I started the process of becoming a Foster Parent about 10 months ago. It was May 2015 when I first contacted the Children’s Aid Society in my area for more information. It is looking like it will be at least May before I am officially approved to accept placements, making it a full year (or more) in the process. It has actually been a number of years in the making as I have wanted to be a Foster Parent for a long time, but for the actual official process, it has been 10 months so far.
I am eager to get the process complete and welcome children into my home, but am trying to learn patience and to accept the timing. It will all come together… eventually. Right now I am currently waiting for my second appointment in the Assessment Phase. The first appointment was the Home Study to go over the SAFE Checklist in January. The second appointment (coming April 7) is a personal interview. My final appointment is on April 21 and is another personal interview and to go over any outstanding items from the SAFE Checklist. Some people have 5 or more assessment appointments but for my situation, I am able to complete it in three (partially because I am single, and also because I do not have a past which included abuse or significant events that would affect my fostering).
I want to be clear and say I know there are some who have had a longer wait than me and a much harder wait as well, I completely get that! I am blessed to have two bio children at home already and recognize my wait is eased to some extent because of that. This is just an expression of what I am feeling and how I am working through it right now.
I had my second appointment set up for last week (March 2) but due to bad weather it had to be postponed. The earliest she could fit me in was April 7. I cried… okay, that isn’t the right word… I completely broke; it was a big, long, ugly cry that you feel tired after sort of cry. I had been so excited to move forward with the second appointment and was emotionally ready for whatever she may ask (this is an interview appointment where we go into more about my relationships, my past, my parenting style, etc.). I didn’t know exactly what to expect, but I was ready for it.
To get it postponed took the wind out of my sails. I started to wonder if that was a sign. I wondered if I was really ready, or if maybe I shouldn’t be doing this at all. I’ll be honest… I may have overreacted to the news of the canceled appointment.
I did rebound from that, but it was hard. I had a few days of feeling completely lost about what was going to happen. I am a bit of a control freak, so having it postponed and not go as planned threw me off (which I know is something I am going to have to work on… since this is bound to happen once I actually start fostering as well!). I found out just how important having a support system is too! Without a significant other going through the same thing I felt very alone. I had to reach out and share what I was feeling with friends/family because I didn’t have anyone at home going through the experience with me that could see it. That made me think about how I will handle things when I am having a hard day as a single foster parent. There will be hard days with information I can’t share with my support network of friends/family since they aren’t in it with me as a significant other (and can’t know details of cases). I think that experience helped me think more about what will happen down the road when I need support and how important it will be to take advantage of the Foster Parent Mentoring program through the Children’s Aid Society.
After a few days of being miserable, I thought more about the coming month. I am going to be able to get some more renovations done around the house and get more things organized before my next assessment.I started to feel excitement about organizing more things and setting up more to do lists (yes, I get excited over to do lists!) I started to regain my enthusiasm and see how waiting another month may be exactly what I need in order to fully prepare my house for new children and more workers to come to. Maybe I wasn’t as ready as I thought I was. Maybe what I needed was some extra time to not only prepare my house more, but maybe prepare myself and my kids more as well!
I am back on track and more accepting of the longer timeline. I have taken it as a positive and have developed new to do lists to keep me busy. See below for some of the items on my lists…
Finish Getting the House Ready
I had the basics done that I needed to wrap up for my Home Study Checklist. My TV was mounted on the wall, my water heater turned down, etc. Now, it’s time to add finishing touches and do the little renos I have been putting off.
- Organize the basement — I keep saying I am going to do it and actually make a space for the kids down there but I still haven’t done it. Now I have time to! I think I will make a game room and a hockey room. It is an unfinished basement so I plan to make it an unfinished, finished space… not a full basement redo, just enough to make it usable and clean down there.
- Update trim around the house
- Update the bedroom doors
- Hang more pictures
- Put trampoline back up with netting (Spring is coming!)
Finish my Welcome Baskets for New Placements
I had started a Welcome Basket for when I bring in placements. I have switched though from a basket to a duffle bag so they can have a bag for their stuff to keep. This consists of some necessities such as a new toothbrush, their own toothpaste, hairbrush, a body puff and body wash, etc., etc. It also includes some small snacks and non necessities as well so they can have some things that are their own. I plan to add in some small play items and colouring kits, a teddy bear (or other stuffed item), a blanket, maybe a book or two and other items like that. I want to have a couple made up so I am ready for when a new placement comes, then as I use them I will make more and always have 2 down in storage so I am ready. If you have ideas for what is good to include, please let me know!
I was thinking of putting a little welcome letter in there as well to introduce our family and have a couple pictures of us and the house for reference and a keepsake if they want it.
Once I have one complete I will post more about it to share.
Finish my Welcome Packages for Me
This is different from the item above… these are items that I may need on hand as extra items for welcoming placements. This includes GoodNites Bed Mats for the first few nights in case of bed wetting (which will be on the beds under the cover and not visible to the kids), GoodNites Underwear for the younger children who need them, lice treatment kits (just in case), extra bedding, blankets and pillows, etc. that are reserved for placements.
I also have a bunch of containers with my children’s old clothes so I need to sort them by size and plan to create a tub for each size, labelled and stored in the basement storage so they are easy to pull out when needed… they are all sort of just jammed into a couple of big Rubbermaid containers right now. I also want to pick up some more to fill in gaps so I have a few outfits for the ages I am open to accepting. I want to have enough on hand that I don’t have to drag the kids out to the store right away. I shop the 50% Off days at a local Second Hand store and will typically purchase a whole season’s worth of clothes for $50, so this will be the fun part.
Let me know what you keep on hand that I haven’t thought of 🙂
Book in Family Appointments, Now
I want to get our own family appointments out of the way before bringing in more children, for example, my son is due to go to the dentist, so I should book that now. Obviously there will always be appointments, even when we have placements, but I will get what I can done now to ease the first few months of fostering since it will all be new to me and I will have lots on my plate.
Learn to Knit
I am completely serious… right now I need something to keep me busy, so I plan to learn how to knit! I run to clear my mind and have “me time” but I think it would be fun to just sit on the couch, watch the kids play and knit something useful! Or maybe crochet… I am not completely sure what the difference is… but I will learn!
I’d love to hear about what you are doing while you wait, or maybe you are done waiting and have some tips that helped you get through the process! Once I am done waiting for these last two appointments in April I will have up to two months of waiting for my official approval to come through… then waiting for a placement! So I need all the advice I can get!