I remember where I was every time a call/text came.
That pivotal few seconds when you see the right area code finally scroll across the screen and you just know in your gut that it’s not a telemarketer this time.
Those heart fluttering seconds while the other end states “…this is so-and-so from the department of human services…”
Our last text came while I was lecturing to my advanced placement Biology students. About parasites no less.
“How do you feel about an infant?”
A lot of people have asked me, what do you do after the call comes?
It can be so stressful, so I thought I would share my plan for after the call comes.
- Be still and breathe.
- Every call is a tragedy for a family. While I am excited to have a precious little one in my arms to love on, it is still terribly tragic. I often take a second to almost wallow in that sadness and pray specifically for that family, especially that Mama whose arms are suddenly empty and heart sorely aching. I find that this helps me to have a more compassionate perspective for the family from the start and helps carry me through some of the frustrating things they may say or do.
- Text my prayer warriors.
- There are quite a few people in my life that have the most important ministry of all even though they have no foster children in their homes. They are my prayer warriors. They are the ones I can call or text any time a court date goes terribly wrong, or when a child’s behavior is out of control, or I am at my breaking point, or a new little one is on his/her way. My mother-in-law and a few friends of mine specifically I know I can count on to pray. I then move forward comforted in the fact that the next few hours will be bathed in prayer.
- I then raid my stash
- I talk a good bit about my stash in this post. Once I know the child’s estimated age I go to my stash and pull out appropriate clothing, feeding supplies, diapers, etc. I also pull out a fresh pair of soft pajamas and an age appropriate “lovie” Our kiddos have all come to us in desperate need of a bath so having soft jammies to change in to is comforting. I also throw in a quick load of laundry so that they have fresh clean bedding to sleep in that night as well as fresh clean clothes. ( I also have a post of products to have on hand for African American kiddos to help my fellow white Mama’s out! 😊 )
- Reach out to my community
- I am so blessed to have an incredible church community surrounding my family as we pursue these precious babes. With every placement we are provided meals for at least a few days as well as emergency supplies. I have a few friends that I can call on to fill any holes I might have in my stash. Last month we had our first baby boy and we had absolutely nothing blue! (we had had only baby girls and toddler boys up until that point!) Two friends shared bags of little boy clothes and we were so thankful. Side note, you need community. You really need this in order to do this crazy foster care thing without immediately burning out. It’s ok to ask for help. Really.
- It’s the name of the game for the first few days. You will be sleep deprived, you will be emotionally overwhelmed, you will be flooded with phone calls and visits from caseworkers and scheduling appointments and visits. Be pragmatic. More Netflix for your big kiddos while you snuggle a detoxing babe for hours at a time? Do it. Pizza and mac and cheese on repeat. It’s fine. It really is. Allow yourself the grace to get to know these strangers you suddenly find yourself mothering and trying to bond to.
- Give each kid a “color”
- As I touched on above, the first few weeks of adding kiddos to your home can be In order to keep track of everything I bought a wall calendar and colored pens and each child gets a color. I use their designated color to fill in pediatricians, specialists, therapists, caseworker/GAL/CASA visits, bio family visits, extracurricular activities etc. I even have a color for my husband and I have him trained to add things to the big calendar in the kitchen with the right pen so I know what’s coming! (Have I ever mentioned how patient my sweet hubs is?) I also use the colors for other organization such as water bottles, folders for documents, pacifiers, clothing if they are in similar sizes, etc. The kiddos (even the little ones) quickly learn their color and it just makes life easier!
- In spite of all this preparation…. Placements fall through all the time.
- I wish someone would have told me this. They can call you, give you the story, you fall in love and 3 days later you have heard nothing.. It’s literally the worst. Don’t feel bad pestering them. They are busy, but they are professionals and you need to know.
Now you have a plan brave Mama. Remember to make time for self-care too. And above all else.
“Pray without ceasing”