The Perfect Fall Movie Roundup

GussiedUpandGlitzedFallMovieRoundUpDon’t you just love autumn! Its the perfect time of year to cozy up under a blanket and watch a good movie. And what better kind of movies to watch than ones that inspire our love of all things fall!? I’ve created a roundup of the perfect fall movies to watch right this second so grab your hubby, or besties, a hot cup of coffee, and a pastry and settle in for the perfect fall movie night.

 

If Hallmark Channel is Life

Falling for You

Autumn Dreams

October Kiss

All My Heart Inn Love

All My Heart the Wedding

Hocus Pocus

If You’re Looking for a Sweet Love Story 

The Notebook

The Lake House

Ps. I love you

Nights in Rodante

Or a Great Rom Com

When Harry Met Sally

You’ve Got Mail

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

It’s Fall and Football Season Y’all 

Remember the Titans

The Blind Side

Friday Night Lights

Invincible

The Replacements

Radio

We are Marshal

Jerry Maguire

In the Mood for Drama

Stepmom

October Sky

Little Women

Those Collegiate Vibes

Dead Poets Society

Good Will Hunting

Mona Lisa Smile

Legally Blonde

Monster’s University

What did you think? Did you pick a tried and true favorite or were you adventurous and pick something new? And I want to know which movies are your favorite fall movies! Tell me in the comments below so I don’t miss out!

Thanks for hanging out with me today! If you catch me on my Instastories today I’m hosting a movie watching party this weekend! I will be storying live throughout the movie so it’s like a big ol’ girls movie night from our own couches! Sound fun? Let’s do this! Don’t forget to leave your favorite movies in the comments for me below!

oxox

Maegan

The Best Tips for Fall Decorating On a Budget – An Exhaustive Compilation

best-tips-fall-decorating-on-budget-exhaustiveI’m coming at you today with the BEST fall budget friendly decorating tips. Are you excited!? Are you pumped!? Me too!! No one has a limitless budget–and everyone is looking for great deals and bargains galore. I was standing in the middle of dollar general the other day when I realized that I share shopping guides with y’all all the time but I never ever share some of my best shopping tips! That’s a real bummer. So below is the culmination of years of personal budget shopping research compiled into one place just for you. This is a hardcore budget shopping guide so grab a snack and get ready to save big bucks!

WHERE TO SHOP

Thrift Stores – It’s the last place you might think to look but I’ve found some amazing finds for literally pennies on fall dinnerware, glassware, flatware, cookie jars, figurines, faux floral, baskets, candle holders, candles, art, and picture frames. And bonus: it’s a sustainable way to shop. If you don’t already have a thrift store you visit frequently(you should because your missing out on great deals) visit the nearest Salvation Army which is located in almost every town. The next place I would look is a non-profit resale store.

Facebook Market Place –  You’re probably already on Facebook at this moment–hopefully that’s one of the ways you found this blog post–and Facebook Market Place is an excellent way to find great deals on someone else’s cast-offs. You would be amazed at all the stuff people are selling on there for next to nothing. The sky is the limit and you can be really specific about what you’re looking for by setting alerts for certain categories so you’ll get first dibs on an item you’ve been looking for.

Garage Sales – this is kind of a crap-shoot but the best way to go about this without wasting tons of time is to check the paper and craigslist a week before you’re planning on hunting. Sort through the posts and hone in on the houses that are selling the fall decor you’re looking for and get there early. Bonus: Garage sale shopping is an excellent excuse for early morning donuts.

Estate Sales – This is a real goldmine for seasonal decor and household items. Again, do your research a week in advanced online and in the paper to hone in on the houses that have what you’re looking for. Don’t expect to find treasures here at penny prices but do be respectful when asking about bulk pricing. Respect that these items belonged to a person who was once alive and that their family may attach sentimental value to them. Usually though, I’ve had great luck finding dinnerware and faux floral.

Dollar Tree – I love Dollar Tree. They have some really amazing deals and the stores are usually very very clean and the staff is always super friendly. My fall finds here are: dish towels, pot holders, dish drying mats, pillar candles, taper candles, glass taper holders($1 each), candleholders, matching dish sets/glass ware, charger plates, faux floral, seasonal disposable party supplies, small hanging signs, and wall hangings. Don’t forget BALLOONS! Dollar tree has the best balloon section for cheap! They are $1 each!

