My husband, Ryan, and I were licensed as foster parents in May. We are hoping to adopt an infant through the foster care system. We are willing to foster and see where the road leads, but in the end we are hoping we will be a forever family for some one.
So far we have gotten three calls. The first time we didn't have a chance to say yes or no. The second time we said no. The third time we said yes.
The first call came at 2 o'clock in the morning on a Saturday night. I hadn't seen the number before on my phone. My groggy self assumed it was a wrong number. But I couldn't fall asleep thinking it might be foster care calling. I sent a text to the number and they responded immediately. I stumbled into the kitchen to call them back. They were looking to place a baby and a child. We would have said no, but while I was on the phone the lady received a text and the kids were covered. It was nice to not have to say no for our first call. We would have said no because we don't feel our family is prepared to care for any children older than our youngest, for the long term. But it was nice to have the experience of getting a call without having to say yes or no. The next morning I told Ryan, "We got our first call last night." He thought I was joking. He slept through the whole thing. At first, I didn't think the call upset me too much, but as the day wore on I found myself a little shaken. Just knowing that somewhere in my city, in the middle of the night, two little kids were taken from their home because it wasn't safe. It's heartbreaking. I felt sad for the kids, and for the parents.
The second call came on a Thursday afternoon. I was in a meeting planning the dates and venue for a concert we'll be doing to celebrate the release of my first album. I apologetically excused myself saying, "This might be foster care." They were looking for a home for a toddler girl, whose case was moving towards adoption. I called Ryan. We decided the age difference between the toddler and Squeeze wasn't quite enough. I called back and told them no.
I then proceeded to feel like crap all afternoon.
I thought of a million ways we could make it work. I thought through all our reasons for the age difference, and questioned every single one of them. I knew it was the right decision for our family but thought, "Who's going to make the right decision for her?" The need overwhelmed me, even though I knew, deep down, it wasn't our need to fill. Ry and my sister reminded me that a little toddler girl was probably some other foster family's exact hope. By evening, I was ok with it all. I felt peaceful about our decision, and confident that the girl had been placed. We are, after all, not the only foster parents in this city. It was an emotional few hours. I hadn't expected it would be so difficult to say no.
The very next Friday we received our third call. I was in the check out line at Hy-Vee and ignored the call. I checked the voice mail as soon as I got in the van. This time they were looking to place an infant girl with some medical issues. I called them right back. She was definitely young enough for our family, and I was a little excited. Her medical issues seemed manageable. I called Ry, and he had some hesitations due to her medical issues, but his sister, who is a nurse, was with him and he got advice from her. I went to see my sister, who has handled similar medical issues with her preemie. A good friend who is a nurse, was also there and they both made me feel quite capable that we could handle it. With this baby's case we also knew that it was foster only, it was not moving towards adoption. For some reason I just felt we were supposed to say yes anyway. Ryan agreed and I called them to say yes. They told us that there was another family interested, and they would call us one way or the other. I hadn't really thought of that. As you can tell from my emotional reaction after our second call, in the heat of the moment I seem to think I am the only foster parent in this entire city. Even though I know this is not true because I'm friends with quite a few awesome foster parents. To make a long, few hours of washing baby clothes and making sure I had directions to the baby's daycare, short...they didn't choose us.
I was disappointed, and, honestly, a little relieved. I was a little let down, but happy to be just us and the girls for a little while longer. I felt a tiny tinge of sadness, but was so happy to know there was another family who wanted her. What a blessing it would be if our city was so over loaded with foster parents, there was always ten homes for every child. By evening, I was tired from the emotional roller coaster, but I was fine.
Getting calls reminds me to take advantage of every day I have just me and the girls. We could get THE call any second. I'll continue to pray for the baby who will be placed with us, and their parents. It'll happen. I believe God has a perfect plan. Yeah, I'm cheesy like that.