So you’ve made the decision — you’re going to foster or adopt. It’s an exciting time for you and your family. There’s a new journey on the horizon and you’re ready to jump in with both feet.
Then reality hits…you’ve got to wait. Wait for the next informational meeting to get started. Wait a few more months for PRIDE Training. Wait for the Department of Children and Family Services to schedule your home study. Wait, wait, wait.
When you’re this excited about doing something it can be frustrating to hear that you have to wait. It may not only be frustrating, but it may take the wind out of your sails a little bit. You may start to feel a little bit discouraged that you’ve made such a big decision and now you’re just sitting around waiting.
Just like with all good things though — deciding to have a baby, deciding to buy a house, getting engaged, etc…there is a waiting period. Nothing wonderful happens overnight. Babies take 40 weeks and buying a house takes a lot of searching and waiting.
Don’t get discouraged though. The best things in life sometimes require waiting.There are a few things you can do in the meantime though to get yourself, your family, and your home ready while you wait.
- Talk to your extended family and friends. Talk to them about your decision and answer any questions they may have about the process or about how life will change. This decision affects your entire family and all of your friends.
- Do your research. Bringing children who have suffered great loss and hurts in their life will affect you, your spouse, and any children you have in the home. They will have to be dealt with differently than your biological children. Read up on how to discipline foster children as opposed to punishing them. Research how drugs and various forms of abuse affect a child and their development. Talk to other foster families and people familiar with the process.
- Start thinking about how life is going to change and implement those changes. If you have biological children in the home, talk about how things will have to be different. If you spank your biological children or use other forms of punishment that you’ve learned doesn’t work with foster children, decide if you will continue to do those things with your biological children or if you will change the way you discipline all the children in your home. If you plan to eliminate certain punishments and initiate different methods of discipline, start doing it. It will take a while to retrain your thinking and your responses. If you know that you’re going to have to get up 20 minutes earlier to get children off to school or get to church, start doing it now.
- Get your house ready. There are a lot of things that are looked at during the home study — things you may not have even considered prior to considering fostering or adopting. Things like having a posted fire escape route and tornado plan. You can get a jump start on prepping your house for the home study. There may be a lot that you have to do and it will take up a lot of the time you’d be sitting around thinking about your wait. Click here to see what all you have to do to get ready for the home study.
- Pray. This seems like the smallest one of them all, but it’s definitely the most important thing you can do to get ready to foster. Ask God to put children in your life that help you grow as a person and that you can do the most good for. Pray that He will equip you for whatever situations you face in this new journey. Fostering and adopting have a lot of unexpected speed bumps and you’ll need all the help you can get when some of those issues come up.
It may seem like the process will take forever, but your home will eventually be open and you will have children in your home. You’ll look back and think, “Wow, where did the time go?” Don’t lose your enthusiasm while you wait, put that enthusiasm to work!