Foster Care Licensing Step Two: The Intake Interview
After the Information Session, I figured we’d have to wait a long time to hear back from the agency, but they called only days later to set up an interview. I didn’t call back right away. We were leaving on a much needed vacation for some beach time and to visit one of our very close friends. On the vacation, the agency called again and e-mailed. After taking a few deep breaths and confirming again with my husband that he did, in fact, want to move forward, I e-mailed back to schedule our interview.
Prior to the interview, there was quite a bit of paperwork that needed to be filled out. This included a budget sheet (listing our income, debt, and all monthly expenses) and a “Placement Preferences” worksheet where we were asked to select what we were and weren’t willing to handle.
Our interview was a Friday afternoon at our agency and lasted for nearly THREE HOURS. Tony asked about our childhoods, families, jobs, marriage, what made us argue, what we liked about each other, what we disliked about each other. He asked about why we didn’t have biological children and whether we had ever seen a therapist and why. He asked us why we wanted to foster and what children we would be able to parent. He asked us our philosophy on discipline, religion, education, and other, you know, “parent stuff.” He asked us about our placement preferences. He challenged each “no” answer. If we were going to keep something on the list of “nos” – the reason better be good. There were a couple of “nos” our list for good reason. He took copious notes.
I remember I had accidentally checked “no” for lice somehow and Tony, our interviewer, was like, “Ummm…what?” I had to clarify that it was an accident. Are there any children that haven’t had lice at one point or another?
Tony was fun and kind and we enjoyed talking to him – but the whole process was exhausting. After the interview, he told us that he would present us to the selection committee and let us know if we were approved to move forward with this agency.
We got a call from Tony a week later congratulating us. Our application was approved and we could move forward in the process. A licensing worker from the agency would contact us with the next steps. I remember him saying, “good luck” before hanging up the phone. He was so genuine and warm. It only then occurred to me that we would never speak to him again. That’s the weird thing about foster parenting. You share so many personal details about your life with strangers that you may see only once or twice. In only a year, we would be so used to people dropping by our house, evaluating us, our marriage, and our parenting skills, that sharing my fears and weaknesses just became perfunctory after a while. It’s one of the many ways that foster parenting can change you for the better if you let it.