Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Our Adoption Journey: Pre-Placement

We originally answered the call to be foster parents in 2005.  I know God had been working on my heart for a while, but I kept coming up with excuses as to why we shouldn’t do foster care.  For one, I was on permanent disability, suffering with joint pain and chronic headaches from a meningitis infection I contracted in 2001.  I was also home schooling our 2 biological children and wasn’t sure how it would effect that.  Daniel was working nights at a local grocery store.  We were really involved in the recovery ministry at our church, both teaching classes on a weekly basis.  God was relentless though.  It seemed like everywhere I turned the subject of foster parenting or adoption came up, including a dream I had one night.  And then a friend I hadn’t talked to in years called to announce the adoption of their son through foster care.  

I finally approached Daniel in January 2005.  I told him about this burden on my heart to become foster parents and that I wanted him to pray about it.  I would only move forward with the certification process if we were both in agreement.  Within a week, he came back to me and said that he felt this was the direction God wanted our family to take.  We knew the foster agency we wanted to work with because they were a faith based agency and we had some friends we attended church with who had previously been foster parents with this same agency, then went on to adopt.  I scheduled an appointment for our orientation and we attended.  At this orientation, we ran into another friend from church and knew we were in the right place.  The facilitator at this orientation said so many things that touched us.  

We turned in our application and were very motivated to begin the certification process.  Daniel had just undergone surgery on his feet and was off work for 8 weeks.  We had our fingerprints and background checks done. Attended CPR/First Aid class. We began getting the house ready: installing baby locks, hanging fire extinguishers, locking up medications and cleaning supplies, and completing all the paperwork.  We readily passed our home inspection.  Because Daniel was off work, we were able to get through the entire certification process in 6 weeks!  We received a call before we were officially certified, wanting to know if we would be able to take 2 children.  They were placed with another family within the agency, but the foster mom was having health problems and they needed to be moved.  We made the necessary arrangements and the social worker finished writing our certification report.  Then we received another call stating that the children ended up going to live with relatives.  We were so disappointed.  {This was only the beginning of all of the ups and downs that we now know are part of being foster parents.}  

We were ready and willing to take a sibling group, and knew that would be most likely. Our only parameters were that the children be under 3 years old. Since we were homeschooling, we didn't want to deal with school enrollment, etc.  We had scoured garage sales and bought tons of baby/toddler clothes for boys and girls. We bought convertible car seats, a crib, playpen, swing, and lots of toys. 

Another week passed and we were getting anxious for a placement.  {I can look back and laugh at the absurdity of that.  Wow did we have a lot to learn!}  Then we received a call from a county worker that she had 2 boys who needed to be moved from their current foster placement.  She described Alex as a very quiet 2 year old, with red hair and big blue eyes.  Then she said James was 12 months old and that he had been born with a cleft lip and palate.  I told her that I did not know much about the care associated with a cleft lip and palate, but that we would be willing to take the boys.  I had a background as a medical assistant and figured that would help with taking care of James.  We made arrangements to pick up the boys in 2 days, which was our son's 13th birthday.  In the mean time, I did a lot of research on children with a cleft lip and palate to educate myself about the necessary care associated with it. {That researcher in me has come in handy on numerous occasions.  I truly believe that knowledge is power.}  

We were excited and nervous all at the same time, although we didn’t know quite what to expect since this was our first placement. 

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