Today I continue the saga of trying to get information on foster parenting in my area…
After I realized that it would not be as easy as I thought to gain information on foster parenting through my county, I tried gaining information from some of the non-profit agencies that work with the county where I live. I was successful in getting a quick answer from Lutheran Family Services in my area, but their information session was two months away! The woman that I spoke with at Lutheran Family Services was very encouraging and even gave me the contact information for their adoption specialist. She also suggested that we foster for a while before we adopt, as she said “think of how many children you can serve in a short period of time.” This statement was not lost on me. I know my husband is strong but I have a huge soft spot for children (and animals!). And I think that giving up a child after you’ve bonded for years would be very difficult. I guess I need to pray about it.
I also sent an inquiry to a few other private agencies regarding their foster care family services. One woman called me from an agency while I was at work, so I called her back (three times!) and left messages but she never returned my call. And I don’t have her email address to contact her in another way! Another woman from an agency called me twice while I was at work, and when I called back I just received a recording, no way to speak with a live person! I have a fairly flexible job, but when you call at 3:00 in the afternoon or 10:00 in the morning, I am apt to be working hard!
So, after I struck out with my county and the local agencies, I decided to look at the county next to ours, since it is only a few miles away. I filled out their inquiry form online and received an email from their Foster Parent Recruiter. Now, I try really hard to have thick skin. But sometimes the tone of an email can just rub you the wrong way. And this was one of those. I mentioned in the inquiry form that we were mainly interested in providing respite care and foster-to-adopt. The Recruiter took this to mean that we wanted to adopt a newborn baby. A “normal” newborn baby. Literally, this is an excerpt of her email:
“Yes, there are foster parents that have had the opportunity to adopt, but as the Foster Parent Recruiter I like to make it very clear that if your primary interest is to adopt there are other alternatives. I was informed by Children’s Home Society that they complete home studies free of charge if you are interested in adopting a child from foster care. However, there is a fee for the program that they have for families who want normal, healthy infants. I have attached an adoption information sheet for your review.”
Just because you wish to adopt doesn’t mean a) you aren’t interested in fostering first, b) that you only want to adopt an infant, c) what child is considered “normal” anyways?? and d) there are children in foster care who eventually need adoption, why is she discounting them? After her email, which I felt was really to put fear into potential foster parents, I gave her a call. She was short on the phone, until I explained that we really are interested in foster care and respite care. Then her entire voice changed, and I could tell she was excited to have us come on board. We had one issue though, that county only accepts foster parents who live within county lines! So since we live in the neighboring county I would not be eligible to foster parent children from that county, even though they are in dire need of foster parents. Bummer! She was quite nice by the end of our conversation and said that she was sad that we did not qualify.
So I got a little farther on the path to finding information, but it made me even sadder that we are able and willing, but turned down from so many of these offices!