Our last foster care certification class was on Monday night. Our last home consult with our social worker was this morning. This means- it's happening. We are just inches away from becoming foster parents. And it appears to be happening faster than we think. I thought that we would end up caught up in paperwork for the next couple of months waiting for some mystical approval from some Oz like creature who works for "the man". I must have made this up in my head.
Only this morning, when we asked our darling (seriously, she's darling) social worker when they might start calling for placements she said, "Oh, it could be as early as tomorrow." What the what? We were thinking July or so. I laughed the other day when I posted on Facebook that today was going to be our last home consult. One of my sweet, seasoned foster mama pals said, "That means the foster kid stork will be calling you on Friday." I laughed it off. When will I learn to listen to the wisdom of these wise women who have gone before me!?!
Anyway- now we are in that lovely area between a rock and a hard place. We have an out of the country trip coming up in the not too distant future. And while foster kiddos can absolutely come on vacation with us with their parents' permission, they unfortunately aren't allowed out of the US. Something about, oh, I dunno, a little thing called child trafficking/smuggling/etc. So we are trying to make the call on weather to go ahead and open our home to placements and risk having to send them to respite while we are gone (which could be confusing and traumatic to the kiddo who is just getting used to us and our house) or waiting a few months until we get back to start accepting placements at all or maybe just opening to quick, temporary placements (if that can even be predicted!) so that we can have some kids here but they will have gone back to live with their Grandma or whoever by the time we go out of town. (God Lord that was a run on sentence if I ever saw one, but I'm too tired to figure out how to edit it!) You see, we really didn't think we'd be approved until after our trip anyway.
I know it may sound dumb, but this decision is plaguing me. It's kind of like when you buy a new bike and a new helmet and pull up to the starting line all ready and full of fire and then you just sit there twirling the tassels on the handle bars. Some parts of me are ready to ride already! And some parts of me are totally content to keep sitting at the starting line a little longer because it's safe here. I like safe. Unfortunately- very few blessings and very few extraordinary things ever happen when you live life in the safe zone all the time.
Either way we go, we are trying to get ready for when that first call comes. We are working on stockpiling extra girly undies, toothbrushes, sheets, and other things we may need along the way...
We are putting together an extra bed for the little girls who come here to lay their sweet heads...
And we are learning that it is totally possible to fit a full sized mattress for said bed in a minivan full of kids...
But most of all, we are having a lot of hard conversations- with ourselves and with our kids. We went into this thinking that we were absolutely going to adopt and we weren't even going to consider fostering any kids who didn't already have termination of their parental rights. And now, we are finding ourselves being more open to having kids who may come and go. Don't get me wrong- we want one to stay eventually, but that may mean that we love on lots of kids for a little while before that happens. We are still trying to prepare our hearts for the possibility that this may not look like what we originally thought that it would. We are trying to help our children understand that we may have some guests for a while who we will love like a sister, but who might go back to their birth moms and that that's okay. It's hard helping them wrap their brains around it. It's hard wrapping my brain around it.
Oddly enough, after all of our talks about third world orphan care, international adoption and how indigenous foster care is one of the best options for kids, I'm swallowing my own pill. I'm trying to drink my own kool-aid. If I preach it for other countries, I better darn well be prepared to do it myself, right? I'm trying to embrace that we might just be those people who are the ones who are supposed to stand in the gap for a while for these kids. And ya' know what? I feel honored. I'm not dumb enough to think that this won't be the hardest thing we've ever done, but I am just dumb enough to think that we may be blown away and have our socks blessed off beyond our wildest expectations by the kids who come and share their lives with us for a while.
So, I'm going to take those cute new peace sign sheets out of the package and wash them so they are nice and soft- ya' know- just in case ;-)