Foster Care Wishlist

*If you have kids over five, please see our updated post, “wishlist part 2.”

No matter how much you prepare yourself to be a foster parent (or parent in general), you will never be fully prepared.  Being a foster parent throws some additional curveballs in the preparation process for becoming a parent, and honestly, with each placement the only thing that gets easier is that you are more prepared to be unprepared.  As many of you probably know, during our certification process we anticipated being foster parents to school-age children, but our first placement was Ava*, an infant, who arrived at our home 4-hours after the initial placement phone call.

When becoming a parent, you often have 9ish-months to prepare.  You can use this time to freak out, paint the bedroom, clean the house, stock-up on necessary and unnecessary supplies, over-analyze, host a baby-shower, spread out expenses over months, and yes, freak out.  To become a foster parent, it took us a little bit less than 6-months from the start of our journey to our first placement.  During that time, we prepared our home to pass the DHS Home Inspection (fire extinguisher = check!), and emptied the room that our future kiddo would occupy, save for a twin bed.  Beyond that, we had no idea if we should get toys, clothes, and decorations for a 5-year old boy, or an 18-year old girl, or anyone in between.  And it turns out, we should have ditched the bed, set-up a crib, and prepared for an 11-month old little girl!

All we are trying to say is, “preparing for a placement is very difficult”. Our first placement was just as difficult as preparing for our 5th and 6th.  These are little humans, all with their own needs, and the amount of time you have between when you know they are coming, and when they arrive can be measured in minutes or hours, not months. Many of the items you purchase for your kiddos need to be and should be sent with them when reunification occurs (clothes, toys you bought them, hygiene products, etc.), but some things you buy, are considered items for the house, and you can keep for the next placement.  This phenomenon explains why we have a double jogger and single jogger as well as a pack-n-play taking up valuable storage space while there are no toddlers currently in our home. Continue reading “Foster Care Wishlist”

Books For Foster Kids And Foster Parents

A list of some of the children’s books that have been a great resource for us as foster parents.

Children’s books hold a special place in our life.  Aaron’s Mom is a children’s librarian, and a variety of children’s books were always available to read in his house when he was growing up.  One book, “Where the Wild Things Are”, which according to his parents, he memorized all of the words in the book before he could read, played such a significant part of Aaron’s childhood that he now has a page of the book tattooed to him.  At Jewell’s house, “The Chronicles of Narnia”  was an ever present theme around the house and her Mom has a replica Sword of Rhindon hanging on her wall.

Children’s books can be a powerful parenting tool.  Often, you can use a kids book to help them learn to read, develop their critical thinking skills, teach life lessons, learn about feelings, or just relax and enjoy a story before bed. Over the years, children’s books have become more progressive. There is seemingly a book about everything, and featuring a vast variety of characters.  However, as we have been raising kiddos in our home, at times we have found it difficult to find books directly related to children in foster care, including books with foster children as the central character, or books about many of the difficult issues foster children experience. Continue reading “Books For Foster Kids And Foster Parents”

Organizations We Love

How to Support Foster Children and Parents on #GivingTuesday

We are well aware that not everybody has the ability or desire to be a foster parent.  It definitely is not easy, it is not for everyone, and that is perfectly alright. If foster care is not something your family is equipped to do however, there are still many ways you can help.  Here is a list of organizations that go above and beyond to help foster kids and their families, both bio and foster.  Please consider donating or volunteering with these groups for #GivingTuesday November, 29th. Continue reading “Organizations We Love”

Are You My Mother?

That awkward moment when your kid calls you “Mom” in front of the Bio-Mom

During the Foundation Training Classes, there are discussions about how to talk to your Foster Children about what their parents are doing, and how these children “fit” into your family.  There are discussions about not introducing your child as “my Foster Child” at social events, and to give the children options on how they refer to you.  According to the classes, some children may feel comfortable referring to you as “Mom” or “Dad” eventually, but that this should not be expected initially, and it may never happen.  It all made sense to us during the classes. We would introduce ourselves as Aaron and Jewell, and let the kiddos know that we love them and are going to take care of them while their Mom or Dad do some grown-up things and get some help so they can be with them shortly.

This all sounds well and good in the classroom and on paper, but our first long term placements have been infants and toddlers.
Continue reading “Are You My Mother?”

Four Hours

We said “yes” and 4-hours later we had our first child.

Four hours, that was the length of time we had to prepare for our first ever child.  From the moment we told DHS that we would open our home up to care for the child, until the moment our daughter arrived at our doorstep, 240-minutes passed.  This is just enough time to watch one of the Lord of the Rings movies.

From the moment we told DHS that we would open our home up to care for the child, until the moment our daughter arrived at our doorstep, 240-minutes passed.

During our initial interviews with our Certifier, we said we were open to fostering children of all ages, gender, race, religion, background, sexual orientation, etc., but that since we both work, it probably makes most sense for us to care for school age children. When we discussed the logistics, DHS agreed.  In our free time during the certification process, we began to set up a bedroom in our house for our future kids.  We furnished it with a twin bed equipped with a pull-out trundle (just in case), and a closet with a place to hang their clothes, a chair to lounge in, and a nightstand for their books. Everything we could think of that a child might need. We were ready for The Call.

Continue reading “Four Hours”

Possible Placements

The following is an e-mail exchange regarding a possible placement.

The following correspondence is an e-mail exchange between us, our certifier, and a CW.  This is a typical correspondence when DHS contacts you about a possible placement.  Our initial commitment was for the weekend, so the kids would not have to stay in a hotel with a DHS worker. We were going to use the weekend to see if we could logistically keep them for an extended period.

The first e-mail is from our certifier to us, regarding a possible placement. This amount of information and this type of contact is typical for possible placements.

Continue reading “Possible Placements”

The Certification Process – Pt. 2

The second half of our certification process: The SAFE Home Study or “The Newlywed Game”

Congratulations on completing your 24-hours of Foundations Training for Foster Care!

Here is your Certificate!

So now we are foster parents, right?!?!?!?! We can begin to help children in need? Right?

Nope. Continue reading “The Certification Process – Pt. 2”

What Is This Blog?

Why does this blog exist?

This is a place for us to document our journey as foster parents in Oregon.  The idea for the blog came to us after we realized that as brand new parents, we were staying up far too late after our children went to bed.  We were constantly staying up talking about all of the thoughts we were having as we become more and more ingrained in the Foster Care System.  It felt like nearly every day, we encountered a new experience, oftentimes experiences that are unique to foster parents, but sometimes, experiences relevant to all parents, and experiences relevant to all humans who care about other humans.

As we stayed up too late talking, knowing that our kids would wake us up soon, far before our alarm clocks would go off to make it to work on time, we knew that the conversations we were having were much more important than sleep.  We thought that the conversations would slowly taper off over the coming weeks. Eventually, we assumed that fostering children would be our “new normal”, and we could get back to watching our shows on Netflix and going to bed at a decent hour.  Instead, the longer we were caring for children, the more we interacted with DHS, family, friends, bio-parents, lawyers, CASAs, judges, etc., the more we realized that these conversations were going to continue.
Continue reading “What Is This Blog?”

Acronyms and Definitions

Selected Acronyms and Terms defined for your convenience.

In most government agencies and specialized fields, acronyms are widely used, and industry specific definitions apply to many words. We will do our best to keep this page updated with frequently used acronyms, terms, and strange definitions.

Continue reading “Acronyms and Definitions”