Dollar General – In Texas Dollar Generals can kind of be a hot mess, but if you live in Nashville were they are headquartered Dollar Generals are AWESOME! They have what they call super stores and they are like small Walmarts with grocery and three times the amount of stuff. If you are lucky enough to live in the Nashville area I’m probably already preaching to the choir. Nashvillians know! Dollar Generals in Dallas are still great and I buy the same sort of things from them as I do Dollar Tree with a few exceptions. My fall picks here are: floor rugs, dish towels, pot holders, dish drying mats, faux floral(I think dollar general has great faux floral), jar candles, metal yards signs & figurines, front door signs, wreaths, table runners, placemats, tabletop decor, serving platters, coffee cups, and string lights.

Hobby Lobby – God’s craft store is the best craft store! Right now all their fall decor–including floral–is 40% off. It’s a great place to shop and use the always available 40% off coupon. If something your looking for is not on sale then wait for it to go on sale–because it will. They have the best floral, ribbons, and votive/pillar candles, candle holders, and a wide range decor items, and their craft section can’t be beat. I can’t live without Hobby Lobby. They are the best.

Michael’s Craft Store – Like Hobby Lobby but less of a selection and the prices are a little higher. Definitely use coupons and shop sales here. Also sign up for their emails because they have crazy flash sales all the time and that’s where you can get some really good deals.

 

FREE STUFF

Nature has a bounty of things for free that you can use to decorate your home. I gather branches, acorns, and fallen leaves from the park near my house. I gather pine cones from the tree across the street. I’ve gathered wild flowers and sunflowers from the field up the road. Sometimes, when I see a tree service trimming trees in a neighborhood I stop and ask if I can have a few small branches. If you had a fruit tree in your yard you could use the fallen fruit like apples and pears. See wild grapevine on the side of the highway or climbing a tree in your neighbors pasture? Stop and take some home with you or call your neighbor and ask if you can cut a few vines to take home. If you own your house you could buy a packet of wildflower seeds and plant them to use as cut flowers in vases around your house. Be creative! Decor from nature can be anything you want it to be.

 

DIY

DIY is your budget keeper friend. You don’t even have to stretch your brain too far for ideas–search Pinterest. Use search terms such as: DIY Fall Pillar Candles, DIY Fall Wreath, DIY Fall Pine Cones, DIY Fall, etc. I’ve compiled a short list below to jump start you with easy and budget friendly DIY projects.

  • Candles are your friend. Tie a string, yarn, or twine around each one with a few twigs or a cute tag for a festive fall look.
  • The Dollar Tree has great plate chargers for $1 a piece. You can leave them the color they come in or spray paint them any color you like to match your fall table-scape.
  • Use leaves and pinecones as filler. Place a few small leaves in the bottom of a mason jar and place a pillar candle inside. Tie some twine around the lid. Festive and easy.
  • Buy faux pumpkins from the dollar tree and spray paint them white so they transition through every month until Christmas. Use as vase filler, in bowls, or strewn across a mantel or TV stand for a festive touch.
  • Buy the $1 glass taper candle holders from the Dollar Tree and spray paint any color that suites your decor color scheme. You can do this for any candle holders you find at the thrift stores as well. It’s a great way to turn transform something from ugly to elegant–stick with white or gold for a universal look you can use year round.
  • Ribbon and burlap are your friends. You can transform any jar, vase, candleholder, basket, front door, or table-scape with ribbon or burlap fabric. Hobby Lobby has the best prices and selection for fall ribbon and fabric. Bonus: use their 40% off coupon which you can download and print from their website or get from their app.
  • Spray paint pinecones you’ve gathered and make a fall wreath. Use your 40% off coupon at Hobby Lobby to buy a cheap grapevine wreath to glue them too. Bonus: find a ugly wreath at a thrift store and remove all the floral using its wreath for your new pinecone wreath.
  • Find baskets and spray paint them to match your fall decor. Add ribbon and faux floral to make them more festive.

