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Thursday, March 9, 2017

That Time When The Village Shows Up ~ Another Step In Our Foster Care Journey

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I sit here today, on the brink of wrapping up a license to take in a foster child. We're so close. We're so very, very close.

But I can't possibly sit here and tell you the story as if the hubster and I have done every bit of the preparation thus far on our own. No. See, foster care isn't something any one person or household can do succesfully alone. It's something that calls for "All hands on deck"; every person gathering around the life of this one as if they're of utmost importance.

It's almost laughable the difference between preparing for a biological child and a foster child. In my experience (and I've done this 3 times now), when you're expecting a biological child it looks like a little like this

  • People buy you gifts for the baby
  • You get asked if you're having a boy or a girl or what your preference is if you don't know
  • You get judged on the name you've chosen (oh, yes you do)
  • Everyone has strong, almost religious opinions on what you need and don't need
  • Your physical space is no longer yours. From the OBGYN to the woman at the grocery store, everyone must touch you.
  • There are classes that teach you how to nurse and how to birth but after that, people hand you books like "What to expect..."  (and believe me, the abounding opinions on what you do right and wrong makes you wish there were some sort of standard training you had to take)
  • While adjusting to growing, birthing, and mothering a baby you try so hard to remember back to when you were sane and not randomly yelling, crying, eating, or all of the aforementioned at the same time
In short, there is A LOT of activity happening, personally and in the world around you, all because you're having a biological child. But I easily felt lost, confused, and in denial that the hospital just let me leave with the baby I had because I had no idea what I was doing. "Don't worry, honey. You'll learn." I was encouraged from time to time.

Foster care looks like this:
  • The closest family and friends gather to supply gift cards for the things you need to even create a space in your home for a foster child. This was a most beautiful day and my children learned again what it looks like to put others before yourself. 
  • You still get asked questions about gender/age/race preferences. I wish I had a hidden camera on my glasses to capture the face of some who hear the answer "we're open to any race or gender...ages 0-4". Oh, you'd be surprised... lol
  • You're told all the reasons why the person you're presently speaking to "Could NEVER" do foster care & wonder how you're supposed to respond. I tend to say, "That's OK. You can help us!" (I am not so naive to think I won't need help at all)
  • Some people have horror stories of foster care that they can't wait to tell you. All sorts of extreme stories that, I guess, aren't meant to scare me out of being a foster parent but serve as a "just so you know" kind of warning. (Yes, someone told me a story of how a foster child grew up to kill his adoptive parents. Lovely. And the chances of that are...?)
  • People come to your home and ask you the most invasive questions about you, your parents, your siblings, your childhood, your work experience, your religion, your thoughts on foster children, your discipline techniques, and on and on and on. Then those answers are sent to the state for everyone there to know ALLLLLL about you, too.
  • There is training upon training upon training to make sure you're very well supported with resources, tools, and contacts to help you through your journey in foster care. 
  • Stress is the new hormonal storm. The stress of preparation, answering hard questions my own children have, trying not to play the "what if" game, waiting - waiting - waiting, & getting the home good enough for the state's approval is heavy. Not to mention the paperwork. It's a lot.
Yes, my family and I, we are embarking on new territory. We're going down a brand new path and one so familiar yet foreign and intimidating at the same time. 

I mentioned in the first bullet point of foster care preparation about the people who gathered to give us gift cards and well wishes. My mom put the whole thing together. We ate lunch, we played a game, and we talked about why we're pursuing foster care. The fellowship and support there was beautiful. 

Upon arriving home, the hubster and I opened cards from people - some sent in the mail over time and others given to us at the shower. We cried. I actually had to leave the room for a minute and cry because we were so overwhelmed by generosity.  

I want to show you all the room that we've been able to put together because of the people help and support of the people around us. 

mom lifestyle blog

This first one is an earlier pic I took before the bins were full but it's the only one I have to show you the rug we were able to buy. I found both the rug and the woven hamper at At Home stores. (These 2 items together were less than $50! ) The shelves and bins we've owned since my oldest was a baby. We found them at Ikea.  

Above the hamper, is a DIY project I did. I needed to create a comforting yet gender friendly space. I went with a "cozy cottage" theme and made the deer silhouette art and refinished the frame. I'll have to share that project in greater detail sometime. 

mom lifestyle blog

Here we go. The bins are all full and my kiddos try to give more and more toys to our foster child. I ask them to put them aside in the basement for now so we don't clutter up the room. :) 

mom lifestyle blog

Moving to the left, I bought the chevron pieces on the wall from a shop called Gypsi Dreamz Boutique. This was actually the very first (and second) thing I bought for the room. The fleece blanket was made with love by my sister-in-law, and the rocking chair was bought at a thrift store. It does have cushions. I was just having them freshened up with new fabric when I took the pictures. 

mom lifestyle blog

The "hope" above the window was made from the Letterpress Blocks sold on the Dayspring website. The changing table was returned to us from someone we lent it too and we were able to go buy a brand new changing table pad for it. And the moose on the wall was actually from the At Home stores as well. It was in the Christmas's an ornament. I unstapled the bells from it and it became a wall decoration. :) I'm pretty sure it cost me less than one dollar. 

mom lifestyle blog

Finally, the crib. This is a Target purchase and we were able to buy it on a day when all their nursery items were an extra 20% off. This crib changes into a toddler bed, a day bed, and a full size bed. It will be perfect for our 0-4 range that we're aiming for. 

The wood signs above the crib were another DIY project for me. I've found a new love that is taking apart wood pallets and playing with power tools. These were fun to make and tie the "cozy cottage" theme together. 

mom lifestyle blog

 Everything I said I bought was only possible through the use of the gift cards our family and friends blessed us with. And I didn't picture the baby proofing items I bought, the baby gate, or the convertible car seat that is in the closet. This room isn't just my doing. I love that I can share that with the child who joins our family. We're also blessed to have some gift cards left to help us cover those last minute needs that will pop up when we have a placement - needs like bottles, pacifiers, diapers, etc.

Friends! We're so close now. Soon I'll be able to show you a shadow of our foster child or the little hands and feet we're caring for. As the child will be a ward of the state, I'm not allowed to show you his/her face. But I'll be sure to give you sneak peeks into our home as I'm able.

Please continue to pray for us and also for the child who will join us. We're excited but sober-minded as we head into this journey. A child being placed with us will mean that there is a world of hurt behind his/her eyes. But. Love never fails. Love is the plan here in this home.

Now if I could only run around my home and give every room a makeover...



1 comment:

  1. Wow it's really interesting reading this post and getting insight into this process! I stumbled across your blog when I was going through my list of following. I'm a single parent household and would love to foster but I feel like there would be a lot of financial challenges for me


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