Yesterday we had our final home study. Our first one was back in September. Our licensing worker has been so helpful and great to work with. Using the forms we filled out and her meetings with us, she has written a 36+ page report all about us. Over the next one to two weeks the report will be looked over by our agency and then it goes to Lansing to be officially licensed. A safe time to expect to have a placement would be early January (but it could be earlier or later than that). We found out yesterday that we won’t get a letter or phone call saying, “You have been licensed.” It will be more like, “Hello. You are licensed. We have a Child/Children that need placement.” We may be called for a placement in the middle of the night and, in that case, the kid/kids would be brought to us by a Child Protective Services worker.
We had to give our licensing worker a bunch of paperwork yesterday including a big book of policies we signed regarding foster parenting. A few things that are worth mentioning:
- No spanking or withholding of necessities (food, water, etc.): If you understand the situations that foster children are often being removed from, I think it makes a lot of sense why spanking is not a wise form of discipline for them. If you have any sense at all, you can see why withholding food and water is a horrible way to discipline any child. Sometimes I wonder why we even have to sign things like this but, as my sister-in-law thoughtfully pointed out, there is probably a very sad reason for why these policies were created.
- Life Books: While kids are in our home, we have to maintain a Life Book of them. If they come to us from a different foster family, they will come with a Life Book. I LOVE that our agency requires this. A Life Book will contain samples of school work, craft projects and photos of the child while they are in the foster care system. If they return home or move on to another placement, the time they were in foster care or with another family will not become a missing piece of their personal history.
On a side note, lately, a few people have expressed their negative thoughts to us about foster parents. By this I mean, people seem to think of a typical foster parent as mean and “in-it-for-the-money.” No one is saying this to imply that we are like this but lots of people have some “horror-story” of a bad foster parent they knew/heard about. This is really unfortunate but I know there have been many foster parents that have fulfilled this stereotype. What I’d like for you to know is that there are many great foster parents in the system. You don’t hear about them because they are not doing anything to draw attention to themselves. Also, this is another reason why the Church should be taking the lead in foster care. If the majority of foster parents were Christians following God’s call to care for orphans, then we would (hopefully) not be hearing these horrible stories of abuse, neglect and “money-hungry” foster parents. Just something to think about.
But I digress…
A few people have asked us if we are nervous and, right now, we are not. We are mostly just excited and ready for this 10+ months of paperwork and planning to come to fruition. We are going to get the bedroom ready as much as we can over the next month. At the end of the year, I will be ending my one job (10 hours/week) but I will continue to work my other job. We think we have a good plan figured out for child care but that may change depending on different factors.
I just wanted to express our thanks to all our family and friends who have been so supportive of this. In our conversations with you and through the magic of the internet (blog, Twitter & Facebook) you have overwhelmed us with words of encouragement, support, kindness and love. In this non-traditional venture of expanding our family, your support is so important and will continue to be. Thank you, thank you, thank you.