Our Foster Care and Adoption Approval Journey
3. Our Active Discernment/ Training and Home Study
6. Getting Ready for Placement
7. First Placement (This has NOT happened yet!)
7. First Placement (This has NOT happened yet!)
Third Session: Active Discernment/ Training and Home StudyWe started the process back in June. We reached out to Family and Children's Services for more information about becoming foster parents and adoption. Of course, everyone was on vacation, so we didn't get to sit down with a worker and receive the application until the beginning of August.
So in June we decided that it was time to start actively discerning if foster care and adoption is how we are being asked to love others, to live out our marital vows of being open to life. We did not enter the process KNOWING that we were going to become foster parents. We decided we would take it week by week. We were blessed with a wonderful training and home study process. The training ran 10 weeks of Wednesday evenings and the home study was happening at the same time. After each week's session, G-Man and I would discuss together what we thought of the nights training, how we saw the themes playing out in our life and, indirectly, if we would be returning the following week.
About half way through the training, I turned to G-Man during one of the sessions and said (well, wrote, we were passing notes like high school students), "If you are thinking you don't want to do this, tell me soon because I am becoming more and more committed." Very quickly after starting the training sessions, I started noticing my heart burning in class. And I truly mean I felt like my heart was burning and swelling! It was filling up with love for the future children who would come under my roof. After that class, G-Man shared that he, too, was sensing this was our path.
One key sign for us that this was our path was how the my idea of growing our family, my struggles with infertility and the monthly wait between ovulation and the next cycle changed. It is funny how you develop pictures in your head and heart of what your family is going to look like. For a long time there was a painful disconnect with the picture in my heart of our family and the reality before us. Pregnancy wasn't a realistic probability and yet the picture in my heart was one of conception, pregnancy and birth. There were times when the reality seemed to be permanent childlessness and the picture was full of children!
This picture of our family in my heart changed as we went through the training. Now I wanted our family to look different then what we thought for years it would look like. Now I WANTED our family to look different then our friends families. I wanted the challenge of foster care and adoption. When we discussed loss, the hard places the children have been and how difficult this would be, how this requires for a different type of parenting, I was feeling called out! The picture in my heart was changing and it was matching the reality before us!
This hit home the most when I had a long cycle during the training. As a FertilityCare practitioner you would think that I don't have confusing charting times. I do, like everyone. Sometimes my cycle throws a curve ball at me. This was one of those times. And I took a pregnancy test, the first pregnancy test I took in years. And it was negative, of course. But during that time, when I thought about pregnancy, yes, part of me was happy with the 'possibility' but I noticed a disconnect in my heart between this slim possibility and what I wanted. I didn't want to be pregnant, not like I wanted to do foster care and adoption. My heart wasn't yearning for pregnancy like it was yearning for foster care and adoption! I'd like to think that this was God unifying my hearts desires to His will. This was a huge confirmation for us that this is the path we are to take!
When we started the training we were both very nervous about foster care, birth families and really the sense of unknown and lack of control. But as we went through the training, we became more and more confirmed that God is in control. We still, obviously, don't know what our placement situation is going to look like but we are excited. Our life is quiet, peaceful, calm and orderly right now. We felt like we were standing on the brink of a mess. We don't have to jump into the mess. We could just stay in our calm life. But Christ was there, in the mess, calling us out. Or, to get more biblical, we felt safe in the boat but Christ was out on the water, calling us to risk it and come out onto the water with Him. We decided to risk it, to make a mess of our calm life, to stir the pot and agitate our peaceful life. We can't wait!