As we begin this journey, which we intend to carry through to adoption, I plan to share relevant bits of information here. The primary motivation is to keep our family and friends informed as everyone has been so kind to ask lots of questions, and until now I have had no answers. Hopefully we can start to fill in some of those blanks.
I am by no means an expert in this area. I'm simply learning and reflecting on some of the lessons learned. Most educational information shared here will be based on the training material taught by Arrow Ministries, and I'll of course share about our personal experience as well.
I don't plan to go into a lot of the dark and difficult stuff we've covered in trainings on the blog, though I will strive to share some bits of the reality and gravity of the foster care situation here in America.
On a practical note, here are the steps we have taken so far and where we stand in the process.
1. Fall 2013- Finalized decision to Foster to Adopt by working with Arrow Ministries. Organizations like Arrow and Buckner International will assist families, essentially free of charge, who plan to foster or adopt through Child Protective Services (CPS). This is an amazing service I was unaware of until last year, and by working with one of these agencies you walk into this process with a support system and advocates for your family already in place.
2. March 2014- Completed application and paperwork
3. Jan-April 2014- Kristian and I attended and completed our seven required Ambassador Family Initiative (AFI) trainings with Arrow. Topics covered included Child Development, Sensitive Communication, Seperation, Loss, Grief, Child Maltreatment, Regulations and Documentation. Phew! A lot of info, but extremely important.
We are almost through our CPR and Medications trainings as well.
In the next few weeks we will finish up our remaining trainings, bring our home up to speed on all the required regulations for housing a child in the foster care system, and will schedule our home study. More on that to come.
A Little Background: The Beginnings of Foster Care in America
In 1874 a young girl named Mary Ellen was found in a New York City apartment severely abused.
At that time there were no laws to protect children from physical abuse at the hands of their parents and so Mary Ellen's case was investigated, shockingly, by the SPCA, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
It was a landmark case that altered the course of history for child protection laws.
This is one of the first stories we heard in our foster care training classes. It represents one story of the thousands. In our region of residence alone, just a small portion of Texas, there are currently 1500 children in the foster care system waiting to be adopted.
Thank you for joining along with us. Sincerely, if it a joy and privilege to be surrounded by such outstanding family and community.