We weren't quite sure what to do...all of our usual babysitters were currently in school, so it would be challenging to arrange something for 4:30 the same day, especially on a school night. Taking the kids to someone's house could certainly work, but it would mean that they would stay up nearly 2 hours past their normal bedtime, which would be sure to wreak havoc. With all these things floating through my head, I tried to just remain calm and pray.
Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)It was hard to find peace, though. If we didn't attend this meeting, or if only one of us went, we'd have to wait until at least January for the next RAPT I. Currently they don't even have a date for the next time RAPT I will be offered. I just felt this ache for my future child who would have to stay an extra two months in his/her foster home. One of these 80+ kids who are currently in foster care in Indiana, whose parental rights have been terminated, but whose foster parents are not willing or able to adopt them. One of them is my child. And I have a million hoops to jump through to make that happen and I want to start jumping right now!
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
"When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible." (When Harry Met Sally)And just as the tears were starting to fall, John called. One of the tests had been cancelled and our babysitter could come.
When we arrive at the meeting, there are quite a few of us getting there at the same time. But the door is locked. When someone opens it, they stare at us all blankly. "We're here for the foster care training...". Still a blank stare as she tells us that she doesn't know anything about that and shuts the door. Immediately someone chuckles about how the stereotypes of the system are showing themselves true already! Thankfully she returns in a few minutes and lets us in.
As the meeting begins, we are asked to introduce ourselves and say why we have come. There are some who have come because of infertility and this is their way to start a family, there are some who have come because they have had relatives placed with them and need to be formally approved, and there are others who just want to do the right thing and be foster parents. From the start the woman leading the meeting is rather discouraging towards those of us who are just looking to adopt. I understand her wanting to be realistic about the chances of getting a baby, but we want to adopt a waiting pre-teen or teenager. What is the point of discouraging us? There are plenty of kids that fit the profile of what we are looking for. I know her goal was to have more foster families. They desperately need more foster families. And maybe there are more kids that need fostering than need adopting, but there are still kids who need adopting! We're not called to foster. We are certain about that. We are called to adopt.
The meeting was basically an overview of how the foster care system works and what steps we need to take to become licensed. Although RAPT stands for Resource and Adoptive Parent Training, it was really not geared towards potential adoptive parents at all. In fact, some of the information presented was in direct conflict to what we had been told by the Indiana Adoption Specialist we had talked to! Again the stereotypes of the system are proving true.
We left the meeting feeling emotionally exhausted. We were frustrated. We were confused. We tried to talk it out for a bit upon arriving home. In the end, it is that our hearts are heavy for these children. The children who are waiting. The children who no one is helping. The adoption hotline that no one ever answers. The money that is supposed to be allocated for adoption subsidies that we were told doesn't exist anymore. These kids deserve a family. They deserve to be loved. They deserve someone to advocate for their needs. It was clear tonight that the system is failing them.
So we just keep moving forward. We try to fill out the mounds of paperwork and press on through the confusion.
Oh, funniest bit of new information from the night... one of the things on the checklist for the homestudy is verifying that any pets are up-to-date on their rabies vaccines. Ours most certainly are not! Since our cats are exclusively indoors, we haven't worried about it. Kitty does not let anyone pick her up or even touch her, much less get her in a cage to take to the vet! Her rabies vaccine may prove to be the most challenging part of the homestudy!