Starting at the Beginning – Again

by steve

When we started this blog, we had no idea what the future held for us.  All we knew was that we wanted to invite children into our home who needed a safe place to live and be loved.  Our goal was, and still is, to “love each child.”

As you know from following this blog, Hope Giver came into our lives much earlier than we ever expected to receive a child, and she has brightened our home in so many ways.  She is growing, learning, and generally being a beautiful little girl!

Another major change for us, however, has been a change in geography.  Since we posted last, we moved to southwestern Virginia.  We could probably write a few posts about what that was like in terms of dealing with moving to another state, making changes with our old DSS office in NC and seeking to make the right connections with DSS here in VA.

Not necessarily an easy task!  Although I will say that, to date, NC DSS has been easier to work with in the transition than VA DSS.  But I digress…

We decided before we even moved that we would continue to pursue foster/adoptive opportunities.  We had been put on a one-year hold in NC once Hope Giver was placed with us — not an official policy, but the way our DSS there prefers to work things in order to allow the bonding process to fully solidify.  So, in the eyes of NC DSS, we were not really on the list for receiving any more children until March of this year.

Shortly after moving here, we sought to contact DSS here in order to find out what we needed to do in order to get licensed here in Virginia.  Would any of our training transfer? Would any of our records transfer? Or would we have to start all over again from the very beginning?

We saw lots of signs hanging here in this area and at DSS saying that they needed foster/adoptive families, so we figured they’d be delighted to talk to us.  But sadly, we didn’t even get a return call when we left a voicemail there!  They took the time to notify us that they didn’t approve the Medicaid application (even though Hope Giver was a recipient of Medicaid in NC), but didn’t respond to our requests for information about fostering.

However, shortly before Christmas, we were given the name of a private agency here that also handles foster and adoptive cases.  We decided to check into it to see if it would be a good option for us.  And so finally, today, we made the phone call.

Let me say, first of all, that I didn’t know it would ever be possible for us to work with a private agency.  My assumption from some previous research was that all private agencies would require us to meet very stringent criteria regarding income, net worth, etc.  And I also thought that going through a private agency would also mean that adopting a child would cost tens of thousands of dollars.

I was wrong.

The agency we are seeking to license us is a private agency that basically works as a placement agency for children in the DSS system.  But they seem much more personable, they have lighter caseloads, AND (most importantly!) they returned our phone call promptly!  And other than the fact that they are a private agency (and actually require a bit more training than DSS would require here), everything else should be very similar to our experience with NC DSS.

Christy and I just finished a delightful half-hour or so conversation with the woman who will do our home study and begin the application process with us.  We couldn’t feel better about our choice to work with this agency.  And we’re excited about getting back into foster/adoptive care again soon.

So, here we are, once again, at the beginning of a journey.  It turns out that absolutely nothing of our training or certification in NC will transfer over, so in a couple of weeks, we’ll begin our training.  Next Thursday morning, we have our first meeting with the agency to do some paperwork and set up the home visits.

We’re excited!  It feels weird to be starting this journey all over again, but this time, we have a bit of experience under our belt, a beautiful daughter as a reminder of the journey we already have taken, and once again the hope that our home will be a place where other children can come and be loved and cared for.

We hope you’ll come along and enjoy this new journey with us as well!

steve :)

January 22nd, 2009

2 Responses to “Starting at the Beginning – Again”

  1. Gracie Says:

    Excited for you guys as you seek out another adventure! I’ve been curious about checking into the private agency in our area for the reasons you mentioned…Social Services is rough on social workers, which inevitably trickles down to the foster parents. I look forward to watching as the journey unfolds again!

  2. flutemom Says:

    wow, another journey! that is wonderful! i wish you the best in working with the private agency, and pray for another child to be able to be in your family soon. love you all!