 

MORE TIPS & TRICKS

  • Tuesday Morning, Home Goods, At Home, Walmart, and the Target dollar bin, are always great places to check for really good deals. You just have to make sure you don’t get sucked in. All stores mix in their higher end stuff with the dollar bin stuff so be savvy and if it looks like its worth $1 but they want $5, skip it.
  • Repurpose items you already own in your home like chalkboards, plates, candles, glassware, etc.
  • Shop post season sales. 
  • Free printables! The internet is full of free fall printables so take advantage!
  • Spray paint is your friend. If you find something you love the shape/size/contours of but hate the color, spray paint it.
  • Michael’s Craft Store has really great fall scented 32oz jar candles for $6. You can use their coupons too and save an extra 40% sometimes 50% off. That’s $3 per candle. they make great teachers gifts too with a little ribbon and cute name tag added.
  • Walmart has a great selection of inexpensive fall wax melts, wax warmers, and candles. They also carry a line of candles and fragrances from Better Homes & Gardens and Yankee Candle that are inexpensive and a really great deal!
  • The cinnamon broom. I think a lot of people remember their moms hanging up a cinnamon broom during the fall and winter months as kids–I know I do. It’s a two-for-one that smells great but also is a decor piece that adds to your home.
  • Buy faux florals, candles, vases, faux pumpkins, ribbon, etc in neural colors so it translates from September all the way to Christmas. You’ll get more bang for your buck and some of your items such a cream or white colored candles, metal(or metal colored) candle holders, plate chargers, can work with your Christmas and New Years decor too.
  • Sign up for email and text alerts so you always have coupons to shop your favorite stores and jump on sales as soon as they happen.
  • Mix faux and real(or live) pumpkins/gourds and floral. It adds more life to the space and also saves money year to year.
  • Price matching! Stores like Target will price match an item if the price lowers within fourteen days of purchase. Seasonal stuff tends to go on sale frequently during the fall season so watch your emails and alerts and take advantage!
  • Be a part of store’s reward program. Even my local thrift store has a rewards punch card that gives $5 off a purchase. Every penny counts!
  • Check for coupons. Always check for coupons. Search Google or the stores website/app.
  • Reuse what you have year after year. This one seems so simple but I know there can be a lot of internal pressure to ‘keep up with the jones’. Don’t believe that lie you’re telling yourself! Stick to what you love and make it work for you year after year.
  • Hone in on a color scheme & decor style. This is kind of similar to the point above but deciding on a color scheme and decor style keeps you from buying lots of decor that feels bitty and non-cohesive. Buying only a few pieces that coordinate can pull a room together easily and keep you from wasting your money and time.

And finally, I believe you should make room in your budget to splurge on one thing you really want. Items I’d recommend splurging on are ones that can be used throughout the entire holiday season and year after year such as; neutral colored(or colors matching your non-seasonal home decor) cozy throws and blankets, a quality front door wreath, a quality faux floral garland, a glass or ceramic vase to hold fall floral, serving dishes such as a giant platter, that fall throw pillow you’ve been eyeing for weeks and weeks.

Whew! I hope that helps y’all and gives you tons of ideas and inspirations on how you can decorate your home to the nines while still maintaining your budget! I’m sure there are so many tricks and tips I don’t know but that you do! Please share them with me in the comments below and I’ll add them to this post. The more tips and tricks the merrier, right? I hope you’re having a great day and thanks for spending time with me today. I really appreciate y’all caring about my little ol’ life and hanging out with me. Have a great day!

oxox

Maegan

 

Nashville Shopping Guide: Vintage Home Goods

I had the immense pleasure of doing some superb thrifting and antiquing while visiting my parents in Nashville during Christmas last year. I was so impressed by the amount of antiques and vintage goods in such pristine condition and in such volume. It was incredible! I’ve put together a guide of the best of the best! So without further ado, this is my Nashville vintage home goods shopping guide!

