Thanks to some recent comments on a Facebook status I put up recently, it appears that Bill and I haven't been sharing our foster parent story clearly enough. Here's the back story:
A little over a year ago, Bill and I finished all the paperwork and training to become licensed foster parents for the state of Indiana. We did so after coming to the decision that being biological parents would be both expensive (fertility help would be required) and potentially health threatening to me (a Type II diabetic with blood pressure issues). Add that to the growing number of children in the Marion County area that are in need of loving, safe, temporary homes. June 12, we received our first placement, a terrified brother/sister pair who couldn't believe what was happening in their life at that time. They've been with us ever since, and until recently had a pretty rock solid reunification plan in place.
For those who aren't aware, the purpose of foster care is to be a TEMPORARY home for kids whose parents have been deemed unfit to care for them. The goal of foster care is 99.9% reunification, not adoption. There are laws in place to keep kids from being in the foster care system forever, one of which provides for the termination of a parent's rights should it be obvious that the parent isn't going to get it together.
Our goal with becoming foster parents is to be a revolving door of sorts. I've joked that we want to be able to decorate our rear car window full of those stick people decals. We entered this process specifically to be foster parents, not foster parents hoping to adopt children. There are those out there who want to foster only adoptable children, and those parents are just as necessary as the ones like us, who want to help as many kids as possible during our foster parent journey. That being said, we did, as part of our license renewal process, take a class that discussed the adoption process and are technically able to adopt children from the foster system.
I posted on Facebook that I was looking forward to a meeting that would hopefully provide us with a new timeline for our placement, as the reunification plan had to change drastically given some pretty heartbreaking circumstances. For the past 9 months, we have been aware of the lack of effort being put in by one parent towards getting the kids back, and with the changes could have been looking at making a forever decision regarding our current placement in the very near future. One of our friends commented that it wasn't fair of us to be "test driving the kids" which did more to expose his ignorance than make us look bad. However, it should be noted that foster care isn't test driving anything, unless perhaps you're talking about Ozzy Osborne's crazy train. It certainly isn't test driving kids.
A forever decision has to be one that works best for all parties involved, and if forced to make a forever decision today, we'd most likely say "No." First of all, because there's not any sort of agreement among the siblings regarding being members of our family forever, and second of all because one of the two members is beyond disrespectful, bordering on verbally abusive towards me. For my self care, and the welfare of my marriage, that sort of thing isn't going to fly on a permanent basis - especially given the aforementioned blood pressure issue.
We are more than willing to talk anyone's ear off regarding our decision, our goals, and our plan for our time as foster parents. Just ask, and we'll tell you as much as you want to know. Please know, however, that if you don't ask, and you say something that displays your ignorance, I have an entire support system that will call you out on it. So while I could do it myself, I don't even have to!