foster parenting adventure

so apparently I haven’t said a single thing about our new pursuit of a foster care license online. If I think about it, I think I’ve only mentioned it to about two friends in real life…mostly because ever since we decided to pursue fostering, nothing has happened to move it forward. here’s the story of how we find ourselves elbow deep in redundant paperwork:

Last November, Kyle had a particularly heart-wrenching encounter with a little two-year old boy on a call at work. Kyle found this little guy on a bed in a horrible drug house, surrounded by trash and old food crumbs, obviously neglected, drug-impacted (there was drug paraphernalia near his bed) and far behind developmentally. After a stern conversation with this boy’s mother, and placing the child in an emergency foster home, Kyle came home wanting to do something more. We talked and prayed about looking into foster parenting and called our county to start the process.

We received some basic info in the mail in December, and called back to schedule the next step, but were told they do orientation once a quarter and there had been one recently – the next one would be in the spring of 2011. So we went on with life and I read up on foster care kids, foster care challenges and every blog about fostering/adoption I came across. I recalled my experiences as a house parent to 22 kids at the children’s home in Florida and thought how “easy” it would be to only have one or two kids to care for.

Earlier this month we finally heard from the Foster Care Manager that the next orientation was scheduled for this week and gratefully, it fell on a day Kyle already had off and we could easily attend. Grandma Char and Aunt Molly came to watch Jackson and we sat through a 67 slide PowerPoint presentation on how our house needs to be set up, rules and regulations, information on procedures and how the system works and detailed information on foster care needs in our county.

Later in the afternoon we started on our Mt. Everest of paperwork with duplicate forms going to different state and local agencies, realizing once again that government is anything but efficient. 😛 We also heard from a 12 year veteran foster parent on her experiences and some of her favorite tips and tricks to making kids feel at home and loved in a difficult time. She said two things that really stuck with me.

The first: “The hardest part is always letting them go home.” And the other was her personal vision for fostering to adopt.  She hopes is to adopt as many kids as possible from the MN Waiting Children list until she is too old to do so. Let me tell ya – she’s no spring chicken either – I’m guessing she is near 60 and her youngest adopted child is 5. So far she has adopted 8 kids and more are going to be the lucky ones to have her for an adoptive mom.

I learned that most adoptions of kids in the Minnesota system take just about as long as it does to grow a baby: 9-10 months. Sometimes it can take up to a year if its a confusing or complicated case. There are about 350 kids waiting to be adopted in our state right now. I share this mostly because it was interesting information to me, not because we are actively pursuing adopting through the foster care system. We are definitely open to it if God brings us a kiddo that can’t be reconciled to their family and needs a forever home.

I will not lie: this is a little nerve-wracking for sure. You never know what placement you could get. You can’t possibly know all the pain and hard things a kid has experienced in their short life until you start loving on them and it unravels. I feel like we have absolutely no idea what we are getting into, but am confident that with the massive amount of resources and the power of a Mighty God at our disposal, we can do this. “He is faithful who called you, who also will do it.”

Thanks for your interest, prayers and support as we start this adventure! It will take 2-4 months for us to complete the licensing process and are ready to accept kids. Placements have been down over the past few years in our county (a very good thing!) but there is a possibility other counties would bring their kids to us if we’re available. At the beginning, we will be available for emergency shelter care and respite care and later we will move to longer-term placement status and foster-to-adopt.

So here we go! Into the wild blue yonder that is full of clouds of grace and mercy. We just want to be faithful to Christ’s call to be his hands and feet – to care for the orphan and widow and to be His light in a dark world.

Author: jomegs

my life is full and beautiful because the Lord of all creation has seen fit to take me as His own. I have a wondeful husband, five incredible kids, a sweet yellow lab, and we live in a lovely house in a small town. I throw the occasional temper tantrum, love good food, bake drool-worthy treats, and have a love affair with French-pressed coffee, mountains, and the North Shore of Lake Superior.

10 thoughts on “foster parenting adventure”

  1. Hey Jo-

    I so admire anyone that has a heart for this! If you want anyone else to give you insight, I have a fabulous aunt and uncle in northern MN that did foster care for, I think, 20-some years and adopted a few. I’m sure my aunt Barb would love to talk to you- let me know!

  2. That’s neat! My family did foster care for a while. for sure the hardest part was letting them go :-(.

    I’ve tried to go about doing it myself but because of my situation at this time I could only do teenagers which I don’t feel comfortable with.

  3. Awesome! My family did foster care growing up and three of my siblings are adopted.

    We have definitely talked about doing foster care and especially emergency foster care for kids with special needs (or Deaf if there ever was the need)but haven’t been brave enough to do so yet.

    Way to listen to his calling. Excited to hear about your journey! Praying for you guys!

    1. I think I need to call you again (when Jack is not freaking out and I’m not shopping! lol) and hear more about your experiences growing up with foster kids. It’s a little scary, but I know God is faithful and will help us through the inevitable hard/ugly/awful parts.

  4. How exciting to see how God will direct you & your family. I have quite a few friends who are in the process & fostering right now. Some in my church, and others in other states. It’s neat to watch their “story” unfold. My prayers are with you.

  5. I was waiting for this post! You know you will be in our thoughts and prayers. No child could ask for a more loving and hospitable home than the one you have to offer. You will do great. Please keep us posted and let us know more specifically how we could pray.

    1. Pray specifically that God would give us courage and wisdom together as we encounter placements. I’m definitely nervous about getting some poor kid that has major behavioral issues that we can’t handle.

  6. Thanks for sharing this and for being willing to open up your hearts and home to these kids. You guys will be a bright spot in the lives of many children I’m sure 🙂

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