In my last post, “How Do You Eat an Elephant”, I talked about the challenge of getting started. We had decided that we would pursue foster care, but we were not sure how to begin.
We eventually did get started. I learned a few things along the way.
First, in my opinion, it is helpful to work with a private agency. I think you can still directly with CPS. But working with a private agency provides an additional layer of support.
Depending on where you live, the agencies available will vary. Some are nationwide, others statewide, and others are only regional.
We decided to work with Arrow Child & Family Services. Arrow walked with us down the road of the entire certification process. While there are several great agencies, I highly recommend checking Arrow out.
Second, I did not know that children in foster care are in one of three groups.
Some children in foster care are not available for adoption. The state is still working with these children’s parents or family with the goal of reunification.
Another group is Legal Risk. These are children that are still not available for adoption, but the state has communicated that the it looks like reunification will not happen. The state attempts to place these children into families that will adopt them if that becomes an option.
Then, many children that are in foster care today are already available for adoption. This is called Straight Adoption. A child available for straight adoption remains in foster care until a family adopts them or the child ages out of the foster care system.
As I shared in my blog post, “Break My Heart”, Danielle and I were only adoption motivated in the beginning. Eventually, our hearts began to soften to the idea of fostering a child that probably would not stay with us. The results of our home study also added some motivation to foster children. I share about this in-depth in my book.
Third, certification takes time and commitment. I was surprised at how much we needed to do before we could even begin taking classes for certification.
It took us about 2 weeks to complete our application and over 4 months to take all the training classes. Then we had an intense home study. I realize that all that discourages some families from considering foster care. But you know what, that is OK. At risk and orphaned children deserve families that commit themselves to the effort.
Anything that is worth doing requires effort. It is healthy to understand the cost before you begin the journey. If God is calling you to become a foster parent, I hope you embrace the opportunity.
Question – Are you considering becoming a foster parent? If so, please leave a comment or question here. Our conversation may answer some of your questions or concerns. Our conversation may also encourage another family to respond need for orphan care.