The following is an actual IM conversation with my BFF. (Note: Apparently my dream self is a skank who deserves to be on the Maury Povich show and does not represent my actual real-life sexcapades.)
My family and friends have asked me repeatedly when ‘K’ will come live with me for good. The answer varies week to week, sometimes day to day. In order for her to stay with me over night, I was required to take a series of training courses. Next, we were waiting on our case-worker to make a decision. Then we had the setback and everyone just held their breath until she made her decision.
“Do you have a specific reason that makes you unsure of the adoption?”
“There are two, but I’m not sure how to put my thoughts into words.”
Over the next week, I talked to ‘K’ on the telephone every night. We talked for 30 minutes to an hour each night about her school day, her friends and the trouble she was having with her foster mother. Soon, her foster mother was calling me during the day so that we could form a bond and work together.
The weekend after we met, 'K' attended a church retreat at Adventures Unlimited. I was invited to join them at the campground while they zip-lined (of course I was too scared to zip-line, but I did have fun watching and filming her).
The past few months I began to get very discouraged with the adoption process. It seemed as though everything I was told about the process was slowly unraveling. I was told that they’d be beating down my door for placements because my selection criterion was so broad. I have been “considered” as a prospective parent for several children/sibling groups; but nothing ever came of them. I reached the point of frustration with the process at the end of July and began rethinking my goals. In August, I found out I was denied for one sibling group because one of the children had asthma and I’m a smoker. That nearly drove me to give up on the whole process. I emailed the placement coordinator with my concerns. She told me not to take the rejection personally and that this was all just part of the process in finding my “forever” child.
Then, something pretty cool happened….
Back in May, I mentioned a child named ‘K’. After I wrote the email telling the Placement Coordinator that I was interested, I never heard about ‘K’ again. I assumed that she had fallen into the “consideration” black hole like the other children. She had become nothing more than I picture saved on my phone and computer.
August 29th, I received a message from the placement coordinator; she asked me if I remembered ‘K’. She told me that ‘K’ was placed with a family over the summer but that placement didn’t work for various reasons. I remembered the conversations I had with my boss and my family about ‘K’ and how excited I was in thinking she would be a good match. Immediately, I responded that I would like to be considered.
On September 12th my Dad and I set out to visit ‘K’.
The morning of the 13th, we sat in a McDonald’s restaurant and my nerves nearly leaked all over the place. Soon, ‘K’ and her Case Manager walked in the door and all those nerves just melted away.
Those who know me well know I despise the Golden Hawg Trough (aka Golden Corral). It’s been several years since I’ve darkened their door however recently I was dragged against my will, kicking and screaming to the Pensacola location.
From the moment I started the adoption journey I’ve cringed at the thought of the home inspection. I’m not a crazy person with cats dying in the walls or bags of fecal matter stored in a closet but I just couldn’t stomach the idea of someone coming into my personal space and judging me.
When I was younger, every time we had guests in our home we had to go around cleaning for a week before they visited. We never lived in squalor, but my Mama was insane about people judging her home and how she kept it. I used to complain about it telling her “Your guests aren’t coming with white gloves. They want to see you not your home”. I never understood this craziness until the idea of home inspections….Mama, I get it COMPLETELY.
While going through the PRIDE classes I told my friends and family about my inspection anxiety. Being the kind souls they are, they each asked me what they could do to help. After asking if any of them had the ability to steer a category 5 hurricane toward my driveway, I sat down and started really thinking about the reasons I was nervous.
Since I first started talking about the idea of adopting, or fostering, children my immediate supervisor has been one of my biggest cheerleaders. He was a foster parent himself for a while, so he knows what a joy it can be.
This past week he’s been taunting me with the employee reference sheet he received in the mail. Today, he brought a copy to me and said “Ok, I mailed it out”.
Image courtesy of Google.com/Images
This Saturday my parents and my best friend, Colette, attended the adoption picnic with me.
The hour long trip to Navarre was filled with nervous energy and anticipation. We talked, laughed and nervously joked about “child shopping”.
The event was explained to me as a picnic and day at the park where all the kids available for adoption in our area would be present with their caseworkers. The foster parents and prospective adoptive parents would have an opportunity to meet the children, play with them and see if there were any connections.
Last Friday when I turned my application in at the adoption office, the counselor said “I was just thinking of you last week. Are you firm on what race of child you’re interested in taking?”
I told her “I’m not firm on anything except disabilities.”
“Would you consider adopting a child younger than 5?”
“I’m open to adopting any ages.”
“Would you consider a legal risk Foster?”
“I am only open to Fostering if the agency feels as though the chance of birth parent reunification is less than 10%.”
“We have a sibling group of four available right now. They are legal risk, not all have rights terminated yet. Their ages range from 3 years to 14 years old. There are 2 girls and 2 boys.”