The Placement of a Child in your home.
I cannot speak with any authority on this matter because we have only had one placement, but I will say this: It can go 9 billion different ways.
There was about two weeks between when we were licensed and when we got our first phone call. I remember one day sitting in Tera’s room rocking her to sleep just wondering and wondering what child would be placed in our home. I wondered what their gender would be, what their age would be, where they would sleep. I wondered what their names would be and I wondered how Tera would bond with them. And then I prayed. I prayed and I prayed over whatever child would be placed in our home.
The phone call came on September 14, 2015. Here is an excerpt from a blog post I wrote that week:
I forgot about Tera’s appointment on Monday. So I rescheduled for Tuesday. I got to the appointment a little bit frazzled on Tuesday. Tera screamed bloody murder when I put her on the scale to be weighed. And that was just the beginning. After having to strip my child of her cute little outfit, watch her scream while they took her temp and (tried to) listen to her heartbeat, they told me to put her clothes back on her. As I wrestle her head to her onesie, and she clings to me for dear life, I hear my phone vibrating.
I was pretty darn positive it was the call. But when I finally wrestled the phone from the depths of the diaper bag (while holding onto my slippery, crying baby with the other), I saw it was just Theo calling. I answered anyways, because I love every chance I get to talk to Theo when he is at work.
Turns out it actually was the call. The call that will place a foster child into our home.
It’s a newborn baby girl.
Will we take her?
I can’t give names or details, but it’s a newborn baby girl. And we said yes!!!!
That just about shocked my socks off. I was expecting and mentally preparing myself for a school age child.
Right there in the pediatricians office we went into overdrive.
She isn’t here yet. They said tomorrow and then tomorrow became today and they still said tomorrow. So I will believe it when I bring her into my home. Until then, it’s a potential placement.
One week later, we did indeed bring her home, and she lived with us for the next nine months.
So for those of you who have not done this before, I am afraid I can’t give many set-in-stone answers about what an initial placement looks like. It will follow somewhere along these lines:
- A phone call from a caseworker. This can come at any time of the day. It may be a caseworker you have contact with or it may be someone you have never met at all. They will give you what information they know, which is often very little. It’s often: age of child, gender of child, name of child, and the original reason for coming into care.
- You have about 30 minutes to say “yes” or “no”. You are NOT obligated in any way, shape or form to say yes. You can hang up and call back shortly with your answer if you are not prepared to give one on the spot.
- The caseworker will bring the child to your home, or make arrangements for you to pick the child up. This usually happens immediately, although in our case Little Miss was in the hospital for another week before she was officially signed over to us
- The caseworker will ask you to sign a bunch of papers and you will probably be so nervous and giddy that you won’t have a clue what you just signed. It’s ok.
- The child will mostly show up with next to nothing, so you will need to kick your but into HIGH GEAR to get anything needed, at least for the first day or two. Try to have someone on call who is willing to go to the store for you so you can be at home with the child, instead of having to take them out five minutes after meeting them (that sounds like a recipe for disaster).
- You will be receiving numerous phone calls within the first few days detailing more about the child’s situation, meeting with caseworkers to sign more papers, and often making nine million and one appointments for needs that the child has.
And that’s it- the placement of a child into foster care! The depth of the emotions of that first week pretty much cannot be summed up into words. It’s absolutely overwhelming and exciting and challenging and exhausting and so, so beautiful. It’s not easy, and the first week can make you feel like you really shouldn’t have signed up for this. But keep on keepin’ on!!!
Here is the post I wrote the first week we had Little Miss at home.
If you have any questions at all about foster care or adoption from foster care as I go through this series, please don’t hesitate to ask. You can leave a comment or send an email. At the end of the series, I will have a Q&A day and will be answering any questions I receive throughout the month.
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