I did a thing.
I was alone in my office at work when I picked up the phone and called Matt.
“Babe. I did a thing.”
“What do you mean? What did you do?”
And thus began the conversation wherein I told my wonderful husband that I had agreed for us to be considered as a permanent resource for the girls.
I went on to explain that federal law requires that there always be a “backup plan” put together in child welfare cases- just in case the parents aren’t able to do what they need to do. “We can just go through the process- let them run our background checks and all of that. We don’t have to commit to anything right now.”
The next two months flew by. We filled out an enormous stack of papers: background check forms, floor plans of the house, and a million other things. Everyone needed physical exams. We had to install more smoke detectors (you would not believe how many a foster home has to have!) and put all of our knives and chemicals 6 feet off of the ground. We had to learn First Aid and CPR (again). We had to take a training on administering medications (again). WE HAD TO BUY A FIRE ESCAPE LADDER, FOR PETE’S SAKE! We had to go through a home walkthrough and interview process. There were weeks when every free minute we had was spent preparing for one thing or another. And then- finally- all of the paperwork was sent off.
I’m going to be fully honest with you guys- even after working in child welfare for ten years- even with my knowledge of how the licensing process works when multiple states are involved- I continued to look at this is a distant hypothetical situation. It wasn’t until our final home visit that it really hit me that this wasn’t as hypothetical as we had been thinking. The worker began talking about possible timelines for placement and the specific things that each girl would need in our home and it became very real, very quickly. This was not hypothetical. This was going to happen.
The same week that we finished up with the case manager here in town, we were invited to travel to Idaho to meet the girls. And then the fun REALLY started.