"Any form of physical punishment including the use of the hand, switch, belt, paddle, extension cord, or other objects to strike a child.” -From the Department of Human Services foster parent list of prohibited forms of behavior management.
It seemed to me almost amusing that anyone would think they even needed to state this. Obvious, really. Hit a child? Hit a child with an extension cord, no less? Unimaginable. And, in truth, does it really need to be said? I read the above to a friend, who found it anything but amusing, stating matter of factly, “I was beaten with all those things when I was a kid.” So, sadly, yes, it does need to be said. Lord, deliver these children. Forgive us for our complacence.
Being fingerprinted brings to mind dingy cells, mug shots, and handcuffs. So, I was pleasantly surprised by our experience at Hands Across the Water, which is off Carpenter Road in Ann Arbor.
An envelope from DHS (Department of Human Services) arrived in the mail about two weeks after my husband, Matt, and I attended foster parent orientation. It enclosed instructions on how to get finger printed. Every prospective foster parent must be finger printed as a part of the comprehensive background check which is preformed to ascertain whether you are sick and creepy or relatively normal.
The letter contained form and receipts that we were to bring to the finger printing location. The receipts contained codes to show the fingerprinter that our fingerprinting had already been paid for by DHS- to the tune of $58.00 each. It told us when and where we should go. The hours were pathetic, (10-2 on 2 or 3 different week days) and the directions were terrible. But, on the Tuesday afternoon that I went in, I was pleasantly surprised.
I arrived at Hands Across the Water, waited about five minutes in a small but cozy waiting room, and was called into an office by a sixty-ish man with a ponytail. …
After attending foster orientation, I turned my attention to packing for our trip to Florida two days hence. I thought we’d get back to it when we returned. However, once on the airplane, I saw that Matt had brought all of the foster care papers with him. The application was only two pages long. He very carefully completed most of it, turned it over, read the directions, said, “oops,” then went back and fixed some things. For example, “when a heterosexual couple is applying to do foster care, the name of the man must be written first.” Who knew there would be a correct gender-order specified on the application? Sometimes I think that the government has too much free time.
It began by asking for basic things: name, address, birthdate, social security number. Then it moved on to asking for three people who we would list as references. These people are not to be relatives. Well, that stumped me for a minute. Between us we have 3 grandparents, 4 parents, 25 aunts and uncles, innumerable cousins, 22 siblings and siblings-in-law, 21 nieces and nephews, and 5 children. Now, here they all were - left out in the cold. So, we tried to think of people we know and trust, who know …
Having made the decision to look into foster care further, I called DHS (Department of Human Services) to inquire about orientation. They have orientation once a month on Wednesdays. It’s at two in the afternoon one month and at seven in the evening the next. You don’t have to sign up, you just show up. I spoke with Greg, the man in charge of licensing, and let him know that we’d be at the January 12th orientation.
On the day of orientation our babysitting fell through. Jenny’s kids were sick. We wanted ours to stay healthy. Finding replacement babysitters for five children at the last minute is no easy task, especially when said children have a reputation for being a bit of a handful. So, I prayed, “Lord, I’m trying to proceed according to Your will. If You want us at that meeting, please make someone available to babysit.” Then, I called my mom. My sister Amy answered the phone. She was not only willing to babysit. She’d make us dinner while she was at it. How’s that for answered prayer?
Matt and I were a bit nervous as we drove to the DHS building in Ypsilanti, not sure what to expect, anticipating where God might lead. DHS is deep downtown, near Value World. I was expecting …