Saturday, November 10, 2012

We're going to be parents!

So…we’re growing our family…what?!  That’s right. And, right now, the way we feel led to do this is through foster care (and possibly/probably adoption, eventually). We feel strongly that God calls us to love others as He loves us, and that we have a special obligation to care for the marginalized (James 1:27). Children in the foster care system come from many different types of situations, and they experience many heartbreaking things, but many times they don’t have anyone to show them love and support, and help them heal. We want to open our home to these kids and welcome them into our family so we can extend love and support to them in this way. Whether these kids are with us for three days, three years, or forever, we will view them as part of our family.

Currently, we are waiting for our clearances from the state before we can move on with our licensing. We are done with all of our training hours and all of the paperwork (so…much…paperwork). Once we get our clearances, we will have a home visit to make sure everything is up to the licensing standards, and then we’ll be able to get our license. After we get our license, we could get a placement at any time – that day, a few weeks later, a few months later. We’re hoping it won’t be too long.

We want and need your support, encouragement, and prayers as we begin this next phase of our family life. This may look different than the way people traditionally start families, but this what our family will look like. Holy crap – we’re about to have kids! We’re “expecting,” we just don’t have a due date.  So please, please be excited with us, ask questions, share your parenting advice, and hold us up in prayer.

This is a BIG deal! There’s so much to know about the foster care system, and we know you probably have some questions. Here is some basic information that will begin to answer some of them…

Our kids:
We are prepared to welcome sibling groups of two children, ages 4 to 9 into our home. We are open to any race or gender, but due to regulations on space, we will be accepting siblings of the same gender.

Show & Tell:
We want you to be involved in our family in every way possible; however, some information about the children has to remain confidential. Details like names, ages, birthdates, etc., will not be shared on this blog or other public sites, but we will be able to communicate those things in person. Information about the children’s family, medical status and case details must remain confidential.

Flash Photography:
Of course our children will be adorable, but DCFS policy is that pictures of foster children may not be posted online. We won’t be able to post or email pictures of the kids, and we’ll need your cooperation in not posting pictures that you may take of the kids.

Share the Love:
We will view, and treat, these children as members of our family, and we expect anyone involved in our lives to do the same. We expect our friends and family members to treat these children the same as if they were our biological children.

These kids will have been through difficult situations, and may display some seemingly odd behaviors. We are working with a team of professionals to support, nurture, and discipline the kids in a way that is best for their development. These parenting techniques may seem strange and different, but we ask that you respect the plan our team has put in place. If you have concerns in this area, please discuss it with us away from the children.

Additionally, DCFS law states that ONLY the foster parents are allowed to discipline the foster children. If you’ll be spending time with the kids, it will be very important for you to understand and adhere to this policy.

Let’s Party:
Spending time with family and friends during holiday and special occasions is important to us, and we look forward to including our foster children in these special times. However, please be patient and understanding if we have to adjust our plans or miss an event because of special needs of the children.

Hello, my name is…
Depending on their age and comfort level, we will invite our foster children to call us some variation of mom and dad, or by our first names. As we’ve said, we view these children as part of our family, so we will refer to them as our kids. We would love for you to call them your grandkids, nieces, nephews, whatever applies. We do not want the kids to feel singled out by referring to them as the “foster kids.”

Get Attached:
In recent years, the DCFS has recognized that it is vital to child development to learn how to attach to trusted individuals. It is important that we bond with the children, as it will help build this skill for their future relationships, and develop their self worth.

Many of the kids that come into our family may not stay forever, but we believe that building attachment is more important for their future than the pain we may feel if and when they leave. We would love for you to build relationships with the kids as well, despite the potential loss.

We realize that this information is very brief, and you may have more questions. We hope to be able to update you on this blog regarding our family’s progress throughout this new phase in our life, as much as we can.

Thanks for supporting us in this exciting transition!

1 comment:

  1. Liz and Andy! Just found your blog, and so amazing to read about your expanding family!! Thanks for all your sharing on here... it's such a blessing to hear your hearts and learn about the process (especially as we look toward fostering in the future!). Prayers for you guys in all this!