This is an email that I sent to someone asking me about fostering. She and her husband are considering becoming foster parents. I thought I’d share it with you.

Since we live in NC, I’m can only tell you about the process we went through here. However, I do have some friends who have gone through the process in AZ and have both adopted a few children over the years. I can hook you up with them if you’d like. I know they’ll be happy to share any information with you.

As for our experience, which I’m guessing is pretty close to the AZ experience, has so far, been pretty easy. Long and sometimes tedious, but easy.

We are going through a private agency rather than Social Services. Our eventual goal is to adopt and we feel like an agency is a better fit for us to be sure we find the right fit for our family. From what I understand, Social Services is typically desperate to place children and may not be completely forthcoming with information. Also, because of that desperation, they have a tendency to not worry so much about a good fit for the child or your family because they are more concerned with finding a place for the child/children to stay. This may just be a NC thing. Like I said, I’m not familiar with how AZ does it.

Another plus to working with an agency is that because they are privately funded, they tend to have more resources available and offer more support.

For our situation, we went through 30 hours of training- 3 hours per week for ten weeks. We had an initial home visit with the social workers at about, the 8th week. They just came in, took a look around, checked out our bedrooms and told us how many kids we could be licensed for. After we were done with our training we had a fire inspection and another home visit to finalize paperwork. We started this process in June and we’re still waiting for our license. It feels like it’s taking FOREVER!

Our training was incredible. We went over so much information about children, parents, foster scenarios, issues that the children deal with, issues the parents deal with and the issues that we, as the foster home will deal with. The main goal was to teach us how to be loss and attachment experts since these are the two biggest concerns for all involved. The children losing their parents, their home, friends, school, etc.. The birth parents losing their children and us potentially losing the kids that we will mostly likely become attached to.

There was A LOT of paperwork, A LOT of homework and A LOT, I mean A LOT of self discovery. It was extremely emotionally draining. I struggled with several issues that I didn’t even know I had due to my own childhood while working on my profile packet which asked LOTS of personal questions. In the end, it was extremely helpful, allowed me to come to terms with things I hadn’t really acknowledged, and in the end, gave me an invaluable sense of peace.

For our home, we had to create a fire evacuation route, get the CORRECT fire extinguisher (that took a few tries) remove all of our extension cords ( we live in an old house with few outlets so we had to get creative) and basically childproof form the floor up. We don’t have any kids of our own so our home was well, not childproof at all. 🙂

I have a correction to make. I just got off the phone with our social worker and it turns out that she did not get the email I thought I had sent her about the beds we bought, so she hadn’t sent off our paperwork. She’s actually doing it today. Looks like it might be closer to February now. Oh well!

Do you have any specific questions? I’d be happy to answer any questions that I can help with.

What are your goals? Long term foster? Respite? (weekend care, very temporary) short term? Adoption? Do you have kids of your own? Where are you in the process right now?

One thing that I have noticed is that this has really been an up and down experience. There has been lots of excitement followed by lots of doubt, but thankfully our family and friends have been so supportive. A good support system is vital if this is what you plan to do. People will think that you’re amazing and doing “such a good thing” but it’s important to maintain a serious sense of realism as it’s easy to get caught up in what some will see as charity. I don’t know how to explain it any other way– but I know what I mean. 😉

Please let me know what I can do to help! I can’t wait to hear about your journey!