Avoiding Asphyxiation

::blows the cobwebs from the corners and coughs a bit on the dust:: Is anyone still here? It has been four months since my last blog post and at the tail end of the coldest winter in recorded history, it has been a very long four months. My lack of posts can be attributed to a few things; the holiday season, a two week family vacation across said holidays, and a vast and echoing nothingness coming from our licensing rep.

It was four months ago that we had completed our home study interviews. We sent Rep 2 off with pages and pages of, what we felt were, five solid hours of heartfelt and honest answers to her probing, yet necessary, questions. We told her that we weren’t in a rush to be licensed quite yet because of our upcoming family vacation that didn’t include one or two extra plane tickets for suddenly placed small children. Perhaps saying we weren’t in a rush was our biggest mistake, but we had the general agreement that we’d touch base after the first of the year to see what else, if anything, needed to be done.

(Recap: Rep 2 was assigned to us when Rep 1 was transferred to another office. The agency didn’t assign us a new rep until an afternoon of phone calls up the ladder got us some results. Unfortunately, they were hasty results and our case was thrown at a caseworker that never licensed anyone before and was more accustomed to working with families after children were placed in the home. Translation: She really didn’t know what she was doing.)

So, like planned, after the first of the year Mr. Something called up Rep 2 to see how things were coming along. She was short with him, said she didn’t have any information, that our background checks hadn’t come through, that there was nothing she could do right now.

Okay.

Latching on her comment about the background checks, we looked into the fingerprinting company that we had both gone through back in October to see if our prints had made it out of their database. They confirmed that they were sent to both the State Police and the FBI months ago. Thank goodness Mr. Something has a desk job that allows for him to make and take calls a little more freely than my roomful of second graders would, because next he called the State Police. Surprised by how pleasant and helpful they were, he found out that our state background checks had been completed and forwarded on to DCFS, again, months ago. The FBI background check might be harder to track so Mr. Something made yet another call (seriously, Husband of the Year award here!) to DCFS.

At first, the representative at DCFS said that she could not release the state of our licensing process to us, that she could only report to agencies and to have our rep call her. Mr. Something explained that Rep 2 was being far from helpful and that she told him that she couldn’t get the information from DCFS. Well, Mr. Something found an angel that day. She whispered into the phone that she would look into it and call him back.

It was like this scene from Pixar’s The Incredibles, finally someone goodhearted on the other end of the line that realized that “the rules” don’t always apply. She called him back.

“Actually, Mr. Something, I am the one that processed your license,” at this point she spouted off our home address. “It should be in the mail and arriving in a few days.” Finally, a small victory! Mr. Something professed his gratitude for her help and that if he was there he’d hug her. She was happy to accept the sentiment of the hug, because after all, it was Friday and who doesn’t want to end their week with making someone’s day?

The information from DCFS was the final straw of our decision to find another agency the moment our license was in our hands. Yes, it most likely means starting the home study process over again, but once again I am left feeling like I want to stand on the roof and shout, “WE JUST WANT TO HELP CHILDREN!!!!” It’s heartbreaking how difficult to has been to squeak our way into getting our license.

Our elation has been short lived. That angel on the phone at DCFS said that our license would arrive in the mail within a few days. That was now a week and a half ago. There’s a bitter chuckle that rises within me when I think of our first meeting with Rep 1, the woman that we thought would be our guide on this journey. She said that we could be licensed and ready for placement within three months. We weren’t ready for placements in three months and, at the time, the estimation startled me, but as months slip by I’m wondering how Rep 1 ever gets away with making that claim. It’s been 11 months since that meeting.

I’m still trying to decipher the algorithm needed to translate “foster care licensing” time into “real” time. If anyone knows the secret, please let me in on it.

So, for now, I am opening the mailbox each evening and hopefully scanning the envelopes for a DCFS return address. I have sent off an email inquiry to a new foster care agency 13 months after I stood in line at the post office to mail our application to our first agency. Waiting seems to be the name of the game.

Monday is our 2 year idea-versary for this Tiny Human Project. (Where we were two years ago and last year.) Maybe something poetic is in the works with the universe and we will have our license in our hands on that very anniversary. Since then we have ebbed and flowed through a sense of incredible urgency about the whole thing to the exact opposite feeling of, “life is good, why would we complicate it now?” But in my heart I know that our children are out there. In the meantime we are enjoying lazy weekends and quiet weeknights knowing that if our second agency is actually functioning at a normal speed, things could happen quickly from here on out.

I won’t hold my breath.

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2 thoughts on “Avoiding Asphyxiation

  1. How incredibly frustrating! There really seems to be no rhyme or reason to how these things go down. We were also told three months was the minimum time frame, but in just over two we were adjusting to the first little person in our home with her five siblings to follow in the next couple weeks. So by three months we were in full swing survival mode. It’s crazy. I hope you have better success with a new agency. It is so frustrating to hear about the GREAT NEED for foster parents and then not have them use you even though you’ve bent over backwards to be exactly what they say they need. Blessings as you wait…

    • I’ve always been shocked to hear how fast some families receive placements. I worry that we will get too comfortable with things taking forever and then we’ll get The Call out of nowhere and be blindsided by the reality of it! I’m really excited to hear back from the new agency and hope that things will be different. Thanks for checking in!

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