Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Foster Care Classes

I looked for other blogs regarding what the classes or courses are like for foster care licensing and couldn't really find a list or any descriptions of what you actually learn in these things.  Today was our first "class" finally, so we got a list of what we'll be learning about and I'll post that below in case anyone else is interested.

So in a previous blog I mentioned that I had no idea if this person (I called her "Harriet" before, I'll just stick with, so I had no idea if Harriet was a case worker or social worker or something else.  I didn't know the difference between case or social worker, so I asked her.  She told me that she's actually called a "Family Resource Specialist" but did say that basically case worker, social worker, "Family Resource Specialist" are potentially all the same thing, so it didn't matter what I called her.  lol  So, at least for my agency, the names are somewhat interchangeable.  Probably not the case in all though.  She also gave me a list of definitions for a lot of fancy shmancy words that we'll hear throughout the course of training and during foster care, which will be nice to have handy.

I'm really excited because it finally seems like we're actually IN the process, not just starting it.  We met with Harriet 3 times so far, but each time just seemed like applications to fill out, q&a, clearance forms, etc.  I just didn't feel like we were making any movement FORWARD and, honestly, was making me feel insecure about the process.  I mean, if I don't feel like we're moving forward, is there a reason we're not?  Are we not going to be approved?  Is there something she doesn't like about us?  Intellectually, I know that I'm most likely being paranoid and neurotic about all of this, but could not stop my brain from thinking that way.  And my husband is the most patient man in the

So, YAY! "Class" started today AND she told me that I should have an email this afternoon for us to get our fingerprints done.  If you read my last blog, she told me that she needed to review with her supervisor before clearances start, SO it sounds like that's all been done and clearances are ready to go!  So, I'm feeling much more secure.  Still on edge, but I think I will be until we have license in  hand.  Well, then I'll still probably be on edge, but about something getting a placement...  I guess I'll be "on edge" the rest of my life.  Guess I (and hubby) better get used to it! ;)

So, here's the general list of training requirements we're going to be doing in class or on our own over the next few weeks.

Child Welfare System and History
Policies and Procedures
Cultural Diversity
First Aid
Breathing Difficulties
Child Development
Grief and Loss
Abuse and Neglect
Suicide Prevention
Medication Administration
Mandated Reporting

* Less than 1/2 hour after posting this, I received the email for our fingerprinting, which they said they have already "taken care of the cost incurred" so now they have officially put out money for us and this process, which just makes me feel more secure in them wanting to approve us.  Just puts my mind at ease a little more.  I've never been more excited to get ink all over my fingers!  Woo hoo!  lol

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Something is missing from my breakfast.

So, it's a lovely (albeit chilly) Saturday in April.  After sleeping in a little, dh and I start making breakfast together.  What's a better breakfast on a Saturday morning than french toast and sausage?  He's mixing up the "custard"  (I was corrected, it's not just egg once you add ingredients and mix...ok, ok,, so, he's mixing the custard (and making a mess, I might add) I'm getting the bread ready, heating the pan, getting the sausage out, etc, and I think, you know, I feel like something's missing.  Then I realize how much I desperately want kids there to do that with us.

I want a little toddler running in and grabbing our pant legs, or a 6 year old helping to crack eggs and making even more of a mess all over the counter.  I want that so desperately.  I've always wanted that and here and there I would think of those things, but because we're in the middle of this foster care process, I think about it all...of...the...time....  Every little thing I do, everywhere I go, I imagine having a kid or two with me, how it would be different (better and worse depending.  No 6 year old wants to run errands to go to the bank or grocery store, heck, I don't want to do that either.)  It's since starting this process that it's been made even more obvious to me that my life feels so empty without any little ones.  I feel like I'm getting so attached to these imaginary kids, it'll tear me apart if we're denied.  But how do I stop myself from imagining these things and preparing for it?

I believe I'm making myself and dh nuts during this process.  I question every little thing the agency worker says, does or doesn't say or doesn't do.  I don't question her directly, just in my own mind (and out loud to dh), why didn't she say anything about what we need to fix in the bedroom?  Why didn't she ask to see the back yard?  Is it because she already thinks they won't approve us so it doesn't matter?  Why did she suggest my office would be a good playroom?  Does she think we aren't giving the child enough space in the home?

I know I'm probably reading too much into these things, but it's how my mind works...welcome to the insanity that is my mind.  I'm the queen of "What-if".

Our classes start next week.  (The "classes" are really just her coming to us once a week or so and doing the training one-on-one.  I've heard others actually go to a classroom setting with other couples, but I think because the agency is small, they don't have enough couples to create actual classes.)  Anyway, next week is our first, I'm excited but constantly on edge that there will be some reason that she won't like us and there goes our chances.  It comes down to a decision by the board once all the paperwork, clearances, classes are done and really her thoughts hold a lot of weight in their decision, so if she just doesn't like us she could push their decision to deny us.  It's a very subjective thing.  It's not a simple, cut and dry test we take.  It really comes down to if they like us and think we'll be good parents.  No one likes to be rejected and this would be a serious rejection!  Normally, I don't care all that much about what other people think of me, but this is just so different.  She potentially holds our lives in her hands and that's super scary.

