Monday, November 7, 2011

Family Assessment - Take 2

I am so encouraged.

I was thinking about apostle Paul tonight. He was imprisoned when he wrote about the peace of God surpassing all understanding [Philippians 4]. Although my life pales in comparison to his, I am walking in that same, steady, I-can't-be-shaken peace.

I am so thankful for God's mercy that he would allow us to experience such peace.

We completed our family assessment tonight and it went really well (because we're pursuing a foster license we had to have a new one done). Our case worker has been a complete God-send. I met her through the start-up adoption agency I was helping out with, earlier this year. Where every other agency said "no", she advocated for us and returned a "yes". It was made very clear during our PRIDE training sessions that unless we were open to fostering children, our application could sit untouched and unprocessed for up to a year. One trainer actually said, "Families unwilling to foster are, unfortunately, not a priority."

I'm not here to dog her comment or agency, because I get it. I did a tremendous amount of research when I was involved with the start-up agency. I understand the money, I understand the need, and I totally understand the lack of staffing versus the number of cases that come through our state.

Understanding, however, didn't make the process of pushing our adoption application through any less frustrating. A process that could have taken months, has only taken us a few weeks - beginning to end. I believe it's the favor of God. He's driving this bus, we're just sitting in the front seat, keeping our eyes out for signs, unsure of which way He'll turn.

What seemed scary even a few weeks ago, doesn't hold up, tonight, and the unanswered questions seem, oddly, less necessary.

As we signed the last few pieces of paper and talked about the types of kids that could one day call us "mom" and "dad" our hearts were widened.

Even though we're pursuing adoption, without fostering, we are in track for receiving a foster license. We've been encouraged to do this from many different angles and believe it puts us in a better position of taking in kids sooner in emergency situations. This topic, led by our case worker, forced us to answer the question of whether or not we'd be open to housing children whose parental rights are on their way to termination, but haven't been terminated.

Because the peace of God has moved in, we said "yes" without flinching. Our case worker confirmed that we understood the risk.

We do.

We trust God.

I know some people will wonder why we're okay to do this, but not foster. It's not really a topic I want to pick apart, but I will say that we're walking in the path that God has called us.

When our case worker left, I looked at Ty and said, "What do you think? Will Miss _________ be able to help find us brothers and sisters for you?"

Ty's reply was, "No, Mommy. Jesus will bring them to me."

I didn't bother explaining that God often uses people to do his work.

I'm praising God, tonight, for our case worker's kindness...
For little Ty's intuitive heart that has begun the pursuit of his Savior...
And, most of all, for God's total and complete goodness that is every shade of beautiful.


  1. Your little man is wise beyond his years. And he's right. :) Praying for you and your family during your journey!!

  2. Can you clarify for me? You are not going to be a foster parent.. just foster adopt? Is that similar? Meaning, you take these kids in your home to be yours, but their parental rights have not yet been terminated, so there is a good chance for family reunification?

    I am just curious. Not trying to dig deeper. If you don't want to share that is fine. It just caught my attention.

    And Tyrus' comment about God bringing him a brother or sister is too precious!

    Hope all is well :)

  3. Crystal, we will not be foster parents. Our preference is to adopt waiting children whose parental rights have already been terminated (In Michigan, many of these children are on the MARE website). There may be a case where we're asked to take children into our home whose parental rights haven't legally been terminated, but they will be within a short period of time (we will consider this).

  4. I am wondering, as a fellow adoptive parent, if you feel it is appropriate to complete a homestudy to be a foster home when you have no intention of fostering? What is the benefit of doing so? Is it only because it gets the adoption homestudy done? I am just confused how that is Gods favor and not manipulation.

    I am not totally schooled in the system, only just beginning, but knowing what I do thus far I guess I am confused as to how this is kosher and not manipulating the system.

  5. Adoption-Mama,
    I'm glad you asked! Every agency that I talked to in Michigan requires all of their families to go through the licensing process (even if their intent is to adopt, not foster). It's a benefit for the state because it broadens the pool of families that can bring children into their homes, quickly, in emergency situations.

    The agency we're signed up with requires all of their parents to be licensed, so we followed protocol.

    Michigan has made the process for fostering and licensing so similar that there isn't a large difference in the steps we needed to complete (one extra class and a few more pages to sign).

    I hope that helps squelch the rumor that we are manipulating the system...

  6. I know it may not even matter necessarily, but I don't see the issue (that some people seem to have) with you wanting to adopt a waiting foster child, but not 'foster'. It's a choice...of what is right for you and your family and where you see God's plan for your life and that of your future children. Fostering, fostering to adopt and adopting are three entirely different situations and bring various challenges. I completely understand your reasons...just like I get the reasons of why a family from my church are fostering various children (they did end up adopting two of their many fosters). They are doing what is right for them, like YOU AND BEN are doing what is right for your family. I'm really excited to see what God has in store for you - I'm pretty sure it's gonna be awesome. xo

  7. This does seem to be a complicated process, but I know God can cut through it all and help you to help the children He has for you.

  8. That sounds similar to the process we went through here in California. We had to be licensed for foster care also in order to fost adopt. Our daughter and now our son were both given to us before parental rights were terminated. After services are terminated there is a huge likelihood that the child will move on to adoption (at least here that is the case). You'll have a peace about it if it is the right match for you. :)