Where does the time go? So much has happened since my last post. We’ve been in our new house for two years now and have yet to fill it up. We’d been trying to have kids for years – yes, years to no avail. I had refused to get checked out because honestly, I didn’t want to know that there might be a problem. Well, finally last January I decided it was time. So we met with a fertility specialist and had some tests done. Turns out both of us have some issues and the chances of us conceiving is quite small – not impossible, but highly unlikely. We were both upset, but I was devastated. All I’ve ever wanted was a family with a house full of children. I’ve always pictured myself with kids – several of them. After the initial shock wore off we looked at our options. There are a few, including in-vitro and embryo adoption. But it’s really expensive and there’s no guarantee that it’ll work. Which leads me to how we made the biggest decision of our lives thus far.
Even before we were married, we’ve always talked about adoption. There are so many wonderful children that just need a place to call home. You see, adoption was always in our plan but our plan was to have our child first, get some experience and then adopt. Well, as we all know things don’t go according to plan. So we decided to attend an adoption information seminar in September. After much discussion, we decided to submit an application with a well-known agency. I researched several agencies and the one we picked came with references from several people I talked to that had adopted. Once our application was received we met with a social worker. She asked the standard questions about why we want to adopt, etc. Then she invited us to attend special parenting classes for prospective adoptive & foster care parents, called MAPP. MAPP classes are only held once a quarter so we had to wait…. four months!
Finally, in February we start attending MAPP. Boy, was it a lot different from what we expected. Much to Cru’s horror, there was even homework! From what I understand normally classes are held over several weeks with one or two classes a week. With winter weather and cancellations, we ended up finishing 30+ hours of class (including CPR certification) in about a month. Knowing people who have adopted, people who were adopted themselves and the situation with my mom having custody and raising my stepbrother’s kids I thought I had a pretty good idea of what it takes and how difficult it could be…. yeah, not so much. We were a bit surprised at some of the situations these kids in foster care go through and what kind of home life they come from. I remember one particular class where our instructor did a guided imagery exercise that had a huge impact on me. She had us sit back and relax, close our eyes and just picture us in the situation she’s explaining. As she talked, she’d stop every so often and ask one of us to tell how we were feeling in that exact moment. When it was my turn I was so engulfed in emotion that I could barely speak. It was so vivid, felt so real, I was overcome and it upset me more than I would’ve ever imagined. Another class involved a panel of families that had been through the foster care/adoption process. The families were very open and it was extremely helpful to be able to ask questions about their experiences.
Ah… and then there was the paperwork! There is so much paperwork! In addition to the background checks, fingerprinting, driving records, etc. We each (each!) had to complete a profile that was about 30 pages. Some of it was general information such as medical history, but most of it was open-ended discussion questions related to how we were raised, how we showed emotion, how we plan to raise our kids, etc. These were not questions that you could complete in an instant, these were thought-provoking questions that made you really dig deep – sometimes just trying to answer the question caused an emotion that I/we weren’t exactly prepared for. Then there was the ‘preferences’. When choosing to become an adoptive or foster parent, you have to choose your preferences – basically what you can/can’t or choose not to handle. There’s the basics – are you open to any gender, race, age? And then there are the more difficult decisions – are you open to a child with a medical condition, behavioral issues, developmental delays…? I could not even begin to list all of the different possibilities on that several page list of issues a child in foster care could have, it was shocking. Things I would’ve never even thought about before. The hardest part was saying no to those things I know I couldn’t handle even though it hurt me to know that there is a child with that particular issue that just needs someone to love and care for them. In my heart I wanted to say yes to all of them but I know that I have my limits to what I can physically & emotionally handle – not to mention Cru and I have to be in complete agreement so that our marriage doesn’t suffer. The last thing we’d want to do is bring a child into our home when we can’t give them what they so need.
So, after the emotional roller coasters we finished up and our social worker submitted her report to the state requesting our foster care license. And now we wait…
The waiting is agonizing. Our friends and family are always checking in – “so how’s it going, heard anything yet?” Nope, still waiting and it could be months. We’re so thankful for all of the love and support we’ve had while going through this process. It makes me smile to know that our loved ones share in our excitement and encourage us to continue down this path. I certainly hope that we’ll continue to have their support going forward. As I said before this wasn’t really part of our plan, but apparently it was His plan. I don’t know what’s to come and that’s both scary and exciting.