Now that I am finally caught up on the Big Bear Posts (actually I believe I have one more- coming soon) and I have been staying mostly caught up on reporting my dog activities, it is time for THE BIG NEWS! I think I hinted at this way back before the AKC Nationals, but then never said any more about it. Here it is:
I am an approved Foster Home for my county. I should clarify- Human and in Human Babies. Yes, not dogs- humans.
I started the process in September of last year. I remember because the orientation was right around my birthday. After the orientation I did the classes which were around 2 hours each- a total of 17 hours. (Cut back from 24 due to funding.) Then we had a separate Graduation class. And then I was at a stand still. I could not have foster children in my studio, so I needed to find a new place to live. Which was too bad because I really liked living there and saving so much money! I was hoping to find a place to buy, but that wasn't happening, so once again I ended up moving back into the duplex.
The next step was the home inspection and for that I had to be all unpacked, and also have the baby's room set up. The only 3 things you have to have to pass the home inspection are a crib, a dresser and a car seat. All the clothes, toys and other baby stuff is not inspect-able. So in addition to unpacking and organizing everything, I had to get those 3 items.
You have 6 months from the completion of your classes to submit your application packet. When you submit your packet you are stating you are ready for the home inspection. Since it took me a while to find a suitable place to live, I was coming up on my 6 months and running out of time. I was also coming up on the AKC Nationals which is important because once your home inspection is complete you are licensed right then and there and could get a call for a placement the next day. I didn't want to have to turn any placements down, but I also didn't want to have to deal with finding respite care (care longer than 72 hrs) on short notice while I went to the Nationals.
In the end I found a beautiful crib and dresser on Craigslist for free! They retail for over $1500 but the owner was moving the next day and wanted them gone. Score! I got an infant car seat from a friend and bought a toddler seat from Target. I got the house all put together and baby-proofed so I could pass the inspection. Everyone asks about the dogs- what does the county think about the dogs? As long as you are not over your limit (I'm not) they don't care. If the breed of dog is on their "list" then they want to meet the dog to make sure they are "nice." Personally, I think they should meet all the pets, but that isn't their policy. The home inspector had to go outside and she was afraid of dogs. So I picked Muffin up and put the rest in down and she said I was the first person at all the home inspections she's done that has had any kind of control over their dogs. I passed my home inspection and was lisensed, and hoped they did not call me before Nationals.
I was back to work on Tuesday after the Nationals and got a call that very same day for my first placement! Of course everything about foster children is confidential so I will not be sharing a lot of info here. This placement was a bit different because I did not pick her up right away. She (we'll call her Big Girl) was not placed with me until that Thursday. She was just under 2 years old. I signed up for zero to two years old which means I can have a newborn to anyone that is not yet 3. My goal is to adopt (more on that later) and I know older children can have more attachment or behavioral issues. I don't really feel qualified to deal with that.
I wasn't sure I was qualified to take on a 2 year old as my first child! I was hoping for an infant to make it easier on the dogs. They haven't been around kids and a 2 year old could be a lot for them to deal with. I was thinking a non-ambulatory infant would kind of ease them into it. But it had already been so long since I decided to foster that I didn't want to turn down my first placement. So Big Girl came to live with us.