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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Switching Gears from African Adoption to Foster Care

As our family switches gears from being focused on African adoption to domestic foster care, God has shown me over and over that “yes” doesn’t mean “right now” and the opposite, “not right now” doesn’t mean “no”.   In other words, we’ve decided officially to wait a few years to start the Ugandan adoption process to create a little distance between our “red flags” (refer our blog post titled “red flags” for more info.) and the adoption.  The advice I’ve been given by a few social workers is that sometimes just having a long period of time (I’ve mostly heard that 10 years is the “magic” number) where there are no “offences” can make all the difference.  While we are waiting, we decided that we still wanted to touch the broken hearts of little ones by becoming foster parents.
We are in the part of the foster care process where we’ve taken the classes and done all the paper work and are now waiting for our official home study.  Our case worker has been to our house and her exact words were “don’t change a thing” so I can only assume that we should be ok.  With that said, I’ve heard that some agencies will drag their feet (which this agency is doing right now in regards to starting our home study) until there are children that need to be placed and then they will work backwards by assigning us children and then pushing our home study though at the last minute.  Every day I wonder if “today is the day” they are going to call me with children and I’m expecting it to be a surprise.  
Foster care is very “bitter sweet” because on one hand, I really want to be there for kids with broken hearts and wish they’d hurry up already and assign us kids.  On the other hand, getting assigned kids means that another family is being torn apart.  I guess it’s kind of like what they tell us as Army wives when our husbands are deployed:  “No news is good news”. 
I get asked a lot of we are fostering to adopt.  The answer is “I don’t know”.  I have a dear friend who is adopting though the same county in which we will be fostering and she says that the waiting adoptive parents to children actually up for adoption ratio is something like 10 waiting families for each one kid (or set of siblings) available for adoption.  I read somewhere that around 46%(ish) of foster kids get reunited with their birth parents.  Part of me thinks that between the TON of waiting parents and a great amount of reunification going on that we may opt to not adopt.  With that said, I cannot imagine having a child here for a long time and them thinking of Rich and I as “mom and dad” and then sending them away to be adopted by a different family.  I’m completely against kids moving from home to home and getting “lost” in the system.  I’m not sure that Rich and I are on the same page with this but I believe that both of us are just waiting and seeing what God has in store rather than trying to plan something that is very unpredictable. 
In the mean time, I’ve begun praying for the little ones that will come stay with us, whether temporary or permanent.  I don’t know who they are or what they look like.  I don’t know exactly how old they are and what they have gone through but I can’t wait to meet them.  All in God’s time.