The story of why we decided to do foster care isn’t really anything remarkable. When you know you want a family and biologically that isn’t an option, you start making other plans. Foster care came up, and I signed us up for an orientation to get the basics. I told you… unremarkable. The story of our licensing process though, now that is something to tell you about.
We started the foster process like most young parents, completely clueless. We had horribly unrealistic expectations, and as a result dove head first, into a world we were very ill-prepared for. All of this doesn’t make for great long-term success.
I mentioned above that as soon as the idea of foster care was brought up (let the record show it was my husband that brought it up), I wasted no time in signing us up for orientation. From orientation, I immediately picked an agency and began our mountains of paperwork and PS-MAPP classes.
What is PS-MAPP? Partnering for Safety and Permanency- Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting… said no one ever. Literally, I had to Google it because I don’t remember ever being told what it stood for. This is probably something I should have asked at some point… It is a 30-hour program that all foster parents in Arizona are required to complete prior to licensing.
To say PS-MAPP was intense would be an understatement. You do group activities and homework and discussions about children you may encounter in care. You hear the horror stories of the extreme situations that foster parents have found themselves in. They walk you through how insane your life is about to become (they don’t even scratch the surface).
Mark and I sat through this class for 10 weeks straight, finished all of our paperwork, and in the end, we said, “No thank you”. We decided that is was absolutely not for us and that perhaps we should continue to save up for more fertility treatments or accept the fact that we may never have children. Considering how badly I wanted a family, this was a huge deal.
We settled into our new “child-free” way of life. Even if we did return to fertility treatments, we needed to save for a few years and so we moved out of our beautiful 3 bedroom home for this funky 1 bedroom townhouse. We made the decision that we were going to embrace our youth and our 20’s and worry about a family down the road.
This would be the point that God laughed at us. I think in my memories of this time, I can almost hear the chuckles. Things moved pretty quickly from this point.
After church one Sunday shortly after our move, we decided to go out to lunch. This is when we ran into a couple that we went through PS-MAPP with us. We had really bonded with this couple and I was so happy to see them. Not only was it them, but their beautiful foster baby. We sat and ate with them and they shared their experiences so far. They shared how sad they were to see us decided to walk away from fostering. I sat holding that baby boy the entire meal.
On the car ride home, Mark and I sat in silence. I told him, “I think we made a mistake. I think God has called us to do foster care and we ran away because it seemed too
hard”. Even if this was true, we now had a brand new lease on this new townhouse that had no room for a baby. We had shut the door on that for at least a year.
I kid you not, the next day a certified letter came informing us we were being evicted at no fault of our own. You see, even though we had disclosed our large dogs on our application and they were on the lease, the property manager had failed to realize the community didn’t allow large dogs. We had 60 days to find a new home and move AGAIN.
The rest of the story tells itself. We moved into a family home, called our agency, and finished our application. We decided to stop fighting what was so clearly meant to be and accept that maybe God was asking us to take that leap of faith and do the hard thing.
Within hours of being licensed, I got a call for our first placement. A newborn baby. We adopted him 15 months later.