Funny. I haven’t posted in a year and now 2 posts in two days??? WOW!!! I wanted the update and the new plan to be two different posts because one was kind of where we’ve been and the other is where we are going. This one is kind of a long one but well worth the read!
When we originally started towards the process of adopting through the foster care system in October 2010. We were discussing with our licensing specialist about fostering, foster to adopt, and adopting, what the differences were, and how we should move forward.
Fostering: Bringing children into your home with the purpose of caring and loving the them, while their family has the opportunity to meet certain requirements for the them to return home. The initial goal is always for the kids to return home or be placed with a family member if unable to go back to birth parents. If family is unable to take the child, the foster parents have first option to adopt the child. If the foster parents do not choose to adopt, the child is placed on the adoption registry. This type of placement has a lot of unknowns and there is a high likelihood for reunification and having a multitude of placements before we might be able to adopt.
Foster to Adopt: In this stage, the foster parents are not planning on adopting the child and the case plan for the child is moving for adoption. The parental rights have not been severed yet, but reunification is unlikely. CPS will work through the process of red file staffing and choosing an adoptive family for the child to be placed with. With this placement type, there is less chance of the child returning home, however it is still an option. Also, family members could be located who will take the child and you still might lose the placement and not get to adopt this child.
Adoption: This type of placement occurs when the parental rights are already severed and the case plan is adoption. The foster parents are not adopting, an adoptive family is selected and the child is placed with them. This is the safest route with the smallest chance of not being able to adopt the child.
Initially, we were planning on fostering with the hopes of adopting children one day who came into our home and were unable to reunite with their birth family. Being supportive of our ultimate goal of adoption, our licensing specialist encouraged us to start with adoption or foster to adopt. We really wanted to add to our family as soon as possible and were willing to take the extra risk and chose Foster to Adopt as the placement type we would accept.
From the Decision to Now: The Process & Events
We have been on the adoption registry for two and a half years now and do not have children in our home yet. We have had a potential foster to adopt and a private adoption fall through in this timeframe. We have also had one little girl we were contacted about but not chosen for the red file staffing. And another child we were contacted about that we were chosen for the red file staffing but we felt the needs were beyond what we were capable of and the child needed a true stay at home parent who didn’t work.
When preparing to decide if we were going to renew our adoption certificate this year, we had many lengthy discussions about our future and plans, being in limbo, frustration, and discouragement. We have love to give and want to experience the joy of parenting. After previous disappointments we weren’t sure how much more we can handle.
Limbo is an awful place in between setting out on a mission and achieving the desired result. When reaching your goal is out of your control and your life is in someone else’s hands, it can be maddening! I have been taught lesson after lesson through the process of infertility, pregnancy loss, feeling like my body is failing me and I am failing my husband, and potential adoptions not working out.
Patience is something I have been tested with over and over again, as well as releasing things, trusting in God and believing there is a plan for my life even when it seems impossible. Sometimes I would really love a flashing neon sign showing me the plan and explaining why the road has to be so rough, however I do believe everything happens for a reason. Ultimately we have learned we are an amazing, strong people and our relationship has grown and blossomed. In August, our plan became not to renew our certificate, to let our current one run out and that would be it. We were disappointed and did not feel we would receive an adoption placement for our preferred age range but didn’t feel changing our parameters was the right thing to do. We have aired on the side of the cautious one, not pushing each other into anything. I was very unsettled with this decision. I was crying every day and not ready to accept I would never be a parent.
For quite some time I have felt called to fostering but have been resistant because I wanted less risk and more certainty. I was feeling particularly distraught one day and while online I searched for a church I had been to a long time ago. I found the website and I watched some sermons online. I was having a crisis of faith and truly was seeking help, guidance, or comfort with our decision and decided to go to church the next day. A friendly woman sat next to me. After the service she talked with me, said God told her she was to sit next to me, she asked questions, I cried, and she prayed with me. Later she introduced me to a member who is currently fostering. Both ladies offered support and encouragement and I felt comfortable and loved (even after crying in front of strangers). When I got home, we had another difficult conversation where I expressed I was not done or ready to accept I would not be a parent and believed we were called to foster. We decided to renew our adoption certificate at this time but could not come to agreement on fostering.
