We're approaching the halfway point of our foster training; our first home visit is a week from today. A good chunk of our paperwork is submitted with just a few lingering things to complete and fill out. The most difficult component to complete: the letter to a future foster/adoptive child and one to his/her biological parents. We were assigned to write a short letter introducing ourselves to a potential child who might be placed in our home and then one to his/her parents. I thought writing our profile letter for adoption was difficult, but I struggled to find the words for the letter to a future child. What can I even say that would make a child feel even slightly comfortable with the thought of moving into a stranger's home? Writing to the parents was a killer. How do I reassure future biological parents who will more than likely resent us for "taking their child" that we will do what we can to be good "in the meantime" parents for their kids?
The deeper we get into our training, the more empathy I gain for biological parents whose kids are placed in foster care and foster kids. We did an "imagine if" exercise last week where we were asked to close our eyes and imagine what it would be like if we were to go through the process of being removed from our home and placed in someone else's home. The thought of hypothetically being placed in someone else's home freaked me out. I can't imagine the emotions foster kids experience as they work to process being removed, adjusting to a new family with new rules, hoping to go home and return to what feels natural, etc.
I am also learning the importance of knowing the strengths and needs of our family so we can be realistic about the situations we open ourselves to. I'm a bleeding-heart, so it's easy for me to bite off more than I can chew in order to help others. A huge part of me wants to adopt or foster a ridiculous amount of children. But the more we learn, the more level-headed I become. While I want so badly to have kids in our home by July or August (which we could probably have if we fostered), I also know that Nate and I have a desire to be forever parents to children. There are several kids who are currently in foster care but are free and clear for adoption, but from what I hear, it might take a bit more time for these kids to be placed into our home. Of course, the agency doesn't want to rush the transition for these kiddos, so it seems like it might be a slower, deliberate process (which is good). I guess I'm learning to slow down a bit and really think this through.
The Helzer home will be in a huge flux of chaos in the coming weeks as we wrap up a school year (13 days left for me!), pack up our apartment, and move into a new home (20 days until we close!), and continue our foster training. Pray that we'd keep our sanity among the crazy!