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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

First Place (ment)

Dear Readers,

I've been keeping a secret.  Ok, probably lots of them.

Did you know that I'm a licensed foster parent?  There I said it.  Now everyone knows.  Even as I'm typing this I'm thinking, "Me, a licensed foster parent?  Who?  Come again?"  Foster parents are people with big hearts and maybe crazy?  (That's what I used to think.)  Yeah, I am a foster parent.  I have been for months.

This has been in the making for several years.  When I first began considering foster care, I lived in a state where I didn't feel comfortable with the way the system was run.  Then I moved to a different state.  Each state does things a little bit differently and I liked what I saw here.  My husband and I decided to take the plunge and plunge we did.  Hours of classes, mounds of paperwork, background checks, a minivan purchase and more were completed to get our license.  In the beginning, I admit motivations were purely selfish......Must. Get. Siblings. For. Daughter.  But as time passed I realized that I couldn't foster if my only motivation was for my own personal gain.  As I looked inside of myself my heart changed and I really did want to provide a better life for these children more than for myself.  Drugs, abuse, neglect, things that make you sick to your stomach and would never want to be involved with, are what these innocent children have to go through.  I was able to put my selfishness aside.  I've changed into really wanting to help even if it means at the end of the road there are no siblings to adopt for my daughter.

The massive "packet" that we turned in last May

Bought some ice cream on the way home from DHS to celebrate turning in that massive packet

For awhile I thought my family was moving again so I thought that our foster journey was going to be over before it even began.  (There ended up being a situation that slowed down my availability so by the time we'd be available we'd be moving.)  It made me sad, because I did want to help children.  I felt a calling.  I had sacrificed several things to become a foster parent.  When Elder Oaks gave his conference talk last October ("Protect the Children"), I was in awe.  I don't know if I even breathed during the whole talk.  I was spellbound.   At the end I turned to my husband and said "Is this an infomercial for adoption?"  I couldn't believe that an apostle of the Lord was speaking about something that I had pondered in my heart for months!!!  But, I was confused.  I WANTED to help children, but yet Heavenly Father had made it impossible (at that time).

Then we found out that we were not moving.  Husband was going to work right where we were.  Not very convenient for the other aspects of my life, but very convenient if I was going to foster (because I wasn't going to do it in our next location).  But so much time had passed...I had actually started moving on.  I don't know where my license is right now if I even still have it.  I know I did throw away the handbook, etc.  I hadn't ever actually bought beds for the kids to sleep in, so it felt like a distant dream fading away.

And so began the nudges from Heavenly Father to remind me that I wanted to help "protect the children".

After months of no calls about placements, we received 4-5 calls in one month.  Honestly, I had forgotten that I was a licensed foster home when I received the first call.  It was compelling though.  There were three brothers who couldn't be split up on a stormy Friday night.  They were from the neighboring county and the case worker said that I was the FOURTEENTH foster home that she had tried.  This was after 2 different family members flaked out on taking the brothers.  Sixteen homes rejected these 3 boys and two of them were their own relatives.  How would that make you feel?  (They didn't tell the boys that, and they were turned away for various reasons like homes had the maximum number of allowed children, etc. but I'm just trying to make a point.)  I didn't have any beds in my house and I felt terrible.  Not terrible enough to go out and buy beds the next day though.  I did feel bad, I just wasn't in a rush.

Then I got a letter in the mail about new training classes that had to be completed.  I wasn't available any of the dates listed and so I figured I'd get around to it when I felt like it.  Like I said, the calls kept coming.  I began to wonder if there was something to all of this foster business.  I mean seriously there was nothing, absolutely no contact, from the state for over 6 months and now stuff every few days?

I went to the temple.  I had a lot of questions about a lot of things in my future.  The message was clear.  "Get the blue room ready."  The "blue" room is our third bedroom that was my sewing and craft room/ computer room/ storage room filled with boxes.  I still didn't feel any urgency, but I did come home and look at bunk beds online.  I found some dressers and did buy those.  A week later I looked at the bunk beds in the store......... and still didn't buy.

The price on those bunk beds dropped by $50.  I said "Ok, Heavenly Father, I'm on it."

They'll be here in less than a week.

Everything does feel right.  And that's good.  I'm awaiting my first placement to show up any minute (yes, without the bunk beds).  A one week temporary respite placement.

I strongly urge anyone who has made it to the end of this post to read Elder Oak's talk with new perspective.  There are many innocent children who are victims of adult's choices.  I know that for my own daughter I want to give her the best.  I want her to feel like a champion, successful at life, like she's won first place.  I want all children to feel that.  They are all God's children and He loves them all equally.

Let's help them.  Support me in helping them.

Pray for me.  I'm excited and nervous.  (Which might be why this post might seem scatterbrained and incomplete.)

Nervously,
Lindsay

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