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The first place we shopped was Music Valley Antiques who won Best of Nashville 2018 (BON2018) for best Antiques Store. By far and large I totally agree. Stephanie who owns Music Valley Antiques is the sweetest woman who has a great eye for antiques and excellent taste in vendors. Music Valley Antiques has a good assortment of types of vintage booths and there is something for everyone. Her store is filled with an eclectic assortment of decor, furniture, kitchenware, art, collectibles, clothing, jewelry, and accessories, vintage children’s toys and more. If I’d had a bigger car I would have bought more! This is a must stop if you’re in Nashville. Takeaway: Best vintage store in Nashville. Stephanie is gracious and wonderful to work with and the prices can’t be beat. Some vendors were willing to haggle over prices. Everything is neat and orderly. You won’t leave empty handed!

download (1)We stopped at the Salvation Army in Madison where I found the pineapple trinket dish. I could tell the Christmas rush had cleared this place out–Christmas had just been days earlier–but it still had a really great selection and my mom said she would go back and shop there regularly. They had a great selection of furniture and a couch that I’d had a truck to haul it I would have bought. Takeaway: they had a great selection of furniture and glassware.

oIt was raining the day we popped into a unique specialty vintage store called Old Made Good. This was such a fun specialty vintage store. She has an incredible assortment of vintage clothing and home goods. I wished we’d had more time to shop because her shop was amazing. Her store was filled with home wares, art, furniture, clothing, jewelry and accessories. She has so many good things! She also sells her own needlepoint and vintage paint by number art she re-imagines with her own quip-y sayings. This another can’t miss store that has been mentioned in several publications like this one(link)and this(link) one. This another one you can’t miss. Takeaway: incredible mid century furniture and art. Boho vibes going on here too. Bonus: her serious vintage clothing selection was to die for.

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I found the 70’s blue bowl at Robinson’s Flea Market. It was not as tidy or as big as Music Valley Antiques but it did have a few great booths–particularly with mid century home goods and kitchen wares and an adorable booth full of mid century children’s toys and books. Takeaway: come here expecting to dig. Mainly home goods, art, and some furniture.

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Mom and I traveled to Goodlettsville to shop the antique district there. Every single shop on our list was closed except one–Goodlettsville Antique Mall. This was by far the largest antique mall I have ever been in my whole life. It took us four hours just to see every stall–and we didn’t dally. They carry vintage, shabby chic, mid century, and primitive antiques and vintage wares. They have it all here. It was absolutely massive. Takeaway: you could furnish your entire house. Prices are a bit higher here and we weren’t able to haggle prices. Wear good walking shoes and plan on making a day of it. 

I had a hard time getting everything I bought in the car. It was a huge success as far as my finds. Everything I bought I absolutely love. So, yes! I hope you find this shopping guide helpful. As I’m able to go back to Nashville I will update this guide with more fabulous places. I also hope that you go out and visit these great retailers and support them with your business. I promise everywhere I mentioned in this post will not disappoint and when you visit tell them you heard about them through me! It always elates business owners to know that their business is being recommended through word of mouth!

Maegan

The Dreaded Home Study: It’s Nothing to Dread

acs_0175We had a wonderful home study experience. It was intense and our interviewer did ask many probing questions. But it wasn’t scary. The interviewer was never inappropriate and he never made any ugly remarks.

Exactly why does everyone dread the home study and why does is have such a negative connotation? What exactly is so horrific that the word ‘home study’ is whispered in hushed tones like the name Voldemort?

I think the general population has the expectation that a home study is to have their private life and home broken into and swarmed like a SWAT team on a drug bust. Glass breaking, wood splintering they kick down the front door and crash through the windows with automatic rifles flashing, screaming for everyone to get down on the ground–GET DOWN ON THE GROUND AND PUT YOUR HANDS BEHIND YOUR HEAD–as they shoot the family dog.  This is what people imagine about a home study because it is the kind of experience that has been described to them. There is a lot of bad and untrue information about foster care–especially the home study. It has to be one of the top three that gets lied about and/or blown out of proportion within the topic of foster care. Please always consider the merit of the person who is regaling you with stories or information about foster care–that includes me.

Most people– including myself before we became certified–know absolutely nothing about foster care or what the certification process looks like. When you are ignorant about a subject then you are completely vulnerable to misinformation. That’s how rumors and nonfactual information root themselves in the populous. When you get educated on a topic you can spot misinformation a mile a way. If you want an education on foster care, seek out several foster care agencies and attend their orientations. While you’re there ask the people who have careers in foster care what a home study is like. Never rely on just mine or anyone else’s second hand information. Always go straight to a credible source for credible information.

