So it turns out, what sounded like a calculating, conspiracy-theory-ish scheme that I made up... Is absolutely true.
I had said early on, even before starting our class, that "they" would probably try to talk us into fostering. They did. We stuck to our guns. There is a huge need for fp's, but right now that's just not for us. One for me, zero for "them."
I then theorized that "they" would use psychological tactics to talk us into adopting children older than we first intended. It honestly sounded a bit like the crazed-infertile coming out, but turns out, I was right on that one, too.
What psychology did they use? Shaping. In college, I had to train a pigeon in one of my psych classes. It was quite the experience, as I'm not an animal person - we had to remove the bird from its cage, stuff it head-first into a cup, weigh it, then remove it from the cup and put it in a special box to observe its behavior. The first behavior we had to shape was pecking a disc on the side of the box. My poor bird was so freaked out, it sat stone-still in the box for days! Of course none of the birds went straight over and pecked the disc, and thus the shaping began. It was a gradual thing. "Closest approximation to the desired behavior," it was called. in my case, if the bird flippin' MOVED, we rewarded it with food. Then if it turned toward the wall containing the disc. Then if it walked closer to the disc. Then if it moved its beak closer to the disc. And finally if it pecked the disk. Allegedly reportedly, you could also pet a wild tiger much in the same way, going from just being on the edge of the tiger's environment, creeping closer and closer each day, until you were snuggled up to its furry stripes.
And that was my crazy-sounding theory. That they would "hook" us into the class by saying we didn't have to foster, then gradually tell us that was our best chance to get an infant, and gradually work fostering into our brains. I told hubby this theory, and I'm not really sure he believed it! ;)
So then the desired behavior would have been to adopt older children, as there is more of a need to place them. We had been told a million things by a million people, both in the county office, and friends and family. Some said we could absolutely get a toddler or even a baby, but probably not under 6 months old - it would take a little longer than if we fostered, but it was absolutely do-able. Others said we would be waiting years. Others said it would never happen. The last night of class, we were told that the instructor should have told us up front that it was difficult to impossible to get a child under age 3 without fostering, and she told us about some young brothers who will be available soon. Young, but both older than 3.
So my latest theory was that "they" would try to scare us into older than 3 by saying we could wait for YEARS. That babies/toddlers absolutely are available, but if they could talk you into an older child, they wouldn't even tell you about younger children.
So I messaged a friend who worked for a different county several years ago. She basically told me I was spot-on with all of my theories and such. And she proceeded to tell me about another program we were not even made aware of, where if an infant is dropped off at the hospital, they are put in care until couet proceedings take place 4 months later, and the only plan is for the fp's to adopt.
It's so good to have friends in the know. It's also good to have those same friends confirm that you are NOT some crazy infertile making up evil plots and schemes that agencies use.
The psychology junk doesn't work on me. Sorry! Our friend confirmed that it's not crazy thinking on my part, I was totally right, and that if we stick to our guns, we should be able to get a young child (or young sibling group), and it shouldn't take years. So there, "they!!!" I feel like I'm beating you at your own system!