Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Foster System Lesson #1 and First Licensing Class

Oh, the paperwork! The reading! The forms to fill out and submit! I think this might be the reason for the lack of written information on the topic of foster care adoption. Everyone is too busy reading the giant book from Child Services, and there is no time left for outside literature! I'm kidding of course, but what I am finding is that we are getting numerous forms to fill out, mentions of other forms to come, to-do's (like fingerprinting and physicals), and lots of reading and homework. All of this paperwork is assigned without a nice tidy check list to keep track of your tasks or even time to do much more than scrawl an abbreviated note onto a post-it. I like checklists. And organization. I'm learning that I'm on my own for that. Child Services is organized, but they have left it up to us to organize ourselves. That's not a bad thing. Honestly, if I can't keep up with a mound of paperwork, assigned tasks, and homework, how would I ever keep up with a child who needs special attention and likely appointments and paperwork of his/her own?

SO, Lesson #1 is to keep up with paperwork. I mean, fill it out the second it enters your hand, read it that very evening, make the appointment as soon as you have enough information to do so, and hand everything in to your social worker ASAP. 
Stay ahead or fall so far behind that you'll never catch up! 

We attended our first licensing class last night. It's STARS here in Missouri. There are 15 couples and 2 singles on our "team," plus the licensing officer and our "master foster parent". I LOVE that there is a seasoned foster parent leading the class, one that has adopted and also had many kids in his home as traditional foster children with the goal of reunification. I loved the diverse backgrounds and cultures that were represented. There were couples in the military, couples from Asia and Puerto Rico, those who had several kids, who were unable to conceive, who were empty nesters. There were accents and a variety of races. There were married and singles. It was really beautiful to see a universal love and compassion for hurting kids among such diversity.  

The class wasn't exciting, but it didn't seem like it was three hours long either. After introductions, we were given a broad overview of the foster system in a question-answer format. And there was a video highlighting the lives of two foster kids. 

What was impressed upon us was the purpose of this licensing process. It is essentially a huge, three month interview between Amos and I and Child Services. They are interviewing us to see if we are a safe place for their children, and we are interviewing them to decide if their children are a good fit for our family. The outcome can be one of four:

1- We and Child Services think that working with foster kids is a good fit for us. 
2- Neither we nor Child Services think that working with foster kids is a good fit for us.
3- They think we'd be great, but we don't think it's a good fit for our family.
4- We think we'd be great, but Child Services doesn't. 

Only options 1 ends in licensing. Option 4 is everyone's fear. Rejections is always a possibility in foster care. Child Services may reject us or foster children may reject us. REJECTION. 

A sweet and Godly cousin of mine told me recently that 
Rejection is God's Protection.

Listening for God, praying our way through and doing our best is all we can do. After that, we are placing our trust in Him, trusting that he will always protect us from harm and knowing that it will never be easy to follow the his will.

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