What most people are unaware of is that months prior to the actual home study everything you’ve ever done wrong; your darkest secret; the past you’ve only shared with your spouse or close family; all of it has already been written down and divulged to your agency. Remember all that paperwork you have to fill out–yeah, all that stuff about your past is part of it. There is almost nothing that your home study interviewer asks you or talks to you about that you haven’t already answered in your paperwork packet questionnaire or written in your autobiography. You will have already submitted your budget, bank statement, taxes, medical records, FBI background checks, autobiographies, house rules, job history, marriages, children, rabbies vaccination records for your pets, baby sitters, and the four different people who you asked to be your references(who submitted their own stack of paperwork of questions all about you asking very personal, honest and harsh questions about your integrity, your social standings, your finances, your personality, etc), you’ve submitted pictures of every room in your house, pictures of yourself, and your pets, and children. They have background checks on your cleaning lady and yard person and your nanny and babysitter(nannies have to complete a certain amount of foster care training in order to remain your nanny). They’ve already requested a lot of personal information from you. They already know EVERYTHING. There is almost NOTHING that the government doesn’t know about you by the time you have that home study. You have willingly made your life an open book and your home study interviewer has already read your ENTIRE file before they ever come to your house.

If you have been honest and upfront on all your paperwork you have nothing to hide or be afraid of at your home study. A home study is another way for the state and your agency to get to know you and all the members of your family–to better assess everyone. It’s the same reason companies have phone and then in-person interviews with job applicants. The in-person meeting helps to complete the already extensive picture that has been painted for them. That’s one of the big reasons why they have home studies.

So, there is no reason, NO reason to be afraid of a home study. None. And if that’s the one thing keeping you from pursuing foster care or adoption through foster care you have no more excuses. If you have nothing to hide then there is nothing to fear. It’s just part of the process to ensure the safety of the already abused children coming into foster care.

This foster care thing isn’t about you. And if you stop and think about this whole process from the perspective of what is best for the child then this process will stop looking like a governmental SWAT raid and more like good people trying their best to ensure that they are taking the very very best initiative to protect children coming into foster care. Wouldn’t you do the same if the roles where reversed?

Maegan

 

 

FROM ORIENTATION TO LICENSING—THE COMPLETE STEP BY STEP GUIDE TO BECOMING A FOSTER PARENT

From Orientation to Licensing—The Complete Step by Step Guide to Becoming a Foster Parent

acs_0004Since Sam and I have started this journey I have had so many people say to me, “I’ve always wanted to become a foster parent but I have no idea how to get started. What do you have to do to become a foster parent or foster to adopt?” Well, if you’ve ever had that question I’m answering it for you today. This is a lengthy post and for good reason. I go into detail about each step of the process and include tips and tricks Sam and I learned along the way. I want to note to that we are licensed in the state of Texas so if you live in another state some of these steps and protocols might look different for you but the basic bones of the process are the same. Ok, here we go!

First things first:

Choose an Agency

You need to choose an agency. You don’t have to use an agency but I’m NEVER going to suggest you try to go it alone. Fostering through an agency is an INFINITELY better experience for you and your placement. Why is an agency so important? The agency trains you for free (that CPR class you need would run you $200 and up if you were going it alone. And that’s just one of many many certifications you will have to have in order to be licensed.) An agency prepares you for every inspection and the home study and helps walk you through the certification process. But that’s not why fostering with an agency is so important. No, the most important part comes AFTER certification when you actually have a placement. They are your guide and liaison between you, CPS, the State, and the child’s bio family. They are your support people. If you have any issue, you vent to them and not CPS, or your CASA volunteer, or the child’s therapist, or a random stranger, or the internet(Ah-hem). They are there to support you and help guide you through court appointments, placement paperwork(that initial placement comes with over two hours of paperwork with CPS)–I could go on and on and on. Fostering through an agency is very important to the success of you and your placement’s experience. If you know someone who is currently fostering, ask them who their agency is. (We are with Upbring the largest agency in Texas) If you don’t know any foster families, Google: (Insert your city name here) Foster Agencies”. This will pull up all the agencies in your area. Go to their websites and and find out when their next orientation is. If it’s not listed on their website, call and ask!

