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Archive for the ‘preparing for baby’ Category

While I have always been 99% certain that I would be approved to be a foster parent, throughout the process there remains a tiny bit of worry that something wouldn’t work out.  But I’m thrilled to report that after passing last week’s fire and health inspections, I now know with 100% certainty that I will become a licensed foster parent!  It’s so nice to have that little bit of worry lifted.

Now that those inspections are complete, I can breathe a little.  For the moment, there’s nothing I need to be working on or preparing for.  Feels strange to not have a “to do” list.  I’m just waiting for my CPR/first aid class which will take place in mid-August and once that’s complete, my resource home worker will write my homestudy to submit for approval.  Crossing my fingers that process will go quickly and I’ll be licensed some time in early September.

So, having nothing I needed to be doing for the first time in many months, I took some time this weekend to relax and celebrate.  A few friends came to visit from out of state and I had a wonderful weekend just catching up and having fun with my closest friends. Just what I needed after all the stress from two months of home study visits and inspections.  It was probably one of the best weekends I’ve EVER had.  I love my girls!  My foster kiddos are going to have some awesome foster aunts to love them.  I’m very thankful to be able to surround these kiddos with lots of caring people.

Still can’t believe all of this is really happening!  Such a dream come true!

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I know, I know, it wasn’t that long ago that I was complaining about how I felt this process was never going to end.  Well, I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel now and I’m having trouble containing my excitement!  So, here’s the latest on where I am in the process:

  • Completed home study visit #3 this morning.  Next one is scheduled for next week.  There should be only one more after that which will take place some time in mid-August.
  • Fire marshal inspection and health department inspection will take place next week.
  • CPR class is scheduled for mid-August.
  • References have been/are being contacted now.

That’s it!  I will have some more homework to do after the next visit and more paperwork (surprise, surprise!) but basically by mid-August, everything will be complete and it will just be a matter of waiting for my home study to be written, submitted and approved!  Hard to believe that I could possibly be licensed in 6 weeks or so.  I’m so thrilled!  I got goosebumps when she started explaining the adoption process to me during the visit this morning.  Still can’t believe this dream is coming true.

In the meantime, life is insane and I’ve got a million things to get done.  Lots to do around the condo before those fire and health inspections next week.  I have to purchase and install a new smoke detector, move all chemicals to high locked cabinets (which requires rearranging many kitchen cabinets), diagram my fire escape plan and so much more.  Plus, I still have more painting to do in the nursery before I can get that room reassembled and figure out how to make this ever growing pile of baby gear fit into closets and drawers in an organized and accessible manner.

Lots on my mind, lots on my “to do” list but oh so very exciting!

PS- Pics of the nursery coming soon once I can get it put back together but here’s a sneak peak of the new wall color.  I absolutely love it!  After much searching, I found the true gray color I wanted.  It’s “gray horse” by Benjamin Moore color matched to Valspar Optimus in Eggshell.  (A little piece of advice if you decide to use this paint, please ignore the paint salesman and online reviews that will tell you this will cover perfectly in one coat.  It definitely requires two coats.  I learned that the hard way this week.)

paint color

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I feel like this licensing process is never ending!  I started this journey with an orientation back in October.  At that orientation, they told me I wouldn’t start classes until March.  I was so frustrated.  March felt like it was decades away and would never get here.  Why couldn’t we start now?  But, of course, March did come and before I knew it, I was done classes and starting my paperwork.

Time is moving extremely slowly again now that I am in the middle of my home study.  I know the end is in sight but it just can’t come fast enough.  I’m so ready to be a foster mom.  This is going to sound so cheesy but every night before I go to bed, I walk into the nursery, look at the crib and dream of the day when there is a baby in there.  I know that dream is only a couple months away from becoming a reality but a few months feels too long.  I’m just so excited!  I don’t want to wait any longer for this dream to come true!

So, where do I stand in the process right now and what’s left?

  • I’ve had 2 home study visits with my resource home worker.  Both went well and my next one will be in 2 weeks.  I will have 4-6 visits total with her, each several weeks apart.
  • The requests have been made for the health department and fire department home inspections.  I’m waiting for them to call me and schedule those appointments.
  • All paperwork has been submitted (2 huge stacks of forms complete!)
  • I’m waiting for her to schedule our CPR/first aid certification class.  That should be booked soon.
  • My resource home worker will be reaching out some time this month to numerous friends and family to check my references.