She also said she still hasn't sent in our clearances because she goes over our interviews with her supervisor first (which we just finished last week.)  I thought those were sent 2 weeks ago.  They pay for them (which is nice) but since I thought they were already sent, I thought they started "putting out money" on us therefore we were on the right track.  I mean, why would they waste the money if she didn't think we'd be approved.  Now knowing they haven't done that yet, makes me wonder if they just don't want to waste the money if they won't approve us.

Check and double-check everything! Even doctors make mistakes!

Along with a million forms to fill out, home studies and clearances, we also need a "medical appraisal."  So our doctor appointment was this morning.  What should have been 30 minutes for both me and hubby, ended up being an hour and 15 minutes.  Why?  Because my hubby and the doctor are both chatterboxes!  LOL

Then as we're checking out (and hubby and doc are still chatting in the hall now), luckily I thought to review the forms the doctor filled out.  Well, I noticed he missed a question completely.  So I handed it back to him to answer it.  He gave it back and I'm glad I reviewed it again because I then noticed he answered a question wrong.  It says "General impression of current health status" and the doctor wrote "yes", doc?  It's not a yes or no  At this point the nurse and receptionist were laughing at the doctor and said, "Stop talking and pay attention!"  LOL

So, good lesson to learn.  Check and double-check everything!!!  LOL  (I also made extra photocopies of the forms he needed to fill out, just in case.)  I was also told by several people to make copies of everything handed in to anyone as well, because apparently, lots of paperwork gets lost in the shuffle of case workers, agencies, court, judges, etc.

Oh the things we do to become parents!

I just about had 4 heart attacks...This may be a long story, I could sum it up, but you need to get the full effect.

DH has a big plastic toolbox that's been out on the back porch a while. We want to bring it in to store the medications, vitamins, etc and he put it in the bathtub for me to clean off. No biggie.

I get ready to clean it and see a little white spidery thing and right away said, heck no, you gotta get rid of those spider things! So while he poked at a white webby looking thing, 2 big huge black hairy evil spiders come running out. Heart Attack #1.

He takes it outside to remove any other spider homes (good idea hubby!) He brings it back in and assures me no more spiders. So I proceed with cleaning it with the removable shower head. And here comes Heart Attack #2. The shower head slipped from my hand and faced right at me, sprayed me full forced direct hit for several seconds (felt like minutes) until I got ahold of it again, all the while I'm screaming. (Granted, not a major heart attack, more of a little shock to the system.)

I gain control of the shower head and continue cleaning and spraying it down, I see a little white thing again and spray at it full force thinking whatever's in there will come out or drown, nothing happens except it gets flattened and smushed in the corner. I'm no fool...I ain't putting my fingers or something in there to get it out. I call DH. I hold the sprayer, he starts scraping it out with his pocket knife and another evil big hairy monster spider comes FLYING out! I shriek or something, ran from the room, started hyperventilating with my heart beating out of my chest. Heart Attack #3.

After a while DH tells me all of them are gone, he's SURE. He's in the bathroom spraying it down more all over, I'm sitting on the (closed) toilet watching and trying to get my breathing under control and ANOTHER spider starts crawling around. And Heart Attack #4. This one's actually tiny, but at this point I'm so worked up it doesn't matter what size it is. He tries to squish it TWICE and it wouldn't die. At this point I just leave and refuse to come back in the bathroom. I might not shower or use the toilet for days...

Meeting #2, basically going over the bazillion forms we already filled out.

Ok, so read the title of this blog.  Yep, that's the meeting.  End of blog.

Just kidding.  Well, not really.  We really did just review and expanded just a tad on the questionnaire and applications.  Spent an hour or two talking a little about us, what we're concerned about, and what we're looking for (ages/gender/etc, which btw, at this point we're accepting newborn to 10 years old, any race, any gender.  We'll consider siblings, but we only have one spare room, so depending on the age, they should be the same sex and we'd prefer our first placement to just be one child to kind of break us in a little.)

We scheduled the next appointment for next week, she gave us homework - lots more forms to fill out (yippee), we need physicals, need paperwork for the dog (shots, etc), license, registration copies, etc.  Boring kind of stuff like that.

Ok, next potential problem and stress causing topic for me---the physical.  Now, we both had a physical recently, we need them regularly for work.  I'm not worried about me, but I'm concerned about hubby's.  He has a surgical implant in his back and because of that, he has a lifting limit.  She was slightly concerned about it, basically said that the board has to give final approval and they may question that.  How can he care for a child if he can't lift them.  Well, he can up to 20 pounds without issues, beyond that, honestly, he'll do what he needs to do.  It's not that he CAN'T lift more, he shouldn't because it'll cause some potential damage or interfere with the implant.  If that should happen, it can be fixed with an out-patient procedure, so I'm not concerned about his ability to care for any child, but what if they have a problem with it?   Now this sucks because I won't even know until the very end of this entire process if they will deny us for that.  We would have gone through all the clearances, classes, training, paperwork, etc and at the last minute something like that could stop us.

