Edited by mistymama - 7/5/11 at 6:21am
I would change the subject line to read that you are interested in knowing more about fost-adopt. I read your post, but we didn't go this route, so I can't help much. Also, this forum is pretty small, I think.
I would say that because the U.S. foster care system is so different from state to state, the best information you will get will be from folks in your county and state. Going to the info meeting is a good first step, as is talking to as many folks as you can find who have worked with your local jurisdiction.
I don't have a lot of time right now, but I've been a licensed foster parent for five years and have adopted two of my foster children. I'll try and come back later as well as send a PM to my MDC foster parent friends if they don't see this while I'm gone. I would also suggest that you join the message boards at fosterparents.com. I don't go there for crunchiness but it's a great place to go when you need a reality check or a hug from someone who's "been there." This is my favorite board, though.
I think it's a great idea! Go to the meeting, take notes, listen, ask questions. You should learn enough to know whether or not you want to continue. I'm at the same place you are (just went to an info meeting a couple weeks ago) so don't really have any advice to offer except to READ everything you can find on the topic; forums, blogs, articles etc. It will open your eyes to both the good and the bad.
I was visiting my nephew when he was in the hospital last winter (a UTI, he's fine now) and yes, I spent time near a little itty bitty preemie who spent her days and nights all alone. The other parents in the room would buzz for a nurse when she needed assistance/was choking etc (and she was hooked up to monitors). The nurses would sit with her, volunteers would hold her for a half hour once or twice a day but it just wasn't the same. My heart broke for that poor baby. So I know what you're talking about.
We're not looking specifically for babies, just kids 4 and under.