Monday, April 29, 2013

Not Good Enough?

I have been hearing stories about couples who were considering adoption or becoming foster parents and then changed their mind during the application process because of some questions in particular. I don’t claim to be an expert, but I thought I’d shed some light on the situation from our point of view.

We struggled at the beginning of this process as well. One of the questions on the application to the agency asks what kind of cases we are willing to handle. They ask about very specific medical and emotional problems. It was really hard for us to say no to some of these specific cases. It felt like we were rejecting a child in need and saying they weren’t good enough for us.

This weighed on our minds for days as we debated if we should even send in our application. After much research and prayer we decided we absolutely should turn in our application. Not only that, but we should not feel guilty about what we said we could or could not handle.

These children deserve the very best home for their needs. If we don’t have the knowledge or emotional understanding to handle a certain case we are not saying they aren’t good enough for us, we are saying we are not good enough for them.

This is not meant in a self deprecating way at all. We will be excellent parents and will love our future children no matter what the circumstances. We are simply saying to know your limits when it comes to foster children. Caring for any child is a lot of work. We currently have no children so to go straight into caring for a child we just met that has serious medical or emotional needs would probably overwhelm us. This would make it hard to be the caring stable parents that child deserved.

If you feel you could handle more than the basic problems that is wonderful. You are truly a special person/couple that can bless the lives of equally special children.  However if you are concerned about your limits do not feel bad and do not avoid the process out of guilt!! You can still change a child’s life and have a wonderful family. You can always go back and expand your comfort range for future placements.   Also consider the fact that although these children seem perfectly and healthy now, you don’t know what may have happened to them had they not joined your family when they did.

We felt we would be okay with basic medical issues such as asthma, diabetes and food allergies. Also the fact that we selected the age range of new born to age 4 means that there may be underlying emotional issues if we are placed with an older child. However at age 4 children are still very resilient. After talking to several people we learned that as long as we are careful and seek help when needed, there is a high chance a 4 year old that has suffered trauma could fully recover with minimal lasting trauma.

We also were excited to check “yes” to sibling sets of 2. We heard from several people that this could be such a blessing on both ends. The obvious benefit for the children is that they will get to stay together. This means they have a built in friend that understands exactly what they’re going through. This by default makes our job as parents easier since we don’t have a firsthand understanding of what they’re going through. There is the fact that there would be two children rather than one which means more work. But we’re okay with that.

We have decided these are our limits for now and we are very confident that these are the correct choices for our family.  The moral of the story is every family is different. Make whatever choices you feel are best for your current and future family. Once you have, don’t let yourself or anyone else make you feel guilty about your decision.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Forms Forms and more FORMS!!

We sent in our application the WACAP and were so excited to get started. Then we got the paperwork and our excitement was dimmed. We have been working on forms for weeks now and still have a long ways to go. To be clear, we are NOT complaining. I think it’s wonderful that they are so thorough in the process of clearing potential Foster Parents, we just had no idea what we were truly getting in to!

When we first opened the folder we thought oh this isn’t so bad. It had a few charts and “tool kit maps” about the process.  Then we started reading and got completely overwhelmed. Included was a disc with pages and pages of forms! I think the best advice we have at this stage is to breathe.  Yes it is a lot of work but it will be worth it. Just make a game plan and slowly work your way though. Everything will be okay! We decided we were going to do one form a day till we finished. That was a great plan until we got to forms with 9 pages of in depth personal questions. We then changed our game plan to 2 hours a day.

During this process lots of memories both good and bad have been brought to the front of our mind. We have parenting issues and possible solutions running through our head 24/7. I can see why they have potential adoptive parents go through all of this. Several questions brought up issues we knew nothing about. We have spent hours and hours researching various forms of discipline, education, and how to a comfort a children who have ben through emotional or physical trauma. We are feeling very well informed. Of course you can’t be prepared for everything, but we certainly have a plan of action for many situations. This will only make dealing with them easier when/if the time comes.

After starting this process I realized it would have been really helpful if I had someone to dumb down the process for me beforehand. That way the overwhelming feeling we felt when we opened our packet could have been avoided or at least lessened. I have decided to detail the process and our experience for future potential adoptive or foster parents.  I realize not everyone reading this will be interested in that. For this purpose, I created a new page at the top of my blog. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Touching Support

We officially announced our blog on Monday. Since then we have been so touched by the amount of love and support. We received countless texts and emails full of support and personal stories. We have loved reading every one.

It’s easy to feel alone in situations like this; it can feel like everyone around you is so happy and enjoying their family and multiple kids. All these stories you generously shared with us helped us realized there are many people out there that have gone through the same thing as us and now have beautiful families. It is a great source of hope. We hope to be joining you on the other side of this soon!

We also received several stories from couples going through infertility, miscarriages, the adoption process or even a failed adoption. These stories broke our hearts. We were pleased to hear that our story helped them and gave them hope and a sense of community. We plan to respond to each email, text and face book comment but it will take a while so bear with us.

Thank you so much for your support, it has truly meant the world to us. Please continue to share our blog and keep your stories coming. We would be honored to be a source of support for anyone who needs it. This whole process will be easier if we stick together!