We've chosen an agency and that's their thick stack of paperwork there, about the size of a September issue.
They don't hand over a kid to just anyone, you know! I'll be fingerprinted and background-checked, have a medical report completed by my doctor, detail our household budget, buy window guards and cover our radiators. All of which will be worth it when we get that boundary-less, slightly dysfunctional bundle of joy.
Only real points of concern:
1. I have to sign a mental health consent form listing my medications and get a recommendation from my therapist. Our contact at the agency told us this was because of a case in which a foster parent stopped taking their antidepressants and strangled a child. (They keep it real over there.)
While my depression is not anywhere near baby-strangling levels, I do take (and need) an SSRI. It's probably no big deal -- as the boyfriend put it, "All white people are on antidepressants." Still, I'm a little nervous about going on public record with my mental health details. We have to get it notarized! Is having that information out there going to come back to haunt me someday?
2. Every foster parent is required to come up with two people to agree to be your "babysitters," who are the only people you can leave your child with. The catch is that your babysitters also have to get a medical report, and the necessary clearance, and attend 3 hours of training. We don't have any family members nearby, and it's a lot to ask of a friend, especially when all they get is the honor of being able to watch your kid.
3. Is our second bedroom even big enough? It's comfortable but on the smallish side, but our agency wasn't able to provide us with exact room size requirements, and I'm afraid of spending a bunch of money getting the room up to state requirements only to realize it's too small anyway when they do the home study.
OK, I am slightly overwhelmed. But you know what? I'm just going to take it one step at a time and do the next right thing to eventually get to the right right right thing, which is what fostering a child feels like.
Keep you posted.