My husband and I are training to become foster parents through the state of Missouri. We are about half way through our classes, and we have already had our first of three home studies. We hit a snag in our home study when she found out about my husband’s difficult childhood, and we were worried that we would be told to stop coming. “Our” worker, the one assigned to stick up for us and help us out, was the one that needed to make the decision on whether or not we could continue, and after talking to my husband she realized that the lady doing our home studies (and also teaching our classes) stepped over a line and went a little crazy in her notes, and she told us that we had better keep going to the classes. lol I’m just worried now about any repercussions from the lady that is doing our home studies, since we complained about her and I’m sure she’ll hear about it.
Our classes have been rather boring so far, actually. We went through most of this already back in Nebraska, and the classes are exactly the same thing. Same text book, same homework, same ridiculous videos. Everything is the same. There are about 10 couples in our class, and out of all of them, only 3 “students” ever speak unless asked to read from the book. Those 3 people would be a lady that always sits next to me that already has a kinship foster child (so she has already experienced most of what we talk about)…and my husband and me. It’s crazy! We do have one avid note taker…she writes down everything that the instructors say. Literally. I watch her. lol Everyone else just sits there. Almost all of them are there for the sole purpose of eventually adopting, so they just want to get the classes over with. It’s very strange, to say the least. I have to wonder if the instructors feel like they are talking to the wall most of the time.
I can’t wait until we are licensed and have our first foster child. We are planning on taking children ages newborn to 3yrs, and gender or race doesn’t matter to us. For now we are only taking one child at a time, but if we can ever get a bigger car in the future we would be willing to take 2 children at once which will open us up to more placements because we could take sibling groups. At the moment, though, we cannot fit more than one carseat in our car and still have room for our son. Our worker suggested that we only take children 6 and under based on our son’s age (he just turned 13), and in this state all children under 8 must ride in an age appropriate carseat, so we are out of luck on taking more than one child for now.
For the time being we are going to be doing straight foster care, which means we will care for the child until they are able to return home, then we will get another placement. If a child we are caring for becomes free for adoption, we will consider it at that point, but we aren’t going into this with the intent of doing foster to adopt. That is the biggest reason why we do a lot of talking in class, asking questions and getting clarification on what they are talking about. I want to be as prepared as we can be. There are less surprises down the road that way. We also agreed to do respite care and emergency care in between our own placements.
Respite care is taking care of a child in the foster care system for a couple of hours up to a week or so while their assigned foster parents are either out-of-town, sick, or for whatever reason, then they will return to their assigned foster parents.
Emergency care is taking a child during any time of day in an emergency and stay for a couple of hours up to a couple of days, while authorities figure out if they will be staying in the foster care system, if they will be going to relative placement, or if they will be returned to their parents. They typically do this if the child needs to be removed in an emergency before they get any of this figured out. Sometimes an emergency placement can turn into a standard foster placement.
When it comes to foster children, privacy is everything. I can’t say anything about them, I can’t even say their name (especially online), and I can’t take and post pictures of them. I worry about how I will handle this when it comes to Facebook and my blog, but I’m sure I’ll do fine. It will just be so hard not to talk about them and the cute things they do, or vent about the hard stuff we have to go through. I’m going to want to share them with the world, and I won’t be able to. It will be difficult.
I’m so excited, though. There are so many things that I can’t wait to do. For starters, I plan to use cloth diapers on all of the foster children we take care of. I already have the majority of my cloth diaper stash washed and ready to go. I’m so anxious that I keep practicing by putting diapers on my stuffed bear. hehe I didn’t use cloth diapers on our son, so this will be a fun and interesting adventure. I also can’t wait to baby wear. I’m excited to use the Mei Tais that I made while I was a nanny, and my Didymos wrap that I’ve kept forever and have only had the chance to use once. I’ve never been able to use them on a child of my “own” before, but I just can’t wait.
I’m also worried about how our families will react, and how they will treat our foster children whenever they are able to meet them. So far, both of our families seem to be completely ignoring the fact that we are even doing this (aside from the time my husband talked to his family about the troubles we were having with our home study), so that is what has me concerned. I’m not as worried about my husband’s family as I am about mine, though. I’ve tried bringing it up with my family and they refuse to even talk about it, and just change the subject. *sigh* Especially if we end up adopting…will that child be treated differently? Will they be treated as if they are damaged or as if there is something “wrong” with them? I hope not, but I guess time will tell.
Being foster parents can be really scary and really hard, but we’re up for the challenge.
Did I tell you that I can’t wait??