Attend Orientations

Do your research about each agency and then attend their orientation. The following suggestions are personal preference of course, but there are some main factors I would never overlook such as; Does this agency like to follow ALL the rules? Do they expect you as the potential foster parent to follow the rules? Do they have strict guidelines and standards for certification qualification? Are they adamant about supporting their families? (In-depth blog post coming on this soon) Do they have a good relationship with CPS? Do they require you to have all the state mandated equipment in your home BEFORE an environmental inspection, BEFORE your home-study, and BEFORE your first placement? What’s their attitude towards the State? What is their motivation as an Agency? What are their spiritual beliefs? Obviously, you will want to spend a lot of time praying about this decision. Orientation is also a good time to talk to other people who are fostering with that agency. What is their attitude towards their agency? If you hear things like, “our previous agency never expected us to comply with “x” but your agency does?” multiple time from different people with different agencies you’re probably in the right place. A good agency will expect you to follow ALL the rules–and boy are there a lot of them.

Pray about it some more

 

Sign Up for Training

After you choose an agency you will receive a schedule of their next round of foster care training. Your agency will give you the schedule of when all your classes will be and you will be responsible for signing up for them in advance. Our agency didn’t offer all the trainings every month so knowing your schedule and keeping track of what trainings you’ve completed is important. With Upbring a person has three months to complete their trainings and receive their certification or they have to start the entire process over again. So look 3 months ahead in your calendar and decide if the next training round will be a good time for you, and know that soon beyond that point you will be receiving a placement upon receiving your license.

Fill Out the Preliminary Paperwork

At this point you will have some preliminary paperwork that you will need to fill out and submit before you begin training. This paperwork is pretty basic(and not scary)and it’s purpose is to determine whether you are a good candidate for going on to training. These factors are very practical factors like your Name, address, date of birth, etc. They are also going to ask to see your finances and tax records to determine whether you can you financially afford to take on another child or children. They are going to do background checks to see if you have gone to jail for murdering anyone or for abusing/molesting children(good things to look into I think); etc. They will complete a regular background check on you and then an FBI background check(we had to pay for our FBI background check). These processes are not about failing you, but about making sure the children’s best interest is ALWAYS put first. Should the government trust you to take care of the children in their custody? Are you realistically capable of taking on this commitment? These are all responsible, necessary questions your agency should be asking you because CPS and the State of Texas is going to ask them.

Training Begins

Print out your training schedule and put it up where everyone in the family can see it. Put in in your planner, and phone, and on your calendar. Hold on to your hats. Training is rigorous and emotional and mentally exhausting. It’s not that it’s too hard to understand–it’s just a very large amount of information at once. Be prepared to discuss, hear, see, and listen to difficult and upsetting topics and scenarios. There is a reason why foster care exists–and it’s ugly. That’s why children in foster care NEED good, loving, families to take refuge in. There’s a very valid reason.

Keep praying

Take your training in order. Trust me.

Pray some more–your getting in good practice for when you actually have that child or children come into your family

 

The Mountain of Paperwork

Your training will guide through the entire process including the paperwork you need to fill out. I can’t speak for other agencies but Upbring had our paperwork broken into phases so as you complete certain training you turn in the paperwork designated for that phase. This is why it’s important to take your classes in order! Sam and I took our classes out of order and that made keeping up with submitted paperwork much more difficult. During this time you will have some paperwork in your folder that is specifically for your references to fill out and mail in. As soon as you get your paperwork be thinking about who you would like to be your references. There are specific groups of people your agency wants to hear from including; clergy(or a boss), a family member, a friend, and a coworker. You will also be responsible for asking close friends or family to become certified babysitters and respite. Start this process as soon as you begin training because your babysitters and respite will all be required to have CPR/First Aid training and, regular and FBI background checks, plus the appropriate paperwork and government ID submitted. This can take a while to get all completed so don’t put this of until the last minute. You MUST have babysitters certified before you can be licensed so don’t put it off. It’s also rude and unkind to wait until the last minute. Offer to pay for your baby sitter and respite FBI background checks. This is the least you can do for all the hoops they are about to jump through for you. Your respite people will be required to complete all the requirements for your babysitters plus half of all the trainings you will take. Be gracious and kind to your babysitters and respite people. You will also be asked to submit photos of every room in your house plus pictures of yourself and all your family. These go in your file and are part of what your agency and CPS will look at when determining the best family for each child who enters the foster system needing a home.

