Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Foster Care Interview Completed

Well, we had our interview through Catholic Charities this evening. I'm a little "blah" after it all. The lady, Jean, basically had read our 5-7 page papers, gone through our inventory of what type of children we were willing to take in, read back to us the information and had us confirm that what we said was still true. We elaborated on things, but that was basically it.

I am amazed at how much work this woman has on her plate! She had a lot of prep to do before we came to this interview and had made diagrams of each of our family trees and specific notes on each of us before we walked in the door. She basically knew our lives before even meeting us. It was kind of odd. After this interview and our home-study (which is the first week of June, ugh!), she will have to write a minimum 8 page paper on us, our motivations, our family and home environment and her personal recommendation for foster care licensing. She does over 200 of these a year! Insane!!

She did make us feel comfortable and it was nice to hear she was the oldest of 14 children, so she understood our desire to have a large family and take in additional children besides our own. She is trying to get all our paperwork done so we can be "presented" at the end of June meeting to the foster licensing committee. I appreciate that...considering she told us our 30 hours of classes might expire come July!!

The committee has one of three choices: deny us, pend our licensing with specific instructions on how to complete the process, or license us immediately that day. Jean told us at the end of the interview that the c0mmittee is unpredictable, in that some of her personal recommendations to license have been denied by the committee in the past. She told us, just to be forward, that they will likely struggle with the fact that we have 5 children for two reasons: One, depending on the situation, the placement of a child into a home with so much "movement" might be detrimental to that child who is in need of personal attentions and so forth. She said the department tries very hard to be mindful in the placement of children in each home, though. And, that doesn't mean that no children would be a good fit for us. Two, our own children can be very vulnerable in this type of work. She said that they do, again, try to be mindful where they place children, but that many times the social worker doesn't know the full extent of the child's background and issues before they are placed.

Of course, this has been my number one concern as we ventured toward Mooseheart, and now foster parenting. It is something I feel that I cannot "deal" much with until we are in the midst of the job. I think our home is a great fit for young children who are aimed at reunification with their biological parents. Does this not happen that often anymore? I picture us taking in mostly infants and toddlers, but we said we would take up to age 5/6. We have a kid's home, friends to play with, a stable environment....what else do they want? I really pray that this doesn't come to an abrupt halt come June. I do feel I should have finished our paper work within 6 months of Boo Boo being born, but that would have put us licensed just about the time I was sick for 10 weeks due to BKM. So, how much good would that have done? We would have only had 4 kids....would that have been that much different? And what will they do when we get pregnant again, annul our license?

This has been such an emotional rollercoaster so far, what will actual fostering look like?! Jean also told us if we are denied that we could try to apply again in another year when our kids are a little older. For us, that means try again in 6+ years. Which, is something we might do anyway, but..... God has the greater plan.... I have to keep telling myself. It is just hard for me to read and hear about all these hurting children and sit here with my healthy, well-attached, abundantly loved children, and not take them in, too.

We have room in our home and room in our hearts.

I wish that was enough

....and I pray that IS enough.


J-momma said...

i somewhat agree with their concerns. i was shocked at how much attention my son needed coming to us at 14 months and he was my only child! i can't imagine parenting him well with 4 others running around the house. but my tolerance and coping might be different from yours. but these kids do require an incredible amount of work. maybe you would be better off just taking infants who don't have some of the trauma an older child would. to me, toddler is the worst age because they are already so demanding but add on top of it trauma and a lack of understanding what is happening to them and it creates a monster. for us, because my son has special challenges, we have decided after adopting our daughter, we will just do respite care until the kids are older, then foster again. it's an incredible amount of work just fostering one kid. you have to deal with visits with parents, social workers, paperwork (yes, even more), court dates, doctor's appointments (sometimes more than average), and then whatever emotional or physical issues the child comes with. and most kids come with something. if they deny you this time around, maybe when your kids are teenagers (i know it seems a long way off but you guys are so young) you could get licensed. then imagine how much experience you'll have. and your older kids could be helpful instead of worrying that they're too young.

i wouldn't worry too much about younger foster kids have a negative influence on your children. just watch them carefully to make sure they are not feeling ignored. and i definitely wouldn't take a child who's been sexually abused. your children are too young to risk them becoming victims. the biggest issue i've seen with mixing bio kids and foster kids is the bio kids being very sensitive to the foster kids mistreating their parents. but hopefully that won't be a problem. and hopefully you will get some great kids that mix well with your bios.

Mommy K said...

We have talked about licensing when are kids are older, too. Once we move, that will be an option.