Well we’ve officially completed “Phase I” and are cleared for Phase II – the Home Study.
Our last class was Policies and Procedures, which I thought would be pretty light, but was pretty intense. We were immediately handed a binder that was several inches thick, full of the rules and regulations. It’s really got everything from what to do if you leave town, medication, trampoline rules..seriously, everything.
We also went over the visits from our case workers (there’s a different name for that, but it’s totally slipping my mind right now), as well as parental visits and drop-ins from CPS. That seemed a little overwhelming, but I’m sure it sounds like a lot more than it actually is.
I also went to get my TB test – a really sort of odd requirement in this process. I went to get it at Walgreens, which seems simple enough. But the way the test works is that they inject something in your skin and you actually have to return in 48-72 hours for them to read it. So, that means two trips.
So, now we are just waiting for someone to follow up with us on scheduling the home study!
Tonight we have our CPR class, and Thursday is our last in person class! But today, I thought I would write more about the online training and homework we needed to do.
There are three online “courses” that we each had to complete. There isn’t a hard deadline on these other than before everything is finalized, but I wanted to get them done before we started our in-person classes, so that’s the deadline I gave myself. Honestly, they aren’t that time consuming or difficult. Basically you read through a variety of slides on each topic and then take a multiple choice test. You can print everything out so you have a guide while you take the test. They’re also available on the DFPS website so if you want to get a sense of what they’re like, you can:
Those titles pretty much sum up what each training is about. It’s pretty straightforward, no frills and you go at your own pace. Honestly, they seem much more intense than they actually are.
Our first day of classes we were handed a pretty large packet of “Homework”. It isn’t really traditional style homework where it’s based of questions in the class, it’s more of a reflection on your family, parenting and discipline styles and what your family has to offer. In a way there are almost no “wrong” answers (except questions about spanking, that answer is always no). You have until the end of class to turn it in.
We only have two more training classes to go! What felt pretty daunting at the beginning of this journey has actually not been so bad. Although some of the training topics have been heavy, I was really worried about all the running around and getting childcare but it’s all worked out so far.
Some of the topics we’ve covered have included grief & loss, sexual abuse prevention, cultural diversity, and discipline/giving your child choices. So, tough topics, but really things any parent could learn about. We’ve also learned a lot about the process and how Foster Care works, along with how thing have changed over the years.
While my awareness of the need for foster parents is part of what brought us down this route, it’s still shocking and sad to hear stories like this in the news. Texas had 65 children in foster care that were sleeping in someone’s office in March because they didn’t have enough beds. I’ve discovered this process will move so much quicker than I thought – originally I thought it might take months to get a placement, and now it seems like it could be weeks once we wrap up the home study because they have a such a big need for homes.
- Two more classes! We have one that will mostly consist of CPR and First Aid, and then a class about Policies and Procedures to tell us the next steps going forward.
- Any other paperwork, etc – I know we still need to get TB tests, and take photos of things like our medical lock boxes, and get anything else needed for the Home Study in order
- Home Study – these are typically completed in 30 days once they open the case, and then we can move to placement. I will share more about what this looks like once we know!
And just like that, I have a three year old!
Once Oliver made the connection between cakes and birthdays, he’s often asked me if it’s his birthday anytime there was a cake. So, on Thursday when he woke up to a bunch of balloons and we told him it was his birthday…he didn’t believe us at first.
The timing of Easter this year means he had an Egg Hunt at daycare on his birthday. They made him a little paper hat and sang happy birthday and we ate ice cream before dinner.
On Saturday, we had a party at Old MacDonald’s Farm in Humble and he had a great time feeding the animals and playing with his friends!
The time before his first birthday seemed to move fast and slow at the same time, now it just feels like it’s flying. Oliver is 33 pounds and is the friendliest kid. He love his cousins and his family. He will eat fruit for dinner and do anything for a piece of chocolate- but we don’t have a lot of luck with anything in between.
I expected the Two’s to be Terrible, but they were the opposite – it was actually pretty fun.
We’ve got a few more updates on our progress! Here’s where we’re at now:
Fire Inspection – We passed! Turns out scheduling a Fire Inspection is way harder than the actual inspection. The Fire Marshall was really nice and the whole thing only took a few minutes.
Training – We have two in-person training/classes under our belt! They’ve actually been really interesting. We’re learning a lot about process, the foster care system, and how to empathize with the children in the system.
We’ve learned some numbers that are just really eye opening – there are over 28,000 kids in foster care in Texas and over 5,000 just in the Houston area.
One thing I’ve liked about the classes that I didn’t expect is that it’s made this feel really “real” and more exciting. Up until now it’s been a lot of paperwork and process stuff, and the classes have started to bring it to life.
We’ve also been really lucky to have friends and family help out with Oliver while we are in class during the week.
Well, we’ve got the classes through the end of April. We also have a couple little things to take care of before we jump into a home study – we have to take pictures of the inside and outside of the house and get a TB test.