Plumbers and Life Changers
After plunging, yes plunging the garbage disposal clear of potato skins and actually vacuuming the house myself (Gasp!), everything was ready for the social worker to come over to see the house and get to know the Blackwells a little better. I raced home from work on Thursday evening in time to light some candles and warn Cassie that she better be on her best behavior before *Kathy (names have been changed for privacy, people) arrived prompty at 5:30. I had put some coffee on so I'd have something to offer our guest, but really I wish it had been shots of tequila to calm my nerves. But, whatever.
So Kathy asked us if we had any questions for her to start out with, but we wanted her to explain more about the process of fostering, so we let her go first. Basically, we will start our PRIDE classes February 1st and attend those on Monday nights through March 29th. Simultaneously, we will be completing our Home study where Kathy or someone else from the agency comes out to our house to interview us and talk more in depth about us and what our expectations are. We will also need to get a background check, have physicals (this is new), and also get our home ready to welcome kids. While it probably won't happen, there have been cases where people have gotten a placement before the classes are finished because their paper work was complete and there was a good match. So, while J and I aim to have the kids' room(s) complete by the end of March, we are keeping it in the backs of our heads that it could be earlier.
I gave a tour of our amazing clean home and she only had questions about the gun safe and whether or not the ammo can be kept in the same place as the guns. Of course, the guns have be stored unloaded and locked up, but we knew that and that's they we keep them anyway.
We found out we are alowed to take the kids on vacations with us and let friends and family babysit, too. This is was one of our questions that we wanted to talk to Kathy anyway, so I'm glad we didn't forget to ask.
One of the things that our county is doing a little differently than most when it comes to birth parents (BP) and foster parents (FP) is they are encouraging interaction away from the agency. At first, the weekly visitations with the BPs will occur at the agency with a social worker (SW) present. Eventually, the agency would like to see the visitations take place outside the agency and at a place that is convenient to both BPs and FPs. They encouragement this kind of interaction because they have seen BPs get their act together with the help of FP's encouragement and maybe a little teaching as well. This rocks because while the goal of the agency is to keep the child's best interest in mind, they would really like to see reunification of the birth family if it's possible.
The one thing Kathy kept saying is the importance of flexibility. One of the things we will do in class is look at our life and how much we've got in it. Once we get a placement we're adding weekly visitations, doctor appointments, leaving earlier for work to take the kids to daycare, etc.
Our life with change. Well, duh. But isn't that what we wanted in the first place, only the other way around?