Foster Care….the saga continues

6 04 2013

It has been awhile since I posted an update on our Foster Care journey. You may want to read Part 1 and Part 2 first to get the whole story.

We have reached the point where all the paperwork has been filled out, back ground checks done, certifications acquired and training completed. The bundle of information about my family has been turned in to the Office of Licensing, Certification & Renewal (OLCR). We were told it was taking 3-6 weeks to be certified. We are almost at three weeks. We were also told that there is a new supervisor at OLCR who is very meticulous about paperwork. With this new supervisor, we were told to not be surprised at all if there was some additional information that needed to be provided or more forms to fill out. I am hoping that we haven’t heard anything yet is a good sign. I would hate to think that they haven’t even looked at our paperwork yet.

This waiting is definitely developing patience in me. Actually the whole process has been a patience growing endeavor. However, I sincerely hope we are at the end of providing information and will soon be able to be a temporary safe place for kids who need that. I realize that once we have been certified, will mean the start of a new set of challenges that will only strengthen my walk with The Lord. I know He has brought my wife and I this far. There have been numerous hurdles that God has helped is over so far.

I have never dealt with bureaucracy well. I get frustrated by the sheer number of forms and apparently redundant information that has to be provided again and again. That and they don’t do things the way I think they should, which of course is the right way (no control issues here ūüôā ). Having a foster child, or children, is going to mean having to learn how to work with CPS, lawyers and the courts. I also realize that I am going to have to work within their schedules to a large extent. I have served on jury duty once so at least the court system is not completely foreign.

My wife and I will be holding on to the promise that God will bring us through anything He has called us to. I am thankful that we have developed a support network at church with other families who are foster parents. They will be a great resource of information and support when we need it.

Until next time….

Our Foster Care Adventure (Part 2)

30 10 2012

If you haven’t read part 1 yet, you might want to start there.

I mentioned in my previous post that there are training classes we needed to attend. Going down the path of becoming licensed foster parents meant that we had to complete 30 hours of training. This came in the form of 10 3-hour classes on Monday nights. We missed one class of the 10 due to travel so we did the make-up class a few days before the surgery on my foot. We also had to complete CPR and First Aid training.

We expected that with my foot surgery the whole process would slow down and it did. During this time we came under what I can only describe as a spiritual attack. We had an invasion of ants, we discovered we had termites, we had to replace our water heater and garbage disposal, we had to replace the batteries in two vehicles and repair a tire. We also have had to deal with folks trying to convince us that this is a bad decision. “Why do you want all these problems?” “Your kids are almost out of the house now you should be taking it easy.” One person even asked if we were doing this for the money. Fortunately this only brought us closer to God and we prayed to see how God was going to work in this situation.

At this point we needed bedroom furniture, fire extinguishers and escape ladders, locks for medicines and harmful chemicals and we still had to pay for the CPR/First Aid classes. As a result of these attacks, the money we had put aside for initial foster care expenses was almost gone and our emergency funds have been hit pretty hard. We also asked for friends to pray for us.

Since we prayed to God, and asked others to join us, we have seen miracles happen. A friend “just happened” to need to get rid of 2 twin mattresses and a dresser. It turns out that the termites were caught early so there is no structural, or any visible, damage to repair. We found a place to get our CPR/First Aid training for $15. Just FYI the Red Cross charges $110 for the same course! Our initial home inspection is scheduled on November 5th and all our paperwork, that we know needs to be completed, is done.

I don’t mean to make this sound like it has been one battle after another. It hasn’t. There have been some spots where our commitment to following God has been tested. We have also been blessed by a majority of our friends being VERY supportive. Since finding out that we are pursuing becoming foster parents, I have had several friends share that they were foster kids. I have been blessed to be able to answer questions for another family considering adoption. We even have some friends that are even more excited about us becoming foster parents than I think we are at this point.

The training classes made it abundantly clear that being a foster parent is not a “cake-walk”. At times it is likely going to be very difficult. However, we know that going in so it won’t be a shock or surprise. We also view this as our ministry field. We may very well be the first Jesus’ ambassadors that the parents or kids have ever seen! We have also started to get to know others who are currently foster parents so we have folks to ask about situations as they come up. We have discovered that apparently late night trips to Wal-Mart are a normal event when kids get placed in your home.

Until next time …

Our Foster Care Adventure (Part 1)

28 10 2012

We are getting closer to being licensed Foster parents.  It has been an adventure so far and I imagine that the real adventure is just getting ready to happen.

So how did we get started on the path to foster care? ¬†Well back in March of 2012, the Pastor, Mark Connelly, at our church, Mission Community Church, did a mini-series on the biblical basis of a new initiative the church was embarking on. ¬†The initiative is called Esther’s Hope and it represents our efforts to help drain the foster care system in Arizona of children needing homes.

During the mini-series, I became convicted that God was asking my family to take some role in this effort. ¬†I didn’t know what we were supposed to do but I was convinced that we needed to do something. ¬†I didn’t say anything to my wife because, honestly, ¬†I was afraid of her reaction. ¬†There was an orientation meeting scheduled and I finally decided to talk with my wife about what I felt God was calling us to do. ¬†I told her that I didn’t know what we were supposed to do as part of Esther’s Hope but that I was certain God was asking us to do something. ¬†It turns out that she was feeling the same way and was waiting for me to say something about it as confirmation of her feelings. ¬†That was confirmation for me that it really was God asking us to be involved.

We went to the orientation meeting and were astounded, as were the folks doing the orientation, at the turn out for the orientation meeting.  The orientation meeting was held in a room that holds 450 or so and it was standing room only!  After getting information about the foster care system in Arizona and how Christian Family Care was participating as a licensing agency, the group was divided in to two smaller groups.  One group was those that were interested in becoming licensed foster parents or adopting.  The other group were the folks that were interested in supporting foster families.

This was our first decision about what our next step was going to be. ¬†We decided to stay with the group interested in becoming foster families or adopting. ¬†I still wasn’t sure whether we wanted to adopt or foster. ¬†Honestly I was leaning towards adoption because it sounded easier. ¬†Being a foster parent means you are on the front lines so to speak. ¬†When CPS determines that a child needs to be removed from a home, foster parents are the first to help the child deal with this traumatic experience after they have been processed into the system. ¬†The goal for foster kids is reunification with their biological parent(s). ¬†That means that after weeks/months of loving on and becoming attached to a child, assuming the parent(s) got their act together, the child is taken away from the foster parents and returned to their biological parent(s). ¬†While being with their parents is really best for the child, it is still going to be heartbreaking to have them leave. ¬†After the presentation was over, we talked and decided we ¬†were going to go down the path of becoming licensed foster parents.

With the decision having been made to follow where God was leading to become licensed foster parents, ¬†this was going to mean some major changes in our lives. ¬†We had training classes to attend, a bunch of paperwork to fill out and reviews of our home and our lives by state agencies. ¬†Not to mention a level 1 federal background check! ¬†Did I mention that there was lots of paperwork to fill out? ¬†We are clinging to the promise that God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called.

Obviously there is more to this story we are several months beyond the orientation meeting as of this blog post. ¬†I didn’t want to make this too long so I am going to break this up into several posts.

Until next time….

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