You still praying? I bet your becoming a pro at it by now.

 

The Inevitable Doubt

I wanted to add this section because throughout our entire certification process Sam and I had plenty of doubts about becoming certified. This is completely normal. I would never want anyone to ever think that Sam and I just breezed through this LIFE ALTERING proccess without our fair share of doubts. Doubts mean you’re understanding and considering with seriousness the commitment you’re about to make. It also means you care. Just keep praying and be brave!

Complete Your Inspections

This the final phase of the training process. This includes all your inspections like the Fire Marshal, environmental, and(the not to be dreaded)home study. If you have a good agency then they will have held your hand and prepped you extensively and you should have no surprises or failed inspections. Both the fire marshal and environmental inspection checklists came in our paperwork and we knew exactly what each inspection would require of our home. There are no surprises here. They simply check the boxes on the check list and your done.

The Home Study

This is the most over hyped, demonized, horror storied part of the entire certification process. The home study is the final inspection you will complete and it’s not scary at all. Since you’ve had a fire marshal inspection and an environmental inspection(our agency pre-inspected our house to make double sure our environmental inspection would pass with flying colors) you will be extremely prepared for that portion of the home-study. If you’re with a good agency they will already have asked you a dozen times all the questions and topics that will be asked in your home study inspection. Have you lied about something from the beginning? Are you hiding something you don’t want anyone to know? Have you done something bad and are covering it up? if the answer to any of the question is ‘yes’ then you should be very worried about your home-study and I would just go ahead and tell you not to bother trying to get certified to foster–we don’t need your kind here. If you answered ‘no’ to all those questions then you don’t have anything to fear. When you decided to become a foster parent I hope you came into this with the right mindset; that mindset being that the government was going to go through every part of your life with a fine tooth comb. They are not going to bust down the doors of your life like a SWAT team, but they are going to find out all they can about you because–this whole process is not about you. This process is about the children and making sure their wellbeing is ALWAYS the first priority. I think most people’s aversion to the whole idea of foster care is because they have some skeleton in their closet they don’t want anyone knowing about–even if that skeleton is harmless. Embrace the home-study.

The Final Leg

Once your homestudy has been conducted you wait for it to be submitted to your agency, looked at, and filed into the system. It’s written by hand so it could take several weeks for your home study to be submitted. Now is the time to do bust out the confetti canon and celebrate the fact you made it to the end! Have fun and don’t sit around waiting to hear from your agency because you will drive yourself crazy. Celebrate all that you have accomplished!

Licensing Appointment

Your agency will call or email you that you have passed your inspection and schedule your licensing appointment. At this appointment you sign the final paperwork and file for your foster care licencing number. We received a giant binder full of pertinent paperwork our signed license, and other important information. You also go over all the burning questions you might have been itching to ask but just haven’t been relevant like; how does wic work, how long does it take to receive my placements Medicare number, how do I take them for their initial dr visits without their Medicare number, etc. You also get to meet your agency “case worker” who is assigned to you and is the person who works with you on every single one of your placements. It takes a couple of days for your liscnesing number to come back and be “live” in the system so again go and celebrate and have fun.

IT’S OFFICIAL YOU’RE FOSTER PARENTS IN WATING FOR A PLACEMENT

Once your licensing number is live in the system your family will be placed on the CPS vacancy list and now you are OFFICIALLY licensed foster parents. Once your family is live you will wait to be matched to a child who has come into the system via CPS. Your agency will call you as soon as they have a placement that needs you. For us, waiting for our first placement call was the most nerve wracking part so definitely fill up your calendar with things to keep yourself busy!

You made it all the way to the end of this blog post! Whew. That is pretty much the process in it’s entirety. Please remember that each agency and each state is different so a few of these processes and procedures might vary but overall the process will most likely be the same. I hope you are more educated and confident about how to start and complete the foster-care certification process. Please comment bellow with all your questions! I know there are bound to be a few!

Maegan

 

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The Dreaded Home Study: It’s Nothing to Dread