"So tell me about why you're here? I'm intrigued since I hear you're having twins soon and yet you're here at this foster care training." One of the other attendees looked at me with wide eyes and a smile on her face.
Today, Jacob and I, along with my bulging belly, sat through an excellent 7-hour training session on becoming certified foster care providers for the state. We both expected to be bored and feel overwhelmed with information and paperwork, yet we came away having enjoyed our time and with a different perspective on the foster care system.
The women who led our training today did so with an upbeat attitude and spirit. They interacted with us and forced us to interact in front of the group on several occasions. We learned so much and yet still have tons more to go through tomorrow and on one more Saturday later this month. We learned about a "sample" family and the situation they were in that caused the kids to be put into foster care and we talked through different options to help them and also positive and negative things that we saw in that family. It was really interesting, even though none of it was true. The story was given to us as an example of what we might encounter along our foster care journey.
I learned that just because you have a foster child in your home doesn't mean you can share their story with anyone. In fact, we all signed a confidentiality agreement today saying we wouldn't divulge any information about a case we were involved in, ever. I can't talk about our foster child's situation to anyone unless they need to know because they will be in contact with that child. It all feels very sticky and yet I understand the reason behind keeping our mouths shut.
Simply this: It's not our story to share.
It's a great lesson in gossip that I never thought I'd learn in quite this way. To respect and honor a child in my home who might not want anyone else to know what he/she has been through, is one of the many things we'll work to achieve during their stay with us.
We also learned about grief and loss as it relates to these children and their biological parents going through these situations. I hadn't thought of these kids experiencing grief or loss, but rather relief that they aren't in that situation anymore. And while that might be the case for some children, I am sure that although the situation they came from isn't what is desirable, they still miss their parents and the routine they were used to and their things that had to be left behind. I am all the more aware of other ways we grieve.
We go back tomorrow for another 7 or 8 hours and then on the 23rd we'll have one last full day of training before we're fully certified. It's exciting and scary all at the same time.
We're having two babies soon and signing up to bring other kids into our home. While it's scary and uncertain, we are sure of this: there are far too many orphans in this world without parents to guide them through life for Jacob and I to just sit here in our comfortable home and do nothing. We know that we are called to help the orphans of this world and we're excited to see exactly how we'll do that in the years to come.
As of now, we're interested in what's called "respite care". What that means is we would come alongside another family who has foster children and provide care and respite from their daily lives. We might take that foster child to his soccer game or we might take her to the dentist. If that family were to take a vacation out of the state, that foster child(ren) would have to stay behind and we would be the ones to take care of them while their foster parents are gone. We feel that we can do that right now and then later we definitely want to adopt and possibly do foster care ourselves. We shall soon see what God has in store for us.
More tomorrow, maybe. :)