When we started our foster care licensing journey, I inwardly laughed at those who told me it took them over 6 months to become licensed. I scoffed when our agency told us it would be at least 4 months and maybe closer to 6. After all, I was the dossier queen. I could put an entire dossier together for an international adoption in well under four months. This included a homestudy update, physicals, police clearances, a bazillion documents such as birth certificates and our marriage license, immigration applications, and being fingerprinted for clearance by the FBI. I also had all of my documents certified by the state and then authenticated by the Haitian consulate in Chicago and got the entire dossier translated into French before I sent it via DHL to Haiti. I was convinced I would show these people how it was done and how fast we could actually become licensed foster parents.
A Haitian adoption, unlike a Chinese one, also requires a psychological evaluation of both parents. Had we received the eval after our arduous foster care process, we probably would not have passed as I am convinced that this journey is making me crazy.
We received an email from the state today informing us that our file has finally been submitted for review…9 months after we started this journey. Our first required parenting classes were canceled, leaving us to wait for the next session. “No problem…they can do our homestudy update while we wait”, I thought. Ha! Shows my ignorance. Our agency doesn’t do homestudy updates until you have finished the entire 10 week MAPP classes in case you decide to change your mind about foster care.
So we put in our 30 hours and had our little graduation celebration, believe it or not last June. Only problem was, Jeff missed two classes due to Boy Scout camp, so he had to make them up in yet the next session of classes. Meanwhile, no one was in a rush to update our homestudy, and our licensing worker quit without informing us. After a month of no contact from her, we got a call from a new licensing worker telling us that our previous worker no longer worked for the agency. She started requesting paperwork that we had submitted once already, but we dutifully faxed it off yet a second time.
In the meantime, we waited and waited for the state to contact us for our home inspection. They came and we passed and then they told us we could only be approved for ages 7 and up because our spa wasn’t fenced. This is a spa that has a safety cover and is empty. No matter; we could fill it after he left, the inspector said, so fencing the spa became the next project.
After fencing it, we of course had to wait for the state to set another appointment with us to check that it truly was fenced to regulation standards. Since the inspectors come from a larger city 100 miles to the north, they don’t just show up two days after being contacted. One must wait until they are coming to do other home inspections which is usually at least 4 weeks after the initial contact.
To add insult to injury, on our second appointment date the inspector showed up two hours early when I had just stepped out of the shower. There was no way I was going to miss him and have to set up yet another date, so I hollered out for him to wait and then threw on some clothes, put a towel on my head and let him through the house to see the spa in the backyard. No apologies for showing up early. Rather, he seemed a bit perturbed that he had to wait for me to get to the door.
Our licensing worker let me know this week that she was passing our homestudy on to her supervisor and that the supervisor review was the last step before it was submitted to the state. “Oh…and could you resend your dog’s proof of rabies and car registration and proof of car insurance, since I don’t seem to have the documentation of those.” No matter that I had faxed all of them months ago. I am beginning to believe their fax machine eats more documents than my dryer eats socks. Either that, or the faxes print and drop into a wastebasket below the machine.
I’m really not complaining about our licensing worker. She has been great. I fear the previous worker never took the time to pass on our documents to the new one and somehow papers got lost.
Believe it or not, the supervisor called today and said everything looked good and was a go. Within an hour I had an email from the state saying that our foster care application is now under review.
The state has 60 days to review the application, but most other foster parents in our state said that theirs was approved within two weeks. Judging from how the rest of the process has gone, I’m not holding my breath, but it is so nice to know that we are in the home stretch.