Some of you already know this, but I think I've finally told enough family - who have in turn told other family, that Brian, the girls and I are hoping to expand our family. We are currently jumping through the last two hoops of foster adoption.
The biggest question I get when I've told folks is WHY? So, I'll try to explain it here......
We've always talked about adopting, except it was in terms of having 3 kids and then adopting the 4th. Brian's family had adopted from Korea, and I have always known that I would too one day. It was something I've known as a fact, just as I've known I was going to be a teacher and a mom of a bunch of kids. Then life intervened and we had the 4th daughter (totally God's plan), and officially crossed the line to having a bunch of kids. From that point we juggled heart surgery, brain surgery, lip surgeries, neurologist, therapies, working, unemployment, death of family members, and life continued on. Only I was still looking at adoption blogs, and trying to come to terms with the fact that Brian didn't seem as ready as I was. Then this last July, during our 20th wedding anniversary dinner, he told me it would be okay to start on adoption, but he wanted to do foster adoption here in the U.S. I almost fell off my chair...... and then I had to think about it because I always pictured a little Asian boy as part of our story, and I realized God had been at work putting foster care in my path and I wasn't paying attention.
I realized that a dear friend was adopted through foster care, Big Al was friends with someone who does respite for foster care and she fell in love with two little boys who have since gone to live with their forever family. I found out that a cousin fostered children, and a colleague adopted through foster care, not to mention over the years teaching foster kids. A lot of subtle reminders that kids need families.
So I started the paperwork, and it wasn't too bad beyond waiting on appointments and waiting for fingerprints, and just waiting. It wasn't something that could be done in a weekend, especially with 4 kids and all of their activities to get them to, and working. In November we completed 14 hours of training , and by early December we were finished. BUT THEN THERE WERE ALL THE HOLIDAYS, when folks don't work..... argh. In January we passed our fire inspection, but were waiting on our DHEC inspection, which happened Tuesday, and tomorrow we have the second of two home study visits. So now this week, we'll finish it all and then just wait on the home study to be completed.
I think the biggest surprise has been other people's responses. Everything from "oh I'm so excited for you" to "Don't you know how many kids you have" to "Are you crazy they may burn down the house?" Rest assured we know how expensive a bunch of kids are, we know the risks of a child possibly being reunified with their birth parents, we know that our family may need counseling or the child may need special services (but we have a lot of experiences with school and medical issues). We know this will impact our other children, but let's face it - every single time we've had a family crisis (heart surgery, brain surgery, unemployment) it has impacted our children. So please, be happy for us.
We are looking forward to this experience, not because we feel like we're saving someone, or doing a good deed, but because we are looking forward to a new person (or two) to love in our family, to raise with stability and consistency, and to join us on our life's journey.