Because the important moments in life just don’t fit in a status update! I started this blog when I was training for my first ½ Ironman, (70.3 miles) to record what I hoped would be growth and progress but ended up being a huge learning experience. Although fitness is one of the key ingredients to a happy life, it certainly isn't the only ingredient. My blog has evolved to document growth, progress and setbacks in other areas too. From my surprise proposal in Rome and wedding in the fall of 2013, to Mom's devastating stage IV cancer diagnosis and death 2 weeks after I found out I was pregnant. Who knows what shape it will take, but thanks for being along for the ride.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Wait, it's a Boy!? Becoming Foster Parents

 
Before our baby girl arrives at the end of May, we're having a boy! A teenage boy.

As I was about to leave work on Tuesday, I received a call that a student I had been working with was placed at an emergency youth shelter, Orangewood. I can't discuss any of the circumstances surrounding why he was placed there not just because of confidentiality, but because it is his story. None of us would like our stories shared, and there is always misinformation and another side to things. Suffice to say, he was now in "the system" and would be looking at at least two months there (usually closer to eight or nine) before hopefully being placed with a foster family. 

That is, unless someone who was related to him or knew him stepped forward. I already knew that he had no one. I thought of how he had attended school every day the prior week, a first for the entire school year, and how he was just starting to smile and feel connected. I spoke to our campus police officer who has been instrumental in helping get him clothing, shoes and school supplies, and he said he was searching his mind for someone who could take him in. He said he would take him himself, except that he has four boys, and I knew he meant it. Everyone likes this kid. Right away, I wanted to say "We'll take him!" but knew I needed to talk to Nathan, who would probably tell me it wasn't good timing.

Without hesitation or even a whole lot of information, my husband was all for it said we should help. We were being called to do so. I was surprised by his response, but I probably shouldn't have been. On one of our first dates, he told me he believes service to others is his main purpose in life. He said that although he has never met this boy, he trusts my judgement. This means a lot to me, especially in light of the fact that I routinely loose my cell phone inside my own house and just the other day put the ice cream away in the fridge, overnight. We decided to move forward.

The first step was to speak to his social worker and give her all of the information needed on both of us to complete a criminal background check. She also asked the student if he would want to live with us, and his answer was yes. On Wednesday night, we spoke to him and set up our our first visit for the following day.

The fact that we are flying to Italy on Valentine's Day presented a problem because we can't very well leave him unattended for 10 days while we ride gondolas and eat lasagna. At first, the social worker said that we would just wait until the end of February, when we return. But that didn't seem right, and I searched for someone willing to take him while we were gone. I was amazed to find out that one of his teachers was willing to take him for the entire time we are gone. The social worker was in support, and they are moving forward with that background check as well.

Every day, Nathan and I have been talking about this and giving it careful consideration. Can we really commit to having him stay with us for six months to a year, possibly more? What if behavior problems arise? What will it be like with a newborn? With our backgrounds and experiences I feel that we are fairly well equipped to handle whatever is thrown our way. I told my husband that I love him more for being so open to doing this, and he said he is so happy he found someone who is willing to take this on. Being 5 months pregnant, it may not be the best timing, but its as good a time as any. We don't choose when we're called to serve, and the timing for something like this is probably never perfect.

We had our first meeting with him Thursday night and it could not have gone any better. He hit it off with my husband, talking about video games and baseball. We tried to get to know him, asking what his favorite things to eat are and what he likes to do. All three of us were a bit nervous. He smiled a lot, very shyly, while looking down. He seemed excited. When we asked him if he had any questions, he wanted to know what time he would need to go to bed, and if he could drink soda. If he was allowed to drink soda, how many could he have in a week? Rather than having set answers, we told him that we would all talk and figure out what was best with his input.

Toward the end of our visit, I told him that we are just here to help, and that he didn't choose to be in this situation and that it wasn't fair, or his fault. His response astounded me so much that I had to ask him to repeat himself. He said "Better me than someone else." We ended the visit on a positive note and told him we would be back to see him on Saturday.

This time, we were able to take him out of Orangewood for two hours. We walked around the Block at Orange and had lunch at TGI Fridays, a place he had never been. Again, it went really well and I think we can both now see ourselves in this role.

Our home visit is scheduled for next Wednesday, where they will open every drawer and peer into every cabinet. It's supposed to last two hours. They will also be asking us some pretty interesting questions I assume, because she already front-loaded us and told me not to be offended, "They're just questions we ask everybody."

The clothes that were given to him a few weeks ago did not make it with him to Orangewood, so we are in the process of contacting some people who may be able to help. While there eventually will be some funding that comes with him for clothing and food, it does not kick in for 6-8 weeks and his birthday is less than two weeks away. My friend Delia asked her friend Dave who has already made contact with some people at Hurley, Oakley and Vans.

We are both so excited about the possibility of making a difference, even a small one, in this young man's life. So many people care about him - more than he knows - and their caring and concern motivated us to take this leap. 

10 comments:

  1. You guys are amazing and such a blessing to this young man!

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  2. Wow this is amazing!!! What a selfless thing to do and such a blessing to him. You all will be in my prayers :)

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  3. Hey Megan not related to this blog post but after searching The Ivy Study (which I am currently doing) your name popped up in the search! I was pretty excited to know that a blog I currently read has also done this study. I would love to know how everything went for you. I just started the Finox yesterday, not sure which drug you got during the study. I am so glad to know it worked for you!

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    1. I'm so happy you found me and my blog and that you're in the study!!! I did IVF one time and paid full price - $20,000 and it didn't work! Without the Ivy Study, we would not have been able to do it again for another year, and my Mom would not have known we were pregnant before she died. Honestly, it was the best experience! Please ask me any questions you have and you can also email me at megan26.2@gmail.com. I also have old blog entries that document the process :)

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  4. I love reading foster stories and hear about all the children you were given what seems an unfair start and finally find hope and love and a strong foundation in their life.

    https://parentarizona.com/tips-for-successful-foster-parenting/

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  5. You are such a blessing! What a wonderful story!

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  6. What a wonderful story! full of inspiration and happiness.

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