Tuesday, May 6, 2014

For I know the plans I have for you...{Foster Care Update Part 2}

This is Part 2 of my "For I Know The Plans I Have For You" post, you can read Part 1 HERE.

...The email that we received came as a complete shock. The email simply stated that many things had changed in the kids' case and that the agency was no longer looking for a foster to adopt home for these kiddos. We waited almost two weeks for that? There was no explanation of what had changed, if we had done something wrong, if there was any chance we could still have them...Nothing. I immediately responded to the email asking for an elaboration of what was going on and asked where we were supposed to go from there. The last time we spoke to anyone, we were told that we would set up a timeline of how to transition the kids into our home, and everything had seemed like a done deal.

After several more days, we still had not received any word. I sent multiple emails, texts and made several phone calls... desperate to find out something...Even if it wasn't what we wanted to hear. But I heard nothing.

After several more days, I finally received an email. This email stated that said that the foster mom had changed her mind and had decided that she wanted to pursue adoption. We had been told multiple times that there was no chance she would adopt them. Even the foster mom had told us that she was sure she wouldn't adopt them. However, now she had changed her mind and everything was different.

We were told there would be a meeting the following week between the case manager, the foster mom and the adoption worker, where a decision would be made as to where the kids would go. Obviously, our chances weren't good. However, I still held out hope that by some miracle we would still end up with them. It wasn't possible that we would go through that long string of events for nothing, right?

After several days of trying to process the change in events, I decided that I would email the foster mom. I wanted her to be fully aware of the impact her decision would have on others, not just herself. I knew she had struggled with the idea of letting the kids go, but I wanted her decision to be based on prayerful peace, and not panic. And I wanted her to know that we loved those kids enough to pray for what was best, even if it wasn't us.

I didn't really expect a response from her. The email was much more of a verbal processing tool for me rather than a hope to engage the foster mom. However, I received a reply from her the next morning and while it tore me apart, it also healed a part of me. She told me how she would be praying for us as well. And she told me that she had felt nothing but turmoil since the search for a forever family for these kids began. She said that as soon as the words left her mouth that she'd adopt them, all of her anxiety and fear left her and she knew she was doing what God had called her to do. It seemed hard to comprehend that someone else could be feeling the same calling that we were, but I knew that ultimately we didn't have that say. I know that she loves those kids more than anything and that God will provide everything that they need. He'll also heal our hearts and give us the strength to keep going.

One week later, on the day of the adoption meeting for these kids, we received a call from our agency asking if would be willing to take a sibling group of 3 girls. In all honesty, it felt like a cruel joke. There were 3 kids we already wanted and couldn't have, and here we are being offered 3 different kids. It took us a little time to process it and make any kind of a decision. In my head and heart I knew that we were not going to get the 3 kids back. And I knew that we had come too far to give up. So we said yes. We were told that we would hear back in a week after the county makes a decision on which family to approve for these girls. So now we wait...again. However, over the last few days, I've grown very thankful for the waiting period that we have. It's given us more time to heal and it's given us time to wrap our minds around the idea of taking on 3 different kids. We have no idea if we'll be chosen as the home for these girls, or if we'll receive another disappointing phone call. But we're not giving up and we'll continue to keep our home open and our hearts willing. And I know that God will bless that, even if it's not how we would have chosen.

Friday, May 2, 2014

My Story Is Not My Fault {Removed}

This video has been floating around the internet for quite a while now. However, we were forced to watch it again at one of our foster care classes that we're required to take to maintain our continued training hours.

This video perfectly depicts why we've chosen foster care. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

For I know the plans I have for you...{Foster Care Update Part 1}

It's been longer than I had intended since I last wrote anything or updated everyone on what's going on in our house...but I think we needed a couple of weeks to process everything and figure out where we were supposed to go from there. And in all honesty, I wasn't quite sure where to begin, how to adequately explain everything that had happened, and writing about it made it real and meant we had to accept it. This story is so long that I'm going to split in to more than one post...so stay tuned for additional updates.

Let me back track about a month...
The very first placement call that we got was for a sibling group of 3 kids, and we received that call before we had even become officially licensed. The kids were a little bit older than we had planned, and we had planned to only take 2 kids. However, we told the agency that we would think about it (with every intention to tell them no). The next day we received another phone call asking if we'd take a new born baby from the hospital and pick him up that day. We said yes immediately, and we waited for 2 long hours to find out if we had been approved to take him. After two of the longest hours of our lives, I received a text that another family had been chosen, but they wondered if we'd be willing to take an 8 month old baby. We were filled with a mix of disappointment about the first baby, but also with excitement for the possibility of the 8 month old. We said Yes, and then were told that we would hear an update the next day after the court hearing. Yet again, we waited. Finally, mid afternoon the next day, I received another text that we had not been chosen as the family for this second baby. Really? This is definitely not how we thought this process was going to go.

Fast forward a week and a half, and we received another call asking if we had thought any more about the sibling group. Parental rights had just been terminated and they needed to be moved into a foster to adopt home where the family would consider adopting them. We told them again that we'd think about, and we were put in touch with the case manager. We spent the next week asking and answering question after question about the kids, pouring over paperwork and information and speaking to multiple people including the case manager and current foster mom. We wanted to learn everything we possibly could about these kids before we could decide if this was the direction that we wanted to go. The case manager finally suggested that we have a trial week with the kids and see how things go. We knew there would be transition visits if we decided to take them, and this seemed like a great way to get to know them before making a final decision.

So, we rearranged furniture, bought some toys and activities to do with the kids, made plans of how to spend the days and anticipated the week ahead of us. The kids arrived, and we felt indescribable fear of "what if we don't bond with them?" and "what if we get too attached?". The first day was absolutely crazy and it felt like the whole day was spent trying to avoid disasters. However, by the second and third day we had developed a routine and gotten very comfortable. And we got so attached. Somewhere over the first few days, we forgot that we were supposed to keep ourselves distanced, and we bonded with these kids and started thinking about the future. Everything began to feel so normal, and I think we were surprised and how easy it came to go from 0 kids to 3 kids.

We prayed and we prayed and we prayed, and told the case manager that we'd make a final decision by the end of the week. However, by the end of Thursday, we knew that we wanted them. So, I called the case manager and she was so excited.We began talking through a tentative transition timeline and school plans for the fall and other little details. The case manager ended the call by saying that she needed to talk to the foster mom and see what she wanted the timeline to look like and when to set up some additional respite weekends.

Again we waited...

A week went by and we continued to wait...

We missed the kids and we were anxious to start this new phase of our lives. If we had been allowed, we would have adopted them on the spot and skipped the required 6 months of fostering. I called and emailed the case manager several times and heard nothing back. I knew that she was busy and there was a lot to talk through with multiple different people, but it was frustrating to have so much time pass without a single update. I didn't like the unknown of what was going on that we weren't being told about.

Then finally after almost 2 weeks of no word, we received an email that completely changed everything...