Foster Care Q & A: What to do before your first placement.

July 8, 2020

foster care FAQ

I decided to start writing weekly foster care content, because there’s some available online but not much is super current when it comes to tangible resources. So, if you’re discerning foster care or you’re currently a foster parent, check in each week for more answers.

I asked for foster care questions in stories, so I’m trying to answer those here. As always, send along your questions and I’ll do my best to help connect you with good resources. You can find me over there by following: @thismessyseason

What are some things I can do while I wait to be licensed?
This is a great question, because licensing can be relatively quick or it may take a little longer. So, if you’re like me and like to feel like you’re doing stuff in the interim here are some things I’m glad I did while we waited to be licensed/placement:

Start an Amazon baby registry. I knew we weren’t going to have babies, but the registry allowed me to receive a discount at the end of the registry. I also love that Amazon makes it really easy for friends and family who live farther away to feel involved. They want to help, and this simplifies things for them! It was especially nice for us as we navigated this journey during Covid, so things could be safely delivered. I’m actually going to do a separate post on this, but some things I’m glad I added were:
-Mattress Covers
-Gender Neutral Bedding
– Child Hangers
– Water Bottles
– Nice, relaxing bath soap
– First Aid Kit
– Bath Towels
– Pillows
– Bath Toys
– New Carseats
– New Shoes!
– Sunscreen
-Noise Machine
-Night light
-Bonding activities like board games, activity books, puzzles.

Stay tuned, I’m going to share more about sitting up a wish list or registry in another post.

Research resources in your area before you get that first call- So, make note of things like foster closets or pediatricians you like, call and see if they accept the child welfare insurance where you live. Use this waiting time to call if you’ll need daycare and start getting a fill for waiting lists. Since I knew we had a local foster closet, I didn’t stress too much about getting clothing beforehand. So, try to inquire about anything you’ll need after placement so it goes smoother once they move in!

Prepare for your home study— Get your fire extinguishers and those types of chores so you don’t feel stressed closer to the actual home study day.

Start a list of support people– I’m glad I did this, but covid really threw this off. Ha! So, text a few friends and see if they’d be willing to be background checked babysitters for you, see if one friend could mow, see if your hair stylist friend could provide haircuts, etc. Think about your tangible needs and make a beforehand to have them met. For me, I wish I’d found a house cleaner before. The amount of appointments is staggering, so I wish I’d delegated that out.

Make some freezer meals // a list of easy meals– This is a good time to stock up your freezer with meals you can just pop out, bake or throw in the crock pot, etc. Head to Trader Joe’s– get some mandarin chicken.

Get a planner/ family planning app system you really like— For me, personally, I like to use the Simplified planner and then as a family we schedule things into Cozi. It is on both of our phones so we can toggle back and forth. Like I said before, you’ll find you have a lot of appointments to coordinate. So, staying organized is key to sanity!

Getting ready to take in a foster placement is a season of waiting. Use this time to read good books and educate yourself on the effects of trauma, listen to podcasts from families living it out in their daily lives. I’d also suggest you use this season of waiting to connect to local foster parents via Facebook groups or when the time is right, in person support groups. They will be your greatest resource and community. They will GET it, they will walk alongside you on hard days. If you can manage it, try to use this time to spend some extra time with your partner, going on dates and the like. Same for your biological children, consider how you will make special time for them just as you would if you were preparing for a new biological addition to your family. I’d even go as far as to recommend writing up a list of ways you will prioritize your self care during the season of fostering. For me, I know I need to exercise daily, drink more water, and make sure I’m sitting aside morning quiet time before I jump into the fray of parenting four energetic little boys.

More about This Messy Season

This Messy Season is a blog serving families through practical tips for nurturing their families, emphasizing quality time and adventure. Helping young families bloom where they're planted, embrace their mess, and thrive through a series of honest, blog posts highlighting realistic travel tips, favorite products that simplify the work load of families, and family entertainment.