This is the last blog in this series (which was supposed to be small but ended up being about 6 more posts than I anticipated) …because there are just so many things about which I want you to be aware. I want your eyes as open as they can be. And even though you’ll never be fully prepared for this journey, I want you to at least be able to say, “Oh yes…this caught me off guard, but then I remembered Kris talking about that in her blog.”
That said, my final bit of advice/info is this: you’ll never be fully prepared for a new placement, no matter how hard you try. And to some degree, I think this foster parent encapsulates it best with her comment: “Be ready to shop for socks and underwear for every placement!”
Now, you can obviously have, on hand, a stash of socks and underwear in every possible size and gender combination…but honestly how realistic is that? I think her point (besides the obvious) is that there will always be something you need…and it might be big, it might be small. Or it might be both.
The children often arrive with little to nothing (as we’ve discussed previously) so it’s going to be the job of the foster family to amass what is needed.
Clearly, some things will already be on hand. For instance, if you know you’re planning on taking kids 0–4 years old, you can probably guess what equipment (think stroller, car seat, etc.) bedding, and toys you might need. But things such as bottles, cups, diapers, clothing, formula, etc.….it would not be practical to have every single kind on hand. A couple bottles or cups? Sure…but it might not be the kind the child is used to and he refuses it…so you’ll have to buy more. A handful of diapers of each size? Sure, but you’ll still have to get more.
For instance, our son was just over 3 months but was in newborn clothing and diapers when he first came. And the super-chill 8mo placed with us wore 18–24-month clothing. Point being: you just never know and you can’t always assume what size you’ll need based on age.
My point in all this is that you can be prepared, but part of that preparation might be in the form of a list of things you know you’ll need to acquire once the child is in your home…because you don’t know what you don’t know. And you won’t know until you’re in it. And that is ok!