Thursday, February 23, 2012

i think we just crossed the finish line

my 'safe baby' training was awesome

it just made me more passionate about caring for a foster child (if that was even possible)

i now have my first aid certificate - i hope i never have to use it

i got a call today while i was over at a friends house

it was august

she let me know that our home study was approved by the different levels in the ministry! :)

she said she will mail it to us - have us sign it and then mail it back to them.

they will then assign us a social worker, sign a contract and we are open and available to accept a child.

accept she said your case the placement workers already know about you and you may receive a call from them before your contract is signed. normally we don't like to do that but in this case if there is a baby or toddler who comes into care they can call you for a placement.


that means (potentially) we could get a call at anytime day or night and have a child.


we are ready.

i know that this is the calm before the crazy and our world is going to get rocked in a good way but also in a hard way. i am not naive and i know the challenges this will bring. but we are ready. this is where and what we are supposed to be doing. i have never felt stronger knowing we are doing what god has called us to do.

bring it!

this chapter is opening and i cant wait to find out what is in store for us - the good and the bad the ups and the downs.

our hearts can only grow bigger and stronger.

we are ready!


Sunday, February 12, 2012

almost at the finish line

i am just amazed at how fast this whole process has been.

fast and smooth sailing.

at our last training session i talked to two different ladies.

the first lady i talked to works for the foster parents association. she is taking the training course to get a better understanding of the process. she asked if we had started our home study. she was floored that we already completed it and that we only started the process in late fall. she asked what age group we would be caring for. i let her know that we are ideally wanting children 0-3. she asked if we would be taking the 'safe baby' training course. i said yes - i am starting next week. she looked so surprised. she went on to tell me that there is a long waiting list to get into that class. she was not able to attend that training because it is only for top priority applicants. she said some people wait a very long time to get in.

the second lady i talked to later in the evening was a mother of two young children (not sure if she is a stay at home mom). she said her and her husband have been in the process for two years. two years!! they finally got into the training session but have not started the home study. i was floored when she said two years. i felt kind of bad telling her we only started a few months ago. she was a lovely lady and about my age. i am sure through this process we will keep in touch and be supporters of each other.

it just truly makes you feel blessed to know how fortunate we have been in this process. 

this month is going to be busy!!

february 13th (tomorrow) i start the baby training course. it is a full day downtown.

february 18th is the second class for the safe baby training. i will be learning baby first aid as well.

february 20th is our make up session for the two classes that were canceled. it will be a full day as well as we will be doing two classes in one day.

my sister sara is being my angel and taking care of sophia on all three days. i was in a pinch because my parents are away attending my cousin libby's wedding - which by the way i am so sad to be missing.

so thank you auntie sara!

last week august came over to do the home safety check. we passed. we now have a pretty white fire extinguisher (did you know they made white ones?) all cabinets are baby proofed and our "rabbit hole" is nice and safe with a baby gate. all the little details are done.

the foster childs bedroom is done and done and it is adorable.

oh and we found the crib parts!!! woo hooo!!

it was so dramatic.

let me set the scene...

chris, sophia and i went to the storage locker and tackled
sophia was over tired and bored out of her little mind.
chris and i were starting to loooooose it.
we made the biggest mess ever.
we decided we were done and that there was nothing else we could do. we would just have to buy a toddler bed and use our playpen for a crib.
i started passing boxes back to chris so that he could put them away and make them all fit like the magic puzzle our storage locker is. he grabbed the box and he heard something rattle. he looked at me and said "did you hear that? that sounded like crib parts". pssht. yeah right. that box is solid and it says 'books' it is sooo not in there. i guess we should open it so we don't wonder if the *only* box we didn't open up did in fact hold the missing parts. and guess what......there were those crib parts!! stuck in a box that made absolutely no sense!! a box marked books?!?! whaaaaat?? but you should have heard my "woooooooohoooooooo" when i saw those plastic parts!! i scared sophia a little bit. we were soooo relieved to have found them! we set up that cute crib and we just kept the front railing off so it is the sweetest little toddler bed. and if we need the full crib all we do is pop on the front piece. so perfect. by the way sophia thinks it is fabulous and every once and a while sleeps in the "foster kids bed".

