Hello! I reached out to a friend of mine in Missouri about sharing some insight about Foster Parenting. This first part focuses on those who are fostering and going to pick up the baby at the hospital. While policies and procedures to change from state to state. Hannah shared a lot of great insight that I thought you would enjoy! ~Josh
Hi everyone! My name is Hannah. I am a 24 year old foster mom living in Missouri. My husband, Jonathan, is a stone/brick mason and together we are wedding videographers. We decided to start foster care when we realized the need for homes in our community. We have always been open to helping people and we have sponsored a few kids in Bolivia and Haiti. We have both been on multiple mission trips but when we realized how bad the need was right in our front yard, we started to pray about it. We started classes in March and by May we had three kids in our home. In the beginning of classes, we saw our goal in sight-adoption! We “fostered to adopt” but the first day I met our kids' birth mom; she became another soul to love and a part of our family. We prayed for her every night, we colored pictures for her and talked about her. We saw her depressed and devastated, we weren’t sure if it was going to work out for the kids to get to live with her again. She transformed in front of our eyes and became the mother that she needed to be. It was like watching as a caterpillar break through its cocoon and turns into a butterfly. You know that giddy feeling when the butterfly spreads it’s wings? That’s how it felt when this mama started working to get her kids back.
Eventually, she finished all the steps to getting her kids back and they moved into their new home. We supported and encouraged her then and to this day, we support her and love her. Now that her case is closed, she has been promoted to manager at her job and is in a healthy relationship. We still get to see her and the kids from time to time and it is so encouraging as a foster parent. We are so proud of her and the kids are thriving. Since then, we’ve become advocates for reunification and birth families.
A lot of people talk about the heartbreak of foster care; which is easy to do but we try to focus on a positive outcome for the child. When that happens, there is nothing sad about it! (still many tears, let’s be honest) We understand that all cases do not go as good as this one and we still plan to adopt if the opportunity come to us but we are so happy when we get to see birth families reunite and bring their kiddos home to a healthy and loving environment. It’s a beautiful thing to be able to witness.
What to expect when picking up a foster baby from the hospital:
First of all, take a deep breath. This feels exciting and you want to scream with joy but someone just lost their baby. Try to sympathize with this birth mother. Try to feel her pain. Try to imagine someone ripping your baby away from your arms-yes, it was caused by your mistakes but that doesn’t lessen the pain. In fact knowing that it was your fault, increases the pain. Remember that when driving to the hospital.
When you enter into the hospital, have your drivers license and info ready to show the security guard or desk clerk, whoever meets you there first. They will probably bring you to a private room and tell you to get comfy. They will let you meet baby and if everything is done at that nursery, they may leave her there for you to tend to during your training videos. You will have to watch training videos, read the numbers on the baby’s hospital band, sign a few papers and have a car seat check. Depending on the hospital, the car seat check can be up to 90 minutes, some hospitals just make sure they are buckled correctly and you’re good to go. If you have other kiddos at home, it would be a good idea to get a babysitter that can be there as long as you need them. When you’re done with the training, a security guard will walk you out to the car. Wait until you have them buckled and you will get in your car and leave. You will probably feel very weird all the way home and even over the next few days. Bonding with a new foster placement can be hard. Have grace on yourself.
7 Things you should bring to the hospital to pick up a newborn foster placement:
You should go ahead and bring your car seat and diaper bag up, they often bring the baby to your room and let you take care of him/her until it’s time to go. During that time, you might need a burp rag, diapers, an outfit, aspirator, etc..
Most of the time the hospital will send you home with a few packages of diapers, wipes, a blanket, etc. It would be a good idea to pack a few plastic bags in your diaper bag, just in case, so you’re not juggling everything or making two trips with a baby.
Bring mittens, it’s something that most babies need and hospitals don’t supply.
Bring a snack and drink tucked away in the diaper bag, it may be a while but you’ll want something that seals.
Your spouse! Haha this seems humorous but I think it really helped to have my husband there. He can pull the car around, hold him/her while I sign papers and be just as involved as I am.
Your camera. We used our cellphones but take a photo with the baby in the hospital. I don’t mean to have a photoshoot but if you happen to adopt this baby someday, these photos would be great to have. I love our photos we took in the hospital with our babygirl.
Last but not least, bring courage. This is going to be hard but you’ve totally got this. You’re going to feel so nervous walking to the car. You’ll probably going to watch your back. You’re going to feel sad because of the situation, happy because of he/she is in your care, protective even though you’ve barely seen this baby, out of place because it’s not your baby, etc. Keep courage, mama! You’re doing the right thing.
Stay tuned for our next article that focuses on supporting a Foster parent family! :)