That’s it!  Such a short list, I know, but it feels a mile long when you are so eager to be done.  In the meantime, I’ll just keep re-organizing baby supplies, cleaning, and decorating the nursery.  Yep, nesting at its best.

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This week, I begin the final stage of my process to become a foster mom…the home study.  Over the next few months, my resource home worker will be making regular visits to assess my home and interview me.  She will be asking detailed questions about every aspect of my current life as well as my childhood.  We’ve been told to prepare for it to get very invasive.  In addition, she will be talking with my some of my friends and family to further learn about me.

She will also be informing me of changes that need to be made to my home (baby-proofing, etc) and then will check to ensure it has been completed in later visits.   There will also be home inspections by the health department and fire department.  Oh, and I still need to take a CPR and first aid certification class and will have two more packets of paperwork to complete.  So close yet so far!

The process is lengthy (on purpose) and honestly, at this point, I’m just ready for it to be done.  I understand why they need to do all of this.  It’s for the safety of the children.  But when you know you are an honest, caring person who will provide a safe and loving home for these children, it’s hard to be patient after a while.  I just want to get started!

Do I have everything I need to care for a child?  Absolutely not!  There’s still soooo much I need to do/buy/borrow.  So, I’m not actually prepared for a baby to enter my home at this point at all.  But I am ready for that baby.  I’m ready to be a mom.

A friend sent me an article today that profiled a long time foster parent.  In the article this mom mentioned that she felt being a foster parent was her life calling, that her role as a mother was what she did best.  Although I’m not a mom yet, that’s definitely how I feel.  I know this is what I am meant to do.  My years at Chara gave me a small glimpse into the world of foster care with infants and toddlers.  And I cherished every minute of it (even the moments that were frustrating or sad or scary).  The rewards far outweighed any of the hard times.  When I was at Chara with those kiddos, there was no other place in the world I wanted to be.  I knew this was what God was calling me to do, and I still feel that way.

But as I get closer to being approved, there is some definite fear that has set in.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s still lots of joyful anticipation and there are many days when you can’t wipe the smile off my face I’m so excited.  But there are also moments when I’m terrified (as I’m guessing all soon-to-be parents feel at some point before the baby comes).  Never doubting that this is the right decision, but just worrying, “how am I going to do this?”.  Becoming a mom (even though I may only be a temporary mom for these kiddos) is scary!  Exciting but scary!

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When you lose a loved one, there are certain days that always become difficult.  After losing my mom, days that usually evoked joy like Mother’s Day and her birthday, became days of sadness and loneliness.  But over the years, you learn ways to cope.  They never become happy days but they become days when you can fondly remember.  As the years go on, there are fewer tears on those days and more bittersweet smiles, thinking about fond memories.

Mother’s Day has always been the hardest for me.  When you lose your mom and don’t have children of your own, it becomes a day that represents nothing but loss.  A few months after my first Mother’s Day as a motherless daughter, I began volunteering at Chara House.  Those of you who have heard me talk about Chara know that my experience there truly changed my life.  The first day I walked through that door, I knew that this was where God wanted me to be, not just because of the work that I could do for these vulnerable children but because of the healing they would bring me.

Chara became my way to cope with Mother’s Day each year. It gave me a reason to celebrate on that difficult day. Each year it became a tradition that I would buy a Mother’s Day card for the staff, thanking them for being “moms” for these children.  They never knew why I made such a big deal about Mother’s Day every year or why I was always willing to volunteer on that day when most people took the day off from volunteering to celebrate with their families. Being at Chara made Mother’s Day a happy occasion. It gave that day a purpose.

After Chara was forced to close its doors, Mother’s Day lost it’s purpose again.  It went back to just being a day that reminded me of loss.  So, you can imagine how eager I am to one day have a little one in my life to give that Mother’s Day a new purpose for me. 🙂

But honestly, Mother’s Day isn’t the hardest day of the year for a motherless daughter in my opinion.  It’s those random days out of the blue when something happens and you just want to call and share it with your mom.  When you just want her there with you, for whatever reason, on a particular day.  And sometimes you can’t even explain why, you just do.  Those are the hardest days.  They catch you off guard.  It’s rare that I shed tears anymore on those expected “difficult” days like her birthday.  But those unexpected moments that come a few times a year…yep, those are still really sad teary days.

Most who have been through the experience seem to agree that the hardest milestone to deal with as a motherless daughter is becoming a motherless mother.  There are lots of things that have happened in my life that my mom has not been here to experience with me.  And that sucks.  But this is by far the hardest life journey to take without her.  My mom was a teacher.  She loved kids, she valued family.  She was the most caring person you could ever meet.  She would have adored being a grandmom.

