Fostering Update.

For those of you who are particularly interested in our journey as foster parents, this post is for you. For those of you not interested in this aspect of our lives, keep on readin', maybe you'll come away with a few nuggets of information that you didn't have before.

Our time as foster parents has been limited. We've been licensed for about two years, and have yet to take a long term placement. We've done respite care for a while, but nothing for more than a few days at a time. (More on this later...)

We get calls for foster placements about 4 or 5 times a month, sometimes more. Often times we do not accept the placements we are called for because they do not meet the criteria that John and I can comfortably parent. Sometimes the children are not in our age range, have a medical condition or special need that we cannot parent, or have a very complicated situation in the foster care system that we do not feel comfortable getting involved with.

Most often, however, I receive a call from the placement agency during school hours and by the time I can return the call, the child is already placed with another foster family. That's mostly why we haven't had a long term placement yet. At first John and I were very upset at all the calls we "missed" by me not being available to answer my cell phone.  Not anymore, though. I cannot have my phone on me while teaching - it has to stay off or on silent in my desk. I can only check it during my prep period or at lunch. If I miss a call, I miss a call. I'm not going to beat myself up about it. We understand that the right call will come at the right time.

One day, however, we did get a call that I could answer. It was for a newborn baby girl. She would need to be picked up from the hospital, because she was not going home with her birth mother. This little lady's situation was very complicated, and not much information about her or her birth mother was given to us when we made the choice to accept this placement. Needless to say, a few days later this baby girl went to a different foster family that could better serve her needs, and allow her to grow up with her biological brother and hopefully reunite with her birth mother. John and I were very happy with the choice to move this baby to her brother's foster family, but we were not happy with the way "the system" handled her placement in our home. Without going into too much detail, just know that as a result John and I have decided to make some changes in our status as foster parents.

We know that we were "meant" to help in the foster care system. It feels right to us. We just don't know in what capacity we are called to help. I don't think being a full-time foster parent is for me. I don't think I have the patience or determination to be a foster mom. John could do it, but I can't And since we are doing this as a pair, we both have to be on board.

I just don't think I have the tact to handle complicated situations with DHS or birth families. I don't have the patience to wait out a broken social system, which clearly puts children at the mercy of a legal system.

I do think, however, that there are some good people (social workers and foster parents) that are doing the right thing. Those are the people that John and I need to work with. From this point forward, John and I will only be doing respite care. We'll only work with foster parents that we trust are doing a good job and are putting children first. We won't work with social workers that fail to give us accurate, timely information. We are making this pledge to foster children, and to ourselves. No longer can we sacrifice sleepless nights to a system that is broken, and ultimately sacrifice moments together as a couple to the chance of becoming a temporary parent. It sounds harsh, but it's real.

As it stands, there are a few foster families in our area that we look forward to supporting with respite care. Perhaps this is the capacity in which we were meant to serve? Maybe not. Who knows?

Over and out.

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