Last night was just amazing. I'm going to try to keep from making this a super long post, but it was an exciting night so I can't make any promises!
Our case worker got to our house at about 3:15. Nobody can ever find our house, but after 4 phone calls and a couple of wrong doorbells, they found our house. It was our case worker and another one who is either training or learning our workers job for a promotion. Either way, they were both so nice! We just sat in the living room and talked for a few minutes about our house and the blessings that made it happen. The first thing they did was make a family tree so that they could know who we were talking about when we talked about our family. This made me laugh, my family tree is pretty simple, two step families, all close. Andrew's however is a bit tangled! "Now, who is that child's parent?" "Your dad has been married 5 times then right?" Wrong! It took Andrew about 5 minutes to explain the whole family before it was clear! Then she asked some questions about my childhood, my family, my memories. All that good stuff. Then she asked Andrew the same questions. Just like everyone always is, they were really interested in Andrew's life story. They talked a lot about the custody after his parents divorce, the abuse, his personality and how he thought his childhood played into it. It was really interesting. In fact, that was the word of the night, "Interesting"! Apparently, we are a very interesting couple.
So then we went over how we thought a child would fit into our lives. It is really hard to put that into words! We know it will be completely insane at first, that it will be a huge adjustment, but we also know it will be wonderful and amazing and just perfect, even when it's not.
Then we got a chance to ask some questions. They said there is not much we can buy now since we don't know the age or sex we will be placed with. She did say we need to get gates for our stairs and locks for our cleaning supplies. Other then that she said we could wait. Then we talked about the time line. She explained that if we were to stay listed as foster to adopt parents that, legally, they could only call us when a child was 95% sure that the parents rights were going to be terminated. If the child is placed at birth, this means that the baby would be about 15 months when we would be eligible to even get a call (that's how long they usually give birth parents to work their case plan and get their child back). Since we want a child between 0-2, this makes us really hard to match. Not to mention that the foster family who had the child for the first 15 months of their life usually ends up adopting the child if parental rights end up being terminated.
So we have changed our plans. We are going to do fostering. I know that this has the potential for more heartbreak, but they assured me that every foster parent who wants to adopt ends up adopting one of their foster kids. It may not be our first placement, but it may be. So we will love each child that comes into our home for as long as they are with us. The goal is to give them a safe place while their parents get it together. And in the end, we will end up with a child that stays with us, plus the potential for lots of other kids to be a part of our lives.
This was what Andrew wanted to do from the start. He feels like we have a safe home and a lot of love to give, and that we should be open to giving that to any child that needs it. Even if they do go back to their birth parents at the end of their case plan.
This was what Andrew's aunt did. And they ended up adopting their first placement along with the 2 other babies that came after the first! I was nervous at first, but I am now more excited then ever!
Our age range will still be 0-2. And the really exciting part... When we asked about how long after being approved we should expect to get a placement call....Immediately! Holy Cow! And they told us that since we are the first couple to start our home study, as long as we turn in the rest of our paperwork this Saturday, we could be approved by the end of the month! Yup, so that means we could have a child in our home full time by October! Three weeks! Wow!
Andrew and I were on cloud nine! We talked about trick or treating and the baby's costume, about going to Florida for Thanksgiving with a baby, about stuffing stockings! All the things we have been dreaming about are really about to happen!
Plus we found out that we will be reimbursed for EVERYTHING! Car seats, diapers, cribs, formula, clothes, everything! And they cover childcare until the adoption is final. We are so excited!
So when they left we drove to the clinic and got our drug test, physicals, and TB tests done. The PA that did our physicals was hilarious! Him and Andrew joked the whole time, so the thing took twice as long as it should have, but we were in such an excited mood we didn't care!
We have a couple more documents to get together to turn in on Saturday and then we are done. Then the waiting starts. I have to paint the nursery a lot sooner then I planned to. Maybe this Sunday.
I want all of you to understand that when we are placed with a child, there is a 50/50 chance that they will stay with us forever. Once the placement happens, we will have constant updates as to wheither or not the birth family is complying with the judge's orders. They will be required to have supervised visits at the DFACS office with the child and all sorts of counseling and such. If they miss these, or don't follow the rules the judge sets up for them, our odds go up. If they do these things, the chance of them going home goes up. But at least then we know that the parents got help for the reason the kids were taken out of the home.
I wish I could do justice to the excitement we feel right now. I can't wait for our family and friends to meet the little one. I have decided that they will be my child no matter what. I will love them and care for them as if they were staying with me forever. And even though it will be SO hard to have them go home, I will send them off, knowing that while we had them in our house, they knew what love felt like.
I am so in love already.


Missy said...

i have to say that you are the most amazing person i've ever met. these children are going to be so very blessed to have you and andrew in their lives even if only for a short amount of time. i've never known anyone to have so much love for someone they haven't even met before. simply amazing.

the girls and i love you both very much and i'm SO excited to meet this precious little addition to your family!