In late January, knowing that all of our plans for the near future had been nuked, Adam and I sat down with pen and paper (I know, archaic!) and discussed our goals as a family. What do we want to be doing? How do we make those things happen? We each came up with a thing or two that surprised each other at first, then made us go "oh well yes that makes perfect sense".
But one particular thing is a very old plan. We'd set it aside when Judah and I were talking about possibly having a child, and kept it set aside when Judah's old room seemed spoken for, but now? Now it was suddenly possible again. It was originally a plan for when Elayna moved out entirely, but having the empty room means it can happen much sooner. So we discussed it. In February, we met with the necessary parties about it - this is the BIG EXCITING THING I was bouncing about. And now we have the official application in hand and the big roadblock removed.
Adam and I are applying to be foster parents.
Aaaaaah I am excited just saying that. <3
The particular type of foster care we're applying for is intensive foster care... kids who have a few more needs and challenges, medically or behaviorally. This isn't adoption - in most cases, the goal is reunification with the family of origin, after everyone gets the help they need to be a healthy family. Time of stay is two months to two years, generally. We can't take kids under six because our house isn't deleaded, but we're open to all other ages.
The person at the agency was very, very happy when I told her we'd particularly like to be matched with LGBT kids. Particularly trans* kids. They're among the hardest to place. Ours would be a safe and happy home, and we have so many local trans* and other QUILTBAG friends in our community who would be amazing friends and mentors to kids in our care.
On a less chipper but very realistic note: My seven years of BARCC volunteering is deeply relevant to their enthusiasm about us as a household. Also my medical knowledge and ability to manage care.
I have tears right now, I'm so overwhelmed about this. I have loved every bit of Elayna's transition to adult life, but I have missed active parenting so much. This is a way to help the world by doing something that's tremendously emotionally fulfilling for me.
The ten-week MAPP training starts in late April. Which is why that's my deadline for finishing the novel! Also why we spent our tax refund on obedience training for Nicky. The goal is for us to be in a place to be available to foster parent by late summer; we need some time just being, just settling down from the upheavals we've been through. Training as soon as possible, and then we open our home when we're ready. With intensive foster care as opposed to standard foster care, you can only have up to two kids in the home at once; we're planning to stick to one unless we're matched with siblings, to start.
I think that's the last Big Thing in my world I've been keeping quiet about.
The future is really awesome.