I’ve been getting lots of questions lately regarding our foster care plans, and I love that. I love that you people care, I love that people want to learn about the process, and I love talking about it. So I figured I might as well try to address the most common questions here. I’m still more than happy to talk it all out in person, by the way… just trying to clear things up a little bit. The top three most common questions we’ve received are answered below.
“What have you done so far?”
Well, we have talked with lots of people who have adopted, are currently adopting, have fostered, or are currently fostering, and listened to their advice and suggestions. We’ve tried to make connections for when we have children in our home and desperately need people who know how to help when we feel overwhelmed. We have read about and researched our options- the state vs. a private agency, accepting babies only, sibling groups, children of any age or race, etc. We have shopped for cheap and second-hand toys and necessities, turned our home into a kid-friendly environment, and we have prayed a lot. Basically, we’ve prepared in every way we know how.
What is next? There’s a class called “P.A.T.H” that everyone planning to be respite care volunteers, foster parents, or adoptive parents in Tennessee has to take. Before we do anything else, we’ll take this 6 week class. During those 6 weeks, the agency we choose will run background checks on us, fingerprint checks, and complete our home study. (A home study is when someone comes into our home to make sure we have a safe and healthy home with room for kids, talks to us together and individually, and gets to know us a little better.) I’m still doing small things here and there (purchasing fire extinguishers, putting in child safety features, cleaning like crazy) but we’re basically ready now for the home study. We plan to sign up for the next available class so we can move forward with everything else.
And the question most people (including myself) really wonder about the most- when do we get a kid? This answer is a little trickier. Basically, from what we understand, it could be anywhere from the day we complete P.A.T.H to a year later. If we say we are willing to take sibling groups, any race, and any age, we’ll likely get a call immediately. If we say we are only willing to take in babies, the call may never come. We’re trying now to follow God’s lead and be open-minded and open-hearted to whatever His perfect plan is. Our general idea right now is to state that we are happy to accept sibling groups, any race (duh), and children 5 or 6 and younger. Special needs children are kids we will have to consider on a case by case basis (we frankly can’t financially afford some special needs circumstances). As far as the age limit is concerned, I think Dave would be great with older children, but to be completely honest, I’m not sure if I would be. I’m not confident that I could handle older kids when I’ll be the only one home every day from 7am to 7pm. So we’d like to start small (literally) and see how God grows us and uses us.
I told my friend Chris the other day, “we’re not planning on taking in teenagers… but we weren’t planning to adopt or be foster parents a few years ago, so who knows.” I was sort of making a joke, but it’s true. I never thought God would have changed my heart so drastically so quickly. We can do all the planning in the world, but it’s God’s plan, God’s timing, and God’s prompting that will lead the way. Foster care is an awfully big adventure. This is only the beginning.