When we first decided to look into foster care, we contacted our local DCFS office. We were put in contact with a woman who help us through the process. I started calling in mid-January and we finally had a meeting set up February 17. We met with her and she gave us more information.
We set up a time for two days later for her to make our first home visit. We will filled out paperwork, selected the ages and number of children we felt able to take care of. (birth-5 years old and 1-2 children, in case you were wondering) We were also able to select race, but that doesn't matter to us.
She visited our house and gave us a list of things we would need to do (dog's shot records, letter from vet, physicals for us, etc). She assured us that we were a priority to her, but she did say the licensing department was very busy and it may take awhile to get licensed. I was hoping we would be able to be licensed by summer. I'm a teacher and I thought taking in our first child over the summer would be the easiest transition for all of us. Now it was time for us to wait until licensing contacted us to set up a meeting.
After a week, we hadn't heard anything, so I called the woman we first spoke to about foster care. She assured me that she had mentioned our names and had passed on our information to the appropriate people. She said to give them another week and then call back. Another week passed by without hearing anything, so I called again. She again said she would try to push them a little to get things going. Two weeks gone... I knew this would take some time, but I wanted to be doing something (at least be able to start our classes!)
Nate and I waited and talked and waited some more. Finally, the week of March 16 rolled around. Nate and I decided we were tired of waiting and decided to try to do something. I got the phone number of the licensing supervisor and left her a message. I just explained that it had been a month and I hadn't heard anything at all. The next day, lo and behold, I got a voicemail from a licensing person stating that she just got my file (huh?) and she would like to set up a date to meet. I called her back and explained that I was wanting to get licensed as quickly as possible so we could maybe have our first child placed before I go back to work in the fall. She quickly told me there was no way that would happen. She stated it took months to get licensed. I told her I understood that and that is why we starting calling in January. She acted annoyed and said again that she just got my file and wanted to call me right away. Now, I can't say for sure that she was lying, but I find it strange that I was told our file was sent back much earlier than that and she just happened to call the day after I called her supervisor... just seemed a bit far fetched. Anyway, I went ahead and set up a meeting for two weeks later.
That evening, Nate and I talked a little about our frustration with the pace things were moving. We were aware it would take awhile and that our state isn't known for moving quickly, but not even a phone in over a month seemed ridiculous to both us. We started talking about other options we may have to become licensed. After some research, we decided to contact another agency to see if we could get things done any faster.
On Friday, March 20, I called and left a message with another agency during my plan period at 1:00. I told her on the voicemail that I would be available after 3:10 if she could return my call. At 3:20, my phone rang. I got to talk to a super nice lady. I told her our situation and how we were excited to get things going. She warned me that we still may not be able to get our license by the end of the summer. I kind of knew this would probably be the case since we had wasted a couple of months waiting, but she assured me she would do everything she could to move things along. She offered to get a packet of information and an application in the mail that day. I told her that would be great and gave her my information. I called Nate, excited that things seemed to be moving, and he asked me why I didn't just offer to pick up the packet. I had no idea, so I called her back and asked if I could pick it up on my way home. She said that she would leave it at the front desk for me. So, I had an application in my hand less than 4 hours after speaking with her. I was getting excited again!
We spent quite a bit of time that weekend filling out all the paperwork and answering 68 questions about our marriage, family, childhood, and parenting. Nate returned it to her on Monday morning and he also found out we could get fingerprinted for our background checks on Tuesday. Wow~ in less than a week we were already further along than before! We got fingerprinted and set up a meeting with our licensing person for Thursday, April 2. That is where we are now. We meet with her in our home on Thursday.
She also gave us some dates for our PRIDE classes. We're hoping to get to take them in April and May on a few Saturdays. Things are moving now. Yay!
I will update after our meeting. Wish us luck!