A stack of paperwork sits on my desk. A daunting task awaits us and its even more difficult when your cat decides to sit on ALL the paperwork. She has made herself comfy and by the looks of things isn’t going anywhere soon. This has been a very busy two weeks, for my husband and I, and it is not slowing down. I have yet to put pen to the papers (mostly due to my purring kitty), lots and lots of papers. Twelve pages filled with questions included in the stack, a total of eighty (yep 80) to be answered (each), not just a yes or no question, some of them are, but most require an explanation a detailed account of everything from childhood to our present life, and contracts and authorizations and so on. Boxes to check, dotted lines to sign, dates to enter and documents to submit. Research to do, as in looking up ALL the schools in our district K-12. It is a lot and it is overwhelming and necessary. While it seems like an intrusion since most heterosexual couples don’t even need a class to have children, we completely understand the need for such an in-depth process. These are kids we’re dealing with and it is necessary to ensure they will be in more than capable hands when all is said and done.
The first step is complete; orientation.
In a room with over forty folks, some couples, some individuals all there for a multitude of reasons. Beginning their family, extending their family or trying to get a biological child family member into their homes. The one reason we were all there is to provide a loving and caring home to a child in need. We listened carefully to the presenter as they explained the basics of fostering/adopting through the state of Washington. The number one goal of the foster care system is to return the children to their biological families and may take up to two years to be legally free to adopt. The presenter laid it out to us perfectly “if I had a niece or nephew out there somewhere needing a home, I would hope someone would try to find me”. Agreed, I would too. If a biological family member cannot be found and the mother and father aren’t capable of raising their child, that child can then be adopted by their foster family. I am still unclear the details on what that looks like if we only want to adopt without fostering but will find out more through the classes we attend this weekend. My husband and I have different views on whether or not fostering is right for us, it is a lot to take in. If we submit the stack of paperwork and complete the classes in a timely manner it should take around ninety days to become a licensed foster care family. At this point we are solely seeking to adopt, to be a forever family. Don’t get me wrong we would be a wonderful interim family but we’re not quite there.
After the orientation we grabbed a bite to eat to discuss our views on being a foster family. Our major goal is to be a forever family, the idea that we could grow to love a child, teach them, care for them be a large part of their lives and then have to give them up is heartbreaking. The emotional attachment involved is serious and we’re not sure that is a road we want to take. For now. We decided that if we were sitting at the table a year from now without a prospective adoption in the works, we will reopen the discussion of fostering. We plan on completing the entire process now because our license is good for two years. I have a background in social work, I have the training and tools to separate the emotional attachment if or when a foster child returns to their biological family, my husband – by not fault of his own – does not. He would be devastated if one of our children were to have to leave our home and understandably so. Its the very reason there is such a high need for foster families, it’s not easy. We’re not object to fostering and in fact may even decide to be a foster family after we have legally adopted a child or two or three, because we would have our forever family and be able provide a good home to a child in need even if for a short while, for me, that is a win win. But as first time parents, the idea that fostering, for the most part, is only for a short while is like the stack of paperwork sitting next to me, daunting.
Compromise and communication are essential tools in any marriage, I respect my husbands feelings and emotions, it is a clear indication of how much of a devoted father he will be. It is why I fell in love with him in the first place his heart is huge and he has so much love to give. He has a kindness in him that can only be described as beautiful. He wears his heart on his sleeve and I love him for that.
By completing everything for a foster care license, it will open up our journey to adoption. We will have completed all the necessary home visits, classes, background checks, interviews and paperwork. We can then seek out agencies that will help us find our forever family. I’m not sure what that looks like just yet, for now we will finish up the required twenty four hours of training by Sunday. Four classes over the course of two weekends, it is a bit exhausting and exciting and nerve-wracking and emotional and necessary.
Now its time to get the cat off the paperwork.
Please comment if you have any questions or thoughts on the subject of fostering, or a story about a cat who doesn’t care what you’re doing so long as they’re in the middle of it