I've decided to recap the year of our fostering journey, a journey I didn't really know we'd be on a year ago. Plus, I just know the process and fostering experience is so different for different people and locations that I thought it may be an interesting to share my year in foster care.
Early January 2013 - I bought five matching Christmas stockings in after-Christmas sales. We had added to our stockings haphazardly and I wanted them to coordinate. But what's the funny part about this? We hadn't decided yet that we would have three kids. This was still up for debate, though we decided for sure in the next couple of weeks. I smiled as I put them up this year. We're not a permanent family of five, but even in our in-between waiting phases, we're a family of five.
January 13 - B and I heard a sermon that strongly confirmed our feeling that we needed to do foster care out of obedience to God. Read more here.
January 29 - We got our first response to an inquiry on foster parenting from the agency that we ended up getting licensed with.
February 14 - We had a one-on-one orientation session in our home with our agency.
March 8 - First half of training
March 14 - First home visit
April 4-11 - B and I took a fantastic 10th anniversary trip to the Dominican Republic. It was an excellent combination of relaxation away from kids as well a bit of exploration and adventure. And I'm so glad we made it happen before we got licensed.
April 20 - Second half of training
April 23 - Second home visit (I'm re-reading old e-mails to find these dates and I wrote to the licensing worker "I'm looking forward to the home visit tomorrow!" I'm such a geek.)
May 8 - Licensed! We were licensed for one child, 0-2. It all felt so fast, with the few issues we encountered being very minor.
Late May - First placement call at 10:30 pm for a 2-year-old boy, and we are a nervous WRECK on the phone. I asked his birth date and it turns out he was almost 3, which made him older than Rhinoceros. We decided that was a dealbreaker.
Late May - Second placement call mid-morning for a newborn girl still at the hospital. They are not 100% sure she is going into care as there is a relative that may be able to take her. We say yes, and wait.
Late May - The next day, we get a call around 10 am that we need to be there to pick up the newborn girl by discharge at 11. I meet her and her birth mom. I bring home 3-day-old Pterodactyl. Case prediction: she will move to her grandma soon.
Sometime in July - The move to her grandma is not happening. We settle into this being a longer-term placement.
Late July - First time to court for adjudication. I don't want to go into much detail here, but I thought I'd mention when it was just to give an idea of "a year in fostering."
Late September - The move to her grandma IS happening after all, but we're not sure when.
Late October - Second time to court, review. Uneventful.
Late October - Family team meeting about Pterodactyl's move to her grandma. The goal is set that the transition would be complete within a month.
Late November - The transition was slowed down by daycare issues. We took Pterodactyl with us out-of-state for Thanksgiving.
Dec. 12 - I start making waves because the transition has no defined end still. A deadline is set for her grandma to set up daycare.
Dec. 18 - Her grandma has not set up daycare. Pterodactyl will stay with us indefinitely.
Dec. 19 - Her grandma HAS set up daycare.
Dec. 20 - Pterodactyl moves to her grandma at least for Christmas while we travel to Canada.
Dec. 26 - We get word that her move is official.
Whew. Well, I couldn't have predicted any of that. I wouldn't have guessed we would have a newborn. I wouldn't have guessed we would spend more than half of the placement planning for an any-day-now goodbye. But I don't write our story, or Pterodactyl's. God is doing more than we can imagine. For reasons I don't entirely understand, Pterodactyl needed our love and care in our home for 7 months, and now she needs to be with her grandma.
And 2014? Who knows besides God. We're taking another week and a half off at least before going on the call list. Slowing down as a family of four has felt very, very nice. But I've got a nursery with an empty crib, and five stockings ready for next Christmas.