Monday, April 20, 2009

Open Doors

So, I need to back up just a bit.

Since I was a young child I always knew that God had given me a strong desire and need to help others, specifically families and children. This is why I chose my profession as a Social Worker.

At the time I was in graduate school finishing up my Masters degree in Social Work. It was late fall 2005, and we were in the thick of trying to have a baby. Much to our frustration, it wasn't happening; and the desire for small footsteps in our house was enormous. Well, also at a very young age I knew I wanted to be a foster parent. My parents were foster parents. I think they fostered close to 100 babies in a short time frame. I don't remember this experience because I was either not born yet or just a toddler when they stopped, but I have studied the photos and stories of these children all my life. So, fall 2005, it was time to open our doors to help others.

I remember the moment it hit me. I don't know why or how. I was sitting in what was then our office (it is now a playroom :) reading some boring journals for school and it just hit me. I remember thinking, "now is the time." So, I called Seth at work and said exactly that. "Now is the time. We have no kids of our own, which means we can take all kinds of children (abused, sexual predators, etc...) into our home." This is every DCS workers dream, a young couple, experienced with troubled kids, without kids of their own, willing to take children that many others sadly won't or couldn’t. Typically, once you have small children of your own it is very difficult to bring other kids in, out of birth order, who will most likely have some severe social/behavioral issues. My loving husband, who was scared to death, agreed without hesitation and so it was.

So, I signed us up for the state mandated foster parent training classes. It was a little ironic that I had taught these same classes several years back, as I worked as a Social Worker with medically fragile foster children and was responsible for supervising the foster parents. Even so, every Wednesday night for many weeks, Seth and I made our way to the local public library for the trainings. We passed, got our state certificate and the "right" to foster parent and we waited, and we waited, and we waited...

The one agreement between Seth and I was that we were not in a position to accept teenagers. Seth travels a lot and neither of us thought it would be a good idea for me to try to parent adolescents who come with a lot of issues. So, here we were, every DCS workers dream, willing to take in almost any child or even children that needed us and the phone sat silently. It was so frustrating, months passed, no calls. I take that back, we did one call in the middle of the night about 3 girls (sisters) who had just come into care. Seth was out of town. They needed immediate placement and there was just no way of me handling that situation by myself. If I recall, the oldest was about 12 and the youngest was maybe 3. If Seth had been home, I am sure we would have decided differently. Or, if the call would have come in broad daylight, I may have said yes, who knows. Everything seems different when it's dark and you are awoken from a deep sleep. So, the decision was made. The timing was just not right for us and this placement. I was really sad about it.

So we waited and waited. We waited long enough for us to finally say enough is enough. I knew there were children out there that needed a loving home. I knew the issue wasn't a lack of foster children. I knew it just had to be a matter of confusion on the part of DCS (something we would later find all too common). Whatever the case, it had been months, 6 to be exact and we were ready to help, ready to be parents.

Back then I would tell myself what a great service we were providing the community. I was proud and allowed others to pat me on the back when I told them our plan. Now I am honest with myself and know that my need to mother was so strong that it was quite a selfish act. This was really about my need, not the children, not the community. Nonetheless, this was part of our journey and I now I have to believe that God will allow us to act selfishly at times if it means following his plan.

In late August of 2006 we made the decision to pull our home study with DCS and switch to a small, private agency across town in hopes that we would get the call we had been waiting for. Very shortly, we would find that this decision would change our lives forever.

**Sorry, I am exhausted and have to get up for work at 5:30 in the morning. Seth is out of town which makes for a super busy morning. I will continue the with our story tomorrow night.

Good night all...
The Bug had her first soccer game on Saturday!

We were so sad daddy couldn't be there.
"Feels like some kind of ride but it's turning out just to be life going absolutely perfectly."
-B. Andreas

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