Just over two months ago, I shared through this blog that Brandon and I were going through the process to become a licensed foster family. That post came towards the end of our process and we thought our paperwork was set to be sent off that week. Turns out we had to wait almost a month before it was all sent off because of a hold up with one form. Finally, by mid-February, everything was officially sent off and in about 3 ½ weeks we got word that we were officially licensed! From that day it was only a week before we got our first placement!
I have said this before, but I’ll say it again, my main hope for anything I share through this blog is to help others and to learn more myself by making connections. When what I share is farm related – I know everyone doesn’t live on a farm, so I hope I can bring it to you: the good, the bad, the beautiful, and the difficult. When I share a Montessori related post – It’s because I’ve loved learning more and more about this topic and want to share with those who may be interested in implementing some options in their own homes. And now, when it comes to sharing about our experiences with foster care – Again, I know I leaned on others so much throughout that process, and still am, and I want to share what we are going through in case others can learn from us. Also, I hope that sharing our experiences can shed light on the need for foster families and the opportunities for communities to support of them.
So, with all of that being said, it is important to me that I find a way to share our story in an honest and authentic way in hopes of being able to help others and learn more myself in the process. Somewhat unexpectedly, I have found this to be a more difficult balance to navigate because these stories involve more than just me. This is something that involves our entire family and the child entrusted to our care. I have an urge to share everything in an effort to help and support others, but also want to respect the privacy and story of our child. I want to explain more so that as I learn, you can learn too. I want to celebrate so that you can be filled with joy and celebrate with us. I am certain this will be a struggle I will continue to wrestle with and I may not always get it right. I am looking to other foster families who share their stories to find where I feel most comfortable. Now, with a full three paragraph preface, at this point, we’re ready to share the following.
Our first placement may be seen as a unique situation, but really what do we know, we’re new at this. But we actually knew D before he was placed with us. He is an 11 year old boy who has been living at the family-like residential program both Brandon and I work for. In the fall, just after Brandon and I had begun seriously talking about getting our license (something we had talked about since before we were married), D’s family teachers (the adults who live in the cottages with the children) approached us about becoming a mentor couple for him. “Alright God, we’re listening.” Of course, we said yes! So, we have been hanging out with D since October. He’s come and spent time at our house many times, was with us over the holidays, has met a lot of our family, and it has been an absolute joy to spend time with him and get to know him better.
Due to a multitude of factors, we were overjoyed to be told he would be placed with us as a fulltime foster once our license was in. He moved in on Friday, March 20th – International Day of Happiness! (There was frustration in the hold up of our license being sent off, but him moving in on this day was definitely a God wink if there ever was one!) March 20th was also the first day our employer had asked Brandon and I to begin working from home AND this was the last day of the first week of doing school from home for D. So, these past two weeks have brought a lot of adjustments – working from home fulltime, becoming a family of 4, learning 5th grade English, and even though we knew D and had a relationship with him prior to his placement here, working with a child who comes from a difficult background is never a walk in the park and there are so many little things you just don’t think about that are part of welcoming someone into your home. To say these weeks have been full would be an understatement, but through the full and difficult, it’s been so incredibly beautiful as well!
Fostering is now part of our story, and while this brief update is not the entire story, it’s what seems good and appropriate to share at this point. From the time of that first post on January 21st, I’ve already had some really incredible conversations with people who follow this blog, both people I knew before and complete strangers, reaching out with questions about the process and sharing their experience! We have also been blown away by the people who have reached out to us to show their support and share that they are praying for us during this process. We totally know that having a child move into your home may not be the right fit for you and your family, and that’s totally ok, but EVERYONE can do something! There are many amazing ways for you to support your local foster families and I’m excited to share some of those ideas on here! Again, if this blog just helps one family realize their call to become a foster family or helps you realize a way YOU can support your community’s foster families, that is a TOTAL WIN!
To finish this up for the day, I would be remiss if I didn’t ask for prayers. Prayers for our family as we adjust and learn to live as a family of 4. Prayers for D, for putting up with us, RA taking his toys and wanting to copy EVERYTHING he does, but also because every transition is hard. And prayers for all children who are living in dangerous situations as we speak. COVID-19 has impacted every part of society, and one that may not be on your mind are the children living in dangerous situations. The number one reporters of abuse or neglect are teachers and school faculty, so while school is not in session, these children aren’t being seen regularly by people outside of their homes. On top of it all, stress levels are high. I truly believe that everyone is doing the best they can, but for so many families, it’s systemic, they’ve never seen or experienced healthy parenting. Prayers abound for those children AND their parents.
As always, please NEVER hesitate to reach out if you have any questions! I love getting the opportunity to share and learn!