I guess worrying about it won't do any good.  We just do what we can/what we need to and let the chips fall where they may. :/

My lesson in patience.....

Getting my friends to send back reference letters should be the easy part of this journey, right?  Well, it was...kinda.  Getting them to fill them out and send them back was easy.  Waiting for the snail mail to deliver them was the hard part.

Confirmation from person "A" that it was mailed 3/28.  Person "B" said it was mailed 3/30.  Person "C" mailed it on 4/2 and person "D" was out of town (which I didn't realize) so I expected that to be delayed. The social worker (or is it case worker?  I guess she's the case worker, not social worker...or are they basically the same thing?  I don't even know.  How sad is that?  lol)  Anyway, we'll call her Harriet...Harriet said they only needed 3 of the 4 returned to move on to the next step.  I figured, no worries, 3 of them were mailed between 3/28 and 4/2 so they should arrive a few days after that, right?  Um, that's a big "N-O!"

I emailed her on 4/6 just letting her know that 3 of them were mailed and she should have them any day.  I was stressing over emailing her at all.  I don't want to appear too anxious and annoy her.  Or will it look like I'm on top of things?  Stressful!!!  lol  Anyway, she replied and said she only had one so far.  I wasn't overly concerned, I figured the others should arrive any day.  Well, day after day went by and I heard nothing.  NOW my mind goes crazy with "maybe she doesn't like us" or "maybe she doesn't think we'll be good parents and she's avoiding calling us" or even "maybe my friends don't like us as much as we thought and we got bad referrals!"  LOL  I sometimes think I'm insane!

Finally, finally, finally she got at least 3 of the letters and she called me on 4/13 to schedule the next appointment for 4/15.  And there we come to the next blog.  To be continued....  ;)

(I couldn't decide between the two photos for this  So we just use them both!  Shout out to Princess Bride!)

Our First Appointment! Yikes!

So, we just happened to come across a social worker for a local foster care agency at a fundraiser and after chatting decided to make an appointment for 3 days later.  That was all well and good until she asked for our address.

What went on in my head:
"My address???  Why do you need my address?  We're meeting at MY house????  But it's not ready at all for a social worker to come in!  It's a disaster!  How many dishes are in my sink?  How much laundry is piles in front of the dryer?  How many dog hair dust bunnies are scattered everywhere?  The snow just melted, there's 5 months of frozen dog poop in the yard!  This can't possibly happen in 3 days!"

What I said out loud to her in a completely calm voice:
"Oh, the meeting's at our house, ok, no problem."

Good thing I've had years of acting experience at the local community theaters!

Obviously, once we got home, I went into freaking out, cleaning nazi mode and scared dh (darling hubby) and the poor  So, fast forward through 3 days of attempting to make it what I deemed "clean enough" (which, I don't think it ever will be in my mind) and enter social worker in the front door.

This first meeting was very low key, she just answered any questions we had (I had printed 2 pages of them) and gave us applications and a bazillion forms to fill out.  She didn't even leave the living room and kitchen areas.  So much for my chaotic cleaning

The next step is for us to fill out these bazillion forms and drop them off at the agency.  At that point she'll send referral letters to 4 friends.  (I never understood the point of referrals.  Who on earth gives out a name and number of someone who will give a bad referral?)   Once those come back, we can schedule the next appointment and start on the fbi clearances, etc etc.

Not overly exciting, I must say, but this now triggers my obsession over reading every single foster care blog I can find and joining every facebook fostering support group in existence.  Obsession may be an understatement....


I'm new to the blogging experience, so be patient with me!  lol  We're in the process to get licensed to be foster parents and I wanted to create a blog to help us record our experiences with it, post ideas we want to try, things we've done that worked or didn't work, or even juts a place to vent or yell exciting news from the rooftop.  At this point, it's mostly just for us (or me) as a journal of sorts, but if others can get ideas from us or share ideas with us, all the better!

I'll give you a summed up version of us. :)  My name is Mindy.  DH (Darling Husband) and I have been happily married for 12 years.  We've been struggling with infertility, due to PCOS, the entire time.  We've gone through numerous fertility treatments with different doctors, tried homeopathic medicine, and anything we could think of (and afford) to get pregnant.  Unfortunately, nothing worked for us.  We always considered fostering and adopting.  It was something we wanted to pursue whether we got pregnant or not.

One rainy day in March 2015, we ended up in the right place at the right time, planets were aligned, cosmos had a plan, whatever you want to call it, and we happened to meet a social worker for a local agency.  After chatting a bit, we made an appointment with now we're in the beginning stages of this long, stressful, but potentially amazingly rewarding journey.