Saying "Yes!", Waiting

Our First “Yes!”

During the licensing process, our Licensing Worker encouraged us to be very honest with ourselves about the children we would be able to parent.
What behaviors could we manage?  Fire setting?  Animal abuse?  Sexualized behavior and acting out?  Violence?  What special needs are we willing to work with?  ADHD?  Autism?  Bi-Polar Disorder?  Developmental and cognitive disabilities?
Every child who has suffered the trauma of abuse and/or neglect, then the trauma of entering foster care has his or her own special challenges.  Agreeing to be a foster parent is agreeing to walk through pain and grief with the children in your care (and all of the behaviors that pain and grief brings with it).  The question became: what can we walk through?
Now, perhaps the better people among us would say: “the Universe/God/Goddess/Whatever Your Thing Is would not give me anything I couldn’t handle!”  “Say ‘yes’ to whatever comes your way and trust it will work out!”
Personally, I feel like that sounds like boundary issues.
I believe in a higher power.  And I completely believe that things work out the way they are supposed to in this life.  But I also like to help the Universe out every now and again.   And I think that the Universe/God/Goddess/Whatever Your Thing Is speaks to you through your intuition.  And faith is listening to that voice from within yourself.
In the first few weeks of being licensed, we said “Yes” a lot.  We said “No” a couple of times too.  More often than not, the “No” was purely based on intuition – not facts.  Because even with all the preparation and checklists on what we could and couldn’t handle, you’re hard pressed to even have the child’s correct age when they call you for a placement.
Typically, you get three pieces of information:  (1) Child’s Name; (2) Child’s Race; (3) Child’s reason for coming into care (Abuse or Neglect).   For the most part, if the child has siblings that they know of, they will tell you.  If the child has been in care before they will tell you that.  But that’s about it.  And you have 30 minutes at most to say “yes” or “no.”  If you say “yes” – you go home and wait.  Maybe they drop off a child.  Maybe they don’t.
One month into being licensed, I wrote the following e-mail to our family and close friends [scrubbed for personal information of course]:

We have been officially licensed by the State for about a month now – give or take (because I can’t remember when we got our official “stamp of approval.”)  During that time, we’ve been considered for 5 children.  The first, a 12 year old boy named “J,” was living in two hours south of us and, thus, his caseworker decided to go with a couple located in his home city.  The second (10 year old boy, name undisclosed) was abused by a woman and his caseworker decided that he would do better in a home without a female.  The third, a 9 year old boy named “K,” was not the right fit for us for a number of reasons and we had to say, “no” in the initial call.    The fourth (a 15 year old boy, name undisclosed)  and unrelated fifth (7 year old boy named “AJ”) were presented to us in the same phone call last week.  We decided to move forward with 7 year old AJ and are currently “holding” for AJ as a potential placement. 

AJ turns 8 this month and is in the 2nd Grade.  We’re told he loves to read (and his prize possession his a “box of books”) and excels at Math (despite the fact that he’s missed quite a bit of school last year).  His parents are unable to care for him and he has been living with his Great Aunt since March.  She informed the agency last week that she is unable to care for him.  (We’re told she is single and works full time and that she was incredibly emotional about this decision).  She is hoping to maintain contact with him – and we are, of course, open to that!

We were told just this afternoon that we will be scheduling some visits with AJ and his Great Aunt to meet each other and potentially ease AJ’s transition to our home!  

We were so excited and nervous about meeting AJ. I immediately started planning potential meeting spots between our home and his Great Aunt’s home.  I also Facebook stalked his entire family.  (What?  Who would!?)  I found some adorable pictures of him. (By the way, another thing I learned as a foster parent is that a shocking number of people do not lock down their social media.  It’s surprising the things people post publicly – I’m talking pictures, medical information, dates of incarceration, long strings of posts and comments involving family feuds; its out of control).

The agency wanted us to move fast to move AJ in – particularly given that school was about to start.  AJ did have some mild special needs, but nothing we didn’t think we could handle.

In between Google searches and Facebook stalking, we did our best to sit back and wait to hear from AJ’s case worker.  A week went by.  And we didn’t hear anything.



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