Wednesday, October 2, 2013

What it's Like to Be Instant Parents or Our Lives as Foster Parents

Okay everyone knows we have cats, they are not really what this post is about but we can't post any pictures of our placements so a Guido pic will have to do.
 So lets rewind a little bit here, I am sure some people are a bit confused by the title of this post. What do you mean your foster parents?? Last year we found out we could not have kids of our own, yeah it sucks some but what can you do. Well what we decided we could do is adopt a child or become foster parents. So we went with the becoming foster parents and possibly one day that could lead to adoption. I looked up foster agencies on the internet and chose one not to far from out house. I called the number online and said I'd like information on becoming a faster parent. The lady was very nice and set up a meeting at our house to meet us and fill out a lot of paperwork. Fast forward, after much paper work, a note from our physician, background checks, and finger printing we were all cleared and the next step was taking foster parent classes.
In October we started, what are called in Illinois, PRIDE classes. We had to complete 27 hours of training on the world of fostering. Sure the classes were tiring on top of busy season of work, but we had two excellent teachers and a room of other people wanting to be foster parents that provided support and encouragement. Once we finished that, we had awhile before we got our license. As of June 2013 we are officially licensed and started the wait for a phone call.
Well as you know we went on vacation to the Dells from Sept 8th-11th.  After returning I worked from home on September 12th and that's when it finally came...the phone call! We got a call that they had a placement of a toddler girl and asked if we wanted to take her, yes please!
Well the night before I picked her up I grabbed the What to Expect the Toddler years to brief myself on what to expect. I mean we have been around toddlers before but they were other peoples children so there was lots to brush up on. What do they eat? Do they talk? What diapers do they wear? How long do they sleep? After reading up on this, Justin and I headed outside to install the car seat. We had to enlist the help of our neighbor as she is a pro at installing them. After lots of pulling and pushing the seat into place, we finally got it in! Next we headed to Wal-Mart to pick up some food, clothes, and diapers.
The next day I headed with my mom to pick her up, it was like this is it today I am going to be someone's foster parent. She was the most darling little girl, so sweet and loving! We can't really say a lot of privacy reasons but she was able to stay with us for a week. Thankfully the cats took to her well and they were on their best behavior that week!
We experienced a lot of firsts that week! First time I drove with a toddler in the car. I found myself saying hi a lot to get her to respond (one of the few words she could say) so I knew she was ok.
First time experiencing parent juggling. This is holding the child, diaper bag, child's toy, and purse all at once. Even while walking and holding doors. It is amazing how you can hold all that stuff and not drop anything!
First time enrolling someone in Daycare: Monday I went to our local daycare and enrolled her in daycare for the first time. I felt silly. I was like "Hi I have this daughter and I need to enroll her in daycare, how do I do that?" They were very supportive and familiar with working with foster parents. They gave me tons of paper work to fill out, which I was used to and already a pro at! Daycare went surprisingly well, of course I was "That mom" that cried after I dropped her off at daycare. Gosh I swore I was not going  to be that person :).
First time going to the store to buy little kids shoes. This was a challenge as she only came with one pair of shoes. Kids shoes are confusing, they all look like they are the same size even though they are not.
First time navigating the neighborhood with a stroller. I did pretty good with this, I only drop off the side walk into the grass a few times and she seemed to be pretty entertained when that happened.
First time driving in the city of Chicago and I mean in the city, Michigan Ave in the city. I was so scared and to top it all off I had to drive home with a toddler in the car in the city. I was like "everyone stay back, toddler in the car!"
I was a world wind of a week, but I would not trade it in for anything. We learned a lot about schedules, naps, sleeping (she slept through the night thank goodness!), teamwork, and more. We experienced a lot of firsts and I know we will experience many more in the future.  Like I said she did return home, I'd be lying if I said it was not hard. It is amazing how quickly you become attached to little kids. When they look at you and flash you that smile, it melts you heart. For now we are back to our regularly scheduled lives until we get the next call for a placement...when we will become instant parents all over again!


  1. Aww Emily....this is so cool that you are doing this! I hope you will share your next experience too ;)

    1. That's Sarah! I plan on documenting as much as I can. It is certainly an adventure and we're learning every step of the way :).

  2. Congratulations Em! It's a wild ride, but worth every minute!

    1. Thanks so much Jill! We are excited for what the future brings!

  3. Em it is so cool you are doing this!! My work mom did a lot of fostering. She said it is the hardest most rewarding thing a person can do, and one of my old supervisors also fostered and adopted her two kids. I hope all of the kids you get know just how lucky they are to get you as a mom. Are you sticking to an age range, or just where the need is? It's going to be exciting....and as far as parenting to goes we are all kind of tumbling along hoping we are doing it right. (this is Laney by the way...I must have set-up the google account YEARS ago!) lol