Sunday, June 4, 2017

On Becoming Foster Parents

I will write another post about our reasons and making the decision to be foster parents in another post but for now I wanted to talk about what we are doing now to prepare + get licensed to welcome a foster child into our home. I will also post a little more information about foster care for anyone wondering.

So our first step was to schedule an appointment with a recruiter. We played phone/email tag forever and finally we met with her in a short meeting in our home, just to go over the requirements and get a little more information about what is it all about. 

Our next step was to take the pre-service training classes, which in Utah is 8 four hour classes in the course of a month. I was really worried about how we would make it to all of these with Leland's work schedule and our own kids but everything worked out so well. Leland took the classes in May and I am taking them in June. We would have loved to take them together but this way it eliminated the need for us to find a babysitter each time. Also Leland was able to take classes in the city where he works which was such a blessing because they started right after he gets off AND the building where the classes were held was close enough to his work and the train that he could bike to all three. It was really all so perfect that it built my testimony that this is what the Lord wants us to do. Of course taking the time to go to the classes is a pretty big sacrifice but we both have really loved the classes so much and learned a lot about parenting.

As I am finishing up my classes we will work on our application which is pretty intense and includes physicals, background checks, fingerprinting, writing emergency plans plus so many other documents and paperwork. Once that is submitted and approved we will do our home study and then (assuming we pass) our home will be officially opened for children in care. Then we will wait until we get a call for a child. We are expecting to be licensed by August and hopefully have a child by the fall. As I said in my other post we will be having the age range of 0-3, being open to any race or gender. 

It is really strange and hard to prepare for a foster child. Luckily we are already in baby mode and have pretty much everything we need. As we get closer to our home study we will be buying another crib that converts to a toddler bed (in case we get a 2 or 3 year old) and preparing a place for the new baby. I have bought a few boy blankets and outfits, but since we don't know the size or age we can't buy much yet. Luckily we have a lot of gender neutral stuff in all sizes from the girls, plus tons of girl clothes so we are all set if we get a girl.

We have also been trying to prepare Esther, but obviously in a simple way she can understand. I have been super hesitant to tell her in case we don't get approved for some reason, but we are always taking about future babies and all the kids we are going to have in our family. So it was pretty easy and natural to tell her that we are going to classes to learn how to take care of kids, and that we will be taking care of kids until their parents are ready to take care of them again. I'm sure we will go into more depth as it gets closer but for now she is excited. She always says "I think it will be a girl just like me and Baby Dell". :) 

Ok now for some FAQs that no one really asked but I'm assuming people are wondering about. 

Will you be adopting?
The primary goal of foster care is always to reunite the children with their biological parents. Only after every effort has been made to place them with bio parents or other kin will adoption be an option. So although we would be happy to adopt (and we will be licensed for adoption), we aren't expecting to, especially right away. I do really feel on a spiritual level that a child we be a part of our forever family through adoption, but whether that happens sooner or later we will be happy to help children through foster care for as long as the Lord needs us to. 

Aren't you worried about how this will affect your kids?
Short answer, yes. Having young children was my biggest hesitation when deciding to do foster care, but ultimately we just kept feeling that this is what the Lord wants us to do, and He needs people to do it. I know if I was having another pregnancy and biological child I would  be feeling the same things, if not more so. I surprisingly feel at peace about how our children will handle things. Of course our age range that we have decided on is based upon the stage we are in now as a family and what we feel we can offer at this time in our lives. 

Don't you worry about getting too attached then giving them back?
So honestly this has never been one of my concerns. I know I will fall in love with them and I know it will probably break my heart to see them go. That being said I know that the heartbreak these kids have gone through is so much worse. They really need people to fall in love with them and not hold back affection just because they might be leaving, Also I think the fact that we already have children will make things easier. We aren't relying on these kids to make us a parents or expecting anything from them. We will just try to love them and help them the best that we can.


Now for a few disclaimers. 

1. We do not think we are amazing people for doing this and I hope you don't think so either. We are not angels, heroes or "special" in any way. We are far from perfect parents and definitely not perfect people. We are just normal people trying to do what we feel the Lord has asked us to. Even though we are excited. we are also scared and nervous to do it. To be honest there have been times when I really didn't want to do this right now, but I know that Heavenly Father is aware of these children and wants them to be in good homes. There is such a need for foster parents right now, and after looking into it more we just couldn't say no. 

2. That being said we know foster care is not right for everyone. We are not trying to recruit or convince anyone to do it.  But I hope I can inspire others with my story, just as I have been so uplifted and encouraged by scouring the internet for other families' stories. I do hope if there is anyone out there who is like me and has felt the pull and promptings to do foster care but has been putting it off will take the time to pray and see if it is what the Lord wants you to do. I know it will be a challenge but as I said I already feel so much peace and hope when thinking about what the future holds for us. 

Lastly a great article about foster care.


 As always I'm pretty much an open book so if you have any questions feel free to ask. 










2 comments:

  1. I know you gave your disclaimer... but I think you are amazing! :) It is so wonderful that your heart is open and you are willing! My family was a foster family for a little baby once. We only did it that one time because I think my parents actually knew the mother... so it was a unique situation. I obviously didn't know any details at the time. Just that we were welcoming a baby into our home for a few months and got to share our love with her and receive her sweetness. I hope you all have a wonderful experience with this. And I am sure blessings in Heaven for it!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you :) I'm glad you weren't traumatuzed by the baby leaving because I'm a little worried by that but I'm sure it will turn out ok.

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