January 31, 2012

The View From The Kitchen Table (a foster care update)

This is what my kitchen table looks like this morning:

We are now completely entrenched in our journey of becoming foster parents in hopes of adopting through foster care.  Y'all, this is only about 1/6 of the paperwork I'm working on.  And I kinda LOVE it!  I like forms.  I like the way that print looks on a page and I love how when I get done with one of these babies that I put a little check next to that item on my checklist and I'm that much closer to having another daughter in my home.

But more than that, I LOVE that this time my husband and I are in this together.  With our first adoption, I drug him kicking and screaming the whole way.  I filled out every single stitch of paperwork by myself and just had him sign on the dotted line.  It was all me. This is a tactic that I don't at all recommend.  I'd be lying if I made it out to sound like this fourth child is all his idea.  It's not.  It is still overwhelmingly me who is wanting to add to our family this time as well.  (That and our older children begging for a sister.)  But this time, well, this time we are doing the whole thing (paperwork and all!) together and it just feels so much more "right".  We came to the decision jointly that if adoption was how our family was going to grow that foster care seemed the most right for our current needs and for the children that we already have.  It was not me strong arming all the way and having done it now both ways, this is a way more enjoyable process!  Going to these classes and learning together and being forced to do surveys on one another's parenting techniques has been (dare I say it) fun.

We are on coming up on week 3 of our ten weeks of foster parent training.  This stuff is just fascinating to me.  In Kentucky, when we chose to do an international adoption, we were not required in any way to do any kind of classes, watch any kind of videos or got through ANY kind of preparation whatsoever to bring a child into our home.  We were sorely wrong to be under the assumption that babies and toddlers "never had any psychological problems".  We knew about attachment issues and had read some books, but we'd never listened to a lecture on why trauma affects children the way it does and how that related to development and a child's ability to form meaningful relationships. We thought that if we just didn't bring in a teenager with severe sexual abuse, we would be on smooth sailing.  Boy, were we naive.  In short- we were grossly unprepared.

Going through these foster parent preparation classes is so eye-opening for me.  It is all information that we had to learn when we suddenly found ourselves with a son with severe PTSD and attachment issues, but it is so awesome to have a refresher and hear it presented in a new and unique way. I wish wish wish that we had taken something like this before we brought Miles home.  It would have eased so much frustration in our home and in many ways I feel like we failed our son in those early days because of how unprepared we were.  The good thing about making mistakes, though, is that you don't have to make them twice.  We are going into this one with our eyes wide open and find that we leave challenged from every single class.  

In working through this mountain of paperwork, I've discovered so many  new things about our family and my husband.  It's making us talk about aspects of parenting that we've never talked about before.  And this is going to be beneficial to all of our children, not just the new one that will come to live with us.  So in a weird way, I'm kind of grateful to the state of Kentucky for now being so up in my biz-nass.    

In other news, our case worker is a blog reader and recruited us to foster care that way.  (Holla, Shelley!)  How do you think that's going to play into our homestudy?  If I read through my homestudy and find a blurb in there about my desire to complete Christine's sex challenge or how I get nekkid in front of strangers in the Congo, or how my kids tell their teachers that I've been in jail, I may have a bone to pick. (Just kidding, Shel!) 

If I suddenly go missing, look for me under the stack of papers.  If I'm not there, the children were probably being psychotic and I'm hiding from them in the bathroom.   



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