i really need to take some photos of these two sweet new rooms. it is literally a little girls dream upstairs.

if you have kept reading this far i applaud you.

i tend to ramble on this blog.

i just really want to remember these first stages  and how beautifully things went for us.

august is typing up our home study interviews and once she is done they will be sent to the different departments for review. once that is done and we are approved we will be assigned a social worker and we will receive a contract to sign and then we are put on the list and are open to receive a child.

august said that it can take a while for all the different departments to review all the paperwork but hopefully march will be the month that we are done!!

we are so close to the finishing line!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

four weeks later

really? its already been four weeks since my last post?

time certainly whips past you doesn't it?

im sitting here in a bit of a 'cough due to cold' funk. sophia is "helping" over at grama's and i am taking a break from my house chores. or i could just be procrastinating from my house chores. either way i am finally blogging!

lets catch up with where we are at in the process of becoming foster parents shall we?

january 5th - i met with august for our one on one interview.

january 17th - chris met with august for his one on one interview.

january 26th (that would be tonight) - august will do our *last* home study interview! she will also meet with my parents and do a small interview with them to verify that they are in fact normal people and can then be approved for babysitting.

did you hear that? our *last* home study interview!! holy moly.

as for our training at the mcfd we are two weeks behind. the first week back to training was cancelled since the instructor was sick and the second week back was cancelled due to crazy winter weather. hopefully they will do a make-up training session on a weekend and we can get 'er done all at once. we had our first training session of the year last night. so much information. so much heart ache. so much to be excited about. we can not wait to help these children and their families.

we have been busy on the home front getting our house ready. we did the big switcheroo of rooms on chris' christmas break. he is so lucky. a couple days of crazy was rewarded by a lovely and amazing new space for sophia. chris and i are really enjoying having our bedroom downstairs and its all just working out lovely. i cant wait to show you pictures of sophia's new room. it is pretty darn adorable if i do say so myself. also its practical so its a win win.

we have the crib waiting to be set up in the second bedroom. but we can't find the hardware to put it together. so unfortunate. some time in the very near future chris and i will have the pleasure of searching through our storage locker one box at a time looking for a ziploc bag that's marked "crib parts". i remember feeling really organized when i put them away. ha.

ok here is where i am going to get nice and cheesy.

the other night i had a dream that was so real and just what i needed to feel to be reassured. i know it was just a dream but sometimes i think God can work his magic in ways you least expect. i needed this dream to feel as real as it did. i wont get into all the details but basically in my dream i offered a father to help him take care of his daughter while he found help. in the dream he came back to me and said yes could you please help me. when we took her in she was dirty, sad and hopeless. we cared for her and loved her. the father came back and i willingly and gladly returned the girl to him. in my dream while the father carried her away she smiled at me the most beaming and genuine of smiles, she was healthy, happy and glowing. it felt so amazing and rewarding and real. i knew i had helped her and gave her the love and care she was needing but i was able to return her to her father with such delight. something i know that i will find extremely difficult. each child we will care for the main goal is to get them back with their birth families. i want to do this with a happy heart and know that this in the long run is what the child needs. each case will be different and some will be harder than others. there is so much beyond our control. i just want the wisdom to deal with each child in the best way possible. i also want to see and try to understand the birth families side and try and wrap my head around why they did or do the things they do. that is no small feat for any human but i really want the compassion to understand.

anyways that is just a drop in the bucket as to what i am feeling. there is so much depth to what fostering is. its the beginning of our journey and i am so confident that this is exactly where and what we are meant to be doing.

can i get an amen?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

first home study meeting

we had our first home study meeting with august on december fifteenth.

she came at dinner time and just as chris was coming home from work. we ate a yummy turkey pot pie and we had a lovely dinner together just like friends. it was pretty cool. sophia was being extra cute and well behaved (i swear i didnt bribe her). if you catch sophia on a good night its like magic if you catch her on a bad night good lord look out. lucky for us she was great and was even singing christmas songs and cracking jokes. good job sophia and thank you for not being a spazzomatic grumpy child.

