I did my mentor training in February of 2011. I finally was matched with a new foster family in September of 2012, and officially became a mentor on October 1st. Yes, the state works *that* slowly!!
Not only was I matched with 1 family, but within a week I was matched with a second. Each foster parent mentor is only supposed to handle 2 'mentees', so as to keep the load light, since we are also actively parenting other people's children. Knowing this, I was surprised to get a call in November adding a third family to my list. Then again, there is always a shortage of foster families in this area, and even fewer willing to be a mentor on top of fostering, so once the state office started approving homes, I'm not surprised I was called. My own mentor, from 2 years ago, was also assigned several families at this time, so we knew that wherever the paperwork bottleneck was, it had been opened!
So, I pulled my mentoring bag and notebook out of the closet and got my first information packet in the mail and spent some time looking over everything the day I got the first call, trying to refresh my memory of what exactly is required of me. I was nervous to make first contact (I am not a fan of telephones, especially cold-calling). I prepared the best way I could, and made the calls to set up our face-to-face appointments. The state wants us to have at least one face-to-face meeting, usually in the first month, so that the match feels more comfortable in contacting their mentor.
My first match was with an older couple outside of my county, 45 minutes away. It was actually a nice excuse for a trip, since I don't usually get out much lately! They are a sweet couple, interesting in adopting an older teen, due to their own ages. They still haven't had an actual placement, but did provide respite for a teen over Christmas break, and really enjoyed it. They have now decided to look more at fostering instead of trying to adopt from out-of-state.
My second match was within my own county, another very sweet couple, with a son mine's age, who also home educates. There were other similarities as well, so we hit it off right away. They are fostering younger children in hopes of adopting, and now have a small sibling group.
The third match was again out of county, and a single mother. Her boys have grown up and left home, and she wanted some teen girls. Two were assigned to her before I even talked to her, and they are still with her. This will be her first and last placement, so other than helping her out with current questions, there's not a lot of education for me to provide for her.
I have so far enjoyed mentoring. I love helping people, and this is a way to not only share what I've learned, but make fostering a better experience for others so that they will stick with it longer and be able to help more children.
If you are interested in being a foster parent, or in helping in some other way, please do! Donate time or money to foster/adoptive charities, or babysitting services to resource families in your area.