We are coming to the end of our journey to become foster parents. And then an entirely new journey will begin.
It doesn’t seem real. Envisioning what it will be like to receive a call and welcome a sweet baby girl into our home…the possible pain, the hard stuff, the good stuff…it’s all impossible for me to imagine.
But we are almost there.
This process has honestly been fairly simple. I have enjoyed our trainings, our interactions with the lovely humans who run Methodist Children’s Home in Tyler. They care about these families, these children, and believe in thoroughly preparing the foster families. They are invested. I am so thankful for their commitment and tireless hours spent caring for these children and their families.
Our journey began with an application, background checks, and an interview. Then once approved, we began our trainings. We mainly met every other Monday night and went through slideshows of information. We learned a lot, some things we knew, some things we didn’t. Some of it was very hard to hear. Stories of babies, of children who were neglected, abused, abandoned. It was heart-wrenching, but solidified me that much more.
We got to know a couple of other families who were beginning their own journeys. We also had a few painless online trainings to do, along with a checklist of things to complete before our home study. We’re so close on that checklist! Next week we have our CPR training and fire inspection. We’ll also need a health inspection that isn’t quite scheduled yet.
Basically, by the end of February we could be ready to take in our first foster child.
I’m a bit in awe. I have butterflies in my stomach. My heart is beating a bit faster as I write these words. My hands are growing clammy. Ahh!
I’m so excited and so nervous at the same time.
So who is this child going to be?
Your case worker will encourage you to be specific, to not be afraid to ask. And it feels wrong. It does. But I had read and spoken to other mamas who fostered to adopt and knew it was best to be honest with your hopes.
Our case workers knows we ultimately would love to adopt, and we felt like (and they agreed) that we should keep the birth order. We have a 6.5 yr old girl, 5 year old boy, and 2.5 year old boy. Our oldest has always longed for a sister (and has 5 boy cousins!). I have longed for her to have a sister. I just knew Haddon was a girl and we chose a very special name. I was obviously wrong! But that name has lingered in my mind, always making me feel like this sweet girl will one day exist, and this name will be hers.
So we said we would take in girls, ages 0-2.
This does make some aspects of preparing difficult. Thankfully we have all of Tessa’s baby clothes (longed for a girl, remember?!) and a crib that can convert to a toddler bed. Everything else we’ll buy or borrow when we know more.
Race preference? None. We aren’t naïve. We know having a sweet girl with a different skin color could cause her pain and confusion in the future. But we are committed to navigating that journey with her with as much wisdom as possible from the very beginning. Our families on both sides are already diverse! So my hope is that if her ethnicity is different than ours, she will never doubt for an instant that she is loved dearly and is our daughter. But we enter into this with a posture of humility, knowing we will never know everything on how to parent (biological or adopted children!) and will always be learning along the way.
This journey could take many forms. Our first foster child could become our daughter, or it could be our 5th. It could happen in a year. It could be several. But we are committed to loving her (them) to the best of our ability, to helping her (these girls) feel safe and stable, and to providing nurturing that is integral to a newborn’s well-being and/or joyful childhood memories.
We might get a little broken a long the way. Or a lot broken. I might became angry, depressed, afraid, lost. But I know that we have a community that will love us through all of it. Family who will be here. An agency that truly cares about the emotional battles we will face.
And I feel at peace.
Every child deserves to be loved, to feel safe, to laugh. Above all else, that is our goal.
I would love for you to follow along, to be a part. To rejoice with us and cry with us. To pray for us, these families and these girls.
Welcome to our journey.