Ready or not...
"Foster Care requires a lot of waiting and patience."
Okay, so when we first started telling people about our desire to do foster care, we had many friends and family members supporting us and offering encouragement. We also ran into a few people who had done foster care themselves and all of them had said similar things to "it's a long process to get certified, so don't get discouraged." Great advice from people who had done this before us, so I had started mentally preparing for a long process. I had estimated 7-9 months from application process to final home study and state certification.
We sent in our application at the end of September with this agency and waited about 2 weeks to hear anything back about if we were accepted. When I heard from my parents and others that they had received their reference letters in the mail, I knew things were getting rolling. Thank goodness for 11 references who sent there papers in quickly!! Shortly after, I got our first phone call from our caseworker saying if was time to meet up and get things going. I was pumped.
We met with our caseworker for the first time on November 5. Up until this point we didn't know anything. She arrived to our home and introduced herself, she explained the foster care process, what it could look like for us and then at the very end of our time together, she passed along a flash drive with so many documents on it. Her comment to me in the middle of our time together was, "If all goes according to plan, you'll have a kid in 3 months." Ummm.. okay. I'm not complaining that this is moving faster than we thought, but what happened to taking a while and having patience? That puts us into February to be certified.
Alright, so a little thing (it's actually not that little) about me is that I love checklists. So when I opened up this USB folder with a checklist at the top, I went a little crazy- the very night we received all the info, I started gathering everything I could (our birth certificates, pay stubs, diplomas, health records, etc.). My poor husband said, "Babe, you know we don't have to complete the list tonight." I even waited two days to send the email with all the documents so our caseworker didn't think I was absolutely nuts.
I had to slow it down a little after that because training took time and I needed to make sure I didn't burn out my husband before we were even certified. But he was amazing! As weird as it sounds, I loved accomplishing the tasks and he went along with it all and finished everything I threw at him.
The online trainings took the longest time and I bet we are more prepared than most new parents ever are. Where's the safest part of your car to put the carseat? How much faster does a child overheat compared to an adult? What are the side effects to ALL psychotropic medication? How quickly can you exit your house if there was a fire? Can you apply a tourniquet if need be and how long do you have until the limb is no longer viable while wearing one? For real. And we had to pass tests at the end of every training. So have no fear, the Dukes are well prepared all the kids!
Anyway, we had our final home study on December 3. That's one month after got the packet. We have one more class to do but that has to be done in person and couldn't be scheduled till the first of January. So here we are, we have a crib and a carseat and we are completely done with the checklist I received.
*In case you were counting, my 7-9 month guess was a little off. We are preparing to welcome kid(s) into our home by mid January.