After talking about it for years, we finally decided to get serious and take the plunge, head first, into becoming foster parents. This is how it all happened…
(click here to watch our YouTube video that shows the entire process from start to finish!)
We’ve talked about wanting kids since we first got together almost 10 years ago. Deciding we wanted them- that was the easy part. Deciding which route we were going to take to get them- that was the not-so-easy part. Last year we discussed adoption and even got accepted into a few programs, but ultimately decided against going through an agency to adopt a kid (for various reasons, but haven’t 100% ruled it or any other option out completely.)
Then we thought about surrogacy, and again, got accepted into programs and had numerous Skype calls with different companies. We put that on hold for now, but may revisit it in the future, most likely in a few years once this crazy period in our lives slows down a bit.
That brought us to foster care. One of our friends is a foster parent who, along with her husband, adopted their daughter through the foster care system and gave us the 411 last year when we were interested. She gave us her whole story, which was equal parts beautiful and heartbreaking. Still, it was enough to get us excited about starting the process, so we signed up for classes in the summer 0f 2018 with intentions to start fostering that fall.
Once we signed up, though, travel opportunities started to roll in. Remember when we went on a cruise, then San Francisco, then Mexico, then Texas, then The Dominican Republic, then Amsterdam, all in the span of three months? It was wild and hectic and so much fun and we were grateful to have the chance to travel to all of those different places, so we decided to put the foster dreams on hold for a but until things got a little quieter.
In February of this year, after going on another cruise, then Las Vegas, and lastly Disney World, Thomas left his job to work on our business full time, and with a little more time on our hands, we knew it was time to begin the process. This is where things started to really take shape.
Our friend Brittany posted a status on Facebook about how she was starting foster classes soon. We immediately messaged her about it and she called us the next day to explain the whole thing. She told us she initially considered going through the state foster care system but instead went through a private agency called Camelot. We checked it out and liked what we saw, and later found out the person who would be training us actually went to college with Thomas’ younger sister, so it felt like a good fit all around.
Not only that, but the classes they offered were five miles down the road from us (almost all of the classes were 30 to 40 miles away from us, and had either already started or were a month or two out) AND Brittany and her husband would be taking the classes, too! We felt like we were in good hands, and luckily we came to find out we were. :)
The classes were about two months long, though we actually got the chance to finish ours a week early due to leaving for 10 days on our cruise (thank you Courtney, Amanda, and Rachel!). We learned SO MUCH in those classes. A lot of it is a blur now but we learned how to deal with certain tricky situations, why kids might react the way they do, what traumas they may have faced, CPR (!), and so much more.
We thought it would take weeks or even months before we were placed with children, but (luckily) we were very, very wrong. Our home wasn’t officially even open yet and our case worker text us on a Tuesday asking if we would be interested in three kiddos who had just come into the system. She gave us their ages and a little info about them and our hearts started racing. Three kids?! Were we crazy to even entertain the idea? Who goes from 0 to 3 in a day? We thought about it overnight and then thought about it some more, and talked to our family and thought about it some more. And then…
We reminded ourselves this is what we got into this whole process for. We text our case worker the next day and told her we would love to see the children if at all possible to make sure we were equipped to properly handle them the way they needed (we had received some incorrect info about them at first and wanted to be 100% sure). We visited them at their emergency placement foster home and spent an hour with them just talking and, even though they were shy at first, we knew we couldn’t say no.
So once we left we told her YES and started to make a list of everything we needed, which, turned out to be quite a lot. Our case worker told us about this amazing organization called Hope4One that sets foster parents/adoptive parents up with essentials they might need like clothes, carseats, pack n’ plays, cribs, strollers, etc. They arranged for us to meet them at their office that night at 6p and LOADED us up. We couldn’t believe they were just giving this stuff to us. We didn’t know what to do or say other than thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
(everything we received from Hope4One-just out of frame are the car seats and crib)
Once we got home we were starving, and we decided to have one last meal together as a family of two, so we got dressed and went out to eat before heading to Walmart to get the kiddos some toys to be greeted with when they got to our house. This is the first time our shopping cart has ever looked like this:
When we got home that night, we got started setting their room up and putting the crib together. PJ laid out all of their new (to them) clothes and toothbrushes etc. so they could see what all was theirs. This part was so much fun for us and we put a lot of thought into what goes where and how we wanted it all to look. We were giddy and jittery all night. In fact, PJ actually didn’t sleep well and woke up at 2:30am and stayed up watching YouTube videos about fostering and getting last minute things ready in their room.
The next morning was rainy and dreary, but that didn’t really to matter to us. We were too excited. We loaded everything in the car and headed to the foster home to pick them up. With the carseats installed and a children’s playlist downloaded on our phone, we drove them back to our house where they’ve been eating and running around and laughing and crying and playing ever since.
It’s crazy to think that was only 14 days ago because it feels like it’s been months. Isn't that wild? The days seem to go slower now and little things that were so important to us before suddenly don’t seem so significant. Our main goal is to look after them until they’re reunited with their parents, however long that takes. They’re great kids and if we’re being honest, they already have our hearts.
We’ve heard a big reason people don’t get into foster care is because they don’t want to get too attached/they don’t want their hearts to break when/if the kids go back to their parents. We learned in training that it’s good to get attached to the kids, regardless, because that means you care about them, which is exactly what they need while they’re in the system. They need care and love and safety and if you can provide that, then you’re doing enough.
Thanks for tagging along, friend. We’ll be posting more about everything soon. In the meantime, if you have any questions, feel free to ask! And if you have any experience with foster care, we would love to hear!!