The Calm Before the Storm
We have one more week before we “graduate” from our foster parenting classes & it has flown by way faster than we expected. In retrospect, there is A LOT of content that is covered but 6 weeks is still a very short time to prepare to be a parent!
We are coming up on our required 4 out of 5 in-person class (these last 3 hours…yea, they are no joke!). We are working on completing this week’s 3 hour online course (also no joke). And Zach’s one-on-one interview should be happening this week. I’ve already had mine and it lasted over three hours! We’ve also completed two home visits with one more to go. We’ve spent hours and hours of time in class, online, with a social worker and extra personal time just trying to prepare for this next season.
You see, we are not JUST preparing to be parents…we are also preparing to be parents to children who have experienced trauma so severe that they have been legally removed from their homes. We are not JUST preparing to parent children with trauma, we are also preparing for the reality of working with birth families, therapists, more social workers, doctors and more. We are preparing for so much more than just parenthood in such a short time and if I am honest, it can be a little overwhelming at times!
We’re learning that we just have to take this journey one step at a time. The reality is that we have no idea just what the next season will look like for us. We take in all of the information that we are given, process what we can and know that there are certain things that we cannot “figure out” until we “get there” and that is okay! It’s this mix of learning as much as we can yet fully trusting in God to give us what we need when the time comes for us to need it!
As far as preparations come, we have been blessed by family and a few friends to help us provide the essentials necessary to prepare us for the wide age range of newborns to 5 year olds that we are taking in. We now have a crib en route, a car seat, a stroller, a dresser and some other essentials. With each placement that we get (be that one or many over time) we will have the opportunity to provide that child with more specific things that they may need.
To explain how placements work, there are really two types: emergency & non-emergency placements.
Emergency placements are just that, that is when a child is removed “then and there”. It is when a situation is so severe that CPS & law enforcement decide that it is unsafe for that child to remain where they are and they are removed immediately. From what I hear, this often happens around 3am with no notice at all. Yes, we are open to those calls! For that reason, we are stocking up on PJ’s of all sizes & toiletries. No one (children included) wants to make a store run at 3am! These children could be in our home few a few days, a few weeks or more permanently…it just all depends.
Non-Emergency placements happen with some notice. A family has been monitored over a period of time and a decision has been made to remove the child/children. There is more information provided and often this is an opportunity for social services to place the child/children with a family that best suites their needs. These placements are more long-term and sometimes with knowledge of which direction a child is headed…towards reunification with their birth family or towards adoption. Hampton Social Services’ motto is “first placement, last placement” and while we have not gotten to see this in action, I do love their heart of preventing children from bouncing around from home to home as best as they possibly can. With each move, that child is experiencing more loss/hurt and the more that can be lessened…the better!
As I said earlier, it’s a lot to process and prepare for and we are doing our very best!
Every time we go out or even just evenings that we have alone, watching TV on our couch, I am reminded that this will not be our normal for long!
Soon there will be toys that will never really be put away and a high chair/booster seat that takes a permanent place at our dining room table. Soon we will have to schedule date nights and plan around nap times. Soon our laundry load will increase and bath toys will take over our tub. Soon we will have to watch “our shows” and eat grown-up snacks strategically after the kiddo is in bed.
For now, we are soaking in every minute of this “in-between” season of lives before our lives changes forever as we open our home & our hearts. We don’t have it all together yet, but we are ready for what is next!
If you are interested in helping us out in any way, we are stocking up on new or used pajamas (newborn-5t) and we are registered for essentials on amazon.com.
*Also, please contact me if you are interested in donating other items to help local foster families with emergency placement situations (items such as stuffed animals, toothbrushes, pajamas, backpacks etc.)