During our PRIDE classes which are required by the state of Missouri we discussed many required topics.  There were definitely times when we were given the opportunity to ask questions but you don’t really know what you don’t know.  In hindsight I wish I had communicated what my hopes were for when we finished the class so I could have gotten feedback. 

In a rather unorganized way here are some of the minor but time consuming glitches that have happened as we have been trying to finish up our requirements:

  • Our case study worker was a contractor and therefore very busy working another full-time job. 
  • When our case study was sent from the worker to the offices there were additional questions they wanted answered as well as additional information that I had to gather and turn in.  I think this is probably always going to be the case to some extent. 
  • The paperwork went to the licensing worker and it was discovered that the child abuse and neglect checks had not been done on Brent and I for Oklahoma where we formerly resided or on Nicholas in Iowa where he lives while he is going to school.  They immediately requested ours and I had to send the paperwork to Nicholas at school to fill his request forms out.  He then received the forms and didn’t get them filled out but brought them home with him days later, I filled them out and had him sign off so I could mail them.  We were told that Oklahoma had given a possible four week time span for the paperwork to come back so that definitely blew having children by the holidays which was disappointing but fine.  We received Nicholas’ results a couple of weeks later and then found out that Oklahoma doesn’t even have a registry so it was noted in our case study and that part was complete.  What could we have done differently:  keep track of all forms filled out and make sure that you see that the results were received by the licensing agency.  Our agency gave us a list regularly of what was still outstanding but I did not do any comparisons to make sure nothing had slipped through the cracks.  Make copies of every single thing you turn in to the agency and keep it all organized.  We were asked for our first aid cards just this week.  They had been copied way back when we took the classes but there was an inside portion that was not copied and is critical to showing what training we received.  Thinking we would not need them again I have misplaced them so I had to call and request duplicate cards.  This could have been avoided in two ways:  I could have made sure that I provided complete copy in the first place instead of just bringing the cards and having the office copy them and I definitely should have done a better job of keeping track of the cards just in case.
  • We  got together on January 15th a month later than we expected to sign all our paperwork.  This included contracts with both Missouri Baptist Children’s Home and Cornerstones of Care.  The paperwork for COC was actually an application, which surprised me.  I had no idea before that that there was anything but signatures required.
  • I had been scoping out photolistings for months and had my list of children I wanted to get information on or submit my case study for possible matching for adoption.  I contacted our licensing worker after we signed the paperwork and asked (silly me) about when we would receive a copy of our case study.  She basically replied that we don’t receive a copy and that our case study was not an “adoption” case study it was just a foster care case study.  Needless to say I was a bit disappointed, frustrated, etc.. .  It seems that we do need to take the required Spaulding classes and have that information (maybe more) added to our case study to bring it to that point.  I believe we could, and have, receive information on children within the state of Missouri but not out of state.  I decided to take this as an indication that we should just go ahead and start to foster and see what children  God sends our way.  It may be that we only foster and it could be for the next two years or ten.  One step at a time.
  • If I had it to do over again I would definitely emphasize more that I wanted an adoption home study if that was my goal. I would also have put less of a limitation on my range of ages for children accepted.  I kept hearing that sibling groups could be placed even outside your listed range, ours is ages 6-12 but my licensing worker has already told me that she prefers that the full acceptable range should be listed from the beginning.  This is an area I have definitely flip flopped on throughout the process.  My thoughts were initially that I should only accept school aged children because I work outside the home but  it sounds like most of the time children would be in child care situations anyway so they would not suffer undulybecause I had to take advantage of the same system. 

I am learning more every day and I am sure just as my perspective has changed many, many times during this process it will continue to do so.  We are signed up for all the training we can find including the Spaulding classes and  are praying for wisdom and strength for the challenges to come.  We covet your prayers and appreciate so much all the support that has been given.