There are so many things that run through your mind when you’re expecting a new addition to your foster family. Whether it’s your first foster child or your tenth, there is some familiarity to the thoughts running through your mind before each child joins your family. Here are some important things to keep in mind:
- Expect the unexpected
- Prepare everything, plan nothing
- Get ready for the legal appointments
Expect the unexpected
You’re probably already anxiously awaiting that call announcing you’ve been assigned a new foster child. Any minute you could be told to standby for the new guest! However, you should also gear up for the most unpredictable to occur before they’re expected to arrive. This could be them arriving later than expected, not arriving at all, or having a new arrival date at the very last second. Flexibility and patience are going to be your best friends.
Prepare everything, plan nothing
This may sound cliche, but it’ll help in the long run! As a foster parent, you likely always have their bedroom perfect and ready for whenever you get the phone call. While you might have a lot on hand, don’t make too many plans once the child has arrived. Even though you’ve purchased many things in preparation, expect that you might still have to make a run to the store once or twice. Or perhaps, the child will need extra time to warm up before you begin sharing personal moments with one another. These children come from many different situations and some experience more scarcity than others. This could be scarcity in emotional intimacy or even in basic necessities. The bottom line — prepare everything but be ready to see how the first few days go.
Get ready for the legal appointments
Piggybacking off the last point to plan nothing — get ready for the many legal appointments to come very shortly after the child’s arrival. Once they’re in your home, you’ll have a lot of paperwork on your hands and important dates to put on your calendar. These could be court dates, parental visitation dates, doctor appointments, counseling, etc. It may feel overwhelming at first but as a foster parent, you’ll be trained in flexibility!
You’ve gone down the route of becoming a foster parent because you know the amount of fulfillment and joy serving these children will bring you. If you need additional support, our Choices for Life team is standing by to help!