May is National Foster Care Month. This can be a great time for many to take a look at how online education can benefit degree seekers who are also working on becoming foster or adoptive parents. Here’s my story.
When I became a foster dad I was still working on my bachelor’s and finding life to be quite busy. When fatherhood found me, I was holding down a full-time job, training with the Texas State Guard, and pursuing my educational goals. Adding on to all of this, my wife Mary and I were also in training to become foster parents. In the state of Texas, as in many other states, there are quite a few hoops one has to jump through in order to get a foster care license.
The state mandates a certain number of training hours per year, which must be maintained on a rolling basis. Some courses must individually be current, such as first aid/CPR, psychotropic drug awareness, and sexual behavior awareness. Mary and I spent a lot of time in these classes. Then there was the fire inspection, and health inspection- both of which held our home to the standard of a daycare. We had to have a fire plan. There was childproofing on every power outlet, drawer and cabinet. A locked safebox for the fridge in case any foster children needed refrigerated medications. The list went on and on.
During this time, I knew it was going to be important for me to keep moving my education forward, so that I could better provide for the children with which we would be entrusted. I cannot articulate enough how important the resources of my own time management skills plus American Military University’s online course programs were. An online student has a certain amount of responsibility that must be maintained- but at the same time, not once since I became a father has an AMU professor failed to work with me if I had issues related to children, illness in the family, State Guard annual training or personal issues. If I had been taking brick and mortar classes, I would probably have even less hair than the meager stubble that stands between me and being Captain Picard for Halloween. And that reminds me- the adventure was quite interesting, and it taxed my wife, me and our sanity to the edge. All through it my school was flexible and understanding. Allow me to illustrate those times.