Hello, My name is Meredith, I was born and raised in Pennsylvania, I met my husband in Pennsylvania when he was stationed there with the Navy. We got married and moved to St. Louis, Missouri where he is originally from. We currently have 3 biological children, a dog, a cat, and a hamster. We are a home school family, we just finished our 5th year homeschooling; and we are getting ready to welcome our next family member in the next few weeks, through the foster care system.
I knew that I wanted to adopt for as long as I can remember. When my husband and I started dating I asked him if he would want to adopt, because I wanted to, he said yes.
Not long after we had our daughter we looked into adoption, I did some reading, and research, talked to people who had adopted, talked to some case managers for adoption. It just wasn’t God’s timing yet.
Fast forward, we had two more biological children, so in total we have one bio daughter 9, and two bio boys, age 5, and age 3. After our youngest was born, I realized I was DONE being pregnant! It was time to adopt. After the 3rd kid I thought we are pro’s now, and we began looking at adopting not long after our youngest was born. Searching for an infant, or adopting from overseas was not for us, for several reasons. One reason being cost. We just spent 4 years digging ourselves out of $50,000 in debt using Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey. The second being that there are thousands of kids right here in the US that desperately need homes.
This began our long journey. I began calling all of the agencies in our area, telling them we wanted to “foster to adopt” only to be hung up on, and finally pointed to our county run Children’s Division. It took us several months just to go to an information meeting, then we couldn’t even get a case worker to come to our house and visit us, we later found out the turn over rate is so high the case manager was carrying a case load of 60 or more families.
Still getting no where fast, I thought, “What can we do? We will be waiting forever!” So I started calling agencies back (at this point we are 1 year since my first phone call). I discovered that the state of Missouri wants foster agencies to encourage reunification with the biological family, and so they can not encourage the adoption process. However, because they don’t promote that families adopt from foster care, it does happen often. So once we got that established, and discovered the legalities of it, we found our agency. We were now with a private agency that was much more communicative, they were on top of things, we began meeting with our case manager immediately, and began taking our parenting classes, they are also called STARS classes, here in Missouri.
While taking the parenting classes, the case manager comes to visit you in your home, and does a lot of assessments. Your home does NOT have to be spotless, ours is messy, we have 3 kids. They understand people live at your house. They are looking for safety measures, like cleaning supplies out of reach, medicine out of reach, working smoke detectors. They are also very interested in your relationships, do you and your spouse have a good relationship, are you willing to care for a child who has been through a traumatic experience.
Many people don’t even try to adopt out of fear. Just to clear things up, you don’t have to be rich or even close to being rich, you don’t have to own a home, you don’t have to be married, and you can home school your biological children! They want to know what you are doing now, and are you trying to better yourself? Are you healthy? Do you have a little extra money to care for a child?
In our personal opinion the “parenting classes” that you are required to take are very vague. I would highly recommend reading parenting books on your own, on good parenting strategies. Two good books I recommend is “1-2-3 Magic” by Thomas Phelan PhD, and “Loving Your Kids on Purpose” by Danny Silk.
I have joked that giving birth to a biological child leaves you violated, because if you have given birth in a hospital it seems as if every nurse and doctor on the floor comes to check on you. Adoption leaves you violated because you have to fill out endless paperwork detailing your life starting from your childhood all the way to present day, being open and honest with your case worker allows them to understand how you think and your current family, and how you relate to people, etc.
If you have considered adoption or being a foster parent I urge you to take that step. I like what Frances Chan says, “So many won’t do anything unless they hear a voice from heaven telling them precisely what to do. Why not default to action, until you hear a voice from heaven telling you to wait?”
Thank you Meredith for sharing your struggles and story about the foster process. We will check back in with Meredith in one year and see where she is in the process. Have you considered foster care or adoption? If so, what has held you back or maybe you have a story to share. Please comment below. I would love to hear from you.