Basically to get started (this is the process going through The Call) you attend an informational meeting and if you choose you can fill out initial paperwork that night to get started. We chose to do that because they are there to help you and it's one less thing to take away with you. That doesn't mean you have to foster but just that you have completed initial paperwork in case you decide to. Then, you take home a red folder with a checklist of ALL the things DHS requires you to complete. To say it wasn't a lot and very time consuming would be a lie. There is a lot of red tape and paperwork and I still don't have absolutely everything in order. Like I said before, we decided in January to completely move forward so at that point we signed up for PRIDE training (2 very long weekends of all day Sat/Sun training) and I started slowly working through the red folder. It consisted of physicals for all of us, vaccinations for pets, fire escape plans, inappropriate questions on questionnaires about J.O. and I and so forth. :) I slowly worked through the folder and gave myself a deadline for turning it all in. For those who know my procrastinating ways you would be proud to know I only missed the deadline by 3 days. It was just short of a Christmas miracle.
Anyway, along the way I started slowly letting close friends know our plans. I received great support from most. One major thing for me to remember is that not everyone gets this and THAT'S OKAY!! Two of my dearest friends reminded me of this on one of our early morning runs and it has helped me immensely. I accept that and have completely come to terms with that. Sometimes I try to seek approval from everyone to validate what I am doing and that is one thing I have had to let go. I also have received inappropriate comments from just nosy people...."Why are you fostering, can you not have kids?"...is my favorite. I'm going to start saying no and then act like I don't know who the strange children calling me mom and following me around the grocery store are.
Another question we get a lot is how could we take a baby knowing we will have to give them up. How will this affect our kids? Right now, I'm not sure how this will affect us or the kids. I've never done it. One thing I do know though is for me not to do it because it would be too hard on me would be so selfish. I am not naive....it's going to be so hard the first time it happens but if I can give the child a safe, loving place for a period of time then that's what I will do.
So, basically next we have 3 home studies and do a few more things and then our house will be "open". We turned in our paperwork hoping to time this around the end of the school year but I have learned that my time and DHS time are very different.
Like I said, I know this isn't the end of the story that would complete part II and that will be written soon but there are a few irons in the fire to get settled first. Plus, if I wrote the ending too soon I would be out of things to write about!! :)
Hard at work with such a good helper! Thankful for friends who are willing to donate cribs, bedding and anything else we might need!