There is an interesting dichotomy in the world of foster care. You feel a sense of urgency to comply with rules and regulations set forth by your agency. Hurry up and fill out paperwork. Hurry up to be fingerprinted. Hurry up to the doctor for him to fill out another piece of paper to say that you’re physically fit to care for children. Hurry up and submit your background paperwork to the FBI and Department of Homeland Security. Hurry up to have your vet say your pets are up to date on their shots and licenses.
And then you wait.
For the phone to ring. For an email to land in your inbox. For that moment to come when your life will change in an instant.
Can you tell in which part of the process we currently find ourselves?
In our county, there are two routes a foster family can take. One is for emergency/short term placements. These families take children in on a short term basis (generally less than 3 months) while their case plan is being set up by the court. They get calls and have minutes to say yes or no, and then it’s a flurry of activity in racing to pick up the child from either the hospital or the children’s shelter, depending on age. The second route is concurrent planning, which is a long term situation. People intending to adopt through our county are considered concurrent homes. “Concurrent” because even though a foster family’s desire may be to adopt, the reunification process will still have to be attempted with the biological family before the move to adoption can be made.
We have been an emergency foster home for over a year. In that time we had the joy of loving and caring for five babies. Our shortest placement length was 6 days, and two babies stayed for over four months. In that year’s time, we made the decision that when the time was right, we would move forward with pursuing a second adoption through foster care. After we transitioned our last Little to his aunt’s home at the end June, we prayerfully made the move over back to the concurrent planning side. And this is where we find ourselves still.
Our county does family matches every Tuesday. They read the files of children in need of permanency, and compare them to the families waiting to be matched. Social workers weigh in. Life books are passed around to get a feel for the family and if they would be a good match for the child. Lives hang in the balance. And we wait for a phone call.
This place of waiting is hard. Something that just dawned on me is that my pride is taking a big hit during this wait. Are other families being chosen over us? Is there something unappealing about our family? So many feelings of insecurity bubble to the surface. I’ve had children both biologically and through the miracle of adoption. Honestly? I would rather birth a baby without an epidural after 18 hours of hard labor any day of the week, than be in this state of unknown. Labor is active. There was something I could do. There was an end in sight. At this point in our adoption process, I feel like I’ve been in labor for weeks on end, with no end in sight. I feel like there is nothing I can do.
Oh, but there is. To quiet my mind and calm my fears I pick up a blanket that I am working on for our sweet girl. I crochet. And I pray. I plead with God to keep her safe. To shield her eyes and heart from anything that would harm her. To keep my mind on Him during this wait.
Pray and crochet. Pray and crochet. And anticipate the time when I can wrap our girl in that blanket and tell her how dearly loved she is.