Well, where to even begin. Our journey began in March of 2001 when I began the process of becoming a foster parent. I knew God had placed me on this earth to be a parent. As I went through the training and learned the good and sometimes bad of being a foster parent, I knew He was leading me in the right direction. I received my license in October of 2001, and in March 2002 I received my first placement. Jackie was a wonderful four year old girl. The next six weeks she was with me was a mixture of the joy of a child as well as some eye opening of the "system." She went to live with a sister who had already adopted three or four other siblings. I heard from her once after she left and was able to take her for a day to give the sister a "break" and spend some time with my "first child." I didn't hear about her again for a while. I ended up getting Jackie "back" in Oct after she had unknowingly to me been bounced to a number of foster homes. Her sister "couldn't handle her." She was with me until the next summer when some unfortunate events caused her move to a residential facility. It was rough. I knew through this, though, that I wanted more than "just" foster parenting. I wanted to be a forever mom. I went over a rough road with several foster placements, and trying to adopt waiting children. The agency I was with was not helpful at all. Finally in September of 2003, I made the switch to my current agency, now called something else. A friend of mine had two children placed with her through this agency. In October we found out that that mom was pregnant and the children my friend had were only 2 and 1. She could not take a newborn. I called everyone I knew at the agency and let them know I would be more than happy to take the baby if needed. I talked to the school district I taught for and asked about time off if this became a reality. They were so helpful and agreed to let me take my sick days if it came to pass. We knew mom was due in early February 2004, but were not sure exactly when or if the baby would even be "taken." On February 9th I received a phone call at work. Baby M was born on Sat, Feb 7 and was taken into custody today, could I take the placement. My mind went into overdrive and I stammered out a yes. I frantically rushed three weeks of lesson plans into my plan book and told the school I needed a sub. They were to be at my house at 5pm. M was only 5lbs and I shopped online during my lunch hour to order some preemie clothes. At 4:30 I received a call. They ended up not having the paperwork completed in time, but would bring him by the next morning. At 10am, M, whom the parents had nicknamed B, came to live with me. My life would never be the same.
B very quickly became the center of my world. With so little time to prepare, my mom was wonderful and came to help for the first two months. He grew and flourished. As B turned 2 1/2 months, another child was presented to me. She was 20 months old, living with a foster family, and in need of an adoptive placement. Of course I jumped at the opportunity, while inside thinking "What am I getting into?" She was pure joy. Barely a month after she moved in and became in all respects other than legally my daughter, I received a phone call from the agency. An aunt and uncle from CA have come forward and we are allowing them to file an interstate compact to adopt her, sorry. Unbelievable. The caseworker eventually gave up this part of working with the agency due to this case. So now she was no longer my daughter, but my foster child whom I had to ready to leave someday. I had to put my trust in God that this was where she was meant to be. Unfortunately, that someday took much longer than anticipated and she was with me another 6 months. I miss her terribly.
In Feb. 2005, B turned one. We had a wonderful turn out of friends and family. The next month I received another call. This one about a 6 year old boy and a 3 year old girl (J). They were in a relative placement that wasn't working out, and their case was heading toward adoption. Was I interested??? Of course!!! The first couple of months were wonderful. After that, the bio mom whom the children hadn't seen in almost a year showed up and began visits again. The 6 yr old had a very hard time with this and an even harder time expressing his feelings. We began to see a lot of acting out in numerous ways which were hard with two little ones. He ended up hospitalized locally. After, it was ok for a while but shortly spiraled out of control again. I did not understand God's plan in this. I teach special education and dealing with behavior disorders at school is something I do well. At home it's a different story. I didn't have the time he needed to truly work through things. He ended up hospitalized again after threatening me. I was scared for B and even J. I gave notice that he would need to find a family more able to help him.
The agency was able to make him specialized while he was hospitalized and found him a home that had worked with similar situations. J was able to stay with me as she was flourishing and had bonded with B and I so well.
In July of 2005, B's parental rights were terminated - adoption looked like it was right around the corner. His parents ended up appealing the decision, and at present we are still awaiting that decision.
Also in July, J's case passed pre-screening. We know that her parents will most likely not appeal, and only needed to have the pre-screening packet sent to the state and await a date for termination. Sounds simple, right? Not so much. The person who was to send the packet, quit around this time. Her office was left a disaster area and the very important packet was "lost." J's caseworker asked a few times about the packet after finding out it had not reached it's destination. It was found last month!!! So, it is now with the state and we await word on a date for termination.
Looking at this from a new vantage point, I see God's hand in everything. It has been such a rocky road, but like David was carved out of marble, the rough spots have helped "chip" away at some of the unneeded material around the person God has created me to be. I look forward to adopting my two darlings and will update as things progress!