death of someone significant in your life, the loss of a pet. Maybe we had to overcome for financial circumstance or a parent that wasn’t there for us the way we needed them. The thing is, these kids have likely lived in circumstances most people can’t even fathom for most of their short, short lives. Their invisible suitcases are filled with loss and sadness. They act out to hide their suitcase in hopes no one will see it. None of them ask for this. And more importantly none of them deserve it.