1. You have to take a 10 week course, plus a CPR and Water Safety Class (if you have a pool). Usually you meet for one night a week for 3 hours.
In these three hours you will learn all sorts of things. At times you will want to quit, at times it’s really hard to hear what they have to say. Sometimes you find out things about yourself you didn’t want to know. Or maybe you needed to know, but it hurt to hear. The situations are all real that they discuss with you. You will feel sick to your stomach. You get really tired, and hungry, and even bored at times. Just remember: it’s all about the kids. Stick in there. If you need encouragement call a friend that has gone through the program. Call me. Oh and you and your husband BOTH have to attend. It’s something your WHOLE family has to support and give 110% to. You are allow to miss two total classes, but will have to make them up later.
2.You have to pass two homestudies. We haven’t had ours yet, but hopefully will in a month or so. We do have the sheet they go by during the homestudy. So far…we are FAILING! You have to buy a $50 fire extinguisher. They will tell you which one, but it HAS to be 5 or more pounds. We ordered one off Amazon, it said it was 7lbs, opened the box and it was only 4. You can NOT ship fire extinguishers back! Just go to Lowes. Another thing that I find difficult about the homestudy is the fact that you have to lock everything up. When I say everything, I mean EVERY-thing! Anything that has a warning label on the bottle. Items such as soap, shampoo, razors, deodorant, toothpaste, dish soap, cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, cosmetics, finger nail polish, hair spray, makeup, cremes, lotions, etc. ect. ect. No joke. What a perfect time to go green. I’m using up my harsh cleaners with chemicals and switching to: baking soda, vinegar, and homemade soaps, etc. It has to be locked with a KEY! We are lucky. We have a linen closet in our bathroom. We have old door knobs and skeleton key locks on all our doors, but the closets. We bought something similar to the picture below, it also comes with knobs for both sides. If you can come up with a NON-tacky idea, please share.
3. You need to make a list of items the children might need when they come into your home. From everything I’ve heard they pretty much come with a garbage sack carrying their belongings. Which could include a blanket, maybe some clothes, a toy, etc. Usually they have on a diaper and maybe a shirt if your lucky. There’s one other thing I should mention that they bring with them…lice, and bugs, and filth. Not all of them. I’m sure if you pick your baby up at the hospital the nurses will have him all cleaned up. That would be the ideal situation. Everyone wants a baby. Right? So, I’ve started compiling a list of things a toddler or baby might need when they get to our home (we are only fostering ages 3 and under, just in case we will get a chance to adopt). <<Jeff and I feel we are not prepared to take on older children this time in our lives. When a child gets past a certain age they are pretty set in their ways and these children have been through some horrendous stuff. It will be easier to mold them and teach them if they are younger. Not that we want to change them at all, but they can have serious issues from the neglect and abuse. A younger child will usually adapt better. Maybe when we raise a few kids and start to figure this parenting thing out we will open our homes to older kids. If you have any more questions about this you can email me. Ok, here is the list:
I know I’ve missed some things and would LOVE your input. This is what I’ve got so far…
- bottles, sippy cups
- jars of baby food (I plan on making my own, so we can have fresh fruit and veggies ready)
- highchair, booster seats
- car seat for 5lbs to 40lbs
- pjs/play clothes for appropriate age range newborn-3T
- lots of cloth diapers and covers
- homemade wipes
- toddler beds/cribs
- make sure outlets are covered and cabinets locked
- baby socks and shoes (harder to know what sizes)
- RID for lice (you need the kit with the comb, and the spray for their stuff)
- detergent for baby clothes
- shampoo, soap
- baby toothpaste and baby toothbrushes
4. There are far more important things that you need to prepare. Your mind, your attitude, your relationships, etc. You need to know that when you foster it is only temporary. These children have birth families. Maybe they are going through hard times. Maybe they really love their kids and want to get them back home (this is not always the case). You have to go into it with your whole heart, but you still have to realize that more times than not, you will be giving these children back to their birth families! This obviously will be the hardest part. Does this mean you shouldn’t foster, because it will hurt? Absolutely not. Am I scared. Absolutely. Will I get attached? I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t. These babies might not have ever experienced love in their whole lives. You have to show them unconditional love. You have to give them everything you got. They will know if you are holding back yourself from them. Let them have your heart. They will carry it with them for their entire life.
Love unconditionally (affection without any limitations). These are God’s children and they deserve it.
So please hang around while we go on this journey. I hope one day there will be so many people opening up their homes to these orphans that we will have more homes than orphans! If you are starting your foster or adoption journey, please stay strong. The children need you and they are definitely worth the wait!