3rd Rep and 3 Weeks

Last week we had our first meeting with Licensing Rep #3. She works with the agency that we are switching to given the fact that our first agency was far from supportive throughout the licensing process. (See the last year’s worth of posts!) Apparently the third time’s a charm. She arrived at our house early (which was a refreshing change from our previous experiences.) It became obvious that she was very knowledgable about the licensing process and later shared that she has worked as a licensing rep for her agency for the last twenty years. That spoke volumes, not only for her expertise but for the credibility of the agency.

She was efficient, down to earth, and kept up with our sense of humor (What do you mean we can’t keep the children in a closet?) She got a quick tour of the house and explained that it would take three weeks to have the state reissue our license with the new agency’s name, then we are on the list as open for placements. Three weeks… it was the first time we had a definitive timeline for ANY step of this process. Three weeks also just happens to be my first day back at school. Of course.

She said that we could get a call right away or it could be six months before anything comes up. Either way, if we get a call in the next month I have to consider that it is the beginning of a new school year and I need to at least get a few weeks in with my new students before I take off. So much of the decision is situational, so we are going to take things as they come.

Overall, our meeting with Rep 3 was so positive. She will be the one calling us with potential placements and will be revisiting every six months to make sure our home is in compliance. Fingers crossed that our future caseworker is as knowledgable, prepared, and professional as she is!

Three weeks… cue the immediate nightmares. That night I tossed and turned with dreams of children showing up at our house and all we had to offer were two bare mattresses. Forget the fact that we really have NOTHING else in preparation, somehow the idea of not having bedding kept me up all night. Thank goodness for summer break, the next morning I headed out and filled my cart with sheets, pillows, and comforters. We have two fully-dressed beds, I can rest easy for now!

Curtains, beds, bedding, and stepstool (even with the stool I can't make the top bunk!) all from Ikea.

Curtains, beds, bedding, and stepstool (even with the stool I can’t make the top bunk!) all from Ikea.

As for everything else… We are open for children between 3-8 years old. To all my parent friends out there, what are your go-to kid supplies? Obviously, clothing, car seats, strollers, etc. will need to wait until we know the age/size of the children (be prepared for the frantic call for guidance when we do know the ages and gender!) but I’d love to hear from you about all the other good stuff you depend on! I feel like I have done a lot of homework about raising children that have experienced trauma but have no idea about the general everyday raising kids stuff. Any input is appreciated!

In preparation for “The Call” our PRIDE instructors gave us a great resource to use so we aren’t caught off guard when we do agree to a placement and we need know which questions to ask. Whether or not our Rep will have the answers is dependent on the situation but it’s a place to start. Here are the questions included on the form:

FOSTER PARENT ANSWER SHEET

Full Name of Child:

Nick Name:

Age/Sex:

Date Received:

Birthdate:

Do you have the Birth Certificate?

What is the Service Plan for this child?

Do you have the Medical Card?

Does the child have clothes/other possessions?

What is the legal state of the child?

Caseworker Name:

Caseworker Number:

Caseworker after-hours number:

Supervisor’s Name:

Supervisor Number:

Supervisor after-hours number:

What is the estimated length of time the child will be in our home?

Reason child was in the system:

Where is the child coming from? Own home? Another foster home?

Why did he/she have to leave?

What progress have the biological parents made toward reunification?

FAMILY VISITS

Where/Location?

What Day? Time? How often?

Can the time be changed if necessary?

Who will provide transportation?

Does the child have other siblings in the foster care system?

MEDICAL NEEDS

Date of most recent exam:

Does the child need medical care? If so, what kind?

 

So, we are quietly preparing and I’m bracing myself to take on this busy time of year!

 

Home Sweet Home

I think I’m nesting.

It’s summer break and for the last few months I was so looking forward to being able to blog more, read a few good books, work on various other frivolous hobbies of mine, instead I’m in super-speed HGTV style project mode. I spent the better part of last week working on a planter bed in our backyard. Never having much of a green thumb, it had gotten away from me. I identified plants, weeded, edged, planted new plants in bare spots, laid landscape fabric, mulched, AND I’ve been watering it nightly. I’m NEVER this on top of things! Yesterday I was overcome with the desire to redo our powder room. With stark white walls and basic builder grade fixtures, it was nothing spectacular. Just a little over 24 hours later, with $100 spent at Home Depot, it is now a delicious shade of purple with an amazing glossy on flat paint design as a focal wall, new towel/toilet paper holders, and a new light fixture. No more backstage Broadway make-up table bare bulbs lined up like soliders across the top of the mirror. Nope, we have brushed nickel and creamy frosted glass, and best of all I installed it and IT WORKED! My father, lifetime electrician, would be so proud even if I did reach around the corner from the hallway the first time I turned it on because I thought it might burst into flames. (The thought of having the fire extinguisher in hand when I turned it on for the first time did cross my mind!) I’ve barely slowed down and every morning I wake up with new aches and pains from the random around the house projects I’ve tackled each day. We haven’t pursued anything other than reading some books and online information for the THP, is it too soon to be nesting?

So I just did a quick Google search for “nesting” clipart that I could include in this post and something in my mind made me think of Horton. He’s Dr. Seuss’s version of an adoptive parent now isn’t he? Maybe he’s more of a surrogate. Either way we have a neglectful birth parent involved. For the life of me I can’t remember how the story ends (don’t tell my principal, I’m ashamed to admit that and call myself an elementary school teacher!) I may need to seek out a little Horton Hatches the Egg sometime soon!

I have been doing a bit more serious reading lately. Mr. Something and I just finished Adoption: Choosing It, Living It, Loving It by Dr. Ray Guarendi. For simply wandering into the parenting section of our local bookstore and trying to find an adoption book that applied to foster care adoption, we did well by our choice! The whole book is set up as questions and answers so it was super easy to focus on the sections that applied to us and skip over the ones that did not. The topics covered range from choosing adoption, children labeled with “special needs”, open or closed adoption, where to begin, to parenting an adopted child into adulthood. I would highly recommend this book. It was a wonderful first read into the world of foster care adoption, not too heavy but very informative. Guarendi approaches these difficult questions with an easy going wit and down to earth sensibilities. More than once we found ourselves smiling and nodding along to his advice. There were days over the last few months when a new issue about pursing adoption would come to mind and sure enough we’d turn a few pages and Dr. Ray would be speaking on that very topic, quelling our fears. Moving forward, I know we will be sure to revisit Adoption: Choosing It, Living It, Loving It as our journey matures through the next steps. In the meantime I’ll be thinking about painting the living room and perhaps adding some shelves to the dinning room…