Foster License – Step 4

The level 1 class was scheduled for 3 hours and both of us had to attend this as well.  Speaking honestly, both my husband and I assumed it would be boring and torturous.  The class began quite slowly and seemed to be exactly what we expected.  Thankfully it progressed somewhat quickly and was informative.  The staff distributed booklets to allow each family to follow along during the meeting and to reference at home if needed.  As a whole, the class opted to skip our breaks thereby cutting the time down to two and a half hours.  🙂

A lot of important and interesting information was provided and I’m glad we attended (not that we had a choice).

The next step would be 4 hours of online training.

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Foster License – Step 3

This step will be drawn out a bit, so I’ll have to update you as it progresses by leaving a comment.

I went through the packet of documents and ‘extra’ activities required list that was given to us at the initial home visit and made a spreadsheet.  As I completed and scanned/emailed the document to the manager, I documented it on my sheet.  This serves two purposes.  One I will know what we have and have not completed and two I can make sure that the manager and I stay on the same page (I sent her the spreadsheet with my notes too). I’m not sure if she found it helpful or insulting.  LOL

Some items were pretty easy to gather and send it (ie car registrations and insurance), others we’re still working on.  All the quick easy items are sent in and confirmed that she has them.  The more extensive items are a work in progress.

I’ve had a few more items ready for a few weeks, but my scanner won’t work because I ran out of ink.  Hubby bought more ink, so I should be able to get those in to her in the next few days.  Should being the key word there!

Foster License – Step 2

See Foster License – Part 1

Once the papers provided at the information meeting, which include a general application and background check forms, to the assigned manager, the process has officially begun!  In our case, it took about 3 weeks to get a call saying that our background checks were successful and to schedule an initial home visit (not to be confused with a home study).

Since both spouses are required at the initial home visit, we scheduled our visit for an evening.  Our assigned manager came to our home for the visit.  She was reassuring that the initial visit was just to give us (and them) a general idea of the conditions the foster child(ren) would be living in.  They have requirements on the amount of space each child in foster care receives in a foster home.  We walked through our home looking at every room.  She made notes and comments (such as the need for medicine to be stored higher, each child needs their own bed, etc) as we went.

She asked us a few general questions and provided us with a packet of additional documentation to complete.  Within these papers were instructions on getting fingerprinted, CPR certified, and a few other ‘extra’ tasks we’d need to complete for licensing.  Just before she left we agreed on which of the available level 1 classes we’d like to sign up for and attend.

The level 1 class was scheduled for 3 hours and both of us had to attend this as well.

Foster License – Step 1

To initiate the process of obtaining your foster license in the state of IN you must first attend an information meeting.  This meeting lasts for about an hour and is rather informal.  They provide you with some broad ideas of what fostering is and is not.  You receive a few forms to fill out and are assigned your contact with their office.

In my own opinion, the information meeting is merely required to weed out people who think being a foster parent would be easy or wanting to do it just for the money.  While fostering does pay, it’s not a lot.  The staff also makes it very clear that potential foster families need to be stable (including having a little money left over at the end of the month).  I believe it’s important to also mention that only one adult in your household needs to go to the meeting; however all adults are required to complete forms which can then be faxed/emailed/mailed to the manager.

Once the papers provided at the information meeting, which include a general application and background check forms, to the assigned manager, the process has officially begun!  In our case, it took about 3 weeks to get a call saying that our background checks were successful and to schedule an initial home visit (not to be confused with a home study).

My decision to home school

The decision to home school (or choose public or private school) is a deeply personal choice and should not be taken lightly or be a choice made out of guilt.  Every family is different and each should make their own decision based on what is best for their unique needs and desires.  We should all try to respect others’ decisions and not make judgements.

When our daughter, “K”, was getting ready to turn 3 we signed her up for preschool at a local church two days a week.  She loved it and was doing quite well, so the next year she stayed at the same school and attended the Pre-K class.  This was 3 days a week for half day.  Again she loved it, but was more than ready to leave by the time school ended.

Most schools in the area were offering only full day Kindergarten.  That meant 5 days a week, full day.  I really didn’t think she would be ready for that emotionally.  After much research I narrowed our choices down to two options, Public school (who at the last moment decided to offer both full and half day) or a hybrid charter school.  Both offered half day Kindergarten.  However the date for the age cutoff for entering Kindergarten had been changed.  We now had to have K evaluated to be in Kindergarten at all.  In the end, we chose Hoosier Academies hybrid program.

A few reasons for our choice follow.

  • K would often fall asleep on the 7 minute ride home from school.  If she didn’t nap in the car, she exhibited less than angelic behavior at home.
  • Her teachers told me she often asked when school was over during the last hour of class.
  • K does not like to sit and even when she sits, she still wiggles around a lot.  Even at dinner, she sits on the edge of her chair with one leg on the floor.
  • She asks a LOT of questions.  More than her fair share.  I didn’t want her getting in trouble in school for asking too many questions, but I also didn’t want her to learn (by necessity) that she couldn’t ask any question.  I love her curiosity.
  • I wanted to be involved in her learning.  At the time, that just meant having a good understanding of what she was doing during the time she was away from me.  Was she struggling or excelling with an area?  Was she well-behaved?  In what ways could I help her?
  • I missed her while she was gone!  It’s a very selfish reason, but it definitely played into my decision.
  • HA takes care of all record keeping.  Testing, grades, transcripts, etc are all handled by them.  All I do is make sure she gets the lessons completed.

K is now in 2nd grade with HA and we are still happy with our choice.

Before the journey began

A little background about before the journey began.

I had tried, unsuccessfully to deny my constant desire to add to our family through adoption.  Even as a child when thinking about what I wanted to be when I grow up, the first thing I’d think about was being a SAHM to at least 3 kids, some of whom would be adopted.  These thoughts subsided a bit as I grew and began my family, but I still maintained that I would like to adopt someday.

About 3 years ago my longing for adoption started growing again.  At one point I couldn’t see a baby without almost breaking into tears.  I wanted to grow my family, but my husband assured everyone we were done having children.

I cried myself to sleep several nights a week during this time.  My days were filled with begging, pleading, asking and praying to God about what His plan was for us in this regard.  At one point I was praying that He would just take the yearning from my heart if it wasn’t in His plan for me to add to our family.

I began seeing information about adoption and fostering everywhere I turned.  I convinced myself that I was just noticing it more because it was so heavy on my heart and mind.  Eventually I realized this was God telling me that He did intend for me learn more about adoption and fostering.  I began reading, researching, and attending any meetings I could informing people about all the options of adoption.

I wanted to adopt internationally.  God said no.

So I focused on domestic adoption (mostly, I was still trying to convince God to see things my way).  God again said no.

I was totally confused.  Why are You practically shoving adoption in my face when You keep saying no?  To say I was angry would have been a great understatement.  I let God know how unfair I thought it was that He would give me such a strong desire to help orphans and then not allow me to DO anything (I’m getting a little steamed just remembering it!).

Then I started seeing ads about fostering.  Talking to people and learning they have or are fostering.  Hearing people talk about helping children in foster care.  I knew that God wasn’t saying no to adding to my family.  He just had a different way of getting there.

Once I realized God’s plan was for us to foster (and I’m still hoping adopt through foster), I began praying that He would talk to my husband for me.  It took a bit more time, but He came through in a big way.  Hubby was on board (nervous, stressed, but ready to start the process)!