Pleased

Well my day of incessant phone calls about not having a licensing rep paid off! By that evening I had a return call from the licensing supervisor of our agency. He just wanted to let me know that he had received my message, and although he did not have any information for me, he assured me that he would look into it. Faith in humanity restored! Less than 24 hours later, Mr. Something received a call from our new licensing rep. She would be coming to our house to start getting to know us the following week.

Last weekend we were once again, cleaning, organizing, preparing to meet the woman that could potentially be matching us with foster children (or maybe we will never see her again like our last rep!) Five months ago we were in the same boat, nervously preparing our home and ourselves for this next step in our foster care journey but this time it felt different. There were still butterflies that erupted in my stomach the moment the bell rang on Tuesday as my students filed out of the classroom. I needed to hit the road so we’d have time to grab some dinner before she arrived at our house.

There were still those moments of Mr. Something and I just sort of sitting and waiting for the doorbell to ring. We were watching Netflix on his tablet, easier to close up and put away when the doorbell did ring. Turning off the TV would, what, take too long? Who knows. I was relieved when she called and said that she might be a little early. We were ready and just sitting and waiting was driving me nuts.

When she arrived she came to the door with a warm smile. She was casual and relaxed. She had some paperwork with her and an iced coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts. This was significant because five months ago, Mr. Something and I were so caught up in the moment of meeting Rep #1 that we never offered her something to drink. The poor woman drove over an hour to meet us and we didn’t even get her a glass of ice water! We weren’t going to make the same inhospitable mistake twice but Rep #2 came prepared. Upon her arrival, we automatically apologized in advance for our two cats and dog who are harmless but don’t always understand the concept of personal space. I understand that not everyone enjoys animals in their business or can suffer from allergies. She just smiled and loved on them, she has three cats and a dog of her own at home. Call it petty but I knew that we’d get along. 🙂

When we sat down and started talking with her about where we are in the process and questions that we still have, I realized that this time was different. We are different people than we were five months ago. A lot of it came from our 27 hours of PRIDE classes, but our questions were thoughtful and we nodded along to much of what she shared with us. Talking with her was so easy and comfortable. Rep #1 wasn’t nearly as personable.

We gave her a tour of our house. Rep #1 was surprised and slightly disappointed when we said we didn’t have a basement, but Rep #2 smiled and commented on how nice our home is and how cozy it feels. We shared our ongoing plans with the second bedroom, which still needs beds, and our loft which will also become a kid space. She loved everything we shared and everything we had to say.

Pet loving aside, the moment that impressed me the most was when she shared why she got into the foster care system in the first place. (She is predominately a case worker and has never licensed anyone before. I worried about this at first but in the end was excited that she is an expert on everything that comes after the licensing. That’s where all of our questions stem from!) We didn’t have to ask her, like Rep #1, she simply offered it up in the conversation. “That’s why I love what I do… I get to see children transform. I see them grow and change as soon as they are in a happy, stable home. I get to see whole families grow and change through the process. It’s amazing.” My heart swelled. I hope we get to keep her.

With a new stack of paperwork (We have to sign off on the maximum water temperature in our home?) and a second meeting already on the calendar for mid-October we are picking up momentum once again. We are in no hurry to finish our licensing, we don’t have plans to open our home for placements until well after the first of the year but it’s nice to not feel stalled anymore. Let’s file this experience under the “feeling good” category. Looking forward to more!

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Spreading Christmas Cheer!

Yep, you read it right! I am just passing along the word from a fellow foster care/adoption blogger that I have been following for quite some time. The Ahlbrandt’s are an incredible little family that have unknowingly provided me with endless inspiration. Today Martina wrote to promote her husband’s latest musical endeavor, a CD of acoustic guitar Christmas Classics. Just the little preview in their promotional video was so yummy! (I really am hankering for a snow day instead of a heat day aren’t I?) Anyway, wander over to Martina’s “My Mid-Century Modern Life” blog, check out this fabulous lady and her husbands beautiful music. You might even want to crank the AC and imagine it’s sweater weather. 🙂 Enjoy!

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http://mymcmlife.com/2013/09/10/merry-christmas-2/

 

Pecking at a Trail of Breadcrumbs

We are on week six of trying to get ahold of our agency’s office supervisor to find out who our new licensing rep will be. I’ve left countless messages, each one getting decidedly less friendly and a bit more passive aggressive. It’s petty, I know, but all through our training we kept hearing about this shortage of foster parents. Here we are, practically begging to continue the licensing process and no one will return our call! We were cautioned by our instructors to not change agencies until we are officially licensed, at the risk of paperwork or proof of our class completion being lost in the shuffle. The PRIDE classes were important and enlightening, but I don’t need to take them for a second time just because someone forgot to transfer all of our info to a new agency.

I’m home from school today on account of high temperatures. It’s the summer equivalent of a snow day. It’s my first ever and it’s decidedly less magical than a snow day. Especially because it could be completely prevented by this wonderful new-fangled invention called air-conditioning. The first few weeks of school have been so interrupted and inconsistent with early releases (because of high temps), holidays (Labor Day, Rosh Hashanah), and students being absent (why not take a week’s vacation during the second week of school? I had 5 students absent on Friday!)  Am I complaining that I’ve had lots of days off? Yes! It’s the beginning of the year, we are trying to establish routines and expectations, parents are already calling to know how their children are doing in math and reading, I’d like a normal five day week to get settled.

Here’s a little inside tip from a teacher to any parents out there. Your child’s teacher won’t really know what kind of reader your child is until October. Don’t even ask before then. Think of the logistics. If I want to sit down and read with your child one-on-one, which is the ultimate goal, there are 20 other seven year olds in the room that have to be doing something 100% independently, quietly, and without interrupting what I’m doing with your child. It takes a lot of work and practice to get to that point. I’m READY to be at that point but the calendar and mother nature have different ideas. Okay, rant over. Let’s try this again…

I’m home from school today on account of high temperatures so I seized the opportunity to track down SOMEONE that could help us with this licensing rep situation. I tried my good friend, the supervisor, one more time for good measure. Voicemail. At this point I went back to the agency’s website and clicked on the “Interested in Foster Care?” link like I did a million years ago to start this whole process. I started calling the contact numbers at each of the agency’s offices. I didn’t care if they were hours and miles outside of my area. Someone was going to help me. When a real human being actually did answer the phone (three calls later) I almost forgot how to engage in a conversation. He was initially confused as to why I was calling his office since I live nowhere near it but was happy to give me the numbers of two people that might help me.

I called the first and he told me to call the second name I had been given. He told me that the second person was the licensing supervisor for the whole agency. I liked the sound of that.  The number he gave me was different than the one I had been given previously. He also gave me the name and number of the licensing supervisor’s supervisor. (Seriously? I work at a school. We have students, teachers, a principal, and a superintendent. That’s as complicated as it ever gets!) In the end after calling three more numbers, I left voicemails for both the supervisor and the supervisor’s supervisor. I don’t really know what to do if they don’t call me back. Even if we decided to switch agencies who would I even tell? Who has our file? Let’s hope the phone rings.

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