I've got some onions and celery slow cooking in my turquoise dutch oven for some Italian stew and it smells so good, so oniony and earthy and buttery.
This was lucky since I had no idea what to make for dinner. I haven't felt good lately and Witt is working through the evening so I thought about just having a salad and letting him fix Annie's macaroni and cheese when he got home. (Sorry 1950's).
But there was spinach, Italian sausage, white beans, onions, garlic- so soup it is...
It's gotten a little chilly out, especially at night, and I wish I could get out and enjoy the fall weather but weekends are so full and so I try to get an evening run when I feel like it.
But I can see a breeze out the window right now and the trees are turning and it reminds me that no matter how run down I feel right now it's fall, my favorite season.
(On a side note, I just got a Mac laptop and as a PC user this is so different! I'm enjoying it but is there ever a learning curve...)
I thought I would give an update on our foster care process.
When we decided to become foster parents I learned more from other blogs than I did from any agency website about the process and I still love reading about the experiences of other parents. It is so vastly different and circumstantial.
Every agency or DSS will require different things and especially depending on the State. This is what we have had to do so far which I'll highlight below.
Everyone says that foster care is a waiting process.
I thought they meant once you are licensed and are waiting for a child to be placed with you. I didn't realize the actual licensing part is a loooong waiting process.
At first it was busy busy getting paperwork together. We had to have copies or certified copies of our marriage license, driving record, criminal record, fingerprints, car insurance, vehicle registration, college diploma, drivers license, vaccinations for pets, medical forms, doctors forms, and a lot of other paperwork signed.
I got all that together in about a month because I was so excited, so anxious, I love paperwork and I hated it hanging over my head.
I gleefully filled binders with our copies and application and got the house ready for the first home visit and fire inspection.
When I first heard of all that we needed to do and information to gather I thought it was a lot. But then I realized that A. Every child is worth the process and B. The agency isn't so much vetting us to see if we are good people as they are trying to find the right children to place with us.
They want us to succeed as foster parents and they want the children to be placed as few times as possible to minimize their trauma, so they want, as best they can, to find the right fit.
It makes sense and makes me feel like our agency and we are a team- which we are.
Right now we are in Foster Care MAPP classes. These are every Saturday from 9-4.
I enjoyed our first class last Saturday but I think because of my obsessive research I did not hear a lot of new things.
But one thing that really stood out to me is that foster care is not cut and dry, not black and white, there are a lot of grey areas, a lot of circumstances you can't judge right off the bat. We heard interviews (that must have been filmed in 1999- just saying) with birth families and foster kids and foster parents. I learned that:
Not every family that has their children taken away are horrible people, many do love their kids, they have either found themselves in bad situations or made poor choices.
Most children love their families, even if the family didn't do a great job taking care of them.
To be able to be compassionate on all sides of foster care is so important. We are parenting together - and yes sometimes those parental rights are taken away. And then adoption is an option. But until then everyone involved in the process is a team.
OF COURSE learning all this from a chair at a table will be completely different than being deep in the trenches. I realize that. But I do like hearing from all sides of the story.
Ongoing: we should have 2 more home visits and then I have a portfolio of photos of our house, selves and life I have to get together for the adoption side of this process.
I don't know why but I am completely procrastinating on this. It just seems so daunting to describe our life in 10 photos.
Something they don't tell you, but many blogs did and I agree, is that this can feel like a lonely process. It's not that no one is interested in the process- they are.
But the people who are excited for you are just kind of waiting around too, there's no baby bump pictures to post on Instagram, no one is asking you if you have any morning sickness, and you can only inform people of your home studies or fire inspections so many times before they may start to snooze...or maybe you are just afraid they will...
All in all- everything we have had to do, everything we have learned, every experience so far has only made me want to do this more. I feel like this is our calling and I'm excited about the future.
Here is a recipe for my Italian Soup that I posted back in the Little Brick House. Sadly this is a post with the photos lost from that episode where all the photos were lost, but I'll leave you with some from tonight. I just used spinach tonight and I didn't have a mushroom or green pepper and I added fresh rosemary. So there you go.
Harvest Italian Soup
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
1 green pepper, diced
2 Italian sausage links, out of casing
1/2 cup red wine
12 ounces mushrooms, sliced
5 cups of chicken broth
1 14 ounce can tomato sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cups shredded kale
1 cup fresh spinach, stems removed
1 14 ounce can white beans, drained
3-4 drops hot sauce
Salt and pepper
Saute the onion and sausage with the olive oil until nice and browned. Add the celery, pepper and mushrooms and red wine. Saute for about five minutes. Add chicken broth, tomato sauce, tomato paste, white beans, kale and spinach. Simmer for at least thirty minutes or until everything is tender. Add the hot sauce and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with fresh parmesan cheese and serve.