Wanting to foster, for me, stems largely from my professional work. I am a Clinical Psychologist who works mostly with children from the inner city. Many of them have been through the foster care system. So many have not only been traumatized or neglected by their biological families, but by the system that is set up to protect them. Many foster parents sign up for the job to make money, many are ill equipped to manage children with special needs, emotional problems and challenging behaviors. As a result, many children who have been in foster care do poorly in adulthood and a high proportion of them resort to criminal activity and wind up incarcerated. Many also end up alone, with no HS diploma and too often, homeless.
I adore many of the children, most of whom are teenagers, that I have and do work with. Having worked with many teenagers while employed at a juvenile detention facility, I have had over 50 teens with whom I have worked die at the hands of gang violence. Some of these kids I grieved over in a big way. Every now and then I meet one that I want to take home. I mean really want to.
So in January of 2008 we began the process of becoming licensed foster parents for our state. We had fingerprints, background checks, psychological forms to fill out, a check of our financial status, 40 hours of training, and an inspection of our house. We were told it would take 5 months to complete the process, but it took close to a year. By January of 2009 we were able to hang up our official license on our refrigerator and wait for a placement.
The calls didn't come. I called the worker assigned to our home to ask why. She responded, "be patient, it will happen." Six months after we were licensed I was contacted and told that there had been an error and the system had us in the computer as having no beds available. We were promised this would be fixed. Still no calls. In November of 2009, I sent my resource worker an email. I explained that at my place of work, I often come across foster parents with children poorly groomed and who are uninterested. I have even seen (and reported) foster parents hitting their charges. I told her that I couldn't understand why we weren't getting placements.
A few weeks later, I received another call. I was told, once again, the System had been showing that we had no beds available. We were promised that it would be fixed. Finally it was fixed and on December 14, 2009, we received a call asking if we would take a sibling group, 2 girls ages 7 and 5 and their little brother, age 2 for a week to 3 weeks. This blog starts there. . .
addendum: As of July 21, 2010, CD (China Doll) joined our family. She joined us at the age of 17 months. As of January, 2011, we have fallen completely in love with CD and hope to adopt her. She is a happy, healthy little girl who is growing and thriving. Unlike the nickname I gave her on this blog, CD is anything but fragile. She is resilient, strong willed and doing her job being a curious, rambunctious, almost two year-old. Her parents have been out of the picture, by their own choice, since the day she was removed. Our letter of intent to adopt CD will be submitted to the court in February.
addendum as of January 2012: CD is almost 3 years-old and has been with us for going on 18 months. We have been officially put on the adoption track. We are hoping that the adoption will be finalized in the next 6-12 months. We are over the moon that CD will be a forever part of our family. We are so very lucky that she found her way into our lives. She is an extraordinary little girl and I love being her mom.