Wednesday, February 15, 2017

In the beginning . . . foster care

The Olivers
Picture from our 2016 Christmas card

We always said we'd have three kids. We'd tell anyone who asked, that's what the plan was. However, to say that I dislike the state of pregnancy would be a rather large understatement. It is, to me, nine months of discomfort ranging from a bit annoying to utter agony. And I have normal, uncomplicated pregnancies. And don't even get me started on those first three postpartum months. After Sinclair was born, even Piercen was all "you know, two is ok. Two feels good." 

But I've always had this nagging thought in my head that fostering/adopting was in our future. When Piercen and I were still in the college dating phase, I remember telling my mom that I didn't need to have biological children, that I could fall in love with a child that didn't come from my body. Those nagging thoughts didn't go away even after we had two of own beautiful biological children.

Back in the early fall, our pastor wrote this piece in our church's weekly newsletter about how God speaks audibly to some people and not to others. It's not that those people are any better off spiritually (I mean, even Mother Teresa spoke of God's silence), but that, for whatever reason, God speaks literally to some believers and not in the same manner to others.  

Well, God literally speaks to me. He is a voice in my head, independent of my own, that often speaks words of love and comfort when I am down, but also truths, insights, and directions that, frankly, I am not always thrilled to hear. And he can be a real nagger. And for over two years, he has not stopped chiming in with comments about being us becoming a foster care family.

In the past, I had good excuses as to why we couldn't foster; since I was running the shop, I didn't have enough time to take care of another child, since our third bedroom was my office, we didn't have enough room for any more children. When I finally decided to give up the shop, I heard God say something akin to "Excellent. Now, you can start doing what I've called you to do."

So we decided we would check things out. We made plans to attend a foster care info meeting hosted by a local Lutheran social services organization. However, no one from the organization showed up to the meeting. So Pierce and I used the time to sip coffee at a nearby cafe and really talk about our hopes, fears, concerns, and questions about foster care and what sort of parameters might work for our family. We decided that emergency and respite care for children 0-2 years of age (to maintain birth order with our own children) would make the most sense for our family and our space constraints.

The Sunday after the nonexistent meeting, I had a chat with a woman from our church whose family is in the process of adopting a little boy from the foster care system. She suggested going directly through the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF). Fast forward a couple of weeks, I was sitting in the Sunday morning worship service making mental notes to call DCF that week when I saw an announcement in the bulletin that DCF would be holding an info meeting in Arlington for prospective foster families.

We attended that meeting last week and had some really informative conversations with a DCF social worker, a current foster care mother, and two other couples looking to become foster parents. After the meeting, we filled out the foster parent application, and the social worker promised to forward it on to the Malden office.

A couple of days ago, I got a call from a Malden (North Shore) social worker, and she is coming this morning to meet me and to do the initial check of our home. Since then, I've had a momentary freakout when I realized we can't fit a convertible carseat (for kids around 2-4 years old) in our car along with the carseats for Luther and Sinclair. But then we tested our infant carseat (0-2), and it works fine.

This morning, I have neatened up the house, set up the coffee maker for a fresh pot, arranged a plate of leftover V-Day brownies, and have added multiple questions to an already long list.


  1. This is so exciting, dear friend! What a lovely post about this amazing new phase. Will look forward to reading more about y'alls journey--sending all positive thoughts and wishes MA way!

  2. Thank you Holly! Your support and encouraging words always mean so much to me!