Last night, I received my first call from DSS for a placement. I was at the gym, about to workout and heard my phone ring. I immediately recognized the number as social services… and my heart starting beating… QUICKLY! The social worker introduced herself and let me know she was going down her list to place a 16-year-old in care for one night… possibly two. I thought about it, asked questions, went back and forth in my mind for a few minutes (which seemed like an eternity), but in the end said no (I did not accept the placement).
All through my workout, I just felt so bad. I didn’t expect to have this feeling of sadness because I guess I never really thought about placements that I would not accept. I gave DSS a preferred age range of 0-5 (and maybe accepting 6-8) and was told in training and during my home study that I would get a call for any age from 0-20, but I guess I never took time to understand how I would feel about “rejecting” a placement for personal preferences. I always knew that if I already had a placement, I could not take two… or if I was about to go out-of-town or had house guests, I would have to turn down placements. BUT I never explored how I would feel about just saying no. I was so sad, I felt like I let the child down… I really wanted to help, but something on the inside told me no… not this placement… not this time. It really hurt my heart.
I am grateful for friends and family who encouraged me afterwards (did I mention that I was really bummed), to stay true to myself and listen to my “gut” otherwise named the Holy Spirit. That it is okay to say “no” and stick to my boundary. There were other factors I will not discuss that I learned through my questions… and I just didn’t think I would be able to deal with them properly. I went to bed really early last night… just because, did I mentioned I was bummed… LOL! But woke up to one of the most encouraging text messages from a friend that changed my entire outlook.
So here’s to documenting my first “call.” I’m pretty sure this will not be the last, but now I know that all calls, whether accepted or not, will have some sort of effect on me… in some way.
The last time I posted, I stated that I was still waiting to receive my license. Well, I am happy to report that I received my license on 6/14!! I am so excited! The good news is that I am now licensed to receive a child coming into care, the not so good news is that I still have to wait to get “the call.”
I am not rushing this by any means. It’s just that I’ve had soooo much information thrown at me and as much as I am “prepared” I won’t really know until I have a child here. It’s like learning how to swim on dry land, you can have all the principles and knowledge down, but until you jump into the pool… it doesn’t mean squat! LOL!
The past few weeks have been exciting. I have gotten the last of the items needed (car seats are expensive!! And oh yeah, a kid just may need soap! LOL!) and have organized the room as best I could.
My friends have been super duper supportive and threw me a foster shower! It was so unexpected and I was truly grateful for their expression of love towards me and this journey. I received gift cards that will be extremely helpful when a child comes into care.
Just to be clear, the baby I am holding above is my 2 month old godson Joel :-). Everyone coming into the shower (and my friends on social media) thought I had gotten a baby… still explaining to folks who he is… even though I put it in my status update. LOL!
I am feeling both excited and scared to receive my first call… so here’s to waiting….. again :-).
I haven’t written in a while, but just a small update to my journey.
It is finally finished on my end (truly). All of my references have been interviewed. Both of my in person interviewees said they feel like the interview went very well, so I am very hopeful and optimistic that I “passed.” Now I am just waiting for my caseworker to write my case study and to be able to go in and review it before she forwards the study to her supervisor(s) for approval.
The true waiting begins now. Thanks to everyone for your continued support :-).
I had my last home study visit yesterday. It is the final step in the process that I am personally involved in. It’s now up to my references, my caseworker’s quick ability to write up my study, and her supervisors’ approval of my study. I am a bit anxious, but I am also very excited. Hopefully, I will know more at the end of next month… but for now… I wait!
Now I assure you this is NOT how I will be waiting, but that is how I feel most days. LOL! I still have some things to do to get ready. I would still like to make my guest room a little more inviting to a child. Currently the comforter design is more for an adult, I know it is not important, but I would just like to make it more neutral with lighter colors. I went to a consignment sale over the weekend and purchased a nice wall art piece, so I will try to match with that… I know, that is so unimportant. I also purchased a dresser and a changing table online. My friend (and running buddy) Temeka came by and helped me put it together. I am soooo not handy (It’s actually pretty bad) and she is, so we gave it a go. Well we tried, but this dresser just won’t cooperate! I am currently waiting for the company to respond to my request for replacement parts. My friend keeps reminding me that this is like a puzzle and we will figure it out. And just like parenting, things don’t always go as we think they will… so for right now, we are waiting to finish putting this puzzle together.
I would like to close this entry by thanking my friends who have supported me by giving baby and toddler furniture and toys. Mr. Dickerson, Dafnette, Renita, Wendy, Deidre, Kaje, Cindy, Lezlyn, Vernessa and Latricia. It has been a tremendous help and encouragement! I would also like to thank my neighbor Carl and his nephew for coming and helping me lift that HEAVY dresser up to the room. I thought I was strong, but not so much. LOL! Furniture is heavy!! Lastly, I would like to thank many of my readers who have extended kind words and wishes. It means a lot!
