Friday, December 11, 2009

We're having a baby - or a toddler - or a teenager!

Have I got your attention yet?

Allow me to explain. Earlier today, Shira and I were certified to be Foster Parents in Arlington County. Yes, you read that right - any day now, Arlington County could send a kid or two our way and we would be in charge of, well, parenting them.

Sweeet, eh?

I think it's worth answering a few Frequently Asked Questions at this point...

Q: What's foster care?

When Arlington county has a child in their care (say, they need to take a child out of an abusive home) they need to put them with a trained and vetted individual or family. In this case, that's us.

Q: Really, trained and vetted?

Yes, sir. Arlington has a 9 week training course, which was interesting and comprehensive. Think about it, how would you prepare people who have potentially never raised a child (like, us), to become insta-parents? Well, the Arlington program (which I believe is national one), did a remarkably good job.

Plus we've had background checks, CPS checks, finger print checks, and other ways to confirm we're not going to harm the kids.

Q: How old will the child be who is placed in your home be?

We don't know. Technically, they could be from 0 to 18 years old. But in our case, they'll probably be on the younger side. Though, foster care is about helping children and parents in need, not about finding the "perfect" kid.

Q: When will a child be placed in your home?

We don't know. At this point there are few T's that need to be crossed and I's that need to be dotted. But once that's done, it's a waiting game. Could be next Monday, could be in two months.

Q: How long will the child be in your home?

We don't know. Could be a couple days, could be a year. Foster care by its nature is temporary and in general the shorter the duration the better for the child. In fact, everyone involved works hard to make the stay as brief as possible, as children need to get back to a permanent family as quickly as possible.

Q: Where will the child go after your home?

The vast majority of the time, the child goes home to their birth parents. Though they may also be adopted or potentially may age out of the system.

Like the answers before this, it boils down to we don't know - see a theme here?

Q: Will we get to follow your foster child on your blog?

Alas, you will not. Foster kids have a right to privacy, which includes not announcing to the world about their situation.

This extends to other areas of life, such as not introducing or describing the child as being in foster care.

With that said, I'll probably be blogging about the foster care process in general and will no doubt share parenting experiences and tips (yeah, I'm a long way from giving any sort of tips to anyone).

Q: I've seen enough episodes of (insert favorite cop show here) - foster care is evil, isn't it?

You should be reading more books. Seriously, foster care has had its share of horror stories - but as we learned in our training, these horror stories are extremely rare in the Arlington County.

Besides, now Shira and I are part of the foster care process - and are we evil?

Q: How can I help?

Oh how nice of you to ask! As you can tell, at this point we don't know much. Heck, we don't even know what we don't know.

But we'll always appreciate advice and support. And if we do end up with a child whose age or temperament you've got experience with, or hand-me downs from, we're open to assistance!

Now, if you'll pardon me, I've got to Google this whole parenting thing and see if I can find some sort of comprehensive manual.


  1. Congratulations to you both! You're doing a wonderful thing, and I'm sure you'll be great at it!

  2. Hi Ben,
    I agree, you are both doing a wonderful mitzvah and any child will benefit enormously from having you as foster parents - but please don't let it hinder any thoughts you might have about having your own!

  3. Rebecca -

    Thanks for the positive words!