We have been on this journey for 20 months now! And what a journey it has been. Right after Christmas I felt ready to explore fostering to adopt, along with still being on the straight adoption waiting list. The difference between straight adoption, fostering to adopt, and fostering is this: straight adoption is adopting a child who is already legally free for adoption, fostering to adopt is caring for a child who is not yet legally free for adoption, but their parents are in the process of losing their parental rights and once TPR (termination of parental rights) goes through you are then able to legally adopt the child you have been caring for, and fostering is taking care of a child whose plan is to eventually go back home, unless their family goes through TPR. We have talked with several people who think this is a good option for us, and after sitting down and having a conversation with Heartfelt Calling back in October, I feel really good about this decision. I called the foster agency the first week of January (2013) and our foster agent came by our house for an interview and a few sheets of paperwork on the 8th. I just LOVE our foster agent, not to say our adoption specialist isn't great, but I feel like I have to reintroduce myself to her anytime I see or call her, but our foster agent is so personable, and I just love that! On our first phone conversation she gave me her cell number and told me to text her anytime...and you know what, I have and she always response right away and she's just so sweet. I can't tell you how much her care and friendliness means to me, especially after 20 months of waiting and feeling like another file to my adoption agency. Since we are already an approved pre-adoption home the only thing we had to do was sign a few forms, get re-finger printed, and have another SLED check done. Our finger prints came back right away, but our SLED check took 4 weeks. Also once a year until our adoption is finalized a fire inspector from the fire department has to come out to our home for an inspection. Last year when he came (back when I believed for some reason this process would be quick) he gave us a slip of approval, and left saying, "ok everything looks great, I will see you next year". I laughed to myself thinking, haha no need, I'll surely have a kid by then....but I guess the joke was on me lol. The same fire inspector came out again yesterday with my foster agent. I love that he remembered me! My agent told me that my paperwork should be sent off to Columbia this week, and she held up her fingers as if to show me an inch and said you are this close to getting a placement...eeeek! Last month she also told me to expect a placement by February!!!! Could we really be this close?!?!?
Oh it's been a looooong journey, but I know that it is going to be sooooo worth it. Though the wait has been long, I truly feel like God has been shaping, training, and preparing us in this time and I believe that even though I have felt so impatient, that one day I may look back on this time and be grateful for this time of preparation. It's funny, it seems that when we first started our journey we were surrounded by adoption stories, honestly it was like everyday we ran into someone with a story to tell and we loved it! And now here recently again we are surrounded by more adoption stories, mixed in with a few foster stories as well. Even one of my favorite TV shows, Parenthood had an adoption story to tell, and one that would most resemble our future! And it also just so happens that this month is Foster/Adoption month at a our church, I couldn't believe it! And this past Monday night our church hosted a ladies event, "This Night" where the topic was Foster Care and Adoption. I also think that it's funny that last year our fire inspector came out the day of a "This Night", and this year he came out the day after one.
I have been using my time of waiting prepping, cleaning, and organizing my home like crazy, adoption nesting I guess lol. Also, I have 4 large containers filled with clothes of different sizes waiting for our child. I have an empty made up bed waiting on him, an empty dresser, and toys galore. I have crocheted two blankets for him and I'm currently working on a third. I've been keeping frozen pizzas and chicken nuggets, along with cookie dough in the house, in case those might be his favorite foods, then I'll just have them ready, and if it turns out that he likes something else, you better know that I'll run out to go get it.
I am just so ready, waiting, and praying for our child.