If you missed our first article about Foster Care for babies check it out here. In this second article, Hannah Hutson of Hutson Productions, shares some insight on how to survive the first week after receiving a new Foster placement and 10 things that made it easier! Thank you Hannah for sharing your experience!
How to survive your first week with a foster placement:
A lot of foster parents call this the “honeymoon phase” but for the kids this is the worst week of their life. They are scared, uncomfortable, awkward and this isn’t close to a joyful time at all. When you first pickup a placement or they get dropped off at your house, it’s a little scary. What do you do now? When we have had older kids (our oldest being 4) I like to take them to the store first off! Get their favorite snacks and anything else they may need or want. I try to make them feel as comfortable as possible and let the awkwardness happen. Our first placement we took them straight to church. I didn’t want to stay home and I thought it would be fun for them to get to meet all the little kids in our small country church. Some people advise staying home the first week, but honestly we tried to stay busy and have as much fun as possible considering the situation. Try to set the rules on the first few days so they know your expectations and their not just wondering when they’re going to get in trouble. One placement we had said “when do we get hit?” and I said “oh baby you don’t get hit here.” And she said “I mean when do we get in trouble, you know, when do you hit us?” These kids are fighters! They’ve already been through a lot; try to take it easy on the first week. Let them know that it’s okay to be sad. We don’t expect them to be happy all the time; they’re going through a hard time. If they would like to write mom or dad a letter, encourage it! Maybe you don’t have their address but the caseworker can try to get it or text photos of it to mom or dad. Give yourself grace. It’s awkward. People surround you wanting to know all the details that you’re not allowed to give. Let people help you if they offer. Just keep breathing, you got this!
If you’re reading this and you are not a foster parent, please help a foster parent! Cook them supper when they get a new placement, bring them supplies, text them encouraging words, etc. These foster parents are in survival mode at this point. I encourage you to find a foster family and bless them.
10 tips that have helped me as a foster parent:
Stock up on toothbrushes, lice kits, other bathroom supplies. Most calls come late at night and you don’t have the time to run to the store!
Having a discipline method. Every child is different but you need to plan on how you are going to handle things when they get out of control- because it will at some point.
Storing extra journals. It’s great to have one for each child in your home. Write down milestones, funny things the kids say, memories, info, etc.
Swaddles! If you have a foster baby that has had drug exposure, swaddles help tremendously! Even through the day time, during withdrawals, etc.
Grace. I have had to have grace from God, first of all! Without my morning devotions and prayer, my day can quickly go down hill. Then, I have to give myself grace daily. I have never been in this situation before and sometimes I will mess up. I have to give the kiddos grace. They are struggling too, and there will be breakdowns along the way.
Having PJ’s in different sizes. Sometimes when the placement comes fast you don’t have time to run to the storage building much less the store. It’s nice to have PJ’s so you can give the children a bath then put them to bed without having to freak out and dig through tons of Rubbermaid tubs. Which brings me to my next one....
Rubbermaid tubs!!! I can’t stress this enough... You can NEVER have too many. haha We have extra toys, kids plates, kids cups, bottles, clothes in different sizes, different sizes of sheets and blankets depending on the beds that we’re using. They are all in Rubbermaid tubs that way I don’t have to worry about mice, bugs, etc.
Buying sensory toys, blankets and swings. Sensory items help with kids who have suffered from trauma and to be honest; that’s every child in care.
I will not make money doing this. I never started this for the money but let me tell you- you will not profit financially by doing foster care. I spend WAY more money than we make from foster care. If you’re thinking of doing this for the money-think again. It’s can't be about that.
Know that not all birth families are bad. In some classes you may be taught in class that birth families are the enemy. It is NOT this way at all and most birth families just need some support until they can get back on their feet.