Friends, this is going to be short and sweet today! We took a late-night, emergency placement of a 14-month-old baby girl last Wednesday, and we are in “treading water mode” as we figure out her needs, get her (and our other kids) acclimated, and wade our way through the onslaught of appointments and meetings that accompany a new foster placement.
Being fresh at the start of this placement has reminded me of several things we’d be lost without. These are things you can have in place (beyond the bed, the crib, the assortment of clothing sizes, the car seats, etc.) that will ease you through the first couple of weeks with a new foster child.
Here are seven things you can have ready-to-go before you get a placement call – these will serve you well, regardless of the age or gender of the child who will be joining your family.
1: a list of people you can call or text to run a quick errand
Help! We need size 3 diapers and long-sleeved pajamas. And it just so happens that we’re on our last roll of toilet paper.
2: a few meals in the freezer
Dinner? Oh, I still have to do that?
3: a commitment to get to bed early during those first weeks
Picture me – less than 24 hours after baby girl’s arrival – she and I fast asleep by 8pm. I’ll be honest, there was a little drool (I’m not telling whose).
4: Amazon Prime
The drawer latches and corner cushions we need for this wobbly toddler arrived quickly enough to justify not making an extra run to Target (or asking a friend to go). Do whatever is needed to minimize extra trips and errands.
5: a bulk package of paper plates
6: a way to let your community and network know your needs
From just one Facebook post made by a friend, announcing we were going on the infant call list, we received nearly every single baby item we needed and had it in place less than 48 hours before baby girl’s arrival.
7: a willingness to look to everyone else like you are in over your head
Nothing will make you feel more incapable than the sudden arrival of a new child who is in the midst of trauma – together with all of the organizing, scheduling, and appointments that are suddenly added to your already full plate. Face it. You are in over your head. Pray moment by moment for God’s grace and mercy to fill the empty spaces – He tells us this is exactly when His strength is made perfect. Watch for holy moments when He shows you the truth behind those words.
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For books that have helped me in my foster care journey, try reading: