Friday, February 18, 2011

Full Disclosure

Okay, it is time to be honest. When I haven't posted in a long time it usually means I am up to something and I just don't want to tell anyone about it. Last night after book club my B.F.F. Christie and I sat up discussing many things and during that conversation I realized (after I was gently informed) that I have many irrational fears that keep me from being open with people and having hope. Generally I don't have this problem one-on-one but when it comes to making things public I only chose to do so when I feel that I am past the point of no return. With my pregnancy with Ravenna, Andrew and I announced it to our families at 20 weeks and many many people didn't learn until much later. It isn't that I like to hide things for the thrill of having a secret but more because I am afraid that if I share them openly, they won't happen.

Is this true for anyone else?

So, what is this big secret that Andrew and I have been hiding from friends, family and the general populace? Well, for the past few months we have been training to become certified foster parents. Yup, that is it. Nothing huge or horrible but I was so afraid of anyone finding out for fear that it wouldn't work out and then having to tell people that it didn't work out (Ack, heartbreak city!), or that people would automatically put a stigma of "messed up" on any child that came into our home (that still will probably happen), that people would label us as "quitters" for not making more of an effort to have another biological child etc. Oh my goodness that list could go on FOREVER! I can think of a million reasons to not tell people that we were becoming foster parents but after talking to Christie I realized that I needed to just let go...which for me is harder than it sounds.

My friend Jenni often talks about the benefits of "Letting go, and letting God" but I really REALLY want to control my universe and the whole not being able to plan my family thing? I really don't love that. I do have to try to accept that this is the direction that Heavenly Father wants us to go in for whatever reason. Part of that acceptance is a willingness to give up some of my "control" and that is why I am sharing.

Since many people know little to nothing about foster care I am going to use this next bit to answer some of Andrew and Carrie's Foster Parent FAQ:

Q: Which age group will you accept? At the moment we are open to a single child 0-3 or a sibling group 0-5 due to a desire to keep the ages closer to what we are used to and restrictions on rooming.

Q: Are you going to try to adopt the children you foster? The goal with foster care is almost always reunification with biological parents. Occasionally that isn't possible and parental rights are terminated, in which case it is preferable that the children remain with their foster family and be adopted. We are open to that but it is by no means guaranteed.

Q: If you want to adopt why do foster care at all? Adoption is very expensive and can take a very long time (yes, even through LDS Family Services) and we did not feel that a traditional adoption route was what we needed to consider.

Q: What kinds of special needs are you going accept? In the foster care terminology, every child that comes into care is a "special needs" child. We are getting additional certification so that we can foster medically fragile children, however.

Q: When will you get your first placement? We just completed our homestudy and our goal is to be certified in the next two weeks. After that, it all depends on the children that come into care and whether or not the county Child and Youth selects us to be foster parents. Most children coming into care are 6 years and older meaning that the chances that we will get a foster child are somewhat slimmer than foster parents of older children, but this age group is what we were comfortable with and so that is what we ended up doing. In the meantime we will be a respite and emergency foster care placement family.

Q: How much do you get paid? Sufficient for our needs. Nobody gets rich off of doing foster care, or they really shouldn't if the agency is doing their job.

Any other questions? I am sure there are others but the above are the questions that have come up most often amongst the people we have told. So far the majority of our friends and family have been very supportive. There is a lot of ignorance about foster care and foster parents, which is understandable because we certainly knew very little to begin with. I am open to questions and I will do my best to answer them. Andrew and I are very much looking forward to having more children in our home no matter what challenges may come with them.