1. Paperwork, paperwork, and more paperwork!

Hello, Sarah here! A little background into how this process started, Alex and I were talking about becoming foster parents for the past year. We kept saying that we wanted to wait to start our family until after we got married. While driving home from one of our family’s Christmas parties, we asked ourselves “Why wait?” We have a room, we have love in our hearts, and we can support a child now! That following Monday, I reached out to Children’s Hospital to see what the process would entail. A little later that day I received a phone call from someone at Children’s that walked me through the different options: foster parent, special needs adoption, adoption. We had to talk for over a half hour while she explained the differences between the three. Special needs adoption confused me. The name says adoption, but first and foremost you are a foster parent! That seemed like the route Alex and I had been talking about so I told her that is the route we would take. That day I received our first packet of information to fill out. It was dizzying to see the first pieces of paperwork that would eventually lead to us having a child, a pinion, another living, breathing human being in our home. I excitedly got to work filling in all the little boxes with our personal information. Alex signed the paperwork and scanned it back to me the same day, I sent it to the lady, and we were done for the day. Then we waited for the next step. We learned very quickly that there would be a lot of waiting!

Our next batch of paperwork came in through email and it was an Adoption Survey about what characteristics in a child would we take. How in the world were we going to decide what personality traits, physical impairments, mental impairments, etc. we would take into our home. As with everything else, we talked it through. We decided that we would make the decision to check the “no we will not accept” box if either of us would not feel comfortable caring for a child with that characteristic in the event that the other passed away and we were forced to parent on our own. Dramatic? Maybe, but what if something happened? We both had to be prepared to care for this child for as long as they are in our care. After talking things through, we discovered we are really open to what child we will take into our home. We had very few No’s and we said we would be open to children birth-3yo of either gender. We bundled that batch of paperwork together and sent it back in along with our income information and releases for them to run our backgrounds.

I then made a mistake. I went online and found a checklist of all the paperwork that we would need to turn in to our Licensing and Placement Specialist. It was quite the list and we spent the next couple of weeks pulling together everything on that list. We will come back to this later…

A week or so after we submitted the second batch of paperwork, we got a letter in the mail. It said we were “screened in” (that there was a high likely-hood that they could find a child that fit in our perimeters of children we would accept) and that a licensing worker would contact us within 2 weeks. Well, we got lucky and were matched with the best licensing worker in the world! She called me the same day we got that letter and scheduled our first home visit for a couple weeks later.

The visit comes, we hand over the war and peace binder of paperwork we have compiled, she tucks it away with a smile and pulls out another 30 sheets of paperwork for us to complete! We talk through what it all is and continue on with our home visit. I’ll leave that for another post.

We finish the new stack of paperwork and send it in.

Second visit, we are told that the paperwork that I gave her last time isn’t complete and we need to gather a TON MORE! We are also given more paperwork for respite providers to complete, background checks for any babysitters to complete, and forms for direct deposit.

We complete that paperwork and it appears (for now) that is the last of it… We shall see.

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