Sunday, November 9, 2014

Time marches on


I haven't written anything in quite some time.  Largely, because I used my blog to update everyone on my European adventures, and I'm no longer in Europe.  There were a LOT of adventures this summer, but then we had to come home.  There are far fewer adventures now.  

A few times a week, I THINK about writing, but I just don't.  Part of it is because that would require me to sit down with my laptop, which is often the last thing I want to do after being in front of my computer all day at work, and attempting to focus on school work.  However, today I'm sitting in the tutoring office at UNLV, and like most Sundays, have no appointments.  That leaves me here in this office alone with my thoughts, Netflix, and all of the things I should be doing.

I am sitting here thinking about how we are, in many ways, on the cusp of our next adventure.  For the past couple of months, Mike and I have been taking classes to license as foster parents.  Without question, it is a lot of work.  We go to classes every Saturday morning; in addition, we are putting together a portfolio that would put most political candidates to shame.  We had to account for our entire lives -- family, jobs, where we lived, etc.  Since I've never been arrested, I got to skip an entire 5 page section.  We still filled out approximately 85 pages of paperwork.  Then, we had a 5 hour interview.

And that was just the application.  We are baby-proofing our house, updating our CPR certifications, and compiling never-ending lists of documentation to prove that we are not insane people.  It's almost overwhelming at times.  So overwhelming, in fact, that our licensing class has gone from an original enrollment of 29 people (I think it was 10 couples and 9 singles) to 16 (5 couples and 6 singles).  Nearly half of the original applicants have thrown in the towel.  It's not hard to understand why.  The process is daunting.  Not only is there a huge time commitment, but the whole process is very emotional.  

We are asked to write and talk about our own childhood and family experiences, as well as any other significant relationships we've had -- for better or worse.  I'm not afraid to admit that it brought up a lot of emotions that I thought I'd dealt with years ago.  It forced Mike and I to have some difficult, emotional conversations.  Obviously, we've survived the process.  But, I can see how others did not.  

And then there's the class.  Every Saturday morning, we spend 3 hours being reminded of the horrors that foster children have experienced at the hands of their parents or guardians and how our goal as foster parents is to facilitate the reunification of these families.  Yup, you read that right.  We have to go in knowing that our goal is to reunify these children with the very people that have abused or neglected them.  

It's all very difficult.  We have to keep the perspective that we are here to be a safe and happy home for children while their parents are working to overcome the challenges that life has set on their doorsteps, however long that may take.  At times, I think to myself -- my God, there's no way I can do this.  But, we continue forward.

Those of you that have made it this far may be wondering why.  Why are we jumping through all of these hoops to do something that will, most likely, ultimately be painful.  

There are two answers.  The simple answer, and the complicated answer.  

Simple answer:  (much like "why did you donate your kidney?")  It's the right thing to do.  We have a home, space for a child (or children) and the stability to care for kids that need care.  Children need care.  We have care.  Bam.

More complicated answer:  Mike and I started talking about starting a family over 3 years ago.  And since then, we've tried every old wives' tale and scientific breakthrough known to man, including an emotionally and financially devastating round of IVF.  (Let me tell you, nothing wrecks a law school semester like a miscarriage).  We spent the next few months trying to decide where we go from there.  We aren't rich.  We can't afford to do IVF again, and realistically the odds aren't in our favor.  So after a lot of soul searching and realistic conversations, we started talking about foster care.  Weirdly, we both had the same foster student in our classrooms, on opposite ends of town.  We've talked about adopting from foster care if the right kid (kids) comes along, but we will cross that bridge when we get to it.

In the meantime.... 





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