One of the hardest question you are ever faced with, am I right? Let's revisit the scene: you get through MAPP class, have your home study, and get approved. The phone rings.
"We have a 'x' year old boy/girl that we feel would be a good placement for you. Here's what we know...can you take him/her."
Emotions are flowing. Emotions are joy, happiness that you got a placement. But also feelings are fear and "is this the right one for us"? So, do you take the placement or not?
Ultimately, this decision is up to you. But how can you do your best to prepare for that phone call?
I realize different states do different things, so not all of these principles are going to hit the mark, but here's a few tips:
Talk to Your Wife/Yourself About Your Limits. Have you had this conversation yet? Are you just going to open your home to whatever comes your way? That's what our family did. As long as we were in town, we were going to take the child(ren). During our interview process with our agency, we had the questions of what age group are you looking for? How many are you willing to be placed with you at one time? We also had about a 3-page list of what disabilities and/or behaviors we would be willing to be placed with us. This conversation is so, so important. Now granted, you may not have the full story, but you are given a brief synopsis most time. Have this talk with your wife. If you are a single dad, know what you are willing to budge on, etc.
Try Respite First. One you are licensed, you may be called for respite care. If you are unfamiliar, respite care is typically when foster/adoptive parents need a weekend or some time away from the kids and you are able to watch them, and obviously give them back. This gives you a trial run or sorts to get your feet wet with children from tough places. It can give you a perspective to see if what your limits are are actually true. Try respite a couple times. It gives you a first hand experience of what you are getting into.
Don't Feel Guilty. That's right. If you say no, you are not the worst human being in the world. Some things may not feel just right. Or it may not be a good time for you (like getting a call when you're on vacation or away for the holidays). Let me say it again for those in the back. Saying. No. Does. NOT. Make. You. A. Bad. Person. You are given a choice and if you're not in town or the situation doesn't feel quite right or you feel as though it may not be a good fit. IT'S OK! There are other foster/adoptive parents out there.
So, even though the agencies and DHS typically gives you a split second to think about a placement, it's ultimately your choice. Think about it. If you're unsure, tell them you will call them back. You have to do what's best for you and for what is in the best interest of the child coming into your home.
If you want to discuss more, feel free to drop some comments below or in the group page under this link.