As of this month, Mr. Bean and I have been a certified foster (or, as California now calls us, “approved RESOURCE“) family for four years. Four years!! It is the hardest and BEST thing I have done with my life, to date. So in honor of our “approval-versary,” I am posting a few of my reflections on the past four years.
Life (in Foster Parenting and Otherwise!) Happens Whether You Plan it … or Not!
Mr. Bean and I fell in love about nine years ago. And after falling in love, we began to discuss hopes and dreams for our futures. We always knew we wanted to be parents. But, as our relationship has grown, and life has unfolded, our plans have morphed and evolved accordingly.
At our first foster care trainings, I’ll be honest … I started out just going through the motions. I have always been a good student, the “teacher’s pet,” and basically a shoe-in for Grand Sweepstakes of the Goody-Two-Shoes award. So as far as I could see going in, Mr. Bean and I would do what we needed to do to please the state of CA, and then walk out with a handful of kids in tow. But guess what?
That is Not How Foster Care Works
We are thankful that our pre-certification training was honest. Brutally so, at times. Somewhere in that honesty, our hearts were softened to embracing foster care for what it is.
The kid that might poop in your sink or closet and call you a bad word that starts with a “B” (and rhyming with “witch”) even though he’s only two years old and shouldn’t have ever heard that.
The total lack of voice that you will have have as a foster parent, even though you care for these kids 24-7.
… and …
The kids who you care for, grow to love with your whole heart, and who will wind up returning to their family, … as they are meant to in the first place.
Thus, we began to understand foster care not as a means-to-an-end of adoption, but as a role to play in the life of a child, for a time, for the sake of reunification. (And, … for our own growth!) It is not easy, and it has not been perfect, but I would not change it.
Our Placements Thus Far
- The “short” placement that turned long. Mancub! We love you still! You are five years old now and we hope and pray (regularly!) that you are killing it in Kindergarten this year! Because we know how smart and focused you are! I will never forget the times of coloring with you, taking you to the park, how much you loved your choo-choo trains, and hearing you say, “OH BOY!” 😆 You were always such a quick study, whether it was colors or shapes or counting to ten. And you changed us forever.
- The on-a-moment’s-notice placement. Our Little Bean! You (and Sweet Potato) are the center of our universe! And to think that we could have missed out on being your Mom and Dad if we had not been open to the vulnerability that a reunification-track placement requires! We have been through a LOT together. But we wouldn’t change it for the world. We are aware (painfully at times) that we are not your first Mom and Dad. But rest assured, we are going to be at every Back-to-School Night, parent-teacher conference, sporting event and life milestones from here on out.
- The placement that everyone thought would go straight to adoption, … and didn’t. Tiny Princess! You are the absolute spitting image of your big biological brother, Little Bean! How we loved meeting you and caring for you in those tender newborn days. Attachment is everything … and although it surprised us and rocked our worlds when you were later moved to family, we know that you know how to attach! Humbly said, … that was a gift we were able to give you, and makes our journey 150% worth it! We are also SUPER grateful that we still get to see you from time to time, and keep in touch with you as you grow.
And Now … Placement #4
Our fourth placement, Sweet Potato, was a complete surprise. And, … well, … to clarify, … ALL foster placements are a big surprise. But her arrival was made even more surprising because we were not even “open” for placements at the time. We had gone “on hold” after finalization of Little Bean’s adoption in February, 2016, and were getting close to re-opening our home, … but, things never go as planned for us! 😆
So here we are.
(And this might be the update that some of you have waited for.)
When Sweet Potato was placed with us, she was in need of a forever home. It is true that CPS was still actively pursuing family and relative placement possibilities for her. However, the chances for those possibilities were dwindling. And as of this point, the county has now ceased to pursue other placement options. Which leaves her with … US! 😀
We don’t know what the timeline is for Queen Sweet Potato’s adoption finalization, but we suspect it will be in early spring of this year. All she needs now is paperwork to seal the deal.
It is a little crazy to think that we hadn’t even re-opened our home yet after Little Bean’s adoption and here we are getting ready for another one, but sometimes, things are crazy like that in the world of foster care and adoption.
So Do You Still Want More?
<insert eye roll here>
Awesomely enough, we’ve been getting this question a lot lately! 😆 (How many of these people have asked an 8-month pregnant woman this question, I wonder??? 😆 )
I can’t even think about that yet! And anyway, we are about to go on hold again. Oh wait … we never came off of hold! 😆
So, we are going to focus in (again and STILL) on attachment with the kiddos we already have. There are new dynamics with two kiddos from hard places now sharing a home, and toys, … and Dad and Mom. To add to our parenting load, Little Bean is about to start Kindergarten this year. <sniff sniff> So we have plenty on our plates to adjust to for the moment.
But Mr. Bean wants to keep our approval (formerly called certification) current! So, we will see what God has for us down the road a piece.
If you made it this far, thank you for reading. 🙂 I know my blogging has been extremely sporadic of late. I’m focusing on my humans, and I think everyone can understand that. 🙂 But I do have lots more to say and it will happen one day (possibly soon!).