Another (Small) Update

Happy Monday y’all! Hope you survived the weekend.

I guess the universe heard me Friday with my post on waiting to hear from the county regarding foster care training. We received a small packet in the mail on Saturday inviting us to the next MAPP session, which starts October 19th and is 5 Saturdays long (9:00 am to 4:00 pm). The letter also stated that some but not all background checks are done prior to training, so there is a chance after training that you will not be able to proceed due to past criminal/traffic history. While I don’t believe this applies to us, I definitely would prefer to be cleared prior to training! I get a background check every year for work so I’m not worried about mine but I wonder for my husband. They sent an RSVP of sorts with the letter, where you could say YES! I will start MAPP training on the 19th. You can mark NO! I cannot make it but I am still interested in foster care. And lastly you can mark NO! I am no longer interested in foster care. It’s amazing to me that they didn’t send any packets of info regarding foster care or want to meet with us prior to training. Unfortunately with my husband’s work schedule we can’t do Saturday classes. So I reluctantly sent back the RSVP NO! I cannot make it but I am still interested.

In other news, my husband has a second interview for the Pennsylvania job. We’ve just gone through this and he didn’t get it so I am trying not to plan as much this time and just go with the flow!

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One Foot in Front of the Other

After our setback last Monday, I was depressed. My husband was depressed. We want to help, but it seems like nothing in the system is in place to help the children. Anyways, our setbacks just make us try even harder towards our goal of adopting through foster care! We know we can help, and we are willing to do whatever we need to so that we can make a difference.

I sent emails to every contact I had made thus far to find out their policies on pre-adoptive placements and ages of the children. I sought new contacts and went back over the information I received at the county’s foster care info session. There were two main reasons we chose not to go through the county from the beginning. One was that the MAPP schedule for the county conflicts terribly with my husband’s work schedule and our child care provider’s schedule (yes, my mom). The second main reason we chose not to go with the county was because there is an almost 100% chance that in 6 months we will no longer live in this county. We may live 15 minutes away in the next county over, or on the other side of the state. My husband is up for a promotion at work, and it’s literally only a matter of time before it happens. So that has been some stress, as we cannot put our lives on hold waiting forever (we’ve been waiting for about a year so far), but we also cannot be knee-deep in an adoption and just leave the county. So we originally sought an agency that works throughout the state of North Carolina, thinking it might be easier if we start our licensing, get through MAPP training, then move (a little or a lot) and begin taking placements. It seemed right, but the agency was wrong. So now we have to wait for more news on my husband’s job before we apply to any county system for fostering. In the mean time, I am still sifting through state-wide private agencies to see if we have any chance  to get licensed through them.

I got this email this morning, but haven’t reached her yet:

Thank you for your interest in the ________. We are licensed to care for children ages one to twenty one, so the age groups always vary, especially with sibling groups. We may in the near future have a sibling group with a plan of adoption where the youngest child is two. If you would like more information, please feel free to contact me at:  ______________ Director of Adoption Services/ Case manager

I am so excited!! I need more information!

Still Being Hopeful

So I was late. Late, late, late. I hate being late. Especially to new places with new people that don’t know me. But there was nothing I could do about it since I couldn’t leave my 2 year old home alone while I went to the county foster care info session! My dear husband left work early, right on the dot at 5:30. He entered our front door at 6:30. Ugh, traffic! Luckily, I wasn’t the last person to arrive and everyone was still filling out the preliminary questionnaires so I didn’t miss any of the important stuff.

The county foster care recruiter played a video regarding foster care and it was nice to see foster kids who were positively impacted by their foster families. Then the group broke into two, one for those who were only interested in adopting, and those who were interested in fostering/adopting. I stayed with the foster group. The recruiter mentioned that about 60% of the children in foster care in my county end up being adopted by their foster parents. That is so sad to me! Good for the parents who want to adopt, but sad that we cannot help the parents enough that they can regain custody of their children. The recruiter also said that many birth parents that turn their lives around do so with the help of the foster parents. So that was good to hear. The recruiter talked about the high needs of the county. This group includes foster parents who are willing to welcome sibling groups of 2 or more, teens, newborns (must have one parent that stays at home since newborn children cannot go into day care) and teen moms. We are most definitely willing to have a sibling group so I am glad that we could help with that big need of my county. The recruiter said there are 185 foster families in my county and over 600 children so many of those children are contracted out with private agencies like the ones that I have contacted over the last month. She also discussed that of the children who are in foster care in my county, approximately 85% have been victims of sexual abuse, so there is a special part of MAPP training to deal with that subject. I am sure that I will write about this at a later date, but 85% sounded terribly high to me for these poor children that already have to deal with an upheaval of home.

Next, the trainer for the MAPP classes spoke about what to expect with the application, background check and starting MAPP classes. Nothing else can be done until the MAPP classes are complete, including the home study. She said that licensing takes about six to nine months from the first day of MAPP training. She was pleasant and kept cracking jokes so I can see how she would make a good trainer.

I was encouraged by the number of people in attendance along with the number of people that stayed for the foster care portion. I was also encouraged by the number of African American families that were there to start their journey, as I understand that is a great need in the foster community.

So here comes the tough part: scheduling MAPP training. I knew going in that this would not be easy with my husband’s work schedule. But man, I didn’t know it would be this hard!! So the county has training starting next Monday for five weeks from 6:00-9:00 on Mondays and Wednesdays. Well, my husband works until 9:00 on Mondays so that entire session is out. Then, there are NO sessions in July or August so the social workers have time to get everyone licensed from the Spring. Which I totally understand, but I also totally wish they had enough workers to have separate social workers that do the training and licensing so they can get more families in the door. All right. So that puts us to September. The next session is a 10 week, 6:00-9:00 Thursday class from the middle of September through the middle of November. My mom (who watches our daughter) cannot commit to 10 weeks of Thursday evenings. And besides, the 6:00 poses a huge problem for my husband who had difficulty getting to our house for me to be on time to a 7:00 pm meeting. The last session for the county of the YEAR starts the middle of October, and it is from 9:00-4:00 on Saturdays for 5 weeks. But my husband works every Saturday. And my sister is pregnant and due October 20th so there is a good chance my mother would be out of town around then and unable to watch our daughter for me to attend session. So there are no other options this year for the county. And both of us have to go through training. His job is not very flexible, it’s not like he can just take off a morning if I have to go to the doctor or our daughter is sick. So for him to be somewhere at 6:00 pm for 10 classes is really tough.

I was hopeful for the daytime 5 week class, because he could do it on a week day off. I did not see anyone from Lutheran Family Services at the info session so I am not sure what the woman was emailing me about regarding the daytime MAPP class. I wrote to her after the info session to see if she had any more interest in a daytime class and to let her know that I am unable to attend any of the county training sessions for the rest of the year.

I guess that I should have gone with the adoption group! Has anyone adopted a legally free child from foster care? Did you still have to go through MAPP classes? Anyone else have difficulty scheduling your MAPP classes?

I feel like we’re stuck right now and I would love some insight!