Something big and exciting is happening.
I could dance around, give a little bit of info, some hints here and there, and make you guess, but why make you wait. We have waited a long time, but we are finally a licensed foster family.
This isn’t something that we just thought about doing, it is something we have considered doing for YEARS. Just like Jay’s call to pulpit ministry, this was on our hearts for a long time before we finally felt it was the right time.
Ironically, we talked about being a foster family even before Jay entered seminary. However, once we as a family decided it was time for Jay to pursue his call, we put the conversation about being a foster family on the backburner. As with Jay pursuing his call, the decision to become a foster family didn’t come lightly. We talked about it off and on while Jay was in seminary, but knew it wasn’t the right time as we shared a living space with his parents. When I say ‘we’, I mean all of the Jackson Juniors, as we refer to our small little nit family of five. The kids would bring it up and we’d remind them we would revisit the conversation after dad would receive his first call.
Well, Jay’s first call took us way north to North Dakota. We weren’t sure about the move. There was some uncertainty about the stability of the move. We struggled financially. We struggled with homeschooling. We just all out struggled with everyday life there. Yes, the kids would bring it up and ask if the timing was right yet. But we decided until we felt more stable it wasn’t fair to a youth to bring them into our home. So again the conversation was tabled.
Things didn’t work out in North Dakota. There were too many variables that required a change. So, the kids and I returned to Ohio while Jay waited for his second call. After Jay interviewed at our new church home, they invited the kids and I to tour the parsonage. During that tour, Zack asked if we would be able to expand (not necessarily using that term) our family. Of course I reminded him we needed to be settled before the family could have that conversation.
After Jay accepted the new call, I just assumed we wouldn’t be able to be a foster family because the parsonage is only a three bedroom home. Jay and I have our own room (thank goodness), one room is occupied by both our girls, and Zack has his own room. I’ll be honest, while we lived in North Dakota, I did look at information about fostering and the home we were in there was too small so I just assumed the same would be here as well.
Well, we know several families that foster. We’d see new little faces at co-op. We’d hear stories how exciting it was to have some littles in the house. In passing, I talked to a few homeschool moms that foster and they kept encouraging me to contact our county office. I was still hung up on the house being too small. Anytime the kids would bring it up, I’d dismiss it because of the house size.
I watched on Facebook how a friend and her family were going through the process and preparing their home. Then I ran into her at the waterpark and another friend and I shared with her our families’ desires but for one reason or another we just couldn’t do it. She assured us, neither of our concerns would inhibit us from becoming a foster family. She too encouraged us to talk with our county offices. I shared with Jay and the kids what I had learned. We decided we would wait till after the first of the year before we would explore it. Well, then in November, someone asked Jay if our family had ever considered being a foster family. Here it was being laid in front of us again. With that said, we decided maybe it was finally time to pursue the process and see where it would lead us.
I did some research, and a friend recommended different avenues. I requested training schedules and we picked an agency whose training fit our schedule. We attended training in January and February, completed our home study in March, and we were licensed by the end of March. It may have taken ten years before that initial conversation finally got a final decision, but we are now a licensed foster family and we are excited about what is to come.