Saturday, December 4, 2010

Supporting friends doing Foster Care

Doing foster care and adopting a baby are 2 totally different words. Yes, they have some similarities. When adopting you usually know (once a birth mom selects you) when the baby will come, the sex of it and obviously it will be a newborn. There are so many variables while doing foster care. You don't know when the child will come, how old it will be or the sex (unless you are only doing girls or boys). As such as you try, there is no way to plan for a foster child.

Sometimes they come with little or no warning. With Ben I had 3 days warnings, but back then I didn't have much to get out or ready for. 2 days before we got Ben my husband and I were at Wal-Mart and they had a little shirt for $1 and matching pants for $1. I bought them and said how awesome it would be to have a baby boy to wear it soon. Less then a week later Ben was wearing it! Isaac and Madison, we found out we were getting them 24 hours before, but I was at work and couldn't get stuff ready until about 12 hours before. Emma, she was my fastest, from the time I got the call asking if we were interested and the time she arrived was 45 minutes! Since we were getting ready to move, everything was packed and it was pure chaos!

So, how can you help a friend who is all of a sudden placed with a child in foster care:

I had MANY offers for people to baby-sit, however, people have to be background checked to be able to watch your foster children. When we had Ben, Isaac and Madison I worked at a daycare and everyone there was background checked, so it was easy with them. Right after we got Emma our good friends decided to do foster care again so once their background checks cleared they watched Emma. Also my friend who lived with us had to be background checked so she also baby-sat.

  • If your friend is going to be doing foster care and you really want to baby-sit their kids then you can get a background check done thought DCFS.
When we had Ben: He was our first foster child and our first ever child in our home. We had practically nothing.

  • Just after deciding to do foster care my mother-in-law made me a bunch of baby blankets for my birthday.

  • The night I came home with Ben someone on our street (who I also visit taught) brought us dinner.

  • We got many gifts for him!

  1. My parents bought us his "church clothes", a toy, some food and I'm sure more I'm forgetting.

  2. Another neighbor gave us an outfit or two and some pajamas.

  3. Our neighbor who brought dinner also gave us books her kids had outgrown.

  4. Yet another neighbor (we lived in an awesome neighborhood, can you tell) gave us an outfit, a toy and a little night light.

  5. My cousin sent us a Wal-Mart gift card

  6. My aunt and uncle sent an outfit (which was my all time favorite one on Ben), burp cloths, towels, washcloths, and onesie's.

  7. My mother-in-law gave us a few outfits, pajamas, onesie's and a toy.
    I'm sure I'm forgetting stuff, but the out pour of gifts was amazing!

Isaac and Madison:
Because they were coming from another foster home they were coming with full wardrobes so I didn't have to worry about that. We didn't get that much with these two. My parents got them 2 outfits and a toy each. But, they already had quit a bit.

Again with Emma we didn't get a whole lot. My parents gave her 2 dresses, socks, shoes and a few toys a week after we got her. It has also been different because we knew it was going to adoption after only 2 months so people mainly gave us gifts at the baby shower. For the first few months Emma used Ben's old towels because we didn't have any girl ones. Emma also loves the books we got when we had Ben. Plus, Payson will get to use all the clothes and other baby boy items we got with Ben.

Other ways to help a friend doing foster care:


  • Ask what they need: diapers, wipes, bottles, toys, books, other baby items. Food, for a child 5 and under they are eligible for WIC so they should be covered on food, but the first few days if they are not on WIC right away they might need something. Clothes, the state (at least ours) has a clothing allowance for children first in care, but you need to have the $ to spend to get reimbursed for. Also, with Ben he was in care for about 2 weeks before we got him and some caseworker went to a thrift store and spend his clothing allowance. Unfortunately, they bought clothes that either didn't fit or were horribly stained and un useable!

  • Advise: I'm not very good at asking for help or advise, but as a first time mom it comes in handy. I remember one day with Madison I mentioned to a friend of mine who had 5 kids, that Madison would just start crying for no reason and I couldn't figure out why. She suggested that she was probably cutting teeth, Oh I never thought of that!


Not everything is pictured, but it gives you an idea.

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