Tonight is one of those “catch you off guard” moments when I just wish she were here.  Tomorrow afternoon, my “new to me” dresser is being delivered that will be used as a changing table/baby item storage area.  And I’m so excited to spend some time this weekend sorting through baby clothes and other items I’ve acquired already and organizing them in the dresser.  Yes, it’s a simple task that doesn’t require help but I just wish I wasn’t doing it alone.  I so wish she were here to sit on the floor in front of that dresser with me and fold clothes and daydream about that moment later this year when my first foster placement arrives and I get to pull out these cute little clothes and put them to good use.  This process of becoming a foster mom has been so full of joy, excitement and anticipation for me.  But becoming a mom without your mom is hard. 😦

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Don’t let the title of this post fool you.  I LOVE shopping for baby supplies!  Absolutely love it!  But for someone who likes to do research before making a decision on a product, creating a baby registry can drive you crazy.  There’s so many products out there and for every product that someone loves, someone else will tell you it’s the worst product ever.  Let’s just say you can easily get a little (or a lot) obsessive and frustrated over the research. 🙂  So, to keep my sanity, I have convinced myself that my registry is officially done.  No more research, no more changes.

When you are fostering, it’s not quite as easy to shop as when you are pregnant or adopting.  At any given moment, I could find out I have a tiny newborn coming or a rambunctious toddler.  And I’m not going to know days or weeks in advance that they are coming.  I’ll be lucky to get a few hours advanced notice.  So, I need to have way more supplies on hand than a typical mom would have.  Nothing about foster parenting is “easy”.  But so worth it!

So, I’m working on selling furniture (anyone want a hutch or a bookcase?), continuing to figure out other items that I can part with and creating as much space as I can for all of the nursery furniture and baby gear that will soon fill my home.  Just thinking about that puts a huge smile on my face.  There are certain parts of this process that I have just been looking forward to and dreaming about for such a long time.  One of those is the day I walk into what is currently my guest bedroom and see a nursery instead.  It already makes me happy just seeing the baby supplies starting to piling up in there.  I just can’t wait to have furniture and decorations in there to make it an actual nursery.  It really will be a dream come true!

Foster parenting, especially as a single mom. is going to teach me many skills.  And I know one of those skills is to be comfortable with asking for, and accepting, help.  So, I’m working on that skill already.  I was telling a friend recently that it makes me uncomfortable sharing my registry when people ask about it.  I’m the one who made the choice to foster.  I should be responsible for buying what I need to care for these children.  I’m used to be very independent.  However, you can’t be independent as a foster parent.  Your entire role is to work with a team of people to raise this child.  So, I shouldn’t feel guilty about letting friends and family buy items for the nursery when they genuinely want to do it, right?

So for all of you who have asked…here is my registry: http://babyli.st/burdette

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“Our willingness to wait reveals the value we place on the object we’re waiting for.” ~ Charles Stanley

Have you missed me?  There’s been a lull in posts as there was a lull in the process, but I finally got to start PRIDE classes this month.  PRIDE is Parent Resources for Information, Development and Education.  These are the required classes needed to become licensed as a foster parent.  There are 9 classes and in our county, they take place weekly.  I’ve had two classes so far and they just make me all the more excited to foster.  I look forward to the classes, the reading, the homework assignments.  I can’t get enough of it!

I’ve received a lot of questions recently from friends and family about what the process will entail from here.  The timeline is still fairly vague but this is what I know:

  1. PRIDE classes weekly until early May.
  2. After classes are completed, there’s lots of paperwork which will likely take a few weeks for me to complete.
  3. Once that paperwork is submitted and processed (takes about a week to process), then we start the home study.  So, I’m guessing the home study will start some time in June.  Home study will involve approximately 4-6 visits and the visits take place about every 2 weeks.  There also more paperwork to complete and during this time, fire safety and health department inspections take place as well.  So, the home study process will take a few months (June-August?).
  4. At the end of all of these visits, interviews, inspections (and more paperwork), the agency makes the decision about whether I will be licensed.  Once I’m licensed, it’s just a waiting game until they have a placement that would be well suited for my home.

It feels like a long way to go, especially since I know I still have lots of work ahead of me.  Hard to be patient when you are waiting for a dream to come true.  But I’m sure the time is going to start to fly by and before I know it, I’ll be eagerly awaiting that phone call saying they have a child who needs my love.

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