Thursday, May 29, 2014

Foster Mom

I think I may have been a little unclear in my last post. Nothing is definite yet. This isn't the first time a caseworker has contacted our social worker to ask if we are still interested in certain children. In fact, several months ago, I spoke at length with a caseworker about a specific young girl in whom we had expressed interest. Another time, we were asked to answer several questions about a trio of children to see if the caseworker wanted to continue considering our family. We've gotten a second look in a handful of cases so far, but for one reason or another we either didn't make the cut or we withdrew our names. 

My heart breaks often in reading what some of these precious children have had to handle in their short lives. It really is unthinkable. And, to be honest, there is a bit of guilt for me in this process. Sometimes I think adoptive parents get to make too many choices. It took me a long time to be able to be honest about what I couldn't handle...things like severe autism or sickle cell anemia. 

Several times we've had to complete pages of checklists asking what kinds of behaviors, family histories, illnesses, and handicaps we would consider accepting. In many cases, we even get to decide gender. That last part seems a bit unnatural to me. Of course, if I gave birth to a baby with Down Syndrome or a cleft palate, we would love and care for that baby. But, as a mom through adoption, I get to turn down those kids. That's sometimes tough to handle.

But, back to caseworker inquiries... In reality, since each state is so very different, a caseworker asking if we are still interested generally just means that it has been some time since our initial contact (in this case about seven weeks), and she is just checking to be sure we haven't been matched with other children so that she can continue considering us. So, while I was very excited to receive the email, I spent about two days trying to temper that excitement.

I originally intended to call foster mom after the holiday so as not to disturb her Memorial Day weekend, but I couldn't help myself, so I phoned her on Saturday. What does one say to a foster mom? I generally don't find myself at a loss for words, and goodness knows I've made plenty of phone calls to people I don't know, but somehow this was very, very different.

It turns out that foster mom, R, put me right at ease. In fact, we talked for an hour and twenty minutes! She told me that we are one of three families being considered for the children, and she answered my questions and asked some of her own. I found her to be a wonderful resource, especially since she has fostered them for quite some time.

One of the biggest questions I had for her had to do with whether or not she would want contact after an adoption. We have a semi-open adoption with A's mother now. Basically that means we email and text each other. I would welcome an open relationship with R should we be chosen for these children.

One important thing that came out during our conversation was that the family chosen would need to be dually certified both to adopt and to foster since at least one of the children is a legal risk placement, meaning that the parental rights have not yet been terminated. That means another layer of certification for us. I can see that the next few weeks will be quite busy.

1 comment:

  1. I am glad that you brought up adoptive parents' choices about what kinds of histories, handicaps, etc we could handle...when we started filling out paperwork a couple of years ago, we struggled with that... and if Father leads us to continue on in this journey, I can foresee that it will be something that we wrestle over... even now, I think about it and wonder... I read a post from an mom who adopted something like 6 very special needs kids. Makes me take a hard look at myself.