We made it! Our first day of training was today. It was a long day and pretty overwhelming – but very informational and most of all exciting. Like I’ve mentioned before, we have training five Saturday’s in a row. There are two sessions each Saturday: 9-12 and 1-4. They give us an hour for lunch each week.
Here are the highlights from today..
- There were 21 potential foster parents there. I believe that three of them were making up sessions from a previous training, so there are 18 in our class.
- They all seem great! Tons of Christians and they were very open about that. It was amazing to be able to talk to and hear from people that are going through the same process and can really understand and relate to each other.
- I am pretty sure we are the youngest. There were three other young couples, but I think they were older than us. Most people are already parents and have older children. One couple has young children, and three couples have already had experience fostering or are fostering right now. So while we can relate to everyone in some ways, we still seem to be unique in the group.
- There are three trainers. I loved them all, but I’m most excited that one of them is a current foster parent.
- Apparently, we were misinformed at the informational meeting. We were told that from the moment we turned in our initial paperwork (early January), that it would take about three months to get licensed. This was when we were told that they try to do home studies and interviews while you are in training. They do try to do that, but the timeline is more like three months from when you start training. To be fair, I think the woman at the informational meeting may have just misunderstood our question. She may have been talking about paperwork we fill out during training. Regardless, we are looking at around June to be licensed. After the shock wore off (because I’ve been scrambling to get clothes and rooms ready thinking we had six weeks), a voice of reason set in and I realized this is a good thing. In June, school will be winding down and I’ll have much more time at home to be with children. It also gives us six more weeks to prepare our house and our rooms. If it happens to be earlier, great! But right now we are just trusting God.. and we were warned we may be told this because apparently things change very quickly with this process and lots of things could make it take longer.
- Trainings are broken down into topics. Some of them include: permanency, discipline, working with parents, dealing with trauma, and working with the court system.
- Next week focuses on the home study, interviews, and health inspections. After that we should be assigned a social worker.
- The last session will be amazing! Foster parents, former foster children, and biological parents that have had children in the system will come share their stories with us. Everyone brings a dish to share for lunch, they set up this panel for questions, and we celebrate!
- We spent a lot of today doing activities that gave us an idea of what these children go through when being taken from their parents and their homes. It was extremely difficult to think about, but led to a lot of great conversations about hope and the future.
- Need was talked about again and again. There are just not enough foster homes. We heard stories about siblings being split up and how that’s one of the worst possible things that can happen to these children.
- We watched THIS video.. Which will break your heart make you want to go scoop these kids up and love them forever.
On a more positive note.. we heard so many success stories. About 40-45% of foster children end up reuniting with their birth parents. 25% end up being adopted by an extended family member. Our trainer that fosters, she gave me hope. She talked about giving up the infants she’s loved and cared for, and spoke to how difficult it was. Then she told us all about how those children refer to her as Aunt now and she sees them often. She said that she not only gained these children into her family, but now their parents as well. It was such a touching story and a beautiful testament to how the system can help heal.
By the way..there is a Part 2 of the Removed video. It’s called Remember My Story.
Thanks for being on this journey with us!