The unknown’s of fostering when you are hoping to adopt can be challenging. In the process we could have the opportunity to bless multiple children and enjoy parenting even if it is for a short time. But also know we may be faced with reunifying multiple children and not have the opportunity to adopt arise. When we went notarize our adoption paperwork, the notary who signed our paper last year talked to us about how he is fostering and now adopting a foster child. He discussed his experiences, providing encouragement and answered questions. It multiple ways, God was leading us towards what I already felt called to do.
We have decided to move towards fostering at this time. We have completed the classes we needed but still have additional paperwork and an inspection to pass before approved. We are both excited and nervous about our new path, and are hopeful it will lead to adoption one day. We know our family and friends share in the roller coaster ride of building our family and hope to receive the continued support of our loved ones on this new journey.
J & M
A week ago we were contacted by our licensing specialist. Another county was looking for families who would want their files looked at for a child who would have some special needs. Our licensing specialist gave us some information and asked if we would like to have our file put on the case managers desk to be considered for baby A. After reviewing the information we had received we let her know we did want our file passed on and wanted to be considered for the Red File Staffing for baby A.
We were nervous to tell anyone about the call because this was a weird preliminary call and we had not yet been selected for the Red File Staffing, we only knew our file would be looked at. We didn’t want to jinx our chances by telling everyone. Silly, I know.
We can’t say much but here is what we can tell you. Baby A was a 13 month old girl who had already been faced with a lot in life and at this point there was a lot of unknowns regarding how lasting her special needs would be.
We were secretly really confident we would at least make it to the Red File Staffing and probably even get selected. We thought this because I am an ICU nurse, baby A’s special needs, and since J and I work opposite shifts, we are considered a stay at home parent. These were two BIG things in our favor.
We thought and considered the special needs and the challenges we may face but were excited and confident we were ready to take on this challenge.
While waiting to hear if we were selected to be in the Red File Staffing, I was praying for God’s will. If baby A was the right baby for us, we would be selected. If baby A was not the child he wanted us to have, I wanted the decision to be made for us. I didn’t want us to be faced with the decision of not choosing her if we felt the challenges would be too much upon learning more information. I know being in that situation would be really hard for us because we are so ready to be parents.
Tuesday we were contacted by our specialist, letting us know we were not chosen to be in the Red File Staffing. We were all shocked based on the particular special needs and my nursing background that we weren’t selected to be in the staffing. At this point in the game, they don’t tell you why you weren’t selected. Normally you wouldn’t even know they were looking at your file until you were asked to be in the Red File Staffing.
I guess we are encouraged our file has been looked at and considered. Surprised we didn’t make the Red File Staffing on this one. And trying to believe the reason we weren’t chosen is because my prayer was answered that we wouldn’t have to choose not to take her because her medical needs were too great.
It is amazing how attached you can get and how easily your heart can start loving this little being that isn’t in your life yet.
If you would like to receive “short and humorous reminders of life’s magic and your divinity,” you can do so at http://www.tut.com.
You sign up for this club and it sends you daily personalized (positive) emails from the Universe. At the point I read her post, I was feeling a little blue contemplating how long our wait will be. I thought how great it would be to have a daily reminder of the positive things in life.
Ironically the very next day I received this message:
All is well, Michelle. You don’t have to like or love everything or everyone, not in the usual sense. Injustices and villains always abound during primitive times. You knew this would be true before you chose this life, just as you knew that the good and the beauty would far exceed the bad and the ugly.
Life is beautiful,
The last part is what stood out to me “the good and the beauty would far exceed the bad and the ugly”. I am sure everyone who signs up for the club gets the same messages and they are just personalize it with your name, but this felt like it was speaking to me almost as a reply to my blog.
It just reminded me to focus on the reward of this long journey and it will be so wonderful and beautiful the challenges will be well worth it!
Today we went to the bookstore and I got a few books. One is a book about gratitude. I have been feeling warm, blessed, happy, and loved lately. I feel ever so grateful for all the blessings I have in my life, wonderful friends and family.
Here are some quotes I like:
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. ~ Melody Beattie
Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude. ~ Denis Waitley
Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence. – Helen Keller
My cup runneth over!
I want to thank each and every one of our family members and friends! So many people are being kind, supportive, generous, and loving in this process for us. May all of you be abundantly blessed!