Yesterday I had my second home study interview. I get a lot of questions about what the home study entails, so basically it consists of 3 visits to my home to make sure I am who I say I am :-). During the first interview, my caseworker sat with me and discussed various parts of the process and asked if I had any questions from the training. She did a walk through of my home to see the space to gauge where the child will be sleeping and to see if there are any areas that needed to be changed. Thank goodness that I didn’t have a lot of things to change, just moving a bookshelf from the child’s room (apparently kids like to climb). I have a great support system and two of my friends (Shout out to Naomi and Rasheda) came over to help me move the books and shelves down to the basement. This second home study visit was a little more personal. The case worker asked me more about how I was raised and my relationships with my parents. She also asked me about how I think people would describe me… to be honest, that was a hard question for me to answer! LOL! How DO people see me? I dunno? She also asked how I am feeling as the process is getting closer about how my life will be different. This is where I got a little misty eyed.
If you read my first blog, I eluded to the emotional rollercoaster that I have been on throughout this process. This process has made me face a lot of emotions I have been dealing with on the inside for a while. It started last week when I took a trip out to Babies R Us to see what sale items may be available (yeah right!) for me to stock up on. As I went through the aisles of the store, I was first of all very overwhelmed with all of the options for infants/toddlers. I mean, different types of pacifiers, nipples for bottles, etc. I was screaming on the inside “I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT I NEED!!” How can I even begin? LOL! I picked up a few things that another foster parenting blog mentioned and some things that I knew I would need regardless of the age and some toys. BUT as I was going through the aisles and seeing mothers with their child(ren) and pregnant women shopping with their families, I did have a feeling of sadness come over me. Later that day, after I had time to process my feelings… I cried to the Lord for a least 20 minutes. I could not stop crying. I felt so sad that I was going through all of this… buying baby and toddler items… and it was not the way that I pictured my life. I thought I would be buying these items for my own biological children. My cousin helped me put together a crib and I was excited and wanted to take pictures, but then I realized… I didn’t. (see emotions all over the place, LOL)
You couldn’t tell me in my teens, 20’s or even early 30’s that I would not be married and have my own children by now. The reality is… that is not my story and I really grieve for that [story]. I go from excitement, to fear, to sadness, to relief, to stressed, to indifferent…. all in a weeks span. LOL! This process has been wonderful, my trainer and caseworker are both really nice people. I have met and spoke to other foster parents who give great encouragement and support.
My third home study visit is scheduled for next week. By this time, I should have most of the things in place to welcome a child into my home. I will have a final interview and my references will be interviewed. From there my caseworker will put my file together and route it through to her two supervisors. If all goes well, I will then get my license.
As I am traveling on this road to get license I know that this is something that I really want to do. I know it will be hard, anything new is… and parenting is never easy. My goal is to just be there for a child who needs me.
Over the past year, I have been going through the process to become a foster parent. I have a lot of emotions over this decision. I have been on an emotional rollercoaster through out this process, but I guess I will take you guys back to the beginning. The question I get most often is “why?” Why did I choose to go through this process? I have always had this passion in my heart… just to help others especially children. I attribute this to two reasons. The first, when I was in high school I remember watching an episode of ‘A different World’ where Freddie worked with a group of orphans and she was encouraging staff on campus to adopt this particular little boy. Well, no one wanted to adopt this little boy and he was so disappointed… I just remember him saying, “Why doesn’t anyone want me?” that broke my heart. I never want a child to feel that way, that they don’t matter or that no one cares about them. Over this past weekend, my mother reminded me that when I was younger (elementary school age) I would always encourage her to adopt a sibling for me… so I guess it has always sort of been in my heart, even before I really knew what it was. The second reason is attributed to a saying that one of my Aunt’s used to always tell me, “A kid is only a kid for a short time, they should be able to enjoy childhood and be a kid.” That is my goal, to allow a kid to be a kid!
I know it is going to be hard, I have gone through all of the emotions of an expectant parent. LOL! I have gone through excitement, fear, terror, sadness (yes, sadness at the loss of some of my freedoms), and joy as friends and family have supported me. As the process to become licensed has been coming to an end, I have found myself crying uncontrollably as I wonder what will happen next (when I tell you an emotional rollercoaster, I was not joking… LOL!). I have had folks encourage me, support me, tell me the truth and make me take a look at the hard side of becoming a foster parent. I have also experienced not so supportive people who make me feel as though I am making the biggest mistake of my life. It’s in those times, I have to dig down deep into myself and remember that God will give me the strength to get through each moment. Will it be easy? I don’t think so! Acting as a single parent will be tough. I was raised by a single mother, so I have seen first hand how hard it can be. Will it be tough? I do imagine. There are so many possible trauma’s that these children face and variables that I may not know how to handle. Will it be rewarding? I know it will! As long as I keep my focus on the purpose, I know that I will see nuggets and gems somewhere.
So, why did I make the decision to become a foster parent? If one child, even if they don’t remember my name or even me… if they can remember that at a moment in their life… there was a time when they felt safe and able to just be a kid, I will be happy.