Saturday, March 31, 2012

39 days and counting...

Well a lot has actually happened in the last 2 weeks....I'm sorry that I'm just now getting around to putting it on the blog.  We found out on Friday, March 16th, our current agency (Kornerstone) is merging with another agency (ACH, formerly known as All Church Home).  Although this felt like a huge setback for us, it sounds like a great opportunity for our agency.  ACH is taking all of the family developers and staff (I think) along with the merge.  Which means all families should be able to stay with their current family developer and the location is actually going to stay the same.  "Kornerstone" will be able to operate as a satellite office of the new agency.  There are also tons more resources and support that ACH can offer their staff as well as their families.  The downside is that this meant that Kornerstone would now be overwhelmed with the task of getting all of the currently licensed families switched over to home study updates, processing paperwork, transferring files, etc.  We felt like we would be put on the back burner as a family who isn't even licensed yet.  After speaking to the person in charge of home studies at our current agency, she basically said it's up to the new agency how and when they would like to proceed with us.  I had worked so hard to get all of our paperwork and inspections done quickly, and now it seemed like it would be months before we could even schedule our home study.  Once again, I found myself not trusting that God's plan and timing is perfect and that He is in control..and worrying that my timing was not going to work the way I had planned it to.  I think this is a lesson that I need to learn as soon as possible...which I think is a good lesson for everyone, but especially for someone walking into foster care.  As a foster parent, I don't think you are in control of a whole lot, other than providing care for the children, that specific day, hour, and minute.  You never know when they are coming or when they will leave.  Hearing from other foster parents, you can't even rely on the timing given by the judge at their hearings...something can always come up that extends or shortens their stay with us.  That's just part of it, and it's going to be tough to let go of that control...or I guess to never actually get that control.  LUCKILY, I know and believe that we have a God, who is the creator of the universe, that DOES have control and who knows what is best for us and for the kids.  And if I can keep that in the forefront of my mind, then I think I would worry a whole lot less about my timeline. 

Ok so...thanks to Lisa, the awesome lady who is in charge of home studies at Kornerstone, we were not put on the back burner, as we thought might happen.  She passed along our file to ACH and told them that our home study is "of great priority" to them.  Then, last Friday, March 23rd, a home study writer called me at 5:30 and said "how does your weekend look?"  What??  This weekend??  Ummm...great?!  Since I was hosting a baby shower at our house that Saturday, I scheduled us for Sunday, the 25th, at 1:00.  So, needless to say last week/weekend was quite busy preparing for a shower and home study all in the same weekend!  There were actually lots of pluses for having the home study right after a baby shower. 
1.  house is already clean
2.  I could leave out the fresh flowers in the cutely decorated vases with ribbon
3.  I could put out goodies that were leftover from the shower
4.  I got to give the home study writer this when she left....

perfect, right?? thanks Shelby for having a transportation themed nursery :)

So, there wasn't a whole lot that I had to do to get ready for the home study, besides make sure all of our meds were put back in the double-locked tackle box and our cleaning supplies put back in the locked cabinet in the garage.  I'm sure we will do a much better job of making sure those things get put back in their appropriate locked spaces when we have kids in the house :)  So here is what I put out for our home study interviewer that afternoon (notice the amazing table that is now husband rocks and making tables):

lemonade, scones, chocolate banana bread, cake, and candy

    So, how did it go?  It wasn't as painful as I thought it would be.  We didn't get asked the "how is your sex life question?"  which we were told to expect...ummm, awkward!!  Considering that Dave and I are both pretty quiet and don't really enjoy talking about ourselves a lot, I think we did really good.  It was just soooooo long!  She was here for 5 1/2 hours.  That included an interview with just me, an interview with just Dave, an interview with Dave and I, and a walk through to make sure our house was up to standards and ready for kids.  There were lots of questions about our families, our history, how we were raised, the roles we play in our marriage, and scenarios of "what would you do if your foster child did ___."  Or "how would you help your foster child deal with ___."  I think those were the toughest ones.  Because honestly I have no idea how to help a child through the loss that they have experienced.  One thing I think we both repeated often was "there is no way we are going to be able to relate to what these kids have been through."  We are so blessed to have been brought up in families that have a history of loving the Lord and providing their children with care and love.  These kids didn't get dealt those cards and now they have to figure out how to not only overcome that, but try to break that pattern in their family.  I can't even remember my answers to those types of questions...I'm sure they weren't good.  Basically I think we said you just listen to them, try to find some common ground, pray for them, and make them feel understood, loved, and most importantly help them to realize their value as a child of God, who was created in the image of Him.  We were also handed a sheet of "behaviors" and were asked to pick out which ones we would not be willing to accept into our home.  Dave was of course quick to answer "we'll take anyone."  I was not so quick and took a few minutes to actually read and think about them all.  The ones that scared me the most were "acts out sexually,"  "hurts animals," and "history of starting fires" (I know that sounds kinda silly, but thinking about our house burning down is scary to me...I'm sure that's pretty extreme).  However, in the end, we decided that because we are going to start with an age limit of up to 10, and with basic level of care kids, we probably would not be receiving kids with these severe behaviors, to start with.  And we decided that we have enough support to find help if/when we do receive kids with these behaviors.  That doesn't mean that we aren't nervous about it and we think we are just so awesome that we can handle anything.  It just means that we believe that God gave us the ability to care for these kids and that every single one of them were created in God's image and therefore holds infinite value, and should be treated as such.  So in the end, I think she liked us, and understood us as a family who is doing this to serve the Lord and are willing to go wherever God calls us to go in this ministry.

So...we are officially DONE!  Even with the merger happening, we have already filled out the necessary paperwork for the new agency.  Now the waiting begins.  The home study writer said she legally has 45 days to write it up, but that it would probably be sooner than that.  So, really it is probably going to be less than the 39 days she has left, but who knows.  After that, we will be called in to sign one final paper and we will be on the "open list" to receive kids.  Which means we could get a call the next day, the next week, again, who knows? (see what I mean about needing to quickly learn this "not in control" lesson??)

In the meantime, we are going to spend our time together, as a kid-less family, and hopefully work on some projects like painting/decorating the kid rooms.  As mentioned earlier, Dave did finish his first project - our kitchen table.  He really enjoyed it and is looking forward to starting his next project, which I think is a workbench, but says that will be easy.  I'm hoping the next big project will include a dresser for the "baby" room (I love giving hints to my husband through a blog).  He did such a great job with the table, I am confident that whatever he builds next will be equally impressive.  Here are better pictures of the completed table:


all we need are chairs!

I also completed a mirror framing project that has been on my to-do list.  It was my first pinterest house project.  I think it turned out pretty well!

all you do is glue on these tiles you buy in sheets and...

Thanks again for everyone's support in your comments, prayers, thoughts, donations, and just being there for us!  We really appreciate it and couldn't do this without a community of support.

Love ya!!       

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