after dinner sophia got to go hang out with grama linda and they went to a bethlehem walk at a nearby school. so awesome and right up her alley. i wished i could have gone. the students from the school reenact the christmas story. if you know sophia you know she loves the christmas story and loves to be mary.

anyways back to the meeting.

the night before chris and i filled out an 11 page questionnaire . we each filled in our own separately. it was a questionnaire that asked you to check the boxes that best describe such and such. it was mostly questions about our childhood, our parents, what we were like as children and teenagers, what our relationship is like, what are our partners personalities like, what are the roles/dynamics in our family, what are our parenting styles etc... a basic understanding of where we are coming from. i have to say that it was really fun to compare our questionnaires afterwards. so that is what you think of me chris?? i kept laughing because even the way we filled out our questionnaire was so different from each other. mine had many many boxes checked and chris had just one or two per question. he is to the point and i like to go on and on. it was a fun way to learn more about each other.

the meeting was very comfortable. august would ask us questions very similar to what was on the questionnaire and we would give our answers. we were very open honest and real. i tried not to talk too much so that chris would have time to pipe in and say his views. it was hard for me but i think i managed.

we talked for a couple hours getting into our relationship, childhood and parenting style.

in the new year august will call me and set up a time for her to come and interview just me, then she will set up a time to interview just chris and then after that we will have another joint interview. to my knowledge that is the end of the home study process. so much faster than i was expecting. after we finish the interviews she will type everything up and we will get to review what she has written to confirm that everything is accurate, then she will have two or three different levels in the ministry review us. (is it bad that whenever the word ministry is used i immediately think of the ministry of magic from harry potter?) if we are approved and everything goes as planned we sign a written contract and we get placed on the waiting list to accept children. august estimated that we would be complete by early spring. awesome.

chris has a week off and we are going to try and rearrange our house so that we can have that finished and sophia used to the new set up before we bring in a child. we really want to keep this huge transition as easy as possible for her. since our home is so small we have to make it work the best we can. so our game plan is as follows. our bedroom becomes sophia's new room / toy area. sophia's room becomes the foster childs room. our tv room comes back up stairs and our current living room becomes our bedroom. it will be a lot of work. but we know this arrangement will make the most sense. i want to do this soon so that sophia has time to adjust to her new special room and not have it feel like the foster child is stealing her bedroom. we are going to make it as practical as possible although my esthetically pleasing side is going to have a hard time with that. function over beauty at this point. deep breaths laura. make it work is my motto. we will also need to purchase a toddler bed. we have a crib but we won't know the exact age of the children coming in. so an easily movable toddler bed is in need. we also will be getting a new organizing cube shelf for the insane amount of toys sophia has. i will be doing a huge organization of toys and grouping it in age appropriate bins. sophia is a fan of all things small. not the best when you will soon have a little toddler or baby in the house. the other big thing i will need to tackle (but not yet) is organizing all the girl clothes we have in bins randomly scattered in storage lockers and basements. sophia's cousin lola borrowed all of sophia's clothes so going through and finding the right sizes and weather appropriate clothes is going to be a big project.

also, i really want to say THANK YOU to all of you that wrote encouraging comments or who emailed me or facebook messaged me. you are all amazingly awesome and it really encouraged us. we are so lucky to have such great friends and family behind us!! the reason we have this love to give is because we have been *given* so much love in our life. so thank you to all of you who have given us that love!!

i will keep you posted as soon as we know more!

Friday, December 9, 2011

lets start at the very beginning

i wanted to start this blog for the purpose of keeping track of the process that we are going through to become foster parents. it is always nice to look back and see how far you have come and to actually know the dates of when things happened.

this has been something that started as a little seed of thought in my heart about a year ago.

when we were told two years ago that our chances of having any more children were slim to none it was beyond devastating to me. heartbreaking news to say the least. you think your life is supposed to be a certain way and then bam it doesn't go that way. at the same time we were told that news everything else in our life was falling apart. chris had lost his job and it seemed like he was never going to find a new one. there was a lot of stress and tension going on between us. a trying time for sure. here is a post that i wrote around that time on little miss pearsonality, it touches the surface of what we were going through.

we moved back to maple ridge last summer and slowly but surely life started to get back to a happy place. chris found work last december and the relief was so wonderful. he is still enjoying his work - he works for a company that produces health supplements and vitamins. he does all their web work. so one of the perks is we have a lot of protein powders and supplements in our house. chris has been learning so much and is becoming quite the health nut - one day it will rub off on me. even sophia enjoys her protein shakes in the morning.

so as we gained back our happy place status we began trying for a miracle. of course month after month no miracle happened. even knowing there is little to no chance you still hold on to the thread of hope that a miracle will happen. we got pregnant with sophia on the first try. so perhaps a miracle would take place. as each month passed my heart kept sinking and i kept thinking well if i cant be a mom to another one of my own children how can i still love and care for little ones? adoption would be amazing, but our limited income can not afford the price of adoption. then one day as i was playing with sophia in her playroom it was like a little thought got placed right in front of my eyes - fostering. foster little children laura. i didn't even know how fostering worked all i knew is that i had to look into it and my heart would not let this go. i processed these thoughts a while and wasn't sure how chris would react. i thought perhaps he would think i was crazy and unrealistic. of course as he always does he surprised me and he was so on board with it - never even a hesitation about it. every time i thought about fostering i would start crying. not in a bad way - i think about the children suffering and i hurt for them. i want to gather them up in my arms and care for them. i think about the children we may never have naturally and all the love i have to give and i think i am meant to be a foster mom to those children. even typing it out my eyes are watering and i am keeping the lump down in my throat.

so where do we even start this process? i knew one of the ladies in our church sheila was a foster parent and has been for many many years. i talked with her one night to get a better idea of what it was all about. i wasn't aware that you got financial compensation - i thought it was something you volunteered for. chris and i were pleasantly surprised. doing what our hearts told us was right would also help us financially. i wont have to go back to work when sophia goes to kindergarten. another relief. we are lucky to have sheila i know she will have our back and help us along the way.

i called the ministry of children and family development (mcfd) and booked us in to attend an orientation night. we left that meeting more convinced that this is what we are supposed to be doing. no second guessing ourselves. that meeting was in october ( i forgot to write down the actual date and threw away the calendar page it was written on) i will keep better records from now on. after the meeting we filled out the initial application and mailed it away. we were told it would take about 6 weeks for a resource worker to contact us. well the same day the resource worker received our application ( two days after i mailed it )she called us and set up a day to meet with us. we met with her that week. she came to our house after chris came home from work. it was an initial meeting to meet us and to make sure our home would be acceptable to care for a child. not going to lie i was nervous. i wasn't nervous about meeting her i was nervous about our teeny tiny house. i was so worried that the process would stop because our house was too small. her name was august hart and she was lovely. she recognized that yes indeed our house is quite small but since we would be caring for young children she thought that it would be ok. she had to confirm it with her manager and told us she would call us to let us know what the verdict would be. the next day she called and said our home was approved - hooray! we filled out the formal application, criminal record check, doctors notes saying we were healthy and capable of caring for foster children and reference letters.

once we were approved the process would look like this:

-8 week training course
-after the training is complete we would begin the homestudy - which could take any where from 1 to 3 months depending on how fast you resource worker is.
- a safe baby training program

since we were wanting to care for children 0 -3 years old we are considered priority. there is a huge need for foster care for the little ones. a lot of people want school age children. the other in need group is troubled teens.

we also are in demand because i am a stay at home mom. when you are caring for young ones the mcfd ideally want a parent who is home full time and would not place the child in a daycare.

two weeks ago november thirtieth chris and i started our training class.

on monday december fifth i got a phone call from august our resource worker saying that she got approval to start our home study at the same time we are undergoing our training. great news. i wasn't even aware she was trying for this. she wanted to start that week but our week was already full and so we scheduled our first home study meeting for december fifteenth.

we are so excited because this means we will be done that much faster. i will know more when we meet with august next week.

the training classes will be taking a break for christmas holidays and will resume the second week in january. we have two classes under our belt.

and just so you know sophia is really excited about becoming a foster sister. she has a good understanding of what it means. we know she will be great. we are not naive and we also know there will be many challenges. we will face them when we are faced with them. we are a resiliant family and roll with the punches.

i will update this blog next week after our first home study meeting!