Becoming a foster parent means modifying your lifestyle. Here are some things we’ve started incorporating into our lives in the past 7 months:
A social worker visits within the first 24 hours of placement, then weekly for the first month, then every 2 weeks for the second month, then monthly until the child is out of care. Oddly, the state reallocated the Children’s Division budget and we are now having monthly visits with the kiddos’ worker from the opposite side of the state. She travels to us.
Weekly individual sessions with one kiddo and one foster parent at a time. We love our play therapist!
Within 30 days of being placed in our home we were expected to get a physical, dental and eye exam for the kiddos. Thankfully my husband who is a teacher was on summer break when the kids were placed with us. And we have friends who were able to connect us with medical professionals in these fields that take state health insurance. We’ve had really great providers! As a foster parent there is paperwork that the provider fills out with all medical appointments. We get to scan this form to the kids’ social worker after every. single. appointment.
For us, this means a monthly road trip (10-hour round-trip). At first, the visits were once a month for 2 hours. We made the drive. Now visits are twice a month for 3 hours. One visit is in our town and one is in the bio family town.
Rewind to late November, here is a text I sent some of our neighbors…
“Wanted to make black and white some gray… when you see police officers come to our house it’s either because:
1. We mis-hit our security system
2. Or like last night it’s because the kiddos are becoming more comfortable with us and sharing details on things that happened to them with their bio family. Each time my husband or I report what the kids tell us a children’s division worker and at least 1 police officer come over and ask the kids questions about it so they can document what happened. (Last night there was a shift swap so we had 1 officer who was replaced by 2 within minutes of being at our house.)
Just wanted to let you know. We are grateful the kiddos are feeling safe and able to tell us these hurtful things. Not keeping quiet helps us connect them to resources for healing.”
Thanks to a friend’s insights, we receive some supplemental groceries (milk, eggs, bread, etc.) via the state’s Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program. We were previously not aware that this program applied to children in foster care. We learned it does as long a foster child is under age 5. We have a visit with the WIC office every 3 months to receive nutritional counseling and/or have the kids get a weight check. It’s been an interesting experience grocery shopping with government checks. I try to shop early morning to avoid holding up the line. Sometimes I find it necessary to tell the clerk “I’m a foster mom and this is a WIC order.” Maybe it’s just me… but sometimes I feel judged using this form of payment.
Weekly group email to the lawyer of the children (GAL – guardian at letim), the play therapist and the children’s social worker.
Safety covers on outlets, kid proof locks on cabinets containing medicine and cleaning supplies, adult height locks on front and back doors.
Thanks to one of my older sisters, I am now a faithful consumer of dry shampoo. I buy 3 bottles at a time and enjoy washing my hair every 2-4 days. Being a mom means every minute in the morning counts.
One of the best discussions my husband and I had before having children in our home consisted of discussing “What are 2-3 things you’re not willing to give up?” Our answers included things like exercise, hobby time, date night, and getting a good night’s rest.
School enrollment, new pediatrician, kids’ church… we completed and continue to complete A LOT of paperwork to help get the kiddos plugged into things. One thing no one ever told us about sibling sets is you get to fill out multiple sets of the same paperwork. Many times I felt like we had just had twins. Maybe one day people will find a way to streamline these documents; I think then more people would see taking on a sibling set as less complicated.
Taking a mid-day 2-hour nap wasn’t previously part of our daily routine. We’ve learned how to plan around nap time and how to ensure nap time happens as nap time equals kids in a better mood.