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Our Foster Care and Adoption Journey

Matt and I had been married for just a couple of years when we decided to become foster parents. We were stable, owned our own home, and had established careers. We were also very young- in our early twenties. We began the process by calling the local Department of Family Services to ask about foster care classes. We had to attend 10 weeks of classes and have a homestudy before we could be licensed as foster parents.

 

Our state allows families to choose between being licensed as foster only or foster-to-adopt placement. At that point in our lives we chose to be licensed as a foster family only as adoption was not our goal. My reasons for wanting to foster were simple- I was adopted from foster care as an infant. The foster home I lived in was not a good one and there were some long-lasting effects in my life. One of my goals for as long as I can remember was to be a foster parent. We completed our training and finished all the requirements such as physicals and TB tests. Once we were done with our part we just had to wait for the state to process our paperwork.

 

We decided to foster ages 0-3 only. We had room for 2 children and a spot for an emergency placement. The social workers who taught our training class told us to expect to wait anywhere from 3 months to a year for a placement of a young child. It took around 6 weeks for our license to come through and be active. We actually got a call for a placement before our license was even active but we turned it down because the situation was not a good fit for our family.

 

Our license was active for less than 48 hours when we got another after hours emergency placement call. We accepted and that’s how Ty joined our family as a severely neglected, abandoned, 4 week old adorable red headed little baby. You can read about his foster care story HERE.

 

Over the next 20 months we fostered quite a few infants and toddlers. Some stayed overnight, some stayed for a few days or weeks, and a few were long term placements of more than 6 months. Some were very special needs and some were drug exposed newborns. Some were completely healthy and some were extremely abused. It was a very difficult journey and it was such a privilege to care for these children and love on them even if just for a little while.

 

Cam came to our family directly from the NICU when he was only a month old. He was a strictly foster placement at first and we had a great relationship with his birth mom. In the end she decided his special needs were too much for her to handle and still be able to parent her other children. She relinquished her rights and asked us to adopt Cam. You can read his full story HERE.

 

A few months after bringing Cam into our family I left my full time job to become a stay-at-home mom. Ty’s adoption was finalized by this point and Cam’s placement was already starting to look like an adoption placement so it was a natural progression for me. Being a stay-at-home mom was my goal- it’s what I always intended to do after we had children. I was very blessed to have that opportunity be an option in our family and to have a husband that supported my decision whole-heartedly.

 

We continued to foster for several more years until we had a very negative experience with a criminally dishonest social worker. After surviving through the aftermath of the situation created by this horrible social worker, which included testifying before a state committee and over a year of legal proceedings, we chose to turn in our license and leave the foster care system when Cam’s adoption was finalized. Less than a month after turning in our license we discovered we were pregnant with our first daughter.

 

We were blessed to have the experiences that we did, even the negative ones. We definitely have a greater appreciation for our family after how hard we had to work to create it. If you are considering foster care or adoption from foster care I hope you will find some of my posts here that will help you. If you have questions I will do my best to answer them for you. If you are considering foster parenting please don’t be scared off by our one negative experience. We worked with many many social workers in our 6 years and with one glaring exception they were fantastic- overworked, underpaid, and doing a very difficult job but they truly cared about the children entrusted to them. We still keep in contact with many of the social workers we worked with through the years. We also keep in contact with many of the children we fostered. None of the children we cared for ended up being permanently reunified with their birth parents. They were either adopted or placed with extended family members. We receive letters, cards, and pictures from a lot of them a couple of times a year. And seeing those kids grow up, safe and happy, makes every single tear we shed and sleepless night spent worrying worth it. 

 

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  • Laura Ingalls Gunn

    As I former 45 year old foster child I thank you for your willingness to foster children in need of help. I myself was put into the system at the age of 5 due to the death of my parents. Sadly I was never adopted due to a point that you touched on. People are hesitant to foster/adopt older kids. It’s really too bad because, if I may toot my own horn, I’m awesome. 🙂

  • DARA GATES

    Bless you for opening your heart and home to children in need