Saturday, February 28, 2015

Foster Care/Adoption Journey Part 5. Approval and Waiting

Our Foster Care and Adoption Approval Journey
5. Approval and Waiting
6. Getting Ready for Placement
7. First Placement (This has NOT happened yet!)

5. Approval and Waiting

By the end of November we were finished both our training and our home study. Entering this process, I had always thought, 'Hopefully, we'll be approved by Christmas." Our wonderful home study worker told us we would be approved possibly as early as end of November. She thought for sure by Christmas. I was so excited. Things were moving faster then I thought they would for once.

Oh, how naive I was.

Our advent was spent waiting to be approved. It was actually the most peaceful advent I think I've experienced since getting married.

Just before Christmas, our home study worker called us and told us that our file was done and ready for us to read. We scheduled our approval meeting for Jan 8th at 3pm. I was very pleased to have the date set and the file to review over Christmas break.

January 8th came. We had spent the days previous cleaning up our apartment. This would be the meeting where we met the Matching Worker. This lady (M) is the person who will match us with children. This is a very important meeting. Leading up to the meeting we prayed a novena that M would get a good and true sense of us in the short time we had.

At 2:45pm, we were ready. Tea was on. Everything was set. And it was snowing like crazy!!

At 3:05pm, I thought, "Well, maybe the snow is delaying them."

At 3:10pm, I checked twitter and saw that there was a bomb threat at Canadian Tire on the other end of town (for my American readers, Canadian Tire is a hardware store of sorts). Yes, a bomb threat. Almost comical, except I was convinced that they were driving from that end of town and this is why they were late. (Sidenote: There was no bomb.)

By 3:20pm, I was concerned, so I called my home study worker.

When I asked where she was she said, "At my desk, waiting for you."

... ...

My heart stopped. I said,"What?! I thought the meeting was here?" (All of our previous meetings were at our home.)

I told her that we would leave right now and get there as soon as we could. She said that she hoped so because they both had other meetings at 4:15pm. AHH!

Luckily, we are only 5 minutes away from the agency's building. Of course, we had to find our car under the snow and try to drive safely through the snow covered streets. But we did and it only took us 10mins to get there. By 3:35pm, we were sitting down together.

Grant was such a rock for those 15 minutes. I was freaking out... just a little bit. This is not how I wanted this to go! I was worried that there wouldn't be enough time with the matching worker when we had an hour. Now what!? Grant, though, reminded me, that we had been praying for this meeting and God was giving us exactly how much time we needed. He was right (as usual).

Our meeting went so well. I was a bit nervous so I was talking a mile a minute, which Grant told me after. But we felt like M completely 'got' us! AND she told us that we may not be waiting very long for our first placement! The meeting was a success!

For the next few days I was in an excited haze. A couple days later a lady from Family and Children's Services called Grant at work because she couldn't get a hold of me at home. For a moment, Grant was sure that this was THE call and he though to himself, "Boy, that WAS fast." Alas, she was just entering our information into the system and she wanted to confirm our phone number. But this phone call set the stage for how we approach phone calls now. 

The excited butterflies have quieted down a bit now as we settle into the waiting. "Luckily" infertility and my slow-moving husband have increased my patience 10 fold over the last 5 years. Now I'm not sure that folding very little patience over 10 times amounts to a lot of patience, but it is more than I had 5 years ago. So we wait...

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Foster Care/Adoption Journey Part 4: Telling Family and Friends

Our Foster Care and Adoption Approval Journey
4. Telling Family and Friends
6. Getting Ready for Placement
7. First Placement (This has NOT happened yet!)

Fourth Session: Telling Family and Friends
Since we considered our training and home study our discernment time, we waited to tell all of our family and friends  until we were more sure that we would be following through with becoming foster parents. But, if you've read the previous section about our discernment, you'll know we were  mostly confirmed that this was our path pretty quickly.

My parents knew early on as they were references for me. One of G-Man's brothers was a reference for him and we had two sets of friends who were also references for us. They all knew, obviously. But we asked them to keep it quiet.

Three weeks into our training, and about 4 home study visits done, we were visiting my family for Thanksgiving (Canadian, Mid-October).  We decided to tell my sisters then. We ended up telling my Grandparents that weekend too. We told Grant's parents around that time as well. The response was wonderful and honest and inquisitive. My dad had a lot of great questions about the process and everyone expressed concern for us and our hearts. Overall we felt loved and it was nice to share our excitement with others.

We decided to make an official announcement during advent. Honestly, we thought that we would be approved by then and so we wanted to share our waiting in the season of waiting. We thought of many different ways to share the news. We settled on sending out announcement cards. So then we had to decide on the picture of the card. 

Here are a few picture ideas that I liked:

Now, if you know us, you know that we aren't picture-people, especially G-Man. So he wasn't really on board with these pictures. 

During this time, we were slowing putting together our nursery. (That could be another post, and maybe it will... putting together the nursery was a blast, it was emotional and it was healing.) And my family wanted to see pictures when it was done. So eventually we realized that having pictures of our nursery on the announcement would be perfect! We wouldn't have to be in the picture, it would still be personal and my family would get too see the nursery. So we 'finished' the nursery and took some pictures. 
Here is the finished product!

We love it! Of course, our cat, Martha, had to make it in the pictures. And Ralph, the Christmas moose (a family tradition/weird joke). 

We got a wonderful response to these announcement cards! 

Soon after sharing with people, we did start getting wonderfully thoughtful emails about individual children people thought we could adopt. Some from places of work, others from families they knew. But we weren't ready for that yet. We weren't approved and there are many hoops to jump through when dealing with Family and Children Services and Children's Aid Societies.  We did always discuss these children and their situations and pray for them, that they find their forever homes. We had a peace about it, for the most part, (and Grant more so). We were not in a rush. We actually were enjoying the process and, for once, I wasn't in a rush!

A HUGE highlight of telling others was the support. We have a great family and very giving friends! Two  friend couples in particular decided to throw me a baby shower. Words can not express how grateful I am to them for this. It was an emotionally rich event. One I will talk about in another post because I do want to share in more detail the experience of an infertile  woman having a baby shower.

Overall, telling others about our plans to grow our family through foster care and adoption, has been an enriching experience. I think we both were nervous because this journey feels so intimate and precious, like a secret desire locked away in our hearts, like a little life growing in our hearts and we want to protect it from the harsh world. But the support was so wonderful. We felt like our desire, our little life, was safe.  Hope in a life of being a parent felt a bit unreal for us and sharing it made it come alive.

The question then became, "Are we ready? Are we ready to